IF there’s no right and wrong, then why protest?
2020 has been a year of division and protests. Protests over injustice, protests over failed government, protests over loss of human rights, even protests counteracting protests. Yet, one must ask in light of all this, “What is the point, why do you care so much?” Is there some reference point that is outside of your own atoms that you can really appeal to for any behaviour being unjust or immoral?
Many people around the globe hold to the idea that there is no real right or wrong and that morality is subjective. I find it ironic that it is often these same people who are often talking about inequality and injustice as if they are something objectively wrong. In the words of Dawkins himself, “there is… no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference”. This is a natural consequence of atheism. In fact, even many “spiritual” people believe there is no real right or wrong.
Under atheism, there are no objective moral values (values which are right or wrong independent of whether or not anyone holds them). Nothing is really wrong and nothing is really right. Someone thinking that murder is wrong is no different to the idea that someone thinks the colour blue is better than the colour red- a social preference and social construct. Why? Because we are simply the result of a mindless accident and there is no grounding for the death of a human being as being anything different from the death of cells of your nose when you scratch it except that maybe there’s more cells involved…
In the words of atheist Alex Rosenberg, “ Is abortion, euthanasia, suicide, paying taxes, foreign aid, or anything else you don’t like forbidden, permissible, or sometimes obligatory? Anything goes. What is love, and how can I find it? Love is the solution to a strategic interaction problem. Don’t look for it; it will find you when you need it. Does history have any meaning or purpose? It’s full of sound and fury, but signifies nothing.”
Agnostic Alan Lightman adds, “We are a bunch of atoms, like trees, and like donuts.. so, eat a donut, or eat a child. Anything goes.” (Watch more at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Ny30CgaRmU)
My question to you is then if you are someone who continually talks about unjust behaviour or things other people ought to do or consider but think you are the result of a mindless accident then why on earth would you really care so much? Why do you always talk about purpose when you live on a purposeless planet? Why even talk about what is true or just when you are just set up to survive according to the principles of evolution? There is no room for justice or truth under your worldview but mere survival and survival by chance. If you surviving could mean being cruel to those who in your opinion aren’t fit enough for survival or human flourishing is perfectly fine, then how does such behaviour bother you?
If you’re left uneasy at these ideas being someone who stands for justice but has no real grounding for how justice could possibly exist, I encourage you to reconsider your worldview. Perhaps the reason you feel uneasy is because objective moral values do in fact exist and we aren’t just here by chance or a mindless accident. This is why things like child rape and torture, the Holocaust, mass deception and violence against the innocent are really objectively wrong whether or not people think that is the case. Our perception of moral values is much like our perception of physical objects. We can perceive cruelty and injustice and it works against something inside us- our inbuilt moral sense which is somewhat paradoxically a reference point to something outside us as we say certain things are definitely wrong or definitely right.
Does this mean no one has warped perception of physical objects or moral values? Absolutely not- for that is clear all around us. However, the very fact an objective moral value can even exist would suggest that God exists. The moral argument is derived as follows:
- If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist.
Philosopher Michael Ruse explains morality merely exists because it is of “biological worth” and an “adaptation” much like your hands and feet, which can’t be applied beyond yourself as a “reference point”, with “any deeper meaning.. illusory.” Thus any idea of moral progress is utterly meaningless for there is no benchmark against which to measure progress if God does not exist. Please note this does not mean you need to believe in God to be “moral”.
2. Objective moral values do exist.
We see this around us. Child torture and rape is really wrong. The Holocaust was really wrong even if the Nazis had taken over the world and convinced everyone it wasn’t. Protests globally are based on some idea of justice which sounds a lot more to me serious to the protesters than a biological adaptation or social construct.
3. Therefore, God exists.
Hence, if you’re left thinking after all the chaos and evil in the world this year that there is something really objectively wrong, I would encourage you to consider the possibility of God existing and the long lasting and continued impact of Jesus Christ on this planet, who himself, taught an objective morality and showed himself as a way to forgiveness for the wrongs of man. There are plenty more issues we plan to discuss in future articles around these points and how we explain some seeming “injustices” in the Bible. For now, I would encourage you to consider if your worldview is really consistent with your behaviour. Are merely deceiving yourself that no objective morality exists philosophically and then in practice acting daily as if there is objective right and wrong?
For a more detailed discussion on some arguments for God, I recommend you read:
The gratitude myth: Affirm goodness but forget the source?
“When eating a fruit, think of the person who planted the tree.” — Vietnamese Proverb
Additional note: A common dilemma posed to the moral argument is the Euthyphro Dilemma which states something must either be good because God wills it or that God wills something because it is good. Under the first option, good seems arbitrary- at God’s whim so to speak. If the second option holds, then good is something independent of God which goes against the moral argument. However, this is refuted by the idea that God and the good are one and the same. According to the Christian worldview God, by necessity, is the ultimate good so there is no contradiction here. In the words of philosopher William Lane Craig, asking if God would command the rape of young children is much like asking if a square can be round.