Can We Be Good without God?

In my comment section on this web site I have been having discussions with atheists concerning morality.  I have been asking for their source of morality; where does it originate?   One answer is all morality is relative to what society says.  This causes problems because they cannot say things like “torturing babies for fun” is universally wrong.  It is evil only if society says it is.  If society says it is right then it is. Rape is not wrong in and of itself.  It is up to society to decide.  All wrongs of this world (murder, torture, child abuse, theft, lying, etc.) are not evil unless society says they are.  From my viewpoint this is a major problem.

One tactic I’ve noticed some atheists take is to say all morality is objective and wrong universally.  My question is where does this objective morality come from?  They have to provide a source for this universal morality.  When I ask this question they change the subject and accuse me of doubting whether they can be good without God.  Of course they can be good without God but that isn’t what I am asking.  What is the source of your morality if God doesn’t exist?

Biola professor Craig Hazen explains what is going on when the atheist’s change the subject and avoid answering where morality originates.  To read the full article, go to Biola Magazine.

“The primary technique the new atheists have adopted for dealing with the issue of the origin or grounding of the moral law is obfuscation. The new atheists are very fond of saying, ‘We don’t need God to be good.’ Indeed, they often say that atheists, agnostics and skeptics often lead more wholesome lives than lifelong professing Christians. Now, theists should not be fooled by this. Our response should be, ‘Of course you don’t need God to be good — we’ve never claimed that you do.’ You see, it is not knowledge (epistemology) of the moral law that is a problem — after all, the Bible teaches that this law is written on every human heart. Rather, the daunting problem for the new atheist is the nature and source (ontology) of the moral law. Here are some questions you can ask Richard Dawkins the next time you sit next to him on a bus:

• If everything ultimately must be explained by the laws of physics and chemistry, help me understand what a moral value is (does it have mass, occupy space, hold a charge, have wavelength)?

• How did matter, energy, time and chance result in a set of objective moral values? Did the big bang really spew forth ‘love your enemy?’ If so, you have to help me understand that.

• What makes your moral standard more than a subjective opinion or personal preference? What makes it truly binding or obligatory? Why can’t I just ignore it? Won’t our end be the same (death and the grave) either way?

The old atheists did not want to have to face questions like these, so they simply denied the reality of objective moral values. The new atheists have thrown the door open. Let’s not make it easy for them. Let’s ask the hard questions in a winsome and engaging way.”

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