Does the Moral Argument support Christianity or just theism?

Questions about God, the Bible and the Christian culture 

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Question: My question is about the Moral Argument. I have studied it for some time now, and I accept it. What I do wonder about though, is how it argues for monotheism, rather than polytheism, and Christianity rather than any other religion?

Answer: I do not think that the moral argument — standing alone — argues for monotheism in general or Christianity in particular. Why not? As long as any god or gods ostensibly created human beings, and as long as human beings are seen to be moral in the main, the moral argument would still be satisfied... but only at the level of theism.

Even in the case of the gods of classical mythology — who were capricious in their treatment of humans and were, in many cases, anything but moral themselves — the moral argument would still be valid as long as the people under them were moral in the main. (I realize that many of these cultures manifested gross immorality, but we can only make that judgment because those societies still had moral compasses.)

Before I came to Christ, I was a panentheist. I didn’t know I was one at the time… which is neither here nor there… but I saw the moral universe the same then as I see it now — and that’s after fifty years of living as a studious Christian with an interest in apologetics!

Fortunately, I’ve had a salvation experience… and I have come to know the true God — the God of the Bible! But this was a function of my Christian growth, not of my native spirituality. My native spirituality made me a theist — and arguably one who has seen through to the God of Romans 1:18-20! But all that did was get me to divinity; it did not get me through to a monotheistic god… and it certainly did not get me through to the God revealed in the Bible.

Please note, however, that I am a layman who is conversant in these things; I am not a credentialed philosopher. But since I see some kind of human morality under any system of gods, it is my opinion that the Moral Argument stops at theism.

That being said, the moral particulars that are often used as examples when discussing the moral argument (like justice, love and self-sacrifice) speak more to a personal individual god than they do to the Greek or Roman pantheon — which is like a committee-with-no-rules — or pantheism — which has a god-is-all-and-all-is-god vibe.

Now, I think that Natural Theology would have a chance at getting us to a monotheistic God without the Bible — although that’s no slam dunk. But I do not think that there is any amount of natural revelation or philosophy that will get us to Christianity. That requires (at minimum) a three-fold revelation of Jesus Christ.

First, God sent Jesus to live among us. Second, God revealed Christ through the Scripture (and especially through the New Testament). Third, God used two types of spiritual agency. He personally drew us to Christ (John 6:44), and he sent the Spirit to dwell within us (John 16:13; Romans 8:9).

We are spiritually astute beings ontologically… but we are not so spiritually astute that we might find and serve Jesus on our own.

I pray that this helped.

(Mainsail Ministries articles often have a preamble where I discuss the thinking that went into them. These are called Monday Musings — and if you haven’t read the one associated with this article — consider doing so at the following link: 20190909 Can the Moral Argument get us to the true God?).

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