The moral argument for God is one of the basic arguments for proving that God exists. In this piece I follow a critique Dr. William Lane Craig presents of a critique done by Richard Dawkins of the moral argument for God.
First, we need to state the moral argument for God. In its simplest terms, the moral argument has three bases.
The initial premise is this: if God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist.
In the absence of God as a transcendent standard or plumb line for moral value and duties, moral values and duties just become “socio-biological spinoffs of the evolutionary process”. If God does not exist, moral values and duties are relative to time, place, culture and individuals. Moral values are subjective and subject to change as people change. Truly objective moral values and duties do not exist unless God, the standard of transcendent moral values, exists.
Premise two is this: objective moral values and duties do exist.
Our collective and universal experience and behavior suggests that we all believe and behave as if objective moral values and duties exist. no one believes it more keenly than we feel the sting of injustice ourselves. We universally bristle at the injustices done to ourselves, believing that the injustices ought not to have been done to us.
The fact that we all subscribe to the idea of some objective moral standard (whatever that is) is evident every day in the way we act. Whenever a person thinks he has been wronged, and the other person ought to have known better, he is demonstrating a belief in an objective moral standard. Religious people and atheists alike behave and think as if objective moral standards exist.
If premise one and premise two both are true, then God exists.
People like Richard Dawkins, who don’t believe in God, don’t accept the moral argument for God. Dr. Craig observes, in Dawkins’ case, this is true even though Dawkins agrees with premise one (expressly) and agrees with premise two (implicitly). Dawkins affirms both premises in his book, the God Delusion.
Dawkins says, if God does not exist, then there is no good, no evil, “nothing but pitiless indifference”; and we are just “machines for propagating DNA”. To that extent, he concedes the first premise by stating that there is no good, no evil, because God does not exist.
At the same time, Craig says, “it is very evident that Richard Dawkins is a die hard, stubborn moralist”. The God Delusion is “filled with moral judgments”. Dawkins condemns the practice of child sacrifice, the religious indoctrination of children and the harassment of homosexuals, among many other things. Dawkins even proffers his own version of Ten Commandments in the book.
From all of these examples, it becomes clear that Dawkins is a moral realist who believes in the objectivity of moral values and duties.
The problem for Dawkins, in reference to the first premise, is that the existence of objective moral values implies that God exists.