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Morality Proves that God Exists


The moral argument appeals to the existence of moral laws as evidence of

Godís existence. According to this argument, there couldnít be such a thing

as morality without God; to use the words that Sartre attributed to

Dostoyevsky, ďIf there is no God, then everything is permissible.Ē That

there are moral laws, then, that not everything is impermissible, proves

that God exists.


Most facts are facts about the way that the world is. It is a fact that cats

eat mice because there are lots of animals out there, cats, and lots of them

eat mice. It is a fact that Paris is the capital of France because there

exists a city called Paris that is the capital of France. For most facts,

there are objects in the world that make them true.


Morality Consists of a Set of Commands


Moral facts arenít like that. The fact that we ought to do something about

the problem of famine isnít a fact about the way that the world is, itís a

fact about the way that the world ought to be. There is nothing out there in

the physical world that makes moral facts true. This is because moral facts

arenít descriptive, theyíre prescriptive; moral facts have the form of



Commands Imply a Commander


There are some things that canít exist unless something else exists along

with them. There canít be something that is being carried unless there is

something else that is carrying it. There canít be something that is popular

unless there are lots of people that like it. Commands are like this;

commands canít exist without something else existing that commanded them.

The moral argument seeks to exploit this fact; If moral facts are a kind a

command, the moral argument asks, then who commanded morality? To answer

this question, the moral argument suggests that we look at the importance of



Morality is Ultimately Authoritative


Morality is of over-riding importance. If someone morally ought to do

something, then this over-rules any other consideration that might come into



It might be in my best interests not to give any money to charity, but

morally I ought to, so all things considered I ought to.

It might be in my best interests to pretend that Iím too busy to see my

in-laws on Wednesday so that I can watch the game, but morally I ought not,

so all things considered I ought not.


If someone has one reason to do one thing, but morally ought to do another

thing, then all things considered they ought to do the other thing. Morality

over-rules everything. Morality has ultimate authority.


Ultimately Authoritative Commands Imply an Ultimately Authoritative



Commands, though, are only as authoritative as the person that commands



If I were to command everyone to pay extra tax so that we could spend more

money on the police force, then no one would have to do so. I just donít

have the authority to issue that command.


If the President were to command everyone to pay extra tax so that we could

spend more money on the police force, though, then that would be different,

because he does have that authority.


As morality has more authority than any human person or institution, the

moral argument suggests, morality canít have been commanded by any human

person or institution. As morality has ultimate authority, as morality

over-rules everything, morality must have been commanded by someone who has

authority over everything. The existence of morality thus points us to a

being that is greater than any of us and that rules over all creation.


What the Moral Argument Proves


If the moral argument can be defended against the various objections that

have been raised against it, then it proves the existence of an author of

morality, of a being that has authority over and that actively rules over

all creation. Together with the ontological argument, the first cause

argument, and the argument from design, this would give us proof that there

is a perfect, necessary, and eternal being that created the universe with

life in mind and has the authority to tell us how we are to run it. The

correct response to this would be to seek Godís will and to practice it.

This, according to Christianity, is what life is all about.


Objections to the Moral Argument


The moral argument takes the existence of objective moral facts to be

evidence for the existence of God. Morality consists of a set of commands,

and there must therefore be someone who issued those commands. Further,

moral considerations always outweigh non-moral considerations, and whoever

commanded morality must therefore have authority over everything else.


Moral Scepticism Argument


One response to the moral argument is the sceptical objection, the denial

that there is any such thing as morality.


It might be suggested that morality is a tool invented by the powerful and

inculcated into the masses in order to keep them in control, that there are

no real limits on what we can and cannot do, but that it is in the interests

of those who run society for us to think that there are.


However it is put, this objection holds that the theist cannot argue from

moral truths to God, because there are no moral truths from which to argue.




I have no idea what to say to people who think along these lines. I find

this view incomprehensible. I strongly suspect that most people who say

these kinds of things know better; that what they deny with their lips they

know in their hearts to be true.


Some acts are wrong; few things are more obvious than this. The existence of

morality is most obvious when we suffer by its being violated. When we are

wronged, we quickly feel the moral imbalance.


Those who cannot see this, who genuinely lack a sense of morality, are

usually taken to suffer from a psychological disorder; they are called

sociopaths. I confess that I do not know how to persuade such people that

the world is not morally void.


Evolutionary Ethics - Argument


A more comprehensible attempt to refute the moral argument suggests that a

naturalistic explanation of morality can be given by evolution theory.

Given a world in which the resources necessary to support life are scarce

and danger is all around us, people will have to compete to survive. Those

that compete well will survive and reproduce more people like them; those

that compete poorly will disappear. Groups of people that cooperate are more likely to survive and reproduce than are groups of people that do not. Natural selection, then, will favour those forms of behaviour that we call moral, because they have survival value. Over time, this process will lead to a moral instinct in human beings, a natural propensity to act well.




However, plausible this explanation may be for some elements of morality,

there are other elements of morality that cannot be explained in this way like Altruism for example.


Even the foremost advocate of evolution theory, Richard Dawkins, recognises

this. In The Selfish Gene, he writes:


ďMy own feeling is that a human society based simply on the geneís law of

universal ruthless selfishness would be a very nasty society in which to

live. But unfortunately, however much we may deplore something, it does not

stop it being true... Be warned that if you wish, as I do, to build a

society in which individuals cooperate generously and unselfishly towards a

common good, you can expect little help from biological nature. Let us try

to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish.Ē [Richard

Dawkins, The Selfish Gene, Oxford University Press (1989), p3]

What is more, even if it were possible to explain our moral instincts using

evolution, this would not explain morality so much as explain those

instincts away.


We tend to believe that we are subject to moral obligations, that we ought

to act in certain ways. An evolutionary explanation of those beliefs would

entirely undermine them; it would tell us why we have those beliefs but it

would give us no reason to think that they are true.

In fact, it would do the opposite; it would explain why we have those

beliefs even though there is no such thing as morality. The evolutionary

objection to the moral argument is the sceptical objection in a different



If we believe that there really are moral principles that bind us and other

people, then this appeal to evolution will not satisfy us. And behind the moral principles, there is a principle-maker, who is God. (By an unknown author)