Two guys share their response to some so called gotcha questions that Christians have apparently tried to corner them with. Here is the second one.
Gocha no. 2: Where does morality come from if not from God?
Atheist answer : Christian morality, they say, “comes from temporarily and geographically limited humans interpreting old books”. Basically “morality is made up by people”. They make the point that “Christians don’t agree on all moral points”. They also argue that “Morality comes from an idea of empathy which is physiological”. Ie when we see someone get hurt we feel some of that hurt ourselves. So we don’t want others to get hurt.
“morality is a system we set up to create the world that we want, and I think morality is what works, to make the world an objectively better place. Based on empathy, based on the golden rule. That is very easy for not only humans to understand but many animal species seem to have an understanding of the golden rule and empathy. And we do what makes the world a better place. We try not to impinge upon the rights of the other people. In order to make their lives better in the hope that our life will be better as well”.
Me – Just like with the “what happens when you die question”, this one is asking what the basis of something is. In this case, rather than probing absolute meaning it’s really about absolute morality. What is the basis for it? Are right and wrong just based in genetics or feelings of empathy? Is the reason we do good because it might help us in the long run? Or make us feel better? Or minimise human suffering. What if it doesn’t? Would that make it bad? Why are any of those things anything other than arbitrary options for the basis of morality?
It is really good to treat others as you would want them to treat to us. But why is that a basis for absolute morality? Maximising happiness is good, but why? On what basis can we say it is good? Because I benefit? Because others benefit? Again these are good things, but why?
Morality is grounded in the goodness of God. In his eternal holy and perfect character and nature. Without God its hard to see where morality is grounded. I know most of us feel instinctively the deep rightness of helping others, but at the same time we know that the deep feelings of a majority are not a sound basis for objectivity.