June 6, 2013

Atheism, the Bible and Subjective Morality

One of the most simplistic and annoying tricks that atheists pull is their unwillingness to answer questions about knowledge and morality. When pressed, they resort to dodging the question, throwing the question back in the face of the one asking, denying what they said, use logical fallacies, accuse others of fallacies and more (this MP3 is a good example). I believe the reason for such behavior is simple: They know that God's ultimate standard is true, but do not want to face it. However, their subjective morality is fundamentally flawed and will self-destruct. Attempting to blame God and make him the bad guy by quote mining the Bible is a massive fail. So is attempting to place your own arbitrary, subjective morality on God.

When the atheist is pinned down on the absurdity of subjective morality and has nowhere left to turn, often he'll attempt to point the finger right back at supposed problems with Biblical morality. But there are numerous overarching logical problems with this tactic:

1. It is an attempt to skirt the real issue at hand, which is that objective knowledge of good and evil (knowledge that we all share) cannot be accounted for in the material worldview.

2. More formally, it is a fallacious "Tu Quoque" argument (a.k.a., "the you too argument"). A Tu Quoque is defined as: "A retort charging an adversary with being or doing what he criticizes in others." In this context, the fallacy comes by implying that "Biblical morality is no better!" Once again, this is a fallacious appeal because it doesn't deal with the issue at hand - the fact that objective morals exist.

3. "Objective morality" by definition entails moral knowledge that is not a matter of human opinion, decision, etc. So right from the start it should be plainly understood that Biblical morality entails "external, binding laws," while the atheist has no rational basis whereby he can assert that anything is right or wrong, good or evil. That is to say, there is no way to attain real "moral truth" in the material worldview.

4. It is self refuting for the atheist to claim that any given "act of God" is wrong (such as commanding the Israelites to destroy the wretchedly evil Amalekites in Old Testament times), because the atheist has to presuppose objective morality in order to do so.

Despite these points, the atheist may persist in (fallaciously) arguing that Biblical morality is "also subjective and thereby problematic" because of God's actions described in the Old Testament. The atheist's challenge generally goes something like this:

"There is no objective morality in the Biblical worldview either! God commands Israelites to murder innocent women and slaughter babies! So on one hand god says, 'You Shall Not Murder,' while on the other hand he commands murder and genocide! Therefore, how would you know when something is actually wrong? ...If god told me to go out and start killing children, why would my actions be wrong?"

Here are specific rebuttals to this type of atheistic argument:
Not so fast, Fritz. You'll have to read the rest at the source, "Biblical Morality".

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