Argument for God from the existence of morality

By Atheist Answers (Facebook Page)

This article is going to look at the philosophical implications of morality and how deductively the existence of morality proves a Theistic metaphysics to reality (God exists) rather than an atheistic metaphysics to reality (God does not exist).

Before we start the deductive argument I am firstly going to cover some issues so that the argument is clear to those following it...

Covering Issues Regarding Deductive Argument For God From Morality

What is a deductive argument?

A deductive argument is one that if the form of the argument is correct and the premises are true the conclusion logically and necessarily follows.

Here is an example argument:

(Example deductive argument)

P1: All men are mortal.

P2: Socrates is a man.

Conclusion: Therefore Socrates is mortal.

Now firstly the form of that argument is correct, that is to say if both those premises are true the conclusion would logically and necessarily follow (like 2+2=4).

Secondly we must ask are the premises correct (or more likely true than not for a probability argument), if not then the conclusion does not follow, but if so then the conclusion necessarily and logically follows.

So if you disagree with the conclusion of the deductive argument I will post on morality, you must first show a premise to be false.

Philosophical distinctions which must be known when assessing morality

The first distinction which should be known is the difference between moral ontology and moral epistemology...

(1)Moral Ontology: This is basically looking at whether a moral reality actually exists, it is looking at whether there is truly a distinction in reality between moral and immoral actions or whether that distinction that we experience is a delusion (moral ontology is not looking at which actions fit into the category of moral or immoral or how we can know which actions are moral or immoral; it is only looking at whether such a distinction truly exists in reality).

(2)Moral Epistemology: This presupposes that ontological morality exists, it then asks how can we know which actions are moral and which are immoral.

The second distinction which should be known is that morality (like anything else) is either discovered (from reality outside the mind) or is a subjective experience of the mind (and exists only in the mind, it not reflecting a reality outside the mind)...

(1) Discovered (from reality outside the mind): This is to say it exists objectively in a reality that is outside you and I, it is something which is objective to both you and I outside ourselves and we know it exists because we have discovered it somehow (examples of this might be mathematics or the moon for example).

(2) Subjective experience of the mind: This is to say it exists in the minds of humans only, it does not exist outside of those minds in an objective reality outside of myself or ourselves (so it can be shared between humans who both perceive it the same way in their minds).For example it could be something like a mirage in a desert, many people might see a mirage in the same place and build a fence around it etc... but it is a mirage non-the less and does not exist objectively outside of the humans concept of reality (and in this example it would clearly be a delusion if the people claimed it was real outside their misrepresentation of reality which is going on in their minds).

Atheism and Theism from a philosophical content position

Based on the logical law of excluded middle there are only two options as to what the metaphysical ontology of reality could be; that being the ontology of the metaphysics of reality is either Personal or Impersonal....

So the two options in more detail are:

(1) Reality in it's metaphysics (fundamental forces and processes) is impersonal: that is to say it is intentionless, purposeless, meaningless, unguided, unaware and lacks teleology.

(2) Reality in its metaphysics (fundamental forces and processes) is personal: that is to say it is intentional, purposeful, meaningful, guided, aware and has teleology.

Now position (2) would normally be classed under Theism and thus atheism being the absence of Theism (that is what the "A" means in Atheism, just like Asymmetrical means the absence of symmetry on a specific aspect of reality) would fall under position (1).Now if a person says either position is more likely than the other to be true, they have a burden of proof.

The deductive argument for God from morality

P1: Morality ontologically exists.

P2: An atheistic metaphysics can not account for the existence of a ontological morality.

Conclusion: Therefore atheism is false (and therefore Theism is true).

Review Of The Premises

Premise 1

With this premise I am going to establish it from the ground up (not from the top down).

Our experience of a moral reality is what philosophers call a 'properly basic' belief. That is to say it is a belief that is grounded in it's self and is not inferred from any other belief which is more fundamental to it and also it is a belief rooted in experience; examples of 'properly basic' beliefs are beliefs like my belief I am conscious, my belief of an external world of objects outside myself, my belief I am self aware, my belief I have thoughts and my belief of a moral reality which is the point in question.

So there is no epistemic reason to doubt our experience of a moral reality as being true unless we can produce a defeater for it (otherwise we should take it as properly basic to believe it like we do all other properly basic experiences\beliefs - a defeater for example is like when I see a straw bend in water, I have a properly basic experience that the straw bends but I can infer from other properly basic beliefs that this is not the case and thus I have a defeater for the initial properly basic belief); in fact don't we as a society view people who don't experience a moral reality as insane, broken and in need of repair (we label them things like sociopath etc..)...

Philosopher Louise Antony put it this way: "Any argument for moral skepticism is going to based on premises which are less obvious than the reality of objective moral values themselves"; therefore you would never be justified in accepting moral skepticism.

Some defeaters which may be brought up to try and say why we should not believe our experience of a moral reality as being true are:

(A) The epistemic problem: This is where a defeater to our experience of an ontological moral experience of reality is brought into question because of an epistemic issue...

The issue goes something like this "people will quantify morality differently and come up with different moral conclusions, therefore morality can not be objectively outside themselves and discovered some how but is rather a delusional human construct".

Answer: This conclusion can not be the case if you accept any other experience of reality to discover something of an objective reality. For example people do not quantify mathematical equations the same, or logic or sense perceptions (some say they do not see colours etc...) sometimes etc... but we do not conclude that those sense perceptions are illusions only in the mind and that have no reflection on reality; rather we assume there is a correct perception of reality regarding that experience and some people just have an incorrect perception of reality via that experience which does not reflect objective reality (we must just work out which one is correct, not write off that category of experience as an illusion).

There is a lot more I could say on this but that is the simple explanation (all sense experiences can be wrong, so to point out one of them can be wrong thus we should reject it makes a criteria for rejecting all sense experiences; in which case we can know nothing)...

(B)The Darwinian objection: This goes something like "We evolved our experience of a moral reality through Darwinistic processes, therefore they can not be relied upon".

Answer: This is a very silly argument, remember that our experience of a moral reality is either discovered or a subject illusion; whether we evolved via a Darwinistic method from a common descent theory or not it would have no bearing on whether a moral reality exists; the question rather is this, is our experience of a moral reality discovered or a subjective expierence rooted only in our mind.If the conclusion here is morality came via adaptation, therefore our morality is false; you could run a parody reductio ad absurdum argument saying "our tendency to do physics, chemistry, biology and even evolutionary theory is it's self rooted in adaptation; so on that same premise they would equally be undermined". The same goes for our reasoning and our senses.

I will now show how the Darwinian argument looks like deductively:

(Darwinian argument against an experience of reality)

P1: Experience (X) came about via Darwinian adaptation

P2: An experience which is the result of Darwinian adaptation will be a false experience (or more likely false than true)

Conclusion: Therefore experience (X) is a false experience (or more likely false than true)

If this argument makes (X) our experience of a moral reality, it also has to make (X) our experience of a reality of physics, chemistry, biology, reason, sense perception and even evolutionary theory it's self (as all these came about via a Darwinian process).

Basically because every experience is the result of Darwinian adaptation, then this argument would make every experience a false experience (so it is a failed argument).

So as we see there are no defeaters really for us to doubt our properly basic experience of a moral reality, and also to refuse our experience of a moral reality you would have to rationalize to an absurdity (never mind it can not be truly lived out).

Examples of the absurdity you would have to conclude if you say our experience of a moral reality is an illusion are:

(A) Are you really saying the person who says something like "torturing a baby for fun is immoral" is as delusional as the schizophrenic (which would have to be the case as they are both experiencing things which are not part of an objective reality)?

(B) Are you really saying the person who says something like "torturing a baby for fun is immoral" is saying something as meaningless as the person who says "clouds moving through the air is an immoral act" (as morality would not ontologically exist in reality and thus have no objectivity and no quantification; and therefore it is just as misapplied in both cases, one can not be more delusional than the other because morality does no exist at all so no quantification for which one was closer to the correct and rational mark)?Again don't we as a society view people who don't experience a moral reality as insane, broken and in need of repair (we label them things like sociopath etc..) not the other way around. So it is very safe to conclude premise 1 is correct...

So in conclusion we have two arguments from the ground up for why we should hold a moral ontology more likely to exist than not; firstly because it is a properly basic belief and thus based on the deliverances of reason it should be accepted as real and secondly if we rejected it it would lead to a reductio ad absurdum.

If a person wants to say a moral ontology is more likely to not exist than exist they have to first knock down both my arguments (which only gets you to a 50/50 agnosticism on whether a moral ontology exists) and then in there place erect their own arguments for why it is more likely a moral ontology is false rather than true (just like if this premise stated "the stars are even in number", even if a person knocked two arguments I have made for why the stars are more likely even in number that does not now mean they are odd in number, rather we don't know, it would be a 50/50; the person who wants to say they are more likely odd would not only have to knock down arguments for why the stars are even but then in there place erect their own arguments for why the stars are more likely odd).

Premise 2

In my last premise I built it from the ground up, now for premise (2) I will look it from the top down asking what would have to be true at the top if (X) is true at the bottom.

Now remember in the issues section I reviewed the content of Theism and atheism, and on that note I will precede...

Morality is what philosophers call as "oughtness", that is the way we ought to think, talk and act.Now for reality to have oughtness it means reality must have a purpose, meaning and design in the form of teleology (end goals and purposes); but for reality to have this Theism would have to be true. Unless reality came out of GOD, reality can have no purpose, as "purpose" is an existential property (which is the property of a personal Being - Purpose requires a purpos"er" so to speak).

So unless there is a purpose and meaning to life and reality (with teleological goals) then there is no right or wrong way to talk, think or act.

So under an atheistic world view people might not like certain behavior, but that is only for the same ontological reason of why a person would not like chocolate ice cream compared to vanilla ice cream; personal preference, which based on the philosophical materialist world view is just an epiphenomenal byproduct of deterministic chemical reactions.

So under the atheist world view the experience of an ontological moral reality is delusional and that experience is ontologically nothing more than a preference to behaviour (the same way some one might prefer chocolate ice cream to vanilla, some one prefers torturing babies to not torturing babies - they are just random desires under atheism and both are as true as the other because neither has an objective basis in reality).

So unless the atheist can show how an ontological moral experience is actually nothing more than a delusion based on nothing more than a preference to behaviour it is very safe to conclude that premise 2 is true.

I have more reasons for why premise 2 is true but I feel this will suffice...


Remember under the issues section I showed how if both premises are correct the conclusion logically and necessarily follows (as sure as 2+2=4), and that conclusion is atheism is false and Theism is true. Now in light of this conclusion please view some videos below which are relevant:

What Do I Have to Do To Be Saved?

What Does it Mean to Be a Christian?