Wednesday, November 02, 2016

An Argument for God's Existence Based on Morality

In philosopher Stephen T. Davis's new book Rational Faith, he offers an argument for God's existence based on morality.  He calls it "the genocide 1 argument for the existence of God."  He writes:

"We can define genocide as the crime of intentionally destroying or trying to destroy an entire group of people, usually a racial, ethic, national or religious group.  My argument presupposes moral objectivism-that is, the theory that certain things are morally right (things like compassion, truth telling and promise keeping) and that certain other things (things like lying, cruelty and murder) are morally wrong.  It also assumes that genocide is one of the things that is morally wrong."2

The argument is as follows:

1. Genocide is a departure from the way that things ought to be.

2. If genocide is a departure from the way that things ought to be, then there is a way that things ought to be.

3. If there is a way that things ought to be, then there is a design plan for things.

4. If there is a design plan for things, then there is an author of the plan, a designer.

5. This designer we can call God.3

Davis goes on to explain:

"A full design plan would simply be a list of all those things that are morally right, that constitute the way that things ought to be, and a list of all the things that ought not to be.

Obviously, the genocide argument does not prove that God has all the properties that we Christians think God has.  It does not prove that God is omniscient or omnipotent or a Trinity, for example.  Still, there can be no such thing as an authorless design plan, a plan for how things ought to be that follows merely from how things are.

Science is our word for the discovery of how the world is.  But nothing science can discover about how the world is tells us anything about how it ought to be.  Accordingly, the designer must be a sentient being.  That sentient being is obviously not anyone who is reading this...or indeed any human being, so it is surely God."4

So, what do you think of the argument?  Please feel free to share in the comments!

You can get your copy of Davis's book here.  Keep watching the blog for our forthcoming review!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnotes:
1. For those who claim that God commanded genocide in the Bible, see here.
2. Stephen T. Davis, Rational Faith, p. 25-26.
3. Ibid., 26.
4. Ibid.

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1 comment:

Stanley Pricener said...

"There can be no such thing as an authorless design plan, a plan for how things ought to be that follows merely from how things are." That is a beautifully succinct way to put it. I am teaching a class on the teleological and moral arguments at my church on Sunday, and I will be using that (attributing it to you, of course). Thank you!