I have grown to appreciate the apologetics ministry of Ravi Zacharias, so it should come as no surprise that I purchased and read a copy of his latest book. The short little book is titled: The End of Reason: A Response to the New Atheists (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2008), and it is a winsome and effective counter-argument to Harris, Dawkins, et. al. Zacharias’ polemics are clear and convincing. His version of the moral argument for God’s existence is emotional and intellectually vital.
Here is part of his response to Harris’ argument that evil and suffering prove that an all-powerful, good God cannot exist:
Harris’ antagonism toward God ends up proving that he finds some things reprehensible. But he cannot explain his innate sense of right and wrong – the reality of God’s law written on his heart – because there is no logical explanation for how that intuition toward morality could develop from sheer matter and chemistry.
Popularly stated, I would put it this way:
* When you assert that there is such thing as evil, you must assume there is such a thing as good.
* When you say there is such a thing as good, you must assume there is a moral law by which to distinguish between good and evil. There must be some standard by which to determine what is good and what is evil.
* When you assume a moral law, you must posit a moral lawgiver – the source of the moral law.
But this moral lawgiver is precisely who atheists are trying to disprove. (pp. 54-55)
We know evil because of what it does to others and to ourselves, but that knowledge assumes that all people have worth in and of themselves. When we postulate a moral code, we assume that people have this intrinsic worth. How can mere matter in motion make us worth something? We end up being big germs. Why should we care if the big white germs discriminate against the big black germs? Neither color of germ has any value anyway.
Back to the book:
…in a world in which matter alone exists there can be no intrinsic worth. Let me put it in philosophical terms:
* Objective moral values exist only if God exists.
* Objective moral values do exist…
* Therefore God exists. (p. 56)
We have to assume that true moral standards exist in order to object to the evil and suffering we see all around us. We cannot have those standards in a universe without God. A person’s denial of God’s existence because of evil ends up being an affirmation of the existence of the God that he tries to avoid accountability to.
[I have used this argument as formed by Greg Bahnsen here.]