Thursday, September 2, 2010
Atheism’s Moral Beef with God
Below is a response to an atheist who claims that God is either evil or non-existent because of all the evil and suffering we find in the world. Previously, I had responded that in order to make this claim, He had to use God’s standard of objective moral goodness in order to discount His existence. However, without His existence, all judgments would be merely personal and subjective, and therefore he couldn’t indict God with merely his own personal judgments. It would be like saying, “I don’t like chocolate. Therefore, it doesn’t exist”:
You argue that you can indict God:
“If we cannot make a moral judgment of God, it is logically incoherent to maintain that he is good! That is a moral judgment. I've already explained numerous times that the idea of an absolute morality is itself logically incoherent: one can always ask ‘Why should we accept that standard?’"
On the one hand, you are claiming that you can bring a MORAL judgment against God, but then, on the other hand, you also claim that “the idea of an absolute moral judgment is itself logically incoherent.” By taking this position, you are admitting that your judgment is subjective – and therefore you admit that you are in no position to judge anything, let alone God – but then you use your subjective standard to bring an OBJECTIVE indictment against God! Hmm?
In contrast to your position, I do believe that we can theoretically bring an indictment against God, because He has imparted to us an absolute moral standard including “Injustice is wrong, and love is right!” You were created to know these things in your heart. Therefore, when you are the victim of injustice, you’re response isn’t, “Oh well, that just life – the survival of the fittest. It’s nothing to take seriously because there’s no truth, and so there’s no violation of non-existent justice.” Instead, you become indignant and want to file legal charges according to laws that you don’t acknowledge as truth.
You ask “Why should we accept that standard [even if it is an objective standard]?" For one thing, you have no viable choice. It’s written on your heart. To deny that standard would be equivalent to deny the reason and logic imprinted in your mind. Without them, you would flounder helplessly as a fish out of water. It would be like expecting a computer to run without any operating instructions.
When you attempt to live morally without believing in moral truth, you become schizoid. While your mind says “no” to moral truth, your conscience says “yes,” and will punish you if you violate it, unless you’re a sociopath.
On the positive side of the ledger, embracing and living in accordance with these moral truths is deeply fulfilling as so many psychologists have affirmed. In addition to this, it’s a joy to know that I am following my Savior!
Indeed you are free to question the existence of moral absolutes and ask as you do, "Why should we accept that standard?" However, your skepticism doesn’t negate moral absolutes any more than questioning if 2 + 2 = 4 negates the truth of this equation. The sun shines whether or not we observe it.
Nevertheless, I can sympathize with the fact that the idea of eternal judgment is a very disturbing idea for you. It would also be for me if I wasn’t assured of Christ’s love. However, more important than its offensiveness to you is the question of whether or not it is true! You can cut through all of this verbiage by simply humbling yourself to ask the Lord to show you the truth. In accordance with the teachings of the Hebrew Prophets, Jesus made it very simple. He stated:
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8
As easy as this might sound, I must confess that it is terribly difficult for us. Our own commitments and agendas always tend to trump a sincere questioning and openness to what we might hear. Here’s my suggestion – Pray that God would reveal to you the truth. If you can’t sincerely pray this way, this would suggest that you don’t want the truth.