You can even check the Celebrity Atheist List to see if your favorite actor or actress is an atheist, agnostic, or a so-called freethinker. Similar to religions there are degrees or denominations of atheism and Pantheistic Atheists who hold that the universe and all creation should be viewed with a "religious reverence" and should be viewed apart from any religious construct or experience, are every bit if not more dogmatic about their beliefs as the Christians and other religious folk they criticize. I have to admit, I kinda always knew what the creator of "Star Trek" really felt about the future...Too bad for all the "Trekies"
This holiday season the American Humanist Association has launched an aggressive campaign as a part of an ongoing strategy to address the Moral Argument for God's Existence. The Association, offering "Humanist Communities" that operate "much like a congregation" simply asks"Why Believe In God? Be good for goodness sake." One of the popular questions they pose to Christians and other religious folk is "Who said you and your religion had a corner on morality?" Also saying that humans can be "morally good" without religion and or God in particular.
Now, to those who have never thought critical toward their faith, these questions and assertions may pose some significant challenges to your understanding of God, morality and the bible. However, for those who have observed "good people" who never given their lives to Christ and subsequently lost their souls, we are reminded that the real object of Christianity was not to create a morally good person, but to redeem man from his defunct position of total depravity and the unrighteous condition of the heart, by providing salvation through means that man could not provide or attain on his own. The ability to be moral happens to be one of those communicable traits of God given to man at man's creation. It is one of those ways in which man has received the "image" or "likeness" of God.
- Gen. 1:26- 27 ~ "26-And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27-So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."
- Gen. 2:7 ~ "7- And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."
God is a moral being and communicates that morality to mankind. What is noteworthy here is that morality IS NOT salvation. Scripture acknowledges that a person can do good things but yet not have a heart right with God.
- Luke 18:18-23 ~ "18-And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 19-And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. 20-Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. 21-And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. 22-Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. 23-And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich."
In Luke's account of the "Rich Young Ruler" we find a person who is living a "morally good" life. This is a testimony which goes unchallenged by Jesus throughout the discourse. Although it is an argument from silence it is interesting to note that Jesus shifted his focus toward the spiritual deficiency of the young man instead of what he claimed was his moral good. His ineptitude was solidified in his confidence and adherence to materialism which was revealed in the form of money. The rich young ruler could not enter into fellowship and relationship with God because he was materialistically focused, self centered and unable to trust a non materially centered future. His problems were not a result of immorality but a result of his sin nature and miscondition of the heart.
In 1 Cor.13:3 ~ "3- And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing."
Apostle Paul acknowledges and reverberates the sentiments and teachings of Jesus when he points out that moral goodness without "love" as to indicate the love of God [which is an attribute of right relationship with God] does not provide that which is necessary to fulfill the non material aspects of one's existence In other words, one can give until they hurt themselves giving or doing good and it is a mere futile effort as it pertains to absolving or rectifying their sin problem. Paul later states that there is "no good thing" within the "flesh" (Rom. 7:18) indicating the human agency that is not in accordance to or subject to the Spirit of God and HIS standards is defunct. The Prophet Isaiah also states that human righteous (IE: common morality) is as a "filthy rags" (Is. 64:6).
So the Christian world view already acknowledges that one can be good for goodness sake, but that one cannot be saved or acceptable with God no matter how much good one does or performs.
Who Holds The Standard For Morality?
As Moses dedicated the altar to the Lord calling it Jehovah-Nissi in Exodus 17:15, as to indicate that the Lord was the rallying place or standard whereby the people of God have their victory, there can be no true morality without a moral standard bearer. In other words the morality of men, which is acknowledged by God, is only a weak representation of the morality and standards of God Himself. The morality of men offers no objective standard other than man's own subjective experience and cultural commemoratives.
With that said, it is interesting to note is that the atheist/humanist even acknowledges this standard, by declaring that there is a "good" to begin with. For one to simply be "good" indicates that one is aware of a certain thing called and acknowledged as "good". If all behaviors were equally as good then the atheist/humanist would be calling for hate as well as calling for love...for violence as well as calling for unrest, for war as well as calling for peace. Since we know that the atheist/humanist is only calling for higher standards of behaviours, we can simply deduce that the atheist/humanist within those statements also makes a sterling acknowledgement that there is an objective good, and that good is not merely a subjective construct. Therefore the humanist argument opens the door wide for a declaration of God as the Moral Law Giver and standard holder of all morality because we readily observe that man's standards of "good" are only based on his subjective understanding of what he calls "morally good" which is a derivative of the objective moral standards of God the Moral Law Giver.
This becomes a dilemma for the anti-God crew from the standpoint that we can all acknowledge that objective moral values exist, and murder, crime, infidelity etc. cannot be called "good". Therefore, morality is NOT based on subjective standards, but based on objective standards. A second dilemma is that neither Dr. Dawkins nor any of his anti-God, scientific friends have been able to locate a "moral gene" within a naturalistic scope of science. Dawkins comes close when he speaks of finding a "Meme", which he admits has NEVER been observed and cannot be located within the human body with current science. (My question is how did he find it to begin with?, ooh, maybe it was a revelation!)
Let's go back to the rich young ruler in Luke again. Notice v.18 when the young man acknowledges Jesus as "Good Master" therefore acknowledging a certain level "good" which according to the culture was a term reserved for God just as Jesus indicated in his response in v.19. But later he is disappointed because his standard, while being previously based on himself and self efforts, was short sided and unacceptable with God.
Summary Of The Moral Argument:
- If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist.
- Objective moral values DO exist.
- Therefore God exists.
From Dr. William Lane Craig, "Why I Believe God Exists" as found in Geisler & Hoffman, "Why I Am A Christian: Leading Thinkers Explain Why They Believe" (Grand Rapids Baker Books, 1999)p.75.
In Part 2 we'll go deeper into this and demonstrate the results of atheism and humanism's flawed philosophies and its impact on education, criminal justice, homosexuality and societal ills in general.