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Featured The Moral Argument

Discussion in 'Christian Apologetics' started by Sapiens, Mar 7, 2016.

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  1. Sapiens

    Sapiens Wisdom is of God

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    NOTE: I edited this OP in light of the discusion and added relevant clarifications and explanations. The argument did not change, however.

    Hello all, this is probably my favourite argument in apologetics and I'd like it to be discussed here.

    It goes like this:

    1. If objective moral values exist, then God exists.

    2. Objective moral values exist.

    3. Therefore God exists.

    Objective moral values: moral values (right or wrong) about actions that exist independently of us and our judgment, independently of us being able to discern them or agreeing with them. God is the objective judge of these values and the only viable and consistent explanation for their existence.

    God: the personal creator of the universe with these basic characteristics: omnibenevolent, omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent.

    A moral value is something subjective, meaning that it can be asserted only by a subject (a person) and not by an object (a rock for instance). Therefore, if someone has an unfallible moral judgment, he is a viable reference point for moral values. God is both a person and morally perfect, therefore he is a viable objective reference point. No one else is morally perfect, therefore, he is the only viable reference point, making him the objective reference for moral values.

    One example of an objective moral wrong: Hitler's holocaust. If no objective reference point exist to discern the rightness or wrongness of the holocaust, or any other act for that matter, then it is either morally neutral (neither right nor wrong) or capable of holding two moral nature, depending on the relative/subjective reference point you use (e.g. whoever's opinion that are contradicting). In this case, it could be Hitler, and a Jew who went through a concentration camp.

    If God doesn't exist and Christianity is wrong, and if we take the naturalistic perspective as it's competing explanation, then objective moral values can't exist. Why? One could say that they have developped to insure social stability and well-being but that would still make them subjective. It would mean they don't really exist and that we are simply delusional, holding a false perspective of reality.

    Ok now, how can we know moral values objectively exist? Well, how can we know anything exists? It is true, the outside world could be just an illusion, depending on our background beliefs and worldview, and so could moral values but we intuitively know they're real. We trust our senses to tell us about the external world and we also trust our cousciousness to tell us that right and wrong really exist.

    The existence of objective moral values is a basic premise. That means that like the existence of chairs in the world, we assume they do; we take them for granted.

    One thing we recognize and take for granted is the intrinsic worth of a human being. But what gives a human being worth? Again, according to naturalism, how can this be true? It cannot.

    When we say "I have rights", what or rather who gives you those rights? Rights, to my knowledge, are rarely given by impersonal concepts such as "nature" and "the universe". So in that perspective, a person claiming ot be a moral relativist has to be ready to admit, when a wrong is commited, even a grave one like the holocaust, that it is acceptable, normal even. Indeed, if God does not exist, but only a cold, indifferent and impersonal universe exists, then what more is to be expected out of life?

    Nothing but death. For if we come from nothing, why expect a different destination?

    In contrast, when we are outraged by a wrong, it presupposes that things ought to be better... So either we're completely delusional or the world really oughts to be better and the things like evil, suffering and death ought not to exist. That is also why the argument from evil is actually an argument in favor of God's existence.

    "Oughting to, or oughting not to" implies a moral obligation to do or not do something. Moral facts, such as I ought not to be tortured for the sheer pleasure of a psychopath, aren't like normal facts, such as the earth is round; moral facts are prescriptive rather than descriptive. However, if we admit that moral facts are more than just mere opinion and as something that transcends us and bounds us all to them, then we must conclude that a prescription implies a prescriber.

    Sources I've used:

    http://www.shenvi.org/Essays/ObjectiveMoralValues.htm#IV

    http://www.reasonablefaith.org/transcript-moral-argument

    http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-new-atheism-and-five-arguments-for-god#ixzz43NachoCS

    http://powertochange.com/blogposts/2012/03/06/i-do-not-like-blue-covers-2/ (I took some stuff from an article from Michael Horner that I have in French version at home but did not find the complete version on the internet yet)

    http://www.existence-of-god.com/moral-argument.html
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2016
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  2. Moral Orel

    Moral Orel Proud Citizen of Moralton Supporter

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    Bit of a brief first post. Most people probably know what you mean by your terms, others still think they know what you mean by your terms, so you'll definitely want to define them first. Define: "Objective moral values".

    I assume you mean: "Values that everyone agrees on." Either every person knows that some value is bad, or every person knows that some value is good. One thing that people don't consider is that these "objective" values need to exist for every person throughout time, not just present day people. Otherwise the value becomes subjective to different people from different cultures from different time periods. If something is morally bad for everyone today to do, but it was morally good (or even neutral) for people to do a long time ago, then that is a subjective moral.

    I'll post more later, but some clarification would be a good start. For instance, some examples of objective moral values would be a good start, and then we can pick through them and see if there is a time or place or situation in which they are not morally wrong.
     
  3. Sapiens

    Sapiens Wisdom is of God

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    Excellent, I'll edit it when I have time.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2016
  4. Nihilist Virus

    Nihilist Virus Infectious idea

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    1. Why? Can you flesh out that connection please.

    2. Can you prove this?
     
  5. Davian

    Davian fallible

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    What is the testable criteria for #2?
     
  6. Sapiens

    Sapiens Wisdom is of God

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    1. How could they exist without God, according to you? I will say that moral values cannot exist objectively, in a sense, but rather subjectively. Allow me to explain my reasoning. When I say "objectively", here, I mean impersonally like 1+1=2 or the earth is round, which are objective truth which can exist and stay true without us. When I said "subjectively", I didn't mean relative but that moral values cannot exist without us; they require subjects. What I argue for, is that the existence of God is the best explanation of their existence. If God does not exist, then a human life holds no special value, objectively speaking, in that it isn't really different from a rock, for example, in terms of importance. For a human life to hold real value or for moral values to exist, they require an objective and yet subjective reference. I say that is God. So a godless and purely naturalistic universe could not explain this.

    2. I guess it might depend on what you would consider proof. It cannot be obtained using the scientific method because it requires personal judgment. Through the possible explanations and arguments, we'll see what the best is.
     
  7. Sapiens

    Sapiens Wisdom is of God

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    Does it have to tested to be true? What do you mean by "tested"?

    How about personal experience?
     
  8. Davian

    Davian fallible

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    No.
    A means of independently evaluating something, in a manner that should result in consistent conclusions.

    Does the Earth rotate and orbit the Sun? How do we objectively test that?
    Somewhat unreliable. Personal experience tells us that the Earth hangs in space while the cosmos rotates around it.

     
  9. Davian

    Davian fallible

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    Define "morality". In the manner I use the word, there is no need for gods, it simply describes how social critters (humans, for example) get along in society, based on a varying mix of reason, compassion, empathy, and relative human wellness, the Silver Rule, and the social contract.

    What do you mean by that word?
    Why was it wrong, from a theistic perspective? As I saw in a recent exchange on the "problem of evil", maybe "God" had a reason for allowing it to happen (other than not existing).
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2016
  10. Murby

    Murby Well-Known Member

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    In the computer software industry, there's a saying "Garbage in, Garbage out".
    It means if you put in faulty data, you're going to get faulty results.

    Moral values are based on your circumstances and circumstances are based on evolution and science.

    You have 4 people on a spaceship but only enough oxygen for 3 people to reach your destination where your job is to save the lives of millions with a cure for a disease you're bringing.

    The 4th person is terminally ill and will certainly die within a week after reaching the destination even if there was enough oxygen for all four to get there, but there's only enough oxygen for three.

    Do you toss the fourth person out the air lock? Or do you allow them to live knowing you won't make it to the destination and others will also die?

    The green line in my signature is always true and always has been. A persons beliefs would not change it.
     
  11. Eight Foot Manchild

    Eight Foot Manchild His Supreme Holy Correctfulness

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    I happen to think it's among the absolute worst. But then, the 'best' argument in apologetics is rather like the fastest sloth at the zoo.

    There are numerous flaws with this type of moral philosophy. Chief among them is the fact that it is an epistemological deadzone. You have no means of discerning what Yahweh's 'objective moral values' are. That is granting you his existence, and the existence of those values - you are still no closer to apprehending any 'objective morality'.

    What's more, it falls to the Euthypro dilemma, as all theistic moral arguments do.
     
  12. Cuddles333

    Cuddles333 Well-Known Member

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    For years Apologists have used the 'holocaust' as an example of modern day wrongdoing. We cannot use this example any more:

    http://lovkap.blogspot.com/2011/05/why-hitler-hated-jews.html



    The Euthypro argument fails miserably because goodness is God's nature.
     
  13. Davian

    Davian fallible

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    Indeed.
    lol.
     
  14. Eight Foot Manchild

    Eight Foot Manchild His Supreme Holy Correctfulness

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    Oh great. Holocaust denial. How quaint.

    Get a crayon and draw me some history, why don't you.

    Yeah, no. That does nothing whatsoever to avoid the dilemma. All it does is reorder it by switching a few words around.

    Is Yahweh's nature good because it's his, or is it his because it's good?

    Which horn would you care to impale yourself on today?
     
  15. Moral Orel

    Moral Orel Proud Citizen of Moralton Supporter

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    Best? Worst? I guess this argument is subjective! Ba-zing!

    But I like it the best because it's the most fun. There are a lot of different angles you can take it from which makes it a lot more entertaining than, "Well I'm not using the word 'for' the same way you are...".
     
  16. Moral Orel

    Moral Orel Proud Citizen of Moralton Supporter

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    What is unique about Hitler's holocaust that makes it objectively bad? Jews were enslaved in concentration camps, but the Jews of the Old Testament enslaved people that they bought and conquered as well. Jews were exterminated in massive quantities to attempt to wipe their race of the face of the Earth, but the Jews of the Old Testament did this to the Amalekites as well.

    The Holocaust was a terrible thing that happened, but the objective morals that were broken (i.e. no slavery, no genocide) are condoned and commanded by God in the Old Testament, so these things cannot be objective morals because they are okay for some people some of the time, according to The Bible. I disagree with The Bible, and I consider them wrong all of the time for everyone, but as a Jew or Christian, you cannot claim that God ordered people to do something evil, so these things must be, in the opinion of those that believe The Bible to be our main source of morality, morally neutral at best.
     
  17. DogmaHunter

    DogmaHunter Code Monkey

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    Please demonstrate premise 1.
     
  18. DogmaHunter

    DogmaHunter Code Monkey

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    That's an argument from ignorance.
    Please try to support your own claims / premises with actual positive evidence FOR your claims / premises.

    Explain how objective morality can only exist when a God also exists.

    But isn't that exactly the case?
    Human morality seems pretty much connected to human existance...
    No humans = no human morality.


    Why?

    Why is that a problem?
    This smells like emotional pleading.

    Why?
    Why can't it just be subjective - ie, in the minds of humans and in the context of a human society?

    Why must it be objective?


    Yes, you have claimed that multiple times now.

    You failed to show that there is anything there to explain in the first place...
    All you seem to have is an emotional plea for being "special" on a cosmic scale.

    A conclusion in an argument is only as good as its premises.
    If a premise cannot be demonstrated or supported, it is rather worthless / meaningless.

    So....

    We have premise 1, which seems to be nothing but an emotional plea to feel special combined with a seemingly random claim to pull your god in there as well (feels like an assumed conclusion).

    Then we have premise 2, which you yourself say that it cannot be demonstrated or supported.

    From the looks of it, your conclusion isn't very meaningfull.
     
  19. Cuddles333

    Cuddles333 Well-Known Member

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    For years Apologists have used the 'holocaust' as an example of modern day wrongdoing. We cannot use this example any more:

    http://lovkap.blogspot.com/2011/05/why-hitler-hated-jews.html


    I am impaled on no horn. Goodness is not 'His'/ goodness IS God. Love itself is God.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 8, 2016
  20. Eight Foot Manchild

    Eight Foot Manchild His Supreme Holy Correctfulness

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    Oh, I see. You're not a holocaust denier, like the jabbering moron whose blog you linked to, you just think the Jews deserved it.

    That's a lateral move, not an improvement.

    We have a word for goodness already. It's called 'goodness'.

    So you've avoided the dilemma by rendering Yahweh completely redundant and meaningless. We can just call 'goodness' what it is, and leave vacuous non-concepts like Yahweh entirely out of the equation.
     
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