My heart sank as I watched Diane Sawyer interview Jaycee Dugard. America learned how this young girl was kidnapped at age 11 by Phillip Gorrido, a sex offender, and held against her will for 18 years. She was sexually abused and tortured. The question Diane Sawyer and all of America wanted to know was how could someone do such a horrendous act to an innocent young girl?
Great Question!! This brings out even deeper questions!
Are certain things really right? Are certain things really wrong? Do objective moral values exist? Do we have a moral duty to our fellow man? Do human beings possess equal rights? I argue that God is the best explanation, for objective moral values, duties and human rights. Let’s define some terms. I need to distinguish between values and duties. A moral value has to do with something’s worth, whether it is good or bad, whereas a duty has to do with a moral obligation, what you ought or ought not to do. By objective I mean something is right or wrong, good or bad regardless of someone’s opinion about it. For example: If Hitler had won WWII and somehow convinced everyone who disagreed with him it was right, it still would have been wrong.
1. God is the best explanation for objective moral values – We know things in different ways. Some things we know through our 5 senses. We can see, touch, hear, taste and smell. We trust the information to be accurate. We also know things through pure reason, we draw inferences based on cause and effect and by using the laws of logic, for example we know that there are no square circles. But other truths we know by immediate awareness and introspection. Philosophers call this “knowledge by intuition.” Intuitions are the way we start knowing everything. By intuition I mean that the truth of the proposition is immediately evident, further analysis is not possible, nor is further justification needed. I argue that, just as we have physical faculties that give us correct info about the physical realm, we possess a moral intuition that gives us correct information about the meta-physical realm. Such as Jaycee Dugard’s story. We don’t have to think about it. We know these acts in an intuitive manner, they are self-evident. Our moral intuition informs our moral language. We use words like “justice” “fairness” “respect” “immoral” etc and we think we are using them correctly when applied to the situation we wish to convey. We naturally “see” something that we use words to describe. We see moral truths. Each of these concepts depends on some objective moral standard for its intelligibility. That standard is the nature of God.
2. God is the best explanation for objective moral duties – Moral duties imply some type of obligation to our fellow man, an oughtness, if you will. Such as, “You ought not kidnap an 11 year old girl, and torture her for 18 years.” You ought to treat those who disagree with you with dignity and respect. This oughtness seems to have imperative force behind it which is better explained by having a commander. The late C.S. Lewis in his book Mere Christianity writes,
“Supposing you hear a cry for help from a man in danger. You will probably feel two desires—one a desire to give help (due to your herd instinct), the other a desire to keep out of danger (due to the instinct for self-preservation). But you will find inside you, in addition to these two impulses, a third thing which tells you that you ought to follow the impulse to help, and suppress the impulse to run away. Now this thing that judges between two instincts, that decides which should be encouraged, cannot itself be either of them….If two instincts are in conflict, and there is nothing in a creature’s mind except those two instincts, obviously the stronger of the two must win. But at those moments when we are most conscious of the Moral Law, it usually seems to be telling us to side with the weaker of the two impulses. You probably want to be safe much more than you want to help the man who is [in danger] but the Moral Law tells you to help him all the same.”p.9-10
Naturalism is powerless to explain this “oughtness.”
3. God is the best explanation for human rights – Do human beings have equal rights? If so, what is it based on? It cannot be anything physical, because there is nothing physical that we all share equally There are tall people, short people, fat people, skinny people, dumb people, smart people, socially useful people and the socially useless. So, maybe there is something that is non-physical that we share that gives the basis for human rights. I think there is. It is the image of God. If God exists, then he has created them in his image, which means, we reflect certain characteristics of God. God has a mind, will, emotions and is capable of relationships. We have a mind, will, emotions and are capable of relationships. Therefore, the image of God provides a sound basis for human rights. If there is no God, then it will be difficult to argue that humans ought to treat each other with dignity and respect. Biologist Richard Dawkins, who is an atheist, sees the logical conclusion to this view. Listen to what he says in his book, Out of Eden And I quote
“In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, and other people are going to get lucky; and you won’t find any rhyme or reason to it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is at the bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good. Nothing but blind pitiless indifference. DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is, and we dance to its music.”
– Richard Dawkins, Out of Eden, page 133.
Richard Dawkins has it right……If there is no God.
We can sum up our argument as follows:
1) If God does not exist, then objective moral values, duties and human rights do not exist.
2) But objective moral values, duties and human rights DO exist
3) Therefore, God exists.