Ravi Zacharias on morality

I'm interested mainly in what Zacharias says from about 1:00 to 1:50 regarding the existence of moral law. See if you can spot the fallacy...



Ravi's argument for God's existence from morality can be summed up thus:
  • To express moral judgments about good and evil, you must posit that good and evil exist
  • If good and evil exist, you must posit a moral law by which we can distinguish between good and evil
  • If a moral law exists, a moral law giver must exist


Did you spot the fallacy? The fallacy is a use-mention error, which is confusing the mention of a word with the use of the word. In this case, Ravi is conflating the existence of the concepts of good and evil with the existence of good and evil. Surely we all agree, for example, that the concept of God exists. But that isn't the same thing as saying that God actually exists. Similarly, we all agree that the concepts of good and evil exist, but that isn't the same thing as saying that good and evil actually exist in any capacity (metaphysical or otherwise) beyond their human constructs.

So where, then, do we derive the concept of good and evil – or, more pragmatically, right and wrong? We derive them not from imponderable metaphysical absolutes, but from human solidarity – the fact that we have shared needs, interests, and responsibilities; that we are wholly dependent on our ability to cooperative with others in other to survive and thrive. We recognize that if we do not respect the needs and interests of others, we have no reason to expect others to respect our own needs and interests.

"Moral law" is cited by many apologists and theologians as evidence of God's existence, but it's a view rooted in fallacy. Don't fall for it!

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