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Objective morality means the secular chicken’s come home to roost. That’s important to remember when utilizing the third argument of three arguments that every Christian should know. We’ll get to why in a minute.

First, let’s take a quick look at what the moral argument is.

  1. Moral laws imply a Moral Law Giver.
  2. There is an objective moral law.
  3. Therefore, there is a Moral Law Giver.[1]

The moral argument is not very complicated. The force of the argument really comes from the second premise, there is an objective moral law. If you can prove that, then the rest is arguable but much less so.

One might disagree and propose evolution to be the moral law giver by saying that there has evolved in humans a particular mechanism that causes us to impose moral codes to propagate the human race.

Another might say that objective morals are a result of cultural compacts in which societies agree that to live by certain moral codes would be better for their culture.

The New York Times proclaimed that events like the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on America cry out for “a transcendent ethical standard” that is not available in the fashionable postmodern relativism of the academy.9 Yet the fashionable option is still ethical relativism, which claims that moral judgments are dependent on contingent social and historical arrangements. Morality is merely human. One person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter. Morality is contingent and revisable according to the postmodern mind.[2]

Neither of these work.

If the propagation of the human race is in view, then objective moral codes that criminalize rape for example, would seemingly work against evolution. Murder of the competition would also be “better” it seems, that is unless it’s actually wrong. 

Furthermore, if cultures make moral compacts that’s fine. But what does the term “better” mean? To say that something is better indicates that the moral code is objective or better for everyone. That assumes that moral code to be objective proving our point.

Objective moral truth is a pretty hard truth to escape. No one actually does although relativists deny its objectivity. 

But relativists complain that they have morals.

They often misunderstand us to be saying that they don’t. In fact, if we were saying that then it would be self-defeating. We are claiming just the opposite. We are claiming that all people have a sense of morality. We are not proposing specifically what any moral law is or that we have it right, only that there is a right and wrong and all people believe that to be so.

They confuse knowing that there is a right and wrong with knowing what right and wrong is.

Why is it that objective morality means the secular chicken’s come home to roost?

That’s the rub for atheists and skeptics who claim relativism when it comes to morality. They can’t get away from objective moral language. They can’t avoid it because they don’t really believe that morality is relative.

18 For kthe wrath of God lis revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be mknown about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them[3]

This modern secular idea that right and wrong should be left up to the individual uses objective language to communicate a non-transcendent proposition.

The fox in the henhouse. fox-1-1531605

Anytime a relativist borrows an objective moral term they are borrowing from a worldview which they deny. Words like should, ought, better, etc. are terms that communicate transcendence. They place one person’s morality upon another by imposing objectiveness through language. When they say that we should affirm homosexual behavior as normal, they are not merely suggesting their preference. They are saying that it is objectively wrong not to do so. Their moral claim is based upon the object (affirmation of homosexual behavior) rather than the subject (Christians).

Consistent relativism on the other hand places the ‘truth’ of the moral claim on the subject. It is the subject that determines what they prefer rather than claim what ought to be, objectively. Relativism, the idea that morality is relative to the individual, can only borrow from objective morality to make its case. Otherwise, its mere opinion. So what’d be the point? The only thing Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot would be guilty of is fulfilling their desire.

The fact that they have to borrow from objective morality means that the secular chicken’s come home to roost.

That may be the most powerful tool you have in your box when it comes to this argument. Remember, each time they use words like should, ought, or say that something is better, they have stolen from your worldview. Don’t sit and count the chickens. Reach in the roost and pull out the big egg their chicken laid and say “mine”!

Finally, the moral argument can also be seen as an intellectual solution to the problem of evil because if real or objective evil exists it does not exist independently of real or objective good. Keep in mind that this is an intellectual solution not an emotional solution. Many people have difficulty making sense emotionally out of experiences with evil. To give an intellectual answer is not always helpful. But, to share the truth about the way reality is by agreeing about real evil, showing its contingency upon objective good, and moving to the source of goodness in the person and work of Christ can be helpful.

It is after you have realized that there is a Moral Law and a Power behind the law, and that you have broken that law and put yourself wrong with that Power—it is after all this, and not a moment sooner, that Christianity begins to talk.105[4] –CS Lewis

The problem of evil may be complicated. The solution is simple.

One cracked egg don’t break the whole carton.

Don’t mistake the moral argument for an end all argument. It’s not. But it is one argument among three that are very helpful when being obedient to the command to be ready to give a defense for the hope that is in us. It’s one that skeptics can’t have without stealing from God, as Frank Turek so appropriately says. When they do steal God’s truth to make their argument, their chicken’s come home to roost.

[1] Geisler, N. L. (1999). In Baker encyclopedia of Christian apologetics (p. 279). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

9 Edward Rothstein, “Attacks on U.S. Challenge Postmodern True Believers,” New York Times, September, 22, 2001, p. A17.

[2] Groothuis, D. (2011). Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith (p. 332). Downers Grove, IL; Nottingham, England: IVP Academic; Apollos.

k Eph. 5:6; Col. 3:6; [ch. 5:9]

l [ch. 2:5]

m ch. 2:14, 15; Acts 14:17; 17:24–27

[3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Ro 1:18–19). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

105 C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (1943; reprint, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), pp. 38–39.

[4] Groothuis, D. (2011). Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith (p. 363). Downers Grove, IL; Nottingham, England: IVP Academic; Apollos.

I was born in the mountains of Southwest Virginia, born again at a very young age, married a beautiful and likeminded woman, moved to Tennessee, and raised two children in the Southern traditions of loving God and neighbor, exercising manners, and being stewards of the land and its bounty. After becoming involved in youth ministry in our local church, the need of teaching people "what they believe and why they believe it" became painfully apparent, especially in my immediate context (rural Southern churches). We began an apologetics/theology ministry there but have since moved on. After serving in church leadership and being called to faithfulness and duty to protect our congregation from a rogue pastor under church discipline of his previous church, my experiences in this biblical process shape much of what I believe about how churches in the South have become weak and why nominal Christianity is prevalent. I love the Church and Southern culture so you can expect to read about apologetics and theology as well as church and culture here, written southern style, by the grace of God. Deo Vindice

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