Craig summarized his next point succinctly at the outset: "A third factor pointing toward God is the existence of objective moral values in the universe. If God does not exist, then objective moral values do not exist."
That, of course, raised the question of what he meant by "objective" values. Craig was quick to add both a definition and an illustration.
"Objective moral values are valid and binding independently of whether anyone believes in them or not," he explained. "For example, to label the Holocaust objectively wrong is to say it was wrong even though the Nazis thought that it was right. And it would still be wrong even if the Nazis had won World War II and succeeded in brainwashing or exterminating everybody who disagreed with them. Now, if God does not exist, then moral values are not objective in this way."
I was shaking my head. "Wait a second," I interjected. "If you're saying that an atheist can't have moral values or live a basically ethical life, then I have a problem with that. I have a friend who doesn't believe in God, and he's as kind and caring an individual as many of the Christians I know."
"No, I'm not saying a person must believe in God in order to live a moral life. The question is, 'If God does not exist, do objective moral values exist?' And the answer is, 'No."'
"Because if there is no God, then moral values are merely the products of socio-biological evolution. In fact, that's what many atheists think. According to philosopher Michael Ruse:
'Morality is a biological adaptation no less than are hands and feet and teeth,' and morality is 'just an aid to survival and reproduction ... any deeper meaning is illusory. '28
"Or if there is no God, then morality is just a matter of personal taste, akin to statements like, 'Broccoli tastes good.' Well, it tastes good to some people but bad to others. There isn't any objective truth about that; it's a subjective matter of taste. And to say that killing innocent children is wrong would just be an expression of taste, saying, 'I don't like the killing of innocent children.'
"Like Ruse and atheist Bertrand Russell, I don't see any reason to think that in the absence of God, the morality evolved by homo sapiens is objective. After all, if there is no God, then what's so special about human beings? They're just accidental byproducts of nature that have only recently evolved on a tiny speck of dust lost somewhere in a mindless universe and are doomed to perish forever in a relatively short time.
"On the atheistic view, some action, like rape, may not be socially advantageous, and therefore it has become taboo in the course of human development. But that doesn't prove that rape is really wrong. In fact, it's conceivable that rape could have evolved as something that's advantageous for the survival of the species. Thus, without God there is no absolute right and wrong which imposes itself on our conscience.
"However, we all know deep down that, in fact, objective moral values do exist. All we have to do to see that is to simply ask ourselves: 'Is torturing a child for fun really a morally neutral act?' I'm persuaded you'd say, 'No, that's not morally neutral; it's really wrong to do that.' And you'll say that in full cognizance of the Darwinian theory of evolution and all the rest.
"A good illustration of this is a fund-raising letter sent out in 1991 by John Healey, the executive director of Amnesty International, in which he said: 'I am writing you today because I think you share my profound belief that there are indeed some moral absolutes. When it comes to torture, to government-sanctioned murder, to 'disappearances' . . . these are outrages against all of us." 29
"Actions like rape and child abuse aren't just behaviors that happen to be socially unacceptable-they are clearly moral abominations. They are objectively wrong. And such things as love, equality, and self-sacrifice really are good in an objective sense. We all know these things deep down.
"And since these objective moral values cannot exist without God and they unquestionably do exist, then it follows logically and inescapably that God exists."
Was this article helpful?