Tom’s Corner – Objective Morality.


Tom’s Corner is a space where close friend and aspiring apologist Thomas Hinson can articulate his views on theological, biblical, philosophical matters. The views expressed in Tom’s Corner are not necessarily the views of website owner, James Bishop.

One of the common concepts accepted today is moral relativism, especially from atheists. This is that moral claims are subjective to human beings. It’s hard to believe this.

What happens when it comes to violent religious extremism that ends with bombs going off and people losing their lives? Or financially hard times where people start robbing other people? Or paedophiles? Those same people who claim moral subjectivity will be all up in arms about a man raping some children because it is taken to be morally wrong. Not because it is illegal. But morally wrong.

This makes sense only if there is a transcendent standard to morals. A standard that says something is always morally right and wrong. Like rape or violent religious extremism. However, without God in the picture, morality and the idea of good and bad is suddenly as meaningless as a square circle. Why do I say this?

Have you ever tried to explain colours to a blind man? Or tell someone how to get somewhere without giving them direct instructions like turn left or right? It’s hopeless. Without God, we lose any moral binding law. Take that away and we and are left with the opinions of people, with no opinion being more valuable than the other. So who gets to say who is right? The rapist or the philanthropist? Suddenly morality becomes about preference with no real value, and no longer applies to all people.

But, instinctively, we know that raping children is wrong. We know that shooting someone and killing them is wrong. This is because there is a real standard of objective moral duties that apply to everyone. The other day I chatted with James about this. James said that to deny that objective moral values exist, which goes against what our human experience strongly tells us, is the same as to deny the non-existence of the external world outside there. Just as we all accept that the world really exists because human experience tells us this, so we must also accept objective morality. This standard must come from an external source. If they come from humans, they are no longer an all-binding standard. Because they are opinions they then have no absolute value. They simply become opinions that are only valuable to the person with that opinion and have no value to anyone else. So where do these standards come from? They must come from an external source like God. William Lane Craig puts it like this:

1) If God doesn’t exist, objective morality does not exist.

2) Objective morality does exist.

3) Therefore, God must exist.

If objective morality exists then it must follow that God exists. In another post at Tom’s Corner I will look closely at William’s argument.

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