The Evidence from Guilt Argument

In a previous post I summed up the evidence for Christianity, which you can read here. I think I missed something. Guilt. We all feel guilty at times for something we did or didn't do. Religions pounce on this. Almost all of them. It's used as a wedge to open up the mind for faith. There is something wrong with us. We desire to do good and yet too often we don't. We even have false guilt, accepting responsibility for something that wasn't our fault. Religions were created to provide the solutions, almost all of them. They offer a way to find forgiveness, along with a way to behave better. Religions therefore thrive on guilt. C.S. Lewis made this a centerpiece in his classic book, Mere Christianity. However, if guilt is considered as evidence for religion then it favors none of them because it equally supports them all. Evidence that equally supports mutually contradictory religions cannot be considered as evidence for any of them.

Without any guilt I suspect we wouldn't have any religion at all. Each religion even adds to our guilt by providing a list of "sins" to avoid and commands to be obeyed, or beliefs we must act upon (the "faith without works is dead" variety). This is viciously circular though, and obviously so. The more guilt that religion produces then the more religion is perceived to be needed.

The fact is that a society of sociopaths who feel no guilt would not be a society at all. We have evolved as conscious human beings who realize that being a part of a community of people is better than not doing so. Communities of people help each other. Without them life would be much more difficult. That's why sociopaths cannot survive and community minded people do. So guilt evolved within us, and when it did, so did religion (or it evolved hand-in-hand together). It's that simple people. The Evidence from Guilt Argument (as I call it) does not work. It's even based on an logical fallacy known as “the fallacy of affirming the consequent”:
  1. If there is a God behind the moral law within us, then it must make itself known within us.
  2. We find this moral law within us.
  3. Therefore, there is a God behind the moral law within us.
As such this argument is invalid and cannot even get off the ground.

Someone might want to argue this instead:
  1. If we find a moral law within us then there is a God behind the moral law within us.
  2. We find a moral law within us.
  3. Therefore, there is a God behind the moral law within us.
Such an argument is based on subjective feelings, it inserts one's own particular God with his own particular idiosyncratic moral demands, and it doesn't offer a better explanation than the natural one I just sketched out. So the consequent in premise 1 is a non-sequitur. It begs the question. It's special pleading to one's own god.