The Moral Argument for God’s Existence

Hi everyone, what you are about to read is an excerpt from a book I am currently writing that should be finished near the end of the year. I hope you enjoy reading it.

In August of 2014 I could finally hang on my office wall a little certificate that read that I had been “ordained to the Gospel Ministry at Rincon Baptist Temple.” However, I could not help but feel a little hypocritical. Here I was sitting in my office at the Baptist Church that had ordained me, and where I was serving as a Pastor, and I doubted whether God even existed! There was a part of me that desperately wanted to share what I was experiencing with others, but I thought I would inspire little confidence in the people I was leading if I shared what I was going through. Maybe this wasn’t right, but I simply didn’t want my doubts to poison other people’s faith. So, I turned to my books and the internet to find the answers to my questions.

It did not take me long to find out that there are a lot of opinions out there about whether God really exists or not! I was not surprised about the fact that there were many intelligent people out there defending the idea that God does not exist. Indeed, I earned my bachelor’s degree at a State University where many of my professors were atheists or agnostics, so this did not really surprise me. What did surprise me were the number of intelligent Christian people out there who were making eloquent arguments for the existence of God.

To make a long story short, even though I came to admire (and still do) the intelligence and the accomplishments of those who were defending the idea that God does not exist, I ultimately found the arguments for Theism (the idea that God exists) more plausible. Now, if I were to present all the arguments in favor of God’s existence exhaustively then this book would be very long (and probably a little boring) so I am just going to present the “Moral Argument” for God’s existence because it is the argument that I personally found the most compelling when conducting my research.

Probably my first exposure to the “Moral Argument” for God’s existence came through reading C.S Lewis’s Mere Christianity. In his book, Lewis argues that every society both past and present has some understanding of right and wrong. Lewis wisely notes in Mere Christianity that codes of morality from different cultures can often differ substantially in terms of their details and emphases, but they often share many important similarities as well. To demonstrate his point Lewis argues thusly

I know that some people say the idea of a Law of Nature or decent behavior known to all men is unsound, because different civilizations and different ages have had quite different moralities. But this is not true. There have been differences between their moralities, but these have never amounted to anything like a total difference. If anyone will take the trouble to compare the moral teaching of, say, the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Hindus, Chinese, Greeks and Romans, what will really strike him will be how very like they are to each other and our own…Think of a country where people were admired for running away in battle, or where a man felt proud of double-crossing all the people who had been kindest to him. You might just as well try to imagine a country where two and two make five.[1]

To illustrate Lewis’s point from another angle, you would be hard pressed to find someone who would argue that the events of the Holocaust were morally right. Sure, you might find the odd (and gravely mistaken) person who denies that the Holocaust took place, but we would rightly conclude that the person who tries to defend the atrocities of the Holocaust, many of which were perpetrated against helpless and innocent children, is grossly morally deficient. The evidence from history and the study of other cultures, and perhaps more importantly, our own experience, seems to point to the fact that some things are objectively morally right, and some things are objectively morally wrong. Regardless of where we come from there seems to be within human beings a near universal sense inside of us that certain things are so cruel and so unloving that no sane person should ever consider doing them. This fact has lead many people, including myself, to ask this important question. Why? Why is it that human beings from many different cultures and backgrounds, unless they are morally deficient, sense that certain things are morally right, and certain things are morally wrong?

Lewis’s answer to this question is that the existence of moral values in every culture imply the existence of a transcendent moral law giver. Namely, God. I am inclined to agree with Lewis on this point. Indeed, the Christian faith teaches that all human beings are made in “God’s image.” This idea expresses that like God, people can reason, be creative, and make moral judgements. Human beings can intuit the difference between right and wrong (albeit often imperfectly) because God has designed us to. God has given people a conscience.

[1] Lewis, Mere Christianity, 19.

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Should Christians Vote for Donald Trump?

When writing articles in the past for my blog, I have intentionally avoided broaching the subject of politics. Even amongst Christians, politics can be a toxic subject and this is why I have refrained from writing anything on the topic. I have always wanted my blog to be a place where all Christians can find encouragement and unity. It has also been my desire that for those who do not believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, that they might find my blog to be a safe place where they can learn more about the Christian faith from a perspective that is whimsical, tolerant, yet thoroughly orthodox and scriptural.  This is why I have only decided to post an article about politics after much prayer and reflection.

I have long been an avid follower of all things political. Someone once said, “Politics is like sports for nerds.” This statement rings true for me. I am the guy who stays up into the wee hours of the morning checking election returns and I salivate when I hear about the latest developments from Washington and the campaign trail. I do not pretend to be an expert but I do try to stay informed. As I stated earlier, I don’t typically like to talk politics on my blog but as I have watched this years’ Republican primary season unfold I feel like I am compelled to offer some commentary on what is going on. Over the last year we have seen the momentous rise of Donald J. Trump. A man who was once written off as a distraction has become a force to be reckoned with. He has claimed victory in over ten different states and has amassed 458 delegates so far. There is no doubt that Mr. Trump is catching fire with many people in this country. With his massive success so far, should Christians join the “Trump train”?

If I were writing for a political news magazine like National Review or Politico I would probably offer my thoughts on some of Mr. Trump’s policy proposals but since I am not, I will offer my thoughts on where I think Mr. Trump stands in the moral arena. Christians can disagree on foreign policy. Christians can disagree on entitlement reform. Christians can disagree on fiscal issues but there are some things that we simply cannot compromise on. The Holy Scriptures are very clear on moral issues like adultery, murder, and hatred. They state that these things have no place in a Christian’s life. Put simply, some issues are “black and white” while many others in the realm of politics could reasonably be considered “gray”.

To put things into perspective, in the previous election I cast my vote for Mitt Romney. I strongly disagreed with him on a number of issues but I could cast a vote for him in good conscience because to the best of my knowledge Mitt Romney is a decent and honorable man. Based on the evidence, I can’t come to the same conclusion about Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump has proven himself to be a bully and demeaning to the handicapped and women. It was not so long ago that Mr. Trump mocked the New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski. Kovaleski has deformities in his arms and legs which have rendered him disabled. Mr. Trump mimicked and mocked Kovaleski at a rally in South Carolina. Mr. Trump’s views on women are scarcely any better. He has called reporter Megyn Kelly a “bimbo” and made jabs at her that referenced her menstrual cycle. Mr. Trump has also been a frequent guest on the Howard Stern show. In these interviews he shows that he has decidedly depraved views of women and human sexuality in general. The following web address will take you to CNN politics online where you can see for yourself http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/12/politics/donald-trump-howard-stern/. I will warn readers that the content is graphic. Mr. Trump has also bragged about his multiple affairs with some of the world’s “top women”.

Donald Trump has also defended Planned Parenthood in a live interview with Sean Hannity. He has been quoted as saying “they do good things” and says that providing abortions is only a small part of what they do. This is patently false as this report by the Heritage Foundation clearly shows. The link is available here and it shows that Planned Parenthood is primarily an abortion clinic http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2015/09/disentangling-the-data-on-planned-parenthood-affiliates-abortion-services-and-receipt-of-taxpayer-funding. It may be that Mr. Trump is simply misinformed about the great number of abortions this organization performs. I do not want to hold him accountable for a position that he might simply be mistaken about. However, I find it very hard to believe that he has no knowledge of the videos that were made available in September of last year that show in sordid detail how Planned Parenthood participated in criminal activity by selling the body parts of aborted fetuses. If Mr. Trump knows about this story and will still defend this organization, then he can’t be trusted to fight for the rights of the unborn. For his sake, I pray he is ignorant of the facts. I also have serious misgivings as to whether Mr. Trump really understands the philosophical and moral underpinnings of why most Christians (only the most liberal of us excepted) are so strongly Pro-Life. In a brilliant article for National Review, Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, mentions how Mr. Trump typically explains that he is Pro-Life because he knows of a child who was to be aborted who ended up becoming a “superstar”. Moore points out that this kind of reasoning is grounded in a Nietzschean and Social Darwinist perspective, not in the Judeo-Christian tradition. As Christians, we believe that all people are deserving of life because they are created in the image of God and they are precious in his sight. I wonder if Donald Trump has ever thought about this issue on these terms? What if this child was born with mental retardation? What if this child became a criminal? Would the Donald be Pro-Choice instead? Perhaps Mr. Trump is genuinely Pro-Life as he now claims on the campaign trail. Despite all of the evidence to the contrary, I genuinely hope he is. Still, for the reasons I have just cited, I doubt he will be a champion we can count on to defend the unborn and their right to life.

Donald Trump has frequently pointed out that his success in the business world would make him a good president. Unfortunately, the evidence seems to suggest that Mr. Trump has frequently engaged in less than ethical business practices. If you would like to know more, you can read this article by Mark Antonio Wright http://www.nationalreview.com/article/430628/donald-trump-business-record-bully. On a personal note, I have trouble voting for a man who has made so much money from casinos. While it is not illegal to operate casinos, these operations prey on people’s addictions and have left many families and marriages in shambles.

Now you might say to all this, Julian, aren’t you being judgmental? My only response is I certainly hope not. I am simply trying to be discerning. I realize that I am a wicked sinner saved by God’s grace. While I have never been unfaithful to my wife, engaged in unethical business practices (as far as I know), or been demeaning to women, the disabled, or minorities I know that I am fully capable of all these things. Sin is sin. Donald Trump is a sinner. Julian Pace is a sinner. On this playing field, we are equals. But should we vote for a man who implies with his own words that he has never needed to repent of any wrongdoing? I also want to make it perfectly clear that it is not my desire with this article to simply sling mud at Mr. Trump. I sincerely hope that one day Donald Trump will repent of his wrongdoings and throw himself at the mercy of the ever merciful Jesus Christ!

Today, On March 15th 2016, five states and one U.S. territory will hold Republican presidential primaries. Perhaps you are still unsure of who to vote for. All I can ask you to do is to vote with Biblical principles in mind. If you are not in a state where voting is taking place, then pray that God’s will would be done. The central question (and title) of my article is this: Should Christians vote for Donald Trump? Based on the evidence, I think the answer is a resounding no but you, the reader, will have to weigh the evidence for yourself. Perhaps at the end of all this you might opine that these things are of little consequence because, after all, we aren’t voting on a “National Pastor”. This is true, but that does not take the sting out of the words of Proverbs 29:2 when it states “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.” Ponder these words before you pull the lever.