07 October 2010

Atheism and Morality- Is there such a thing as morality beyond God? (Thinker Thursday)

This started out as a question asked by a friend in our local church social network called 'The City'.  My friend Chris posted this-

I’m always interested in British thinking.  It is often quite different from what we typically encounter in the Texas Panhandle.  The article linked below is an interesting essay on morality.  I would be curious to have someone decipher the article for me.

    Morality beyond God

I initially responded with the following post-

[begin post]

What is there to decipher?

    This author is very much infused with Nietzsche-an “God-is-dead-ism” and is trying to find a basis for a universal (morality) in a worldview of relativism.

    She does get one thing very, very right.  She says, “However, the enthronement of God as the source not only of the laws of nature but of moral law has its origin not in the argument from design, but in the narrative of the scriptures.”  That’s absolutely true.  If we reject the authority, inerrancy, and divine inspiration of scripture, we leave ourselves not with a three-legged stool, but a no-legged stool.  One look at the direction of American culture is all the emprical evidence we need of this fact.

    Here’s her inescapable predicament…she claims, “No human being is exempt from the temptation to make things worse in his own interest, nor from the responsibility not to do so.”  That’s a moral absolute, in a statement with no foundation in which to ground it.  Who says (if not God, as she claims) that no human being is exempt from anything?  How dare she state an absolute from within her worldview of relativism?  (If you make the statement that ‘there is no absolute truth’, is that statement absolutely true?)

    Without the absolute of an infinite creator who establishes moral law, there are no absolutes in human behavior.  There’s not even a standard by which to judge good or evil.  Atheists like to point out the ‘problem of evil’ for the theist.  However, in reality, they have it backwards.  If there is no God, there’s a much bigger ‘problem of good’ for them to deal with.

    No absolute moral authority, no morality.  In fact, to state that there is a basis for morality outside God would itself be an immoral statement, because you are infusing yourself with absolute moral authority.  Everything moves from’the good’ to ‘the power’.  As Marx said, if you remove the absolutes of God, then all that’s left is me gaining power over others.

    Look at the two hundred million murder victims of the 20th century for evidence that he was right.

[end post]

It occurred to me a bit later to add a spin on Tertullian's quote about, 'What hath Athens to do with Jerusalem'...so I added, 'What hath London to do with Amarillo?'

Chris replied in much the same way as R. C. Sproul, Jr., did, in this very useful blog post from Ligonier.org.  (If you want the Cliff's Notes version, Tim Challies give it here.)  Basically, the answer is, 'much in every way'.

I was thinking about this last night and this morning when I ran across four different blog posts over on James White's website, aomin.org.  These posts are all responses to the 'Consensus Statement' (which aomin.org humorously calls the 'Atheistic Ethics Confession of Faith') published recently by militant atheist Sam Harris and others.   These are much more detailed in how they answer the ideas that we can have moral codes without ultimate moral authority.  I highly recommend you take time to read them.

    A Christian Response to the 2010 Consensus Statement on Morality, Part 1

    A Christian Response to the 2010 Consensus Statement on Morality, Part 2

    A Christian Response to the 2010 Consensus Statement on Morality, Part 3

    A Christian Response to the 2010 Consensus Statement on Morality, Part 4

 This isn't easy reading, all of it, but it is important reading.  Are you prepared to do anything more than just blush and stammer when one of your acquaintances hits you over the head with, "We don't need God to have a moral code in society...how can you insist on the need for God?"  If you aren't, please re-read Jude 3 and 1 Peter 3:15, then come back to these articles and become ready.

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