A Critique of William Lane Craig's Moral Argument

(I am a new blogger. For my introduction, please see below and ask me a question there. I am doing a rare double-post to provide the blog and its readers with an example of my own mode of analysis, so if you have a question about the Moral Argument specifically, ask here).

Dr. William Lane Craig's moral argument for God goes as follows:

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

Although the argument itself is (deductively) valid, we will discuss how Bill's definition of "objective moral value" given in Reasonable Faith leads to the logical impossibility of Premise (1) and at least a shaky ground for Premise (2), thereby literally closing the book on this version of the moral argument for good. The argument is presented within a letter I sent my friend Dr. Paul Copan, who spoke with me personally at the same time I was addressing Bill at the conference.


One point of interest that needs to be brought up: we got distracted on Calvinism in the middle of what I was supposed to say for the Moral Argument.

Premise (1) states that "If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist." My friend Marques, the fan of Bill's whom I mentioned during our session, informed me that Bill defines an objective moral value as essentially "a moral assertion that remains true independent of human consciousness." I think this is the notion you and he defined during our talk and that which is given in RF.

The problem with Premise (1), as I mentioned, is that Bill only uses Existentialists in his lectures and similar notions in RF to provide an argument from authority - but we already discussed the "argument from authority" problem when we spoke, so I'll move on.

The further problem, which I did not get to address due to my unfortunate forgetfulness of how much gas the Calvinism subject empties out on a room (honestly sorry!!!), is that Premise (1) is logically equivalent to "If objective moral values exist, God exists,"; to prove this statement logically without appeal under Bill's definition, one must show that either:

(a) Objective moral values are present as an inherent property of reality qua reality independently of any consciousness, including God's, not unlike a Platonic "form" or Aristotelean "essence";

(b) Objective moral values exist because God delivered them by Divine Command, Divine Decree, creating Platonic forms to house them, etc., or in the hearts of men as Paul states.

No other means of morals being objective is at all possible. With what Bill says,

Option (a) is immediately an invalid option to prove Premise (1), for if morals existed as an inherent quality of reality, then either God created them in reality, leading to my objection for Option (b), or they exist in reality apart from God, making Premise (1) automatically invalid prima facie due to the fact that it presents either a possibility for objective moral values under atheism or objective moral values under a nonlawgiver God.

Option (b) renders any proof of Premise (1) automatically invalid by improper deduction. Premise (1) states that "if objective moral values exists, then God exists." But if we assert that objective moral values rest on God's existence due to either Divine Command/Decree, His creation of independent Platonic "moral vats" in reality, etc., as pressed forth in option (b), then Premise (1)'s logical proof fails deduction, to wit:

(1a) Assume objective moral values exist.
(1b) If a Moral Lawgiving God exists, then objective moral values exist due to His Divine Decree/Command, creation of independent "Platonic Morality Vats," etc.
(1c) Therefore, God exists.
(1d) Therefore, the statement "if objective moral values exist, then God exists" is true. Premise (1) is proven.

This argument is wrong from deduction.

Additionally, Bill's definition for an "objective moral value" drops the context of the identity of man, i.e. the context of a **finite** rational being. Indeed, Bill said both that these values would exist if God did not decide to create mankind, and that these values are nonbinding on a God of infinite nature. You might be interested to know that I assert that objective moral values *do* exist, but in a different sense than Craig; they are only possible if men exist, but they are *not* subjective because men exist *in reality.*

objective moral value != "a moral assertion that remains identically true for any rational being within this assertion's context."

If evolution arrived at another humanlike creature, then this objective morality would be the exact same assuming this, um, hypothetical "frog man" is rational; it depends on the identity of a rational being, not just on man qua man. It is objective because rational beings exist in reality, and the contexts of such moral actions exist in reality (i.e. outside of "Sophie's Dilemma" type extremes, all logically demonstrable). I will not go into this morality here, but it is much like Rand's morality that you provide a critique of in your God goes to Starbucks book - however, you'd be surprised that you have some incorrect notions, and that the morality - especially the neo-Ayn Rand version without the harshness she added to it - *isn't* as horrible as it sounds, and *is* objective (i.e. pertaining to reality above subjective consciousness), and *does* bridge "is-ought." I will describe it further if it is of interest to you.

Note that none of this disproves God, or even a moral lawgiver. But it shows that Premise (1) is invalid and that Premise (2) is on shaky ground given Bill's definitions, rendering his standard presentation invalid. Bill would do better to not use it as an isolated argument, but instead depend on Kalam and the Teleological Argument to first establish a God, and then to rule out atheistic "Platonic moral vats" or potential "Moral Lawgiving Gods" separate from a creator and designer of the Universe (as Bill does in his book on both counts, but not as well-developed by method) to then leave God the property of being the moral lawgiver. This is the most that is left for the moral argument given that my critique stands.