Miracles – Chapter Summaries - Chapters 4 & 5
Chapters Summary 4 & 5
Something beyond Nature is in operation whenever we use our reason. We may feel more comfortable with the supposition that there is nothing outside of Nature, but this does not make it so. Materialism and our own bodies cannot explain the reality of mind. Our minds are offshoots of the divine mind: mind precedes matter, not the other way around. Our ability to reason is due to God sharing the light of reason with us. Since Nature is incapable of explaining our minds, our minds must be anchored to something that is not part of Nature. Naturalism destroys the validity of our reasoning, but theism allows us to make sense of it on the grounds that God created both the physical world and our minds, with the former being understood through the latter.
Naturalists cannot deny reason without relying on it, so they find themselves stuck. Many naturalists do, however, deny human values and morality. When we make moral judgments we simply “see” their truth the way we “see” the truth of logical principles. But when people make moral claims on the basis of non-moral factors, we reject the validity of their reasoning on the basis of their bias. For example, a person may defend the right to have private property because they are rich. People often accuse others of holding moral beliefs on the basis of non-moral factors, and they also strenuously defend themselves when they are charged with being guilty of the same. So we see that people do not accept moral claims if those claims are generated by non-moral causes.
This is true for individual moral judgments, but it is also true for morality as a whole. If all of our views as to what people should and should not do have been generated from non-moral causes, then none of them is binding or properly moral in the first place. Given naturalism, statements like “I ought” and “I ought not” are nothing more than descriptions of the individual’s feelings—they are natural rather than moral responses, like feeling sick. How we feel is based on non-moral and non-rational materialistic determinism, so our moral judgments cannot be credible. In this model, naturalists must deny the objectivity of morality. They cannot do this consistently, and are forever slipping back into moral assumptions and judgments. Our human condition shows that we are genuinely moral creatures, but morality cannot arise out of Nature. Just like with reason, morality is anchored in something outside of Nature—morality and reason come from the Divine.