The Moral argument for God's existence as used by William Lane Craig is:

  1. If God doesn't exist, objective moral values do not exist.
  2. Objective moral values do exist.
  3. Therefore, God exists.

Now, I agree with second premise. But for the first premise, according to me, moral values collectively are an essence.

Now, my question in the first premise, theist argues that we need a grounding for morality, but do we need a grounding for morality? Look, we know strong versions of PSR (principle of sufficient reason) fail because of BCCF. The version of PSR that I generally believe is applicable to thing and clearly an essence is not a thing; thus we need no reason for existence (thus foundation) of moral values.

We can say moral essence exists without any reason.

Please do not consider the problem of moral epistemology with this view, only about moral ontology.

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    What does BCCF stand for? Do you have a reference for Craig's position? Welcome! Commented May 22, 2019 at 12:23
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    Even if morality requires grounding, God is not the only option, karma can do it, for example, or even utility. And there are many non-theist versions of moral realism. There are also doubts that God can provide the needed grounding due to the Euthyphro dilemma. But it is unclear what sort of answer you are looking for, the title question is clearly controversial and unanswerable. Is there some particular perspective you want it addressed from?
    – Conifold
    Commented May 22, 2019 at 12:27
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    Frank, BCCF stands for Big Conjuctive Contigent Fact. for more information, read any source which has violations of PSR. Commented May 23, 2019 at 6:19
  • Conifold, I understood, you are saying there can be another ground for moral realism other than God. But what I am really trying to ask is, if a foundation is necessary for objective moral values. In crude terms( but not exact, as I treat moral values as essence, not some rules), can't morality be a brute fact with no explanation at all( as the PSR I use is applicable to things, not essence)? Commented May 23, 2019 at 6:22
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    You agree with "Objective moral values do exist"? How?How can the objectivity be proven?
    – tkruse
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 11:24

5 Answers 5


Both assumptions are questionable

  1. There are multiple other options other than God that could ground an objective morality system, which have been discussed at length starting with Ancient Greece philosophers as alternative to morality based on gods (and IMHO a polytheistic pantheon is quite different than assuming the existance of a privileged single God but just as valid in any philosophical argument). It's a wide topic, but some alternatives that are sometimes discussed include the natural intuition of Man of what's proper; the social contract and welfare of wider community; Kant's categorical imperative, etc, etc.

  2. It's also open to debate whether objective moral values exist. One popular argument against that is based on observation that it's hard to agree what exactly are the proper objective moral values; while there's an agreement on some concepts, there's definitely not a consensus on various edge cases - so either many (most?) people advocating for objective moral values have personal values that are objectively wrong (since they all do not agree with each other, and they can't be right at the same time), or there's a possibility to honestly disagree about what the values are, making them not objective.

  • I would like to research more on your 1st point. Commented Nov 12, 2019 at 6:25
  • For 2nd point, I treat moral values not as something like watching a sermon is good, making a home for drunkard's family is good, but like essence in such a way like doing something out of love is good. In such context, an act might not objectively good but the there is value demonstrated by the individual doing the act ,and that value is a good virtue. Thus, acts might not have a objective moral status but the intentions of individual will have. Commented Nov 12, 2019 at 6:28
  • @MotiRattanGupta Stanford Encyclopedia of Philisophy plato.stanford.edu/entries/religion-morality plato.stanford.edu/entries/morality-definition and maybe plato.stanford.edu/entries/kant-hume-morality would be a good starting point for study.
    – Peteris
    Commented Nov 12, 2019 at 13:47
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    @MotiRattanGupta what you call "objective" looks pretty subjective to me.
    – IMil
    Commented Nov 12, 2019 at 23:53
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    @MotiRattanGupta "objective in MY thinking" equals subjective
    – IMil
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 23:44

To answer this question: Does morality requires a grounding (especially a being)?, We need to ask some questions, like:

  • Is there a truth?.

  • If there is a truth, is it absolute or relative?.

  • Is morality absolute or relative?.

  • Who tend to adopt absoluteness of morality, and who tend to adopt relativeness?.

  • If morality requires a God, then is it absolute or relative?.

  • What does religion have to do with God?.

  • What does religion have to do with morality?.

From answering these questions we can deduce that atheists and less religious' adopt the relative view of morality. While the more religious adopt the absolute view of morality.

The lower limit of religiosity equals the belief in a God, even if not included the belief in a definite Religion.

Thus, the answer is: the more increase the religiosity the more morality requires a grounding.


Although Craig's argument is logically valid, it doesn't follow from it that it's true, for he still has to prove his premises. This syllogism alone doesn't add anything relevant in terms of philosophical knowledge.

Anyway, I don't see how you could defend the existence of some objective morality without grounding it.

I here assume "moral" as the set of norms of conduct by which we can solve conflicts. Conflict is here defined as the impossibility of two or more people using the same scarce resource, at the same time, for mutually exclusive ends.

These norms must be such that if we follow them, no conflict would ever arise.

Therefore, if we have a conflict, the way we can peacefully solve it is via argumentation and thus, by recurring to a justification based on this set of norms. In order for us to do that, this set of norms must be grounded and objectively demonstrable.

If morality is not grounded, then there's no way we can argue and justify our actions in terms of it. Morality would be subjective and we would solve our disputes by means of force.

Therefore, morality requires grounding in order to be justified and solve conflicts.

Argumentation ethics by Hans-Hermann Hoppe and Frank Van Dun is a good defense of objective moral grounding which doesn't appeal to gods.

  • I was saying that there is an objective moral essence which is not necessarily a code of conduct but simply virtues like helping an innocent by lying to corrupt authorities is good, while in moral law, lying would be definitely bad. I was arguing, why do we need grounding for objective moral essence, in sense can't we say it is just there. Commented May 31, 2019 at 6:35
  • I disagree on " if morality is not grounded, then there's no way we can argue and justify our actions" because I am saying some specific moral essence exists but it is just there like if no. 1or 2 exists, they are just there, there is no explanation required( don't think I believe 1,2 exists, its just an example). I agree there will be a practical issue with what is right or wrong( on how to know it), but right now I want you to focus only on moral ontology( whether they exists or not), on that respect, I think it is perfectly feasible for objective moral essence to exist like a brute fact. Commented May 31, 2019 at 6:38
  • @MotiRattanGupta My moral arguments are based on a priori descriptive propositions, thus I don't see morality as made up, but rather, as discovered. So, yes, I agree with you that it exists like a brute fact, but I don't see how that would imply morality doesn't need a grounding. In fact, I think this is the conclusion we can take: if morality exists as a brute fact, it is already grounded. We are not required to ground it. By argumentation, we simply recognize and demonstrate its grounding.
    – Caio Costa
    Commented May 31, 2019 at 6:51
  • "I was saying that there is an objective moral essence which is not necessarily a code of conduct but simply virtues" -> It could be the case. But we can't just say there is such thing without providing evidence for it, can we? I'm not saying this is not the case, I just don't see why you'd say it if you have no intention to go ahead and demonstrate your claim. "like helping an innocent by lying to corrupt authorities is good, while in moral law, lying would be definitely bad" -> Depends on the moral framework you're considering.
    – Caio Costa
    Commented May 31, 2019 at 6:55

Believing that god is the only acceptable grounding for any moral coda is essentially a holdover from superstitious thinking. Moreover it completely negates any role for humans as their own instigators of morally based behavior. This is unfortunate and common. A longing for a god to tell us what to do is akin to asking daddy if its safe to go outside to play. Here is what Spinoza says about this unfortunate happenstance; From Ethics Part 4, Prop. XVIII, Note, "As reason makes no demands contrary to nature, it demands, that every man should love himself, should seek that which is useful to him—I mean, that which is really useful to him, should desire everything which really brings man to greater perfection, and should, each for himself, endeavour as far as he can to preserve his own being. This is as necessarily true, as that a whole is greater than its part. (Cf. III. iv.) Again, as virtue is nothing else but action in accordance with the laws of one's own nature (IV. Def. viii.), and as no one endeavours to preserve his own being, except in accordance with the laws of his own nature, it follows, first, that the foundation of virtue is the endeavour to preserve one's own being, and that happiness consists in man's power of preserving his own being; secondly, that virtue is to be desired for its own sake, and that there is nothing more excellent or more useful to us, for the sake of which we should desire it; thirdly and lastly, that suicides are weak-minded, and are overcome by external causes repugnant to their nature. Further, it follows from Postulate iv., Part II., that we can never arrive at doing without all external things for the preservation of our being or living, so as to have no relations with things which are outside ourselves. Again, if we consider our mind, we see that our intellect would be more imperfect, if mind were alone, and could understand nothing besides itself. There are, then, many things outside ourselves, which are useful to us, and are, therefore, to be desired. Of such none can be discerned more excellent, than those which are in entire agreement with our nature. For if, for example, two individuals of entirely the same nature are united, they form a combination twice as powerful as either of them singly. Therefore, to man there is nothing more useful than man—nothing, I repeat, more excellent for preserving their being can be wished for by men, than that all should so in all points agree, that the minds and bodies of all should form, as it were, one single mind and one single body, and that all should, with one consent, as far as they are able, endeavour to preserve their being, and all with one consent seek what is useful to them all. Hence, men who are governed by reason—that is, who seek what is useful to them in accordance with reason, desire for themselves nothing, which they do not also desire for the rest of mankind, and, consequently, are just, faithful, and honourable in their conduct. Such are the dictates of reason, which I purposed thus briefly to indicate, before beginning to prove them in greater detail. I have taken this course, in order, if possible, to gain the attention of those who believe, that the principle that every man is bound to seek what is useful for himself is the foundation of impiety, rather than of piety and virtue." CMS

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    Don't you think it would be fair(er) to Spinoza to add that whereas deriving morality from the Judeo-Christian God may be “superstitious” – your word! – deriving it from Spinoza's God would be rational?
    – Rushi
    Commented Nov 11, 2019 at 14:14
  • If by rational we can agree that this word describes 'an innate function within the human mind which renders the entire universe as intelligible', then yes I'm all in on that. Great question, solid observations, Thanks CMS
    – user37981
    Commented Nov 12, 2019 at 17:15
  • "Rational"...one popularly abused word. Plato is considered the father of rationalism. And this is Plato (Socrates). Yet the Dawkinses of the world call themselves "rational" and give lip service to Plato!!
    – Rushi
    Commented Nov 12, 2019 at 17:21

Logic and physical realms do not work in proving God period. The only proof is subjective he is all the subjective. You cannot prove scientifically that a flower is beautiful, you have to see it. It cannot even be explained or assumed by logic that flowers must be beautiful, it's a very private experience that is real however not physically. It isn't imagination but a real common experience of reality that we feel intelligence in life. If you believe in logic or physical proof only then you don't know God.


The argument

objective moral values where observed by philosophers as static truths in life, how did they know that? They felt first subjectively that there is love and due to that quality, good things manifested in the physical world ,good meaning solved problems for people. So they didn't prove love exists but observed its results. Now the argument is that because of that commonality of manifestation exist that means that they have been impeded by an intelligent being, just like laws are made by humans.

The argument's failure

Now this argument is clearly an analogy, but it fails logically because when you say an intelligent being then you have to complete the analogy and say whether that being is born or not, finite or not, if you say finite and born to avoid superstition then you will go into regress absurdum, who created him? ... and if you say he lives in different laws then your logic cannot be applied to him, if you say he is a being that is the source of all beings, because something cannot come out of nothing then is he something or nothing. So logic seems to go somewhere but it ends up failing.

The experience

So objective moral values are called that because their manifestations where problem solving ,as I said they where felt first subjectively so their existence is only subjective, there are qualities like Godliness and intelligence, these qualities are real they are God, God is not the assumption of the subjective, he is the subjective. The being you are talking about is only a conceptual idea, a thought that you felt was objectivity true, but in essence its an idea from the logical mind that is true only subjectively in the form of a thought.

  • Excellent – upvoted. And before someone scolds you for not putting the reference of some hoary authority, let me suggest Kant's (radical) antinomies eg here's Zizek.
    – Rushi
    Commented Nov 10, 2019 at 3:00
  • Thank you very much for the reference, but this answer does not need to be grounded in morality :) Commented Nov 10, 2019 at 3:23
  • Sir, with all due respect, I would like to disagree one point on logic. I believe God can be proven from logic. Personal experience might have a role and as you said it is a subjective experience. But the arguments like the one presented in question above can be used for probabilistic model for existence of God. Commented Nov 10, 2019 at 14:01
  • Logic is applicable on thoughts which are not necessarily about physical things. Commented Nov 10, 2019 at 14:02
  • The example you used for beauty,it is yet another debatable topic whether aesthetic values exist or not. Commented Nov 10, 2019 at 14:03

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