See below for outline of the class "Master and Commander: The Moral Argument for the Existence of God" by Dan Conder from the 2010 ICEC.

Master and Commander:  The Moral Argument for the Existence of God

Romans 1:18-2:16 (see also Genesis 1-3)

"You don’t have to believe in God to be moral."

In principle, every human being believes in God and is inherently religious (Romans 1:18-23)

"You don’t have to be religious to be good."

Is any human being truly "good" according to God’s perfect standard of holiness? (Matthew 19:17, Leviticus 19:2)

"You don’t need organized religion (the Ten Commandments, the Bible, church, Sunday school, etc.) to be a good person."

We are moral persons created in the image of a moral personal God, so we have an innate, instinctive moral faculty that precedes our personal exposure to organized religion (the Bible, etc.) according to Genesis 1-3 and Romans 1-3.

The Moral Argument for the Existence of God (as used by Dr. William Lane Craig):

Major Premise:  If God does not exist, then objective moral principles do not exist.

Minor Premise:  Objective moral principles do exist.

Conclusion:  Therefore, God exists.

Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli point out that "objective" does not necessarily mean "known by all" or "believed by all" or "publicly proved."

Objective moral principles are discovered by humans, not invented by them

The truth of some objective moral principles is self-evident

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).

Moral objectivism involves belief that:

a) moral principles are objectively true

b) moral principles are ontologically real

b) moral principles are universalizable (binding in all similar relevant cases)

Dr. J.P. Moreland notes that the biblical worldview accounts for:

1) the existence of objective moral principles

2)  knowledge of objective moral principles

3)  free will

4)  universal equal human rights

5)  answers the question "why should I be moral?"

Major Premise:  If God does not exist, then objective moral principles do not exist.

"The modern age, more or less repudiating the idea of a divine lawgiver, has nevertheless tried to retain the ideas of moral right and wrong, not noticing that, in casting God aside, they have also abolished the conditions of meaningfulness for moral right and wrong as well.  Thus, even educated persons sometimes declare that such things as war, or abortion, or the violation of certain human rights, are ‘morally wrong,’ and they imagine that they have said something true and significant.  Educated people do not need to be told, however, that questions such as these have never been answered outside of religion…Contemporary writers in ethics, who blithely discourse upon moral right and wrong and moral obligation without any reference to religion, are really just weaving intellectual webs from thin air; which amounts to saying that they discourse without meaning." – American atheist philosopher Richard Taylor

"There is no God; therefore no absolute values and no absolute laws." – British philosopher of religion John Hick

"Moral action is the meeting place between the human and the Divine." – Leon Roth

Minor Premise:  Objective moral principles do exist.

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?

"My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?" – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity , chapter 6.

Conclusion:  Therefore, God exists.

Which Worldview Best Accounts for Morality?

C.S. Lewis’ Three Levels of Morality (from Mere Christianity)

Virtue ethics:  matters of personal morality

Social ethics:  matters of public morality

Normative ethics:  matters of transcendent morality

The Three Levels of  Morality in the Atheist Worldview:

"I Say":  ethical egoism in matters of personal morality

"There is in reality no absolute standard by which we judge…. In the final analysis our guide in moral affairs should be that which gives to the individual the greatest possible happiness." – Joseph Lewis (1926)

Pilot Chesley Burnett "Sully" Sullenberger III (1951-) saved 155 people by safely landing US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River on January 15, 2009.

Serial killer Theodore Robert "Ted" Bundy (1946-1989) murdered between 26-100 people between 1973 and 1978.

If personal happiness is the ultimate guide in moral affairs, is there any difference between these two?

"Society Says":  conventionalism / legal positivism in matters of public morality

Atheist philosopher Louis Pojman describes this view:  "Truth is with the crowd and error with the individual."

Nazi war criminals at the Nuremburg Trials claimed they were just following orders.  If Society determines our morality, who are we to tell the Nazis they were wrong?

No normative ethics:  matters of transcendent morality

"There is no moral interpreter in the cosmos, nothing cares and nobody cares…what happens to me or a piece of broccoli, it won’t [matter]. The Sun is going to explode, we’re all gonna be gone. No one’s gonna care." – atheist debater Dan Barker

The Three Levels of Morality in the Christian Worldview

Normative ethics:  matters of transcendent morality:  "YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND" (Matthew 22:34-40)

Social ethics:  matters of public morality:  "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF" (Matthew 22:34-40)

Virtue ethics:  matters of personal morality:  "YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I THE LORD YOUR GOD AM HOLY" (Leviticus 19:2)


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