Whose Morality Is It Anyway?
Can there be right and wrong without God?
January 15, 2013 - 7:00 am
Writing for his Right Wing News site, Hawkins claims “Without God, All Morality Is Subjective“:
Put another way, if I steal $20 out of your wallet to spend on concert tickets, I’m a hypocrite. That’s because I know, you know, and Christians almost everywhere are going to agree that stealing that $20 out of your wallet is an immoral act.
Now, is an atheist/agnostic violating her moral code if she steals $20 out of someone’s wallet? Maybe, maybe not. It’s entirely possible that she could reason that there’s nothing wrong with stealing $20 from someone if she doesn’t get caught. But, what if you’re an atheist/agnostic who disagrees with that reasoning? Well honestly, if there’s no God, humans are just sophisticated animals and it’s ultimately no more right or wrong for you to steal that $20 than it is for a chimp to grab another chimp’s banana while he’s flinging poo.
As proofs of God’s existence go, this notion that morality could not otherwise exist is incomplete. Like the solution to a math problem given without showing work, it teaches nothing.
True, morality could not exist without God. Nothing could, which remains the only proof of his existence that anyone needs. However, if a skeptic is not compelled by the necessity for a Cause of Cause, they aren’t likely to be compelled by a derivative of the same argument.
Of course, the Great Commission of the Christian is not to compel skeptics with crafty arguments. Rather, our mission is to present biblical truth and leave the skeptic’s response to God. Yet, even here we fail if we utilize the commonly offered proof from morality, because it is neither wholly true nor biblical.
It turns out that morality can be discerned through reason. As much was discovered in the twentieth century by Ayn Rand, whose philosophical system of objectivism claims a morality which is “absolute, objective, and secular.” Entire books have been written explaining her reasoning, and they must be read in order to fully understand it. For the sake of this discussion, here is objective morality in a nutshell.