How does one conclude that morality exists and is given directly by the
Christian God? I am a Christian, and have been raised in a very
conservative Christian home, but I’m afraid I’m growing weaker all the
time. It’s getting especially harder for me to understand the whole
morality issue. It seems that many if not most Christians use the
existence of morality as an evidence for God. They say that a system of
right and wrong, an unwritten law if you will, is inherent in the human
mind. Some say that to deny that certain acts (murder, for instance) are
“wrong,” whether or not you’re a Christian, is insanity. I truly have
begun to question the entire existence of morality, though, and I’d like
to think I’m not insane for doing so. How do you provide evidence to
someone that does or doesn’t believe in God (and if they do believe in
God, not necessarily in the Christian God) that “morality” is not
necessarily a cultural phenomenon that humans have invented to protect
that which they deem beneficial (physical, mental, or otherwise)? Or that
morality isn’t something else (the cultural thing is just one explanation
I’ve heard)? I realize this can lead to other questions such as whether or
not God exists, cares about us, and/or gave us morals, but the main thing
that bothers me is this philosophy that certain things are unquestionably
right or wrong, no matter what, and that one is crazy for even thinking
otherwise. Where do they get that? I can honestly say that (as far as I
can tell) my mind doesn’t operate in a way that automatically labels right
and wrong without someone/something to tell me so. Now I’m looking for
evidence to support that Someone that I’ve (for some reason) never
questioned until recently. How does one get so sure that when God created
us and cared enough to give us a set of do’s and don?ts? Finally, I’m not
a moral relativist, so I have no problems there. As far as I can see,
truth is truth and two opposing philosophies can’t be true at the same
time. I’m just terribly frustrated from wanting to know the truth about
and evidence for the existence (if any) and nature of morality. I would
like for there to be morals, but I no longer see an unshakeable reason for
them to exist. Sorry this was so long…. I just tried to explain my
situation the best that I could. I hope it makes some sense the way I put


You say you are not a moral relativist (good! This view self-destructs
under scrutiny, so it?s good that you?ve seen through it already). What
you may not realize is that this makes you a moral realist by default.
There are really no other options available?either there are at least some
self-evident moral truths (a view called moral realism or moral
objectivism) or all moral rules are relative to the individual or the
society in question (both forms of moral relativism).

Morality, like language, is a vital part of every human society that has
ever existed. But while we might expect each society to generate its own
unique language and its own unique moral code, instead we find general
agreement cross-culturally on basic moral truths. Honoring those worthy
of honor is right everywhere; killing an innocent human being is wrong
everywhere. Each society also consistently fails to live up to these
rights and wrongs–guilt and shame and crime and punishment are universal
as well. So where does this universal objective morality come from?

Objective morality is at home in the Christian world-and-life view.
According to the Bible (Romans 1-3), the Supreme Being is the Transcendent
Creator and Immanent Sustainer of both the objective natural order and the
objective moral order. As rational moral agents created in His image, we
can discover truth in both realms. With our five senses, supplemented by
mathematics and scientific research, we can piece together descriptive
rules of mechanical action that operate in the natural order. We call
these “the laws of nature.” With our moral sense, or conscience,
supplemented by moral reflection and divine revelation, we can piece
together prescriptive rules for personal action that operate in the moral
order. We call these “the laws of morality.” There is more for us to
explore; our knowledge of the moral realm is incomplete, just as our
knowledge of the physical realm is incomplete. But it would be wrong to
conclude that incomplete knowledge of reality means that we have no
knowledge of reality, or that the reality itself does not exist.

Objective morality does not fit as comfortably with other worldviews.
While Buddhism and secular atheism claim lofty moral codes, both lack a
holy and righteous Creator as the source, exemplar and enforcer of these
codes. Taoism has the harmonious Tao (or “Way”) but the Tao, like karma,
is an invisible, impersonal force?it is not a person who can sit as a
judge over other persons or serve as a personal moral example for them.
Hinduism ultimately sees the concepts of good and evil simply as illusions
to be penetrated. In view of such deficiencies, the moral argument for
the existence of the biblical God is a persuasive one. It has been argued
with a simple eloquence by former atheist C.S. Lewis in his classic book
Mere Christianity, although perhaps the Christians you?ve heard glibly
take the conclusion of the argument for granted haven?t really grappled
with the issue as earnestly as you and Lewis have.

But what if these universal moral laws simply exist independently, apart
from any God, like the atheist believes the laws of nature do?
Hypothetically, even if God were not the ultimate fount of moral
absolutes, Christian philosopher Richard Swinburne argues that the
existence of the Christian God contributes to the awareness and the
seriousness of moral principles. Through His Spirit and His Word, God can
command His creatures in order to fill in gaps in our moral knowledge and
give us guidance in grey areas. As the Sovereign Creator, God has every
right to demand righteousness from His creatures. As the Holy and
Righteous Judge, God can reward and punish His creatures accordingly. As
the Good and Holy One, God can exemplify the virtues He commands, even to
the point of living a righteous life among His creatures as a human
being. As a Just and Loving Father, God can painfully sacrifice this
human life of His Son to show both the depth of His love and the severity
of His justice. So even in the unlikely event that somehow things like
gravity and morality are “just there” without the Christian God, God
offers a depth of insight into objective morality, as well as a real moral
weight, that is absent from any other worldview.

Dan Conder,

Los Angeles, CA

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