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The Moral Argument

"...I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts..." - Hebrews 8:10

The moral argument is a logical argument that goes something like this:

  1. If objective morality exists, then God must exist.
  2. Objective morality exists.
  3. Therefore, God exists.
I love the moral argument for its simplicity and ease of use in conversation.  Intuitively, we all agree, atheists and theists alike, that there is such a thing as objective morality.  However, some atheists do try to deny it for the sake of argument despite the fact that they secretly live by it.  Their attempts to argue it usually miss the point by circumventing it.

A common rebuttal goes something like this: "You're saying that atheists cannot be moral and I personally know some atheists that live to a higher moral standard than even some theists I know."  The problem with this argument is its completely misdirected basis.  First, the moral argument makes no assertion about one's ability to live morally.  Rather, it's discussing objective morality.  Of course, an atheist can live morally.  They have the same objective morality standard that theists have.  The issue is not whether atheists can be moral, but rather that they have no standard to which to attribute the morality they live by.

They'll claim subjective morality.  They claim that some action is either right or wrong because they or society or both deem it either right or wrong.  Subjective morality is subject to either personal or popular opinion.  But, subjective morality is not a standard at all.  It's a moving target.

So, what is objective morality?  It's a standard or a basis of right and wrong independent of our opinions or beliefs.  Undeniably, we all carry objective moral beliefs. For example, strangling babies is always wrong.  It just is.  No one will argue against that.  But where does this morality come from?  Surely, it has a source.  Why do we feel bad when doing wrong?  What internal force restrains us from the carnal survival instinct by which evolution theory suggests we should be driven?  Why do we inherently know right from wrong?  Where does our conscious originate?

Bible-believing Christians have an explanation for all objective morality.  We believe Hebrews 8:10 and know that God has written his laws on our hearts and in our minds.  We know right and wrong from the start.  Any parent can attest to that.  Objective morality is not a learned thing, but rather it is ingrained in each of us.  (We don't teach our children morality, we appeal to the objective morality they already possess to shape their behavior patterns.)  Objective morality is a code that is there whether we choose to live by it or not.  Atheists have no satisfactory logical explanation for objective morality.  And, certainly, evolution and natural selection don't offer up any suggestions.

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