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Jack Wellman December 6, 2012 at 10:56 am

Superb work as always Robert. Truly the Romans 2 and the Ten Commandments references are spot on. Yesterday, I heard J. Vernon McGee on one of his Sunday sermons say that a missionary was in their village. They had no remorse about eating (cannibalizing strangers) but this same tribe that had no problems with this did not believe in stealing and the missionary said he could leave his wallet out and food overnight in the middle of the village square and not one person would touch it. They inherently knew that stealing was wrong even though they have never heard about the Ten Commandments.

One of my favorite authors is C.S. Lewis and your article reminds me of his “Moral Argument” for the existence of God which is as follows:

1. If God does not exist, objective moral values & duties do not exist.

2.) Objective moral values & duties do exist.

3.) Therefore, God exists.

Now this is a logical reason, since 3 follows necessarily if premises 1 and 2 are true. Premise 2 seems intuitively obvious to most people. Mass murdering is unequivocally, objectively wrong. Killing innocent children, torturing animals are all objectively wrong to most people. This is a universal moral. These morals exist universally, worldwide. So if anyone denies premise 2, they don’t need an argument, they need help.

Robert December 6, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Thank you Jack,
As I look around at our society, I am repeatedly thankful that morals are not decided by us. Humanity has a way of perverting everything God meant to be good. However, no matter how much freedom we think we have, we will all answer to a Holy God. We will each give an account of our lives and why we lived them as we did. God bless you brother.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

Josh December 6, 2012 at 6:34 pm

Robert,

I have found myself looking forward to this series of articles for arguments for God that you have been doing. I am learning so much!

In Christ,

Josh

Robert December 10, 2012 at 7:21 am

Josh,
You are too kind. I just pray that I’m saying what God wants me to say. That is my desire. God bless you.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

Patti December 10, 2012 at 4:14 am

What a great article. We all need to think about our morals and how we should be living.

Robert December 10, 2012 at 7:22 am

Patti,
The world would be a much better place, wouldn’t it.
Yours in Christ,
Your husband, Robert

Craig October 19, 2016 at 9:48 am

Hi Robert. I have few thoughts on this article.

First, I’d like to point out that most Christians are de facto Divine Command Theorists. That is to say, Christians define morally good and bad behaviors in terms of their alignment and misalignment with Yahweh’s commands. This definition can inform objective moral *statements*, such as “it’s morally wrong to steal”, as all that statement is saying is that it’s *objectively the case* that stealing is against Yahweh’s commands.

It’s important to recognize, however, that defining morality in terms of the Christian god’s commands, is a *subjective* definition of morality. That is to say, you could just as easily use a different set of criteria to assign the label “morally good” or “morally bad” to actions or behaviors.

I desperately want to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you’re aware that there are other definitions of morality. In fact, there’s an entire branch of philosophy that has been studying these for thousands of years.

An ethical theory usually associated with the Secular Humanist worldview – Utilitarianism, is just as subjective as Divine Command Theory (though arguably not as arbitrary), and can create objective moral statements just as effectively. Under Utilitarianism an action or behavior is morally “good” insofar as it serves to maximize human wellbeing and flourishing, decrease unnecessary suffering, or does both; and is morally “wrong” insofar as it maximizes unnecessary suffering, decreases human wellbeing and flourishing, or does both; and morally neutral to the extent that it does none of these things.

This subjective definition of morality is just as capable as Divine Command Theory at informing objective moral statements. For instance, under DCT, saying that “torturing a baby for fun is morally wrong” is an objective statement, because it’s objectively the case that torturing a baby for fun is, (let’s assume) against Yahweh’s commands. And likewise, under Utilitarianism, saying that “torturing a baby for fun is morally wrong” is also an objective moral statement, because it’s *objectively the case* that torturing a baby for fun causes unnecessary suffering.

The word “relative” has no place in discussions on morality. All we need to recognize is that moral definitions are *subjective*, as all definitions are; but once we’re operating off a particular subjective definition, then we can inform *objective* moral statements. And ethical theories stemming from a Christian worldview aren’t necessarily more or less capable of this than ethical theories stemming from a secular worldview.

Finally, to address the idea that Yahweh has “written the moral law onto our hearts”. Christians have suggested that our “moral intuitions” are best explained by positing the existence of the Christian god, but that’s a woefully poor explanation for our behavior preferences, especially given the far superior naturalistic explanations available today. For instance, given that certain individuals haven’t had a traumatic upbringing, and have all their basic survival needs met, and aren’t clinical psychopaths, and otherwise have no outstanding reasons for acting violently or antisocially, then they can reasonably be expected to act altruistically and cooperatively, but this behavior, like all human behavior, has more than adequately been explained by considering how we’ve developed in highly social, tribal units for hundreds of thousands of years, and thus have developed an array of unique proclivities regarding behavior with members of our own species, just like other primates.

This idea that the best way to explain social preferences (which already have overwhelmingly more suitable naturalistic explanations), by positing an immaterial, unembodied minds that telepathically projects certain behavioral intuitions (which conflict with many of this deity’s explicit commands in the bible) on a particular species of primates, is almost as absurd as it is an inferior explanation.

Thank you for taking the time to read and consider this.

-Craig





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