This last Sunday one of our college students, Adam Ringo, who serves as an intern in the ministry shared a lesson on moral relativism. At the conclusion of his lesson we had a brief Q&A with Adam, myself, and our college pastor Zach Hensley. In responding to a question about morality and the existence of God, I used “red hooded sweatshirts” to illustrate how the universality of morality points to the philosophical necessity of God. I’ll summarize it here:
Okay, for starters try to get the mental picture of Adam Sandler singing “Red Hooded Sweatshirt” on Saturday Night Live out of your head. This is serious.
Okay, begin reading.
Imagine that you were to go on a tour around the world and visit undiscovered villages, tribes, and people groups. Imagine that each group you encountered had never before had any outside contact. Now imagine that every single location and group that you visited had one thing in common: Every man, woman, boy and girl wore a red hooded sweatshirt. While there are a number of conclusions you might draw from your experience you would certainly have to consider the possibility that there is a red sweatshirt maker who is clothing the people of the world in red apparel. This would particularly be true if you had grown up always wearing a red hooded sweatshirt being surrounded by others wearing red hooded sweatshirts. Your trip to outside people groups would seem to ground your own personal experience in something that would seem to be much more objective.
I believe the universality of morality points to the existence of God. While every illustration breaks down at some line, a person would be forced to consider what causes led to the universality of red sweatshirts. Similarly, every person at some point must be able to explain from their own worldview the causes that have led to the existence of a universal moral law. While there are some differences in what is “socially acceptable”, the vast majority of moral concerns are transcendent. How do you explain the existence of the moral law?
I contend that the reality of morality points to the existence of a “Morality Maker.” If everyone follows a similar moral law we have to consider its source. Some argue that it comes from evolutionary instinct. I would ask: How does such a worldview explain for philanthropy? Why do we so value selflessness? Why is there a universal respect and esteem for personal sacrifice? Why do we esteem and reward heroism? None of these qualities can be easily explained as primal survival instincts. They seem to point to something higher – not lower.
In my opinion, Darwinian evolution does not and cannot easily explain the existence of morality.
All of the red hooded sweatshirts in the world would be best explained by the existence of a red hooded sweatshirt maker.
The universal moral law is best described by a morality maker.
The next time you see a red hooded sweatshirt maybe you’ll consider this story.
The next time you feel an intrinsic pull towards doing the “right” thing, maybe you’ll ponder where such ideals comes from.
Maybe, you will look at the world around you and realize so many things – like morality – point to something greater than ourselves.
Maybe there is a Red Hooded Sweatshirt Maker after all.