C. S. Lewis and the Moral Argument for the Existence of God

C.S. Lewis, a former atheist, plainly says, ‘If the solar system was brought about by an accidental collision, then the appearance of organic life on this planet was also an accident, and the whole evolution of Man was an accident too. If so, then all our present thoughts are mere accidents—the accidental by-product of the movement of atoms. And this holds for the thoughts of the materialists and astronomers as well as for anyone else’s. But if their thoughts—i.e. of materialism and astronomy—are merely accidental by-products, why should we believe them to be true? I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give me a correct account of all the other accidents. It’s like expecting that the accidental shape taken by the splash when you upset a milk jug should give you a correct account of how the jug was made and why it was upset.’

The “Moral Argument”

  1. If God does not exist, objective moral values & duties do not exist.
  2. Objective moral values & duties do exist.
  3. Therefore, God exists.

Now this is a logical reason, since 3 follows necessarily if premises 1 & 2 are true. Premise 2 seems intuitively obvious to most people. Mass murdering is unequivocally, objectively wrong. Killing innocent children, torturing animals, have dog fights…all for fun is objectively wrong. That is it is wrong for most of humanity, everywhere. These morals exist worldwide as universal morals. Now if anyone denies premise 2, they don’t need an argument, they need help.

The evolutionary explanation strips morality from humans and reduces it to mere descriptions of animal behavior or conduct, a simple physiochemical reaction of the brain‘s cognitive functions. Darwinist can only explain past conduct…past behavior. It cannot inform or predict a human’s future behavior. It only serves to reduce morality to mere descriptions of behavior, which involve both motive and intent. Both of these behaviors are nonphysical elements that can not, even in principle, evolve in a Darwinian sense. So where do morals come from? Why do they seem to apply only to human beings? Are they the product of chance? What world view makes sense out of morality? Why are babies born with what developmental psychologist’s call an intrinsic compassion (one baby cry’s in the nursery, and the others join in).

Moral laws suggest a moral lawgiver, one who communicates through higher, moral laws. Fore example, most people would not murder someone. They deem this to be morally wrong. He expects His imperatives to be obeyed or certain consequences occur. Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard pointed out that a person could not have anything on his conscience if God did not exist. Morality is grounded in our hunger for justice. We desire for a day when all wrongs are made right, when innocent suffering is finally redeemed, and when the un-caught guilty are finally punished. This also explains our own personal sense of dread. We feel guilty because we are guilty and most people seem to sense that we might have to answer for our own crimes.

Robert Wright offers no empirical evidence whatsoever for his thesis. He seems to assume that moral qualities are in the genes because he must; his paradigm will not work otherwise.

Take this comment as an example: “Human beings are a species splendid in their array of moral equipment, tragic in their propensity to misuse it, and pathetic in their constitutional ignorance of the misuse”. Wright reflects on the moral equipment randomly given to us by nature, and then bemoans our immoral use of it with words like “tragic,” “pathetic,” and “misuse.”

When he’s asked about the origin of life I have never seen anyone who supposedly is an expert on the subject more tongue-tied. He simply doesn’t know what to say except that maybe life emerged on planet earth as a result of extraterrestrials, which, of course, must mean that life did come from some sort of intelligent design. Of course he doesn’t recognize that he actually spoke in favor of intelligent design while disparaging it.

One notable example of this challenge to the transcendent nature of morality mentioned in his book is what he calls the new science of evolutionary psychology. Its adherents advance a simple premise: The mind, just like every part of the physical body, is a product of evolution. Everything about human personality marital relationships, parental love, friendships, dynamics among siblings, social climbing, even office politics can be explained by the forces of neo-Darwinian evolution.

Even the moral threads that make up the fabric of society are said to be the product of natural selection. Morality can be reduced to chemical relationships in the genes chosen by different evolutionary needs in the physical environment. Love and hate; feelings of guilt and remorse; gratitude and envy; even the virtues of kindness, faithfulness, and self-control can all be explained mechanistically through the cause and effect of chance genetic mutations and natural selection.

This explains the moral universals found in almost every part of the world. If these are simply chemical reactions, then taking a human life is just part of the natural, evolutionary process in the brain. How could the killer be held responsible. He is a victim of his brain chemistry. Logic tells us that, by necessity, a Creator or Moral Lawgiver was required to impart internal, intrinsic morals and that this is where they came from and the Source of them. Moral, values and character are not just a bunch accidental or random chemical reactions in the brain are they? I thought the theory held that it was all about survival of the fittest, not making decisions not based solely on self, but only the animal specie benefiting from any given situation and even at the expense of others?

Be First to Comment

  1. Soulf222 said:

    Only one question you pose is worth answering, as the answer disproves your entire posted assumptions. “Moral, values and character are not just a bunch accidental or random chemical reactions in the brain are they?” We are very well aware that there are NO universal morals. Even the “universal morals” you mentioned are certainly considered objectively wrong in our western culture, but they are certainly not “universal”. Three of these are sanctioned through justification in the U.S.A.. This leads me to a recent study led by Rebecca Saxe, MIT, reported findings in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of March 29. We have known for years and many tests that morals are Subjective (not objective). Morals can easily be influenced and changed. The study from Rebecca Saxe took this to the next level to show that morals really are just a combination of neurological electrical pathways. When the electrical pathways are disrupted, a person’s morals change. What I have yet to see is anyone quantify a standard method to measure morals. Then measure the morals of large groups of humans and also use the same method to measure morals of other species. I wonder, would humans rank high or low on the moral species list? One thing is certain, according to your “universal morals”, the Bonobo would certainly rank much higher on the moral scale than humans.

    June 1, 2010
    Reply
  2. Monkey Brains said:

    As soulf222 shows, there is no “objective morals” the way Christians think there are. And even if there were, that wouldn’t mean any kind of God exists! Just like, even IF Jesus rose from the dead, that doesn’t make the Bible true or him divine! Then you proceed to attack an author for their ineloquent response to a question about abiogenesis. It’s just a “God of the gaps” idea that doesn’t earn you credibility. You can’t figure it out, so God did it. They’re saying life could have possibly formed naturally elsewhere, then transferred here, but they’re still saying it probably originated naturally here. At least they’re honest and say I don’t know. Then you start describing how evolutionary biology explains morality, only to such the bizarre notion we shouldn’t hold people responsible for their actions. All of your objections have been thoroughly dealt with by amazing academics all over the world, people like Richard Carrier live to rip stuff like this to shreds. You don’t have any argument against naturalism that hasn’t been made and dealt with yet you seem to treat the subject like it’s a bunch of juveniles who think they can get rid of the God they’re secretly afraid of. Never ceases to amuse me that people throw in the “former atheist” title like it means something. I don’t introduce myself as a “former Catholic” before I make my case against the religion. The evidence and reasoning stands on it’s own.

    June 1, 2010
    Reply
  3. RickK101 said:

    There are no objective moral values or duties. Americans have committed mass murder and declared it acceptable because it was a time of war. Many Asian and Pacific cultures see no problem in torturing and mistreating unwanted or unwelcome kittens or puppies before killing them. Your examples are utter failures. Any common moral themes in human societies are easily attributed to the common desire to reduce fear and suffering – easily explained by evolution. So it is a complete falsehood to declare the existence of objective moral values. But there are relative or society-specific moral values. For example, Christians value honesty. Which is why I wonder why you, a Christian, willing base your article on a false premise. Do you find anything morally wrong with that?

    June 2, 2010
    Reply
  4. said:

    The U.N. has taken this to a world audience to be upheld by and endorsed by the U.N. General Assembly in 2002. It nearly goes without saying that the right of a people to be free from wholesale slaughter would top any such list of those rights duely given to humans in any nation. Given the near-universal consensus by the U.N. that the taking of innocent life is a moral wrong, genocide stands alone as a wrong that actually multiplies a wrong, magnifying its infamy. The essence of genocide’s power is that it denies the very right to exist to entire groups of people based solely upon their identity, making it at once selective in practice and universal in scope. Given genocide’s legal and moral opprobrium, if freedom from it cannot be enumerated as an absolute right, then genocied can. For all its inadequacies, the United Nations represents and concentrates international concern over human rights. It put human rights on the world agenda a half century ago and has kept it there. It developed the international law of human rights . . . . It concentrates the world’s attention on human rights problems that cry for attention. In order to prevent future human rights catastrophes like the Rwandan genocide, absolute rights must be accorded primacy by decision-makers. This would reflect their moral and practical importance, as well as their venerable status in the eyes of the citizens of the world. Furthermore, knowing what is best for everyone, would indicate a purpose Remember that knowing what is for the better or for the worse (ought do to, or not to do) is, as Thomas Aquinas said, an innate knowledge that can only be known with prudence, temperace, courage and (as Plato said) the fourth virtue, justice, will follow, sustain and perfect the other three. So with these virtues he would have the abilty to listen perfectly to his conscience His conscience would tell him what he ought do in any situation. He would why, because he knows through intuition. He knows that killing his own children is wrong, and he’s knows is with a strong purpose. Having a purpose of being, on this earth, would mean that their are actions which would be for the better of oneself and/or everyone, and actions that would be for the worst of oneself and/or everyone. Aquinas’ purpose is to ensure his children live into adulthood while in his care. He knows intrinsicly that he is to raise his children and to provide for them. These actions would indicate what is moral or immoral. And if purpose exists, then their would be specific actions that are for the good of the purpose and for the bad of the purpose. These actions would indicate a system of morality which is absolute. Do you find anything morally wrong with Aquinas killing his own children? I would hope so, if not, I ask you what you ask me, “Do you find anything morally wrong with that!?”

    June 2, 2010
    Reply
  5. said:

    The U.N. has taken this to a world audience to be upheld by and endorsed by the U.N. General Assembly in 2002. It nearly goes without saying that the right of a people to be free from wholesale slaughter would top any such list of those rights duely given to humans in any nation. Given the near-universal consensus by the U.N. that the taking of innocent life is a moral wrong, genocide stands alone as a wrong that actually multiplies a wrong, magnifying its infamy. The essence of genocide’s power is that it denies the very right to exist to entire groups of people based solely upon their identity, making it at once selective in practice and universal in scope. Given genocide’s legal and moral opprobrium, if freedom from it cannot be enumerated as an absolute right, then genocide can. For all its inadequacies, the United Nations represents and concentrates international concern over human rights. It put human rights on the world agenda a half century ago and has kept it there. It developed the international law of human rights . . . . It concentrates the world’s attention on human rights problems that cry for attention. In order to prevent future human rights catastrophes like the Rwandan genocide, absolute rights must be accorded primacy by decision-makers. This would reflect their moral and practical importance, as well as their venerable status in the eyes of the citizens of the world.

    June 2, 2010
    Reply
  6. said:

    Furthermore, knowing what is best for everyone, would indicate a purpose Remember that knowing what is for the better or for the worse (ought do to, or not to do) is, as Thomas Aquinas said, an innate knowledge that can only be known with prudence, temperance, courage and (as Plato said) the fourth virtue, justice, will follow, sustain and perfect the other three. So with these virtues he would have the abilty to listen perfectly to his conscience His conscience would tell him what he ought do in any situation. He would why, because he knows through intuition. He knows that killing his own children is wrong, and he’s knows is with a strong purpose. Having a purpose of being, on this earth, would mean that their are actions which would be for the better of oneself and/or everyone, and actions that would be for the worst of oneself and/or everyone. Aquinas’ purpose is to ensure his children live into adulthood while in his care. He knows intrinsicly that he is to raise his children and to provide for them. These actions would indicate what is moral or immoral. And if purpose exists, then their would be specific actions that are for the good of the purpose and for the bad of the purpose. These actions would indicate a system of morality which is absolute. Do you find anything morally wrong with Aquinas killing his own children? I would hope so, if not, I ask you what you ask me, “Do you find anything morally wrong with that!?”

    June 2, 2010
    Reply
  7. Duderman said:

    The “Nessie Argument” 1. If Loch Ness Monster does not exist, objective moral values & duties do not exist. 2. Objective moral values & duties do exist. 3. Therefore, Nessie exists. Now this is a logical reason, since 3 follows necessarily if premises 1 & 2 are true. Premise 2 seems intuitively obvious to most people. Mass murdering is unequivocally, objectively wrong. Killing innocent children, torturing animals, have dog fights…all for fun is objectively wrong. That is it is wrong for most of humanity, everywhere. These morals exist worldwide as universal morals. Now if anyone denies premise 2, they don’t need an argument, they need help.

    June 3, 2010
    Reply
  8. said:

    It is self-evident that things that have a beginning also have an ending. The law of cause and effect provides that the universe could not be self-caused, or created itself. Nothing can create itself without an outside cause, at least equal to or greater than itself. To say the universe (& matter) had no cause, caused itself or has always existed, is essentially saying that all matter existed before it came into existence, which is a logical absurdity. “Therefore(if) Nessies exists”, then Nessie created itself? The Moral Argument is much like the Logical Argument: Everything which has a beginning has a cause. The universe has a beginning. Therefore the universe has a cause. The same applies to morals. They exist from a cause.

    June 5, 2010
    Reply
  9. Duderman said:

    That was to funny Mr. Wellman, your post disproves your God. “Nothing can create itself without an outside cause, at least equal to or greater than itself.” Thanks, my work here is done.

    June 7, 2010
    Reply
  10. said:

    Yes, your work of convincing anyone I believe is done already, because, as I said, to prove that the universe (& matter) had no cause, caused itself or has always existed, is essentially saying that all matter existed before it came into existence, which is a logical absurdity.

    June 7, 2010
    Reply

Leave a Reply to Duderman Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.