Welcome back! Having discussed the cosmological and design arguments, Natasha Crain, author of Keeping Your Kids on God's Side, rounds out the first chapter of her book with the moral argument. Now, I have to admit that this was an extremely compelling argument for me as a Christian. I mean, how could you make a judgement on right or wrong if you denied God, the provider of objective moral standards, right? So, let's jump right in. Natasha offers this definition. "The moral argument states that (1) objective moral standards exist outside of personal opinion, and (2) the best explanation for the existence of those standards is the existence of a moral law giver (such as God)." Oh, boy. I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record here, but show me the evidence, please!
First of all, I'm not at all convinced that objective moral standards exist. Can this be demonstrated? To the contrary, history has surely demonstrated the evolution and improvement of our moral standards as our reality has changed. Natasha states that "we all have a moral intuition that tells us that certain things are wrong regardless of opinion - for example, torturing someone for fun." While this may be a widely held view, that does not make it an objective truth, much less one best explained as having been given to us by God.
Addressing the potential objections to moral objectivity, Natasha compares the cultural variances regarding right and wrong ideas to the specific number of marbles in a jar. Despite the fact that answers may vary on the number of marbles, a correct number exists. Similarly, objective moral standards exist regardless of cultural ideas of right and wrong. Seriously, marbles vs. cultural mores? I'll have to call a false equivalence on that one. The two are completely unrelated.
Next, she presents a second possible objection, that "morals are just a matter of personal opinion." Here, she shares that if a car is stolen from a person who professes that morals are subjective, that person will still be offended if you stole his or her car. Actually, if my car was stolen in order to take an injured child to the hospital, then I would be thankful for that situation. The point is, we live in a complex, multicultural society with extremely difficult social issues. A multitude of factors have to be taken into account when making a moral judgement - environment, intentions, motivations, and potential consequences, just to name a few. It's just not quite as easy as deciding whether or not to torture someone for fun.
In her second premise, Natasha notes that moral "laws imply a law giver." Again, can this be demonstrated? Is it not possible that our morals are a result of our evolutionary programming, along with our social and cultural influences? Conceding to this argument only leads to further questions. Which god? Of course, there is no question that Natasha has chosen (just as I had) the one true god, the Christian god. I can't help but wonder, however, how she can be so certain that her god is trustworthy to provide objective moral standards. Scripture tells us that God is not above sending a lying spirit to deceive others. In fact, the New Testament tells us that God sent a strong delusion, so that they might believe false things. Looks like God threw his objective morals straight out the window. Of course, he can do that because he's God. Oh, and don't worry non-Christians. You can still "exhibit good behavior" without believing in God, thanks to your God-given moral compass. Umm, no thanks. I'll take whatever these monkeys have.