In comments on my post What is this Evil, Hugo has been trying to tell me that he, an atheist, has a moral base for how he lives that is objective in nature. Of course he is wrong. In fact I believe that in previous comments he's even said that he believes morality to be realitive to the situation. Either Hugo has changed his stance, which atheists can and do regularly, precisely because their morality is not objective or he's forgotten what he's said. Regardless, here's why he's wrong.
. If God does not exist, then objective morals, values and obligations (def. below) do not exist.
. But we know from our interactions with other people that objective morals, values and obligations DO exist. We know, and we know absolutely when someone does something “wrong” to us. We don’t have to wonder for one second what our community or society thinks about what the person did to us. We KNOW that we were wronged. We believe that objective morals exist at the moment that we’ve been wronged. So why does that point to God being the source of objective morals?
Just as physical laws are fully realised in the physical world, objective moral laws (Spiritual laws) are fully realised in Jesus and Father God. As I stated before, our daily interactions with others shows we know beyond doubt that objective moral order is as real and independent of our recognition as is the natural order of things. Our perceptions of natural and moral laws are givens of our experience.
. Objective moral Goodness and Obligations are based on God’s character. God’s commands are not arbitrary, for they are the inescapable expression of His Just and Loving nature. And, since our moral obligations are grounded in the Divine commands that come out of His Divine character, moral values and duties do not exist independent of God.
. What God commands or permits is good and what He forbids is wrong, bad, evil, self-destructive.
This is what it means for morality to be objective vs. subjective, selective or relative to the situation. Objective morality is not based on the individual’s character or personality or level of empathy, or that person’s likes or dislikes, sanity or insanity. Nor is it based on the ebb and flow of the community’s likes / dislikes etc..
Why choose God as opposed to you or me or Hitler?
God by definition is the least arbitrary stopping point, the least arbitrary point of final authority. That's what it means for morals to be objective. They have a grounding in a final and ultimate authority.
God doesn’t just exemplify goodness. He IS goodness.
God doesn't just exemplify justice. He IS Justice.
God doesn't just exemplify love. He IS love.
Almost everyone is willing to recognise an ultimate standard of goodness or at least authority. Atheists might choose the government or the community but it most often boils down to themselves. What do I want? What do I like? What do I think is best for me?
Choosing the individual as the ultimate standard of good and bad, right and wrong sets up obvious and irreconcilable issues of conflict.
Any moral construct (don’t rape, don’t discriminate etc.) that is "invented" or adopted by mankind and that is truly good for society, will BE good for society because it coheres with an objective moral principle that exists independently.
Objective means it is right and true regardless of whether you agree with it or obey it or even know that it exists. Again, “objective” (not arbitrary or relative) because it comes from the Ultimate source of Truth, Goodness, Justice and Love - our Creator.
If man-made moral constructs work across time and culture:
. They will work because they are objectively and ultimately right.
. They will work because they are based upon standards that are objectively and ultimately sound.
. They are objectively and ultimately sound because they originate from the character and command of our Creator who is the ultimate source of Truth, Goodness, Justice and Love.
The Christian base for objective morality is based on Truth. In our interaction with others, when wronged, you and I know in an instant that it's based upon Truth. Because it's based upon Truth it helps in the survival of the collective.
The stated atheist base for morality is based upon it's “perceived” ability to aid survival. In reality, the atheist base for morality is what will allow them to do what they want, get what they want. It may or may not work over time. It is something that will change with the ebb and flow of human desire, likes and dislikes, current ideology and the ability to meet our immediate need. As such, at any given time, it may or may not entail truth and therefore is not objective.