Without God, we have no way to define good and evil. Whatever the world may say, morality begins and ends with him. https://t.co/3OSCAZsQIa
— Desiring God (@desiringGod) September 11, 2018
The idea that good and evil, right and wrong, have something to do with the diktat of a supernatural being was comprehensively debunked by Plato in 399 B.C. with the dialogue Euthyphro. I discussed that dialogue here:
Socrates is at court to answer a complaint, but Euthyphro is there to press murder charges against his father. A laborer killed one of the father’s slaves, and so the father bound the man and threw him in a ditch while he went to ask the priests what he should do; gagged, tied, and exposed to the weather, the man died. This leads to a discussion of what is right and wrong, and Socrates eventually springs this devastating question: “Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious? Or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?” This is the hollow spot in divine command-and-control ethics. If the gods love a particular behavior because it is innately pious, then it must be so for some reason anterior to the gods. If, on the other hand, it is the fact that the gods love a behavior which makes it pious, then piety is nothing but the gods’ whims — and ultimately meaningless.
Unable to answer Socrates’ objection, Christian apologists simply ignore it and persist with the drumbeat that morality arises with Our Invisible Friend.
There is a further problem, though. Implicit in the claim that morality arises from a supernatural being is the claim that humankind are incapable of moral reasoning — like children, humankind must be told what to do. But how, then, can men be competent to make the judgment that “god is good,” that Christian ethics are correct but Hindu/Muslim/Buddhist/etc ethics are wrong?
Notice this, too: If morality arises from the thoughts of a supernatural being, the Holy Men are empowered because they are the experts on the thoughts of Our Invisible Friend.
The astonishing thing is that this argument persists, that Holy Men still get away with telling people that neither their character nor their minds are any damn good. We need to be done with preachers and live like adults.