If no God exists, does good or bad, right or wrong?
While everyone's gut instinct is likely an unequivocal yes, logically the answer is no.
This five-minute video from Dr. Edward Lane Craig spells out the moral argument really well. I also summarize the moral argument of his book On Guard below, coupled with the moral argument chapter in Stealing from God, by Dr. Frank Turek.
The moral argument boils down to:
A moral law requires a moral law giver.
If God does not exist, there's no way to objectively tell what's right or wrong because all we have is the natural world and morals are simply illusions. While we might find the notion of rape abhorrent because our culture despises it, it's no more right or wrong than a cat killing a mouse.
Objective moral values and duties do exist, even atheists would agree.
Therefore, God exists.
Responses to objections to premise #1:
A. Morals cannot simply exist without any foundation
Some might argue evolution generated herd morality out of sheer necessity for survival. Like all animals, Homo sapiens have just evolved to have social constructs as it's advantageous for survival.
Even if true, that still doesn't lead to morality. Great white sharks, Craig wrote, forcibly copulate with females while lions kill zebras. In these cases we don't say sharks rape other sharks, nor that lions are guilty of murdering zebras.
It also doesn't seem reasonable that evolution would generate exactly the kind of people who would have some sort of built-in moral system. It's more reasonable to conclude both the natural and moral realm are under the authority of a God who gave us both laws and nature, and the moral law just happened to fit our natural world, according to On Guard, pages 137 and 138.
On page 91 of Stealing From God, Dr. Turek quotes a conversation between interviewer Justin Brierley and Richard Dawkins: "Ultimately, your belief that rape is wrong is as arbitrary as the fact that we've evolved five fingers rather than six," Brierley said, to which Dawkins responded "You could say that, yeah."
Science can't help with discovering morality because it's morally neutral, and an entirely different category. You can't weigh justice or give someone a shot of love.
B. Whatever contributes to human flourishing is good
The problem here is with the definition of human flourishing. It could mean anything anyone wanted it to. I saw a Nazi propaganda film recently that talked about how grievously we humans have sinned against natural section by allowing “inferior life forms” to live. “where thousands of drooling imbeciles must be cared for — individuals lower than any beasts.” And aren't we putting human flourishing arbitrarily above what's best for mice and mosquitos? If no God exists, this seems very arbitrary and favoring our species over another.
C. Morals don't necessarily translate into moral duties
Even if you accept that morality could exist without God, that doesn't necessarily mean moral duties do. “You don’t have to help anybody. That’s what this country is all about!” proclaimed attorney Jackie Chiles in the final episode of Seinfeld. If God doesn't exist you have no obligation to show anyone mercy or love, or to not always act in your own self interest.
D. The Euthyphro dilemma
The basic dilemma is covered in the video at the top, but I thought this article by Tellable Truths included a unique argument focused on the concept of Trinity.
E. Does a moral law really require a moral law giver?
If you want to dive even deeper into this topic, this lengthy, dense article by writer and speaker John Njoroge is worth savoring. It took me several hours to read and digest. Read the article and my notes https://www.notion.so/garmoe/QECs-Why-does-reality-require-a-moral-law-giver-a6f80107829f408682ffacf9fc1cb371
I’ll respond to to the second objection in a a future article.