How to debunk that morality exists without God

In last week's issue I discussed the moral argument for God, but only defended premise 1. Today I wanted to defend the second premise, and talk about other ways to defend the notion that no God = no morality.

Premise #2: Objective moral values and duties do exist

Objection: According to philosopher Dr. William Lane Craig in his book On Guard, generally people seem to object more to where objective morals values came from, not so much that they exist. Evolution and genetics leads to morals, people argue.

Response 1: If we in fact did come to our morals through evolution and social conditioning, then the argument is self-defeating, because it's based on random evolutionary processes and therefore is not to be trusted.

Response 2: This assumes atheism is true, and that the social conditioning argument is true, but there's no reason to think it is.

Response 3: How we came to hold morals is irrelevant to whether those morals are true.

Craig’s immensely helpful argument outlines have been published separately in a PDF You can download it by clicking on the button below. The one pertaining to the moral argument discussed here started on page 20.

Moral argument outline


Here are some short arguments for morality:

Morals are necessary:

No God means no one can logically be held responsible for their actions. I can't be an atheist because I can't imagine a world where rape and murder are not objectively wrong.

Morals are like a book:

Objective morality is like a book, according to Dr. Frank Turek. A book can exist, even if you don't know who the author is. But the book wouldn't exist if an author who wrote that book didn't exist at all. So you either have morals from God, or no morals and no God, but you can't as a practical matter have both.

Morals are like a M.A.P.

You can't play baseball (or life) without rules (objective morals), an authoritative umpire (God) and a goal (purpose).

For any justice to be done now and into eternity, a (Morals, Authority, Purpose) M.A.P. must exist: an objectively good, all-knowing, authoritative person who transcends life, gives it purpose and can hold people accountable.

  1. Morality requires objective morals: standard, unchanging rules that transcend human opinion. Therefore, the standard must originate in someone beyond human opinion. Without God, no objective goodness exists. Therefore there is no way to judge, in an objective sense, between different behaviors. For example, the only way that we know Mother Teresa was better than Joseph Stalin is because we compare the two and find that Mother Teresa more closely meets the standard of good than does Stalin.

  2. Morality requires an authoritative being who transcends the world to communicate and enforce the rules. God is the umpire, in other words. Why? Because human beings are changeable. They are therefore, not the standard of good. They cannot therefore hold absolute authority over other human beings, nor can they hold other people accountable into eternity.

  3. You need a purpose or objective for life that transcends human opinion. Otherwsie living is purposeless.

Turek walked through the M.A.P. analogy at the 12-minute mark in his debate with skeptic Michael Shermer over whether God or science better explains morality.


Even a God who really exists but does not judge doesn’t make sense

“Rejecting divine judgment means accepting that there’s no such thing as real evil or injustice. It means affirming that there’s nothing fundamentally wrong in the world and deserving of either human or divine intervention and correction. It means human suffering is only the result of misunderstanding our differences and never any true moral depravity,” argued Pastor Sky Jethani in the With God Daily email for July 30, 2021. “Do we want a world in which evil is merely a point of view to be understood rather than a contaminant to be purged? Is it compassionate or merciful to make the perpetrators of genocide, racism, and human trafficking morally equivalent to their victims?”