Objective Morals as an Evidence for the Existence of God

As humans we have always believed in both subjective and objective morality. Subjective morality is when morals are left up to the individual. This is what we would label as pro-choice in today’s society. Objective morality are those actions which we believe are wrong for everyone despite what any particular individual, or group of individuals, might think.

In an atheistic world subjective morals would be possible, but objective morals would not. The reason for this is that morals are a concept of the mind. They don’t exist in nature apart from a mind that can think on that level. Therefore, in an atheistic world, there would have been no morality at the moment of the Big Bang, or the first cell, the first amphibian, fish, reptile, mammal etc. There would have been no morals at all until a human being came on the scene and thought up the concept. After the concept was conceived, then the particular morals could be filled in. Since morals didn’t exist until we very fallible human beings came up with the concept, and we have simply made up what we want right and wrong to be, then inherent, objective morals cannot exist.

If the above is true, then in a godless world, there would be nothing that would be wrong for all people everywhere. This would include the raping of two year old children. Therefore, an atheist, if he is to remain consistent with his atheism, can say that raping a two year old would be wrong for him, but he cannot say that it would be wrong for everyone. Of course, the same would be true for the gassing of 6 million Jews, or the starving to death 30 million peasants, or any other horrible thing one could imagine.

When an atheist is first confronted with this idea, he will usually claim that the raping of a two year old would be just as wrong for everyone in a godless world as it would be in a world in which God exists. When asked why, he will usually answer by saying that it is wrong to do harm to another human being. When asked why, in a godless world, it would be wrong to harm someone else, he will usually say that if  humans do harm to each other with impunity, then eventually the human race could go extinct. He must then answer why, in a godless evolutionary procession of events, it is necessarily a bad thing for the human race to go extinct. Once the first living cell comes into existence, and the godless evolutionary procession of events begins, there is no assurance that something like the human race will come into existence. If it does, it is neither good nor bad. It just is. If the human race goes out of existence, there is nothing in a godless evolutionary procession of events that says that this is either good or bad. It just is. Once he realizes this, the next step for the atheist is usually to make an argument from authority. He will make the claim that society says that raping a two year old is bad, but when asked if societies are always right, he will rightly answer no, and at that moment his argument falls apart. He will then normally proceed to making philosophical arguments, maybe even quoting noted philosophers, but when he comes to understand that these amount merely to personal opinion, he realizes that personal philosophy cannot produce objective morality.

Eventually the atheist will see that objective morals are not possible in a godless world. At that point he has a choice. He can either admit that raping a two year old is always wrong, and this can only be if there is a God, and so he must disavow his atheism, or in order to maintain his atheism, he must say that raping a two year old is not necessarily wrong for everyone.

Every atheist that I have ever spoken to about this (with the possible exception of one who is still sitting on the fence) has taken the position that raping a two year old is not necessarily wrong for everyone. Once someone has to go to that length to maintain their belief system one can be assured that it is bankrupt.

On the other hand, if there is a God, then objective morality is possible, but only if he has certain qualities that a God, such as, the Christian God would have. First of all he would have to be the creator. This gives him standing/authority. If a godlike being came to us who wasn’t our creator, and tried to impose his idea of morality upon us, we would be justified in asking, “Who are you? What authority do you have to tell us what to do? You didn’t make us, or the world in which we live.” This is similar to the argument a younger brother would give to an older brother who was bossing him around. “You can’t tell me what to do. Your aren’t my father.”

Secondly, this God would have to be omniscient. This is so he couldn’t be wrong based upon a lack of knowledge. He would have all of the facts, and he would know how those facts fit together.

Thirdly, he would have to be perfectly good so that he wouldn’t be led astray by a less then perfectly good motive, and finally he would have to be perfect love so whatever he declared would always be to our highest good. Any other good quality this God would have would reside in his perfect love and goodness.

If a God has these qualities, he could never be wrong when he dictated morals to us. They would always be to our highest good, and he would have the authority to give them. Since we humans do not have these qualities, we are not qualified to dictate objective morals, and therefore without God they could not exist.

Since we all know that raping a two year old is wrong no matter who does it, or what they think about it, and this sort of objective morality can only exist if there is a God, then God must exist, and he must possess the qualities of the Christian God, though he does not necessarily have to be the Christian God.

Any atheist who takes the position that raping a two year old is not necessarily wrong is either a psycho/sociopath and therefore should not be listened to, or he doesn’t really believe what he is saying, and is saying it just to maintain his atheism, and so he should not be listened to.

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4 Responses to Objective Morals as an Evidence for the Existence of God

  1. Joseph Sawa January 30, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

    “Since morals didn’t exist until we very fallible human beings came up with the concept, and we have simply made up what we want right and wrong to be, then inherent, objective morals cannot exist.

    If the above is true, then in a godless world, there would be nothing that would be wrong for all people everywhere. This would include the raping of two year old children. Therefore, an atheist, if he is to remain consistent with his atheism, can say that raping a two year old would be wrong for him, but he cannot say that it would be wrong for everyone.”

    Why would God need to be part of the equation in order to say that any given atrocious act is immoral for everyone? I understand that without God, objective morals cannot exist, because there is no supreme or outside influence to give these morals to us. We had to make them up on our own in order to increase survival value.

    Yet it is still possible to make the argument that a given atrocious immoral act should be wrong for everyone without using the ‘objective morals must exist’ argument. One can make a claim that this subjective standpoint ought to be the view for all people, everywhere, without it being an objective standpoint forced upon us from the beginning of time.

    From what we know of life, there seems to be one true fundamental purpose: Survival. The goal as we know it, for all life everywhere, is to last long enough in order to procreate and continue itself. Human beings use intelligence that’s evolved to this point over millions and millions of years to deduce very specific moral values that are set in place in order to prevent anything detrimental from happening to this survival process.

    Since we are so smart, we are aware that other people might want to kill us, or kill our children, or threaten / harm them in a way that would mess with their psychology throughout their lives. Don’t kill, rape, steal, harm others because if you do, you are counter to being beneficial to the human race. These subjective moral laws make sense in protecting this one true purpose of our existence. When we delve deeper we can apply these morals to other living things out of respect for their lives, since we are clearly at the top of the food chain. This respect exists because we are lucky enough to know the unknown: Why life, or anything for that matter, exists at all.

    All of these ideas can take place without objective morality. It’s perfectly logical for an atheist, or anyone for that matter, making the claim that some subjective morals should apply to everyone for optimal survival. Fighting for this does not break down the original argument. I think that the original argument is far too black and white, and does not acknowledge the other possibilities when concerning the rape of a 2 year old being immoral for everyone or just some based on the framework subjective or objective morality fits this example in to.

    I would like to add that I am not an atheist, nor a person of faith. I could never blindly say that God does or does not exist with any certainty. I am just someone trying to figure out the world on my own terms. Thank you for reading Mr. Catell.

    – Joseph (Penn State Graduate 2011)

    • Joseph Sawa January 30, 2012 at 3:54 pm #

      Edit:

      “This respect exists because we are lucky enough to know the unknown: Why life, or anything for that matter, exists at all.”

      I should say, because we DON’T know why life or anything for that matter, exists at all.

      • Nour May 21, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

        Life is a vital activity cteared amongst the universal processes to do just exactly what it does, create and perfect new activities to make the vital activity of being alive easier. The Universe gains new and better ways to move forward amongst its myriad complex systems. For that It needed a process that would think of new and more perfect ways to do things and that is life and what we as humans do in our most finite of ways, effect a more infinite way to go about life.

    • thewillardpreacher January 31, 2012 at 11:33 pm #

      It is possible to make those arguments, but they will always be subjective in nature, and therefore leave open the possibility that raping two year old’s is not necessarily wrong. Since we all know that it is, then, in this case, a Godless perspective does not adequately explain life as we know it.