Today we continue with chapter fifteen of Read Along with Apologetics315, a weekly chapter-by-chapter study through Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Christianity by Douglas Groothuis. Please leave a comment on your reading below. This is where you can interact with others reading the book, ask questions, or add your own thoughts. Series index here. Click below for the audio intro, chapter 15 study questions PDF, and summary:
Chapter Fifteen: The Moral Argument for God
Chapter fifteen (one of the longest chapters to this point) explores the moral argument for God, which aims to show that there is an objective moral reality and its existence is best explained by a personal, moral God. The author starts with dispelling some red herrings that usually come up when the argument is discussed, then goes on to offer a summary and critique of ethical relativism. Through this ongoing exploration, an overall case is made for the reality of moral values.
The author shows the failure of pantheism, atheism, and other thought systems to adequately account for moral values. No explanation accounts for the moral realities that we experience better than the theistic view.
To offer a moral argument for the existence of God, we must (1) establish the existence of objective moral reality and (2) show that a personal and moral God is the best explanation for the existence and knowledge of objective moral reality. (Christian Apologetics, p. 331)
If various cultures determine what is moral and immoral apart from any objective moral standard, the concept of moral progress is impossible to apply. All we can claim is that cultures change with respect to their moral evaluations. But the very notion of moral progress assumes a standard or ideal that a culture seeks to approach. (Christian Apologetics, p. 338)
Objective moral values, according to the Bible, are not created in the sense that the contingent universe was created out of nothing (Genesis 1:1; John 1:1). Objective moral values have their source in the eternal character, nature and substance of a loving, just and self-sufficient God. (Christian Apologetics, p. 356)
The moral argument has, for all its intricacies, an immediate existential bite. If objective moral truths bear witness to the existence of a good God as their source, we are then put in the dock before God. Our consciences reveal both a transcendent goodness and our own violation of this goodness through our pettiness, theft, cruelty, dishonesty, lust and a hundred other minor and major infractions. (Christian Apologetics, p. 363)
- What role do you think conscience plays in giving the moral argument an “immediate existential bite”? (p.363 | k.3906)
- How would you attempt to show a moral relativist the inconsistency of his position?
- Do you find the moral argument personally persuasive? Why or why not?
Chapter Sixteen: The Argument from Religious Experience