Moral Arguments for the Existence of God

by Peter Byrne

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2013
  • Philosophy of Religion

Moral arguments for God's existence may be defined as that family of arguments in the history of western philosophical theology havingclaims about the character of moral thought and experience in theirpremises and affirmations of the existence of God in their conclusions. Some of these arguments are on all fours with othertheistic arguments, such as the design argument. They cite facts that are claimed to be evident to human experience. And they argue thatsuch facts entail or are best explained by the hypothesis that thereis a God with the attributes traditionally ascribed to him. Othermoral proofs of God's existence take us away from the patterns of argument typical of natural theology. They deal in our ends andmotives. These variants on the moral argument for God's existencedescribe some end that the moral life commits us to (such as the attainment of the perfect good) and contend that this end cannot beattained unless God as traditionally defined exists.