- If objective moral values exist, God exists
Objective moral values exist
- 1. If objective moral values do not exist, moral language cannot be predicated to objective acts, but only to subjective opinions regarding objective acts
2. Moral language can be predicated to objective facts
3. Therefore, objective moral language exists
- a. Slavery is wrong
b. I think of slavery as wrong
Of course, everyone thinks that slavery really is wrong, so what the skeptic has to do is fall back on his own beliefs or society's beliefs. The wrongness isn't in slavery itself, but in our own perceptions (just as language about unicorns don't refer to unicorns themselves, which don't exist, but our perceptions of unicorns). But strictly, that means that all A type sentences are actually reducible to B type sentences. There is nothing in slavery to which the "wrongness" answers; the referent--what the word refers to--is my opinion about the object. Here, we can deny objective morality exists, but look at the cost. There really is nothing objectively wrong with slavery. There's just my opinion, and all language about ANYTHING being right and wrong is really just sort hand for my personal preferences.
But it gets worse, because B type sentences can be interpreted in one of two ways. Consider these two examples:
- b1: I think slavery is wrong, meaning, I attribute wrongness to slavery itself
b2: I think slavery is wrong, meaning, I prefer there be no slavery
- b1': I think chocolate ice cream is wrong, meaning, I attribute wrongness to chocolate ice cream itself
b2': I think chocolate ice cream is wrong, meaning, I prefer there be no chocolate ice cream
And that, I think, shows the idiocy of objections to the moral argument for God's existence. Objections are either thorough and honest, in which they deny ALL morality and thus ALL moral language, or else they use moral language anyway and commit a giant category error. For moral language, by its nature, is not about the subject but about the object. Statement A above is about slavery, not about me or my preferences or even my beliefs. And even b1 (an interpretation of B) is rooted in objective reality. "I think that (SLAVERY is wrong)."
Conclusion: the very existence of moral language attests to and requires the existence of objective moral reality. If there is no objective moral reality, then moral language is improper and meaningless because it answers to nothing in morality. That is, if objective moral reality doesn't exist, then no morality of any kind exists, and all moral language is meaningless.
By way of a plug, I discuss this in another way in a lecture available here (go to 57:38 - 1:03:07 on the lecture). As one of my students so eloquently and laconically put it, "One's fact, one's opinion."