If God Didn’t Exist, There Would Be No Way to Tell Good from Bad.
If god didn’t exist, what basis would we have for establishing what’s good and what’s bad? There would be no objective reference point. But since we know there is an objective difference between good and bad, we know that there must be an objective reference point, and that’s god.
How to Debunk It
- The argument simply assumes there’s such a thing as objective morality. But it’s enough to look at a brief history of religion to see that this is false. Are murder, rape, slavery and genocide objectively immoral? Most people would say yes, but the Bible and Quran are full of stories in which god commands people to commit these atrocities, which theologically makes them moral. If they’re moral in some cases but not in others, if it depends on the situation and on human interpretation, then this makes morality subjectively contingent rather than objectively true. Religion turns out to be the most subjective and relativistic basis for morality one can imagine. The argument has a false premise and a very false conclusion—even on its own terms.
- The most common religious reply to the above point is that such things as slavery and genocide can be moral if god commands them. He’s the creator of the universe so when he wants it, it’s moral by definition, and when he doesn’t want it, it’s immoral. But that simply anchors morality to power, not to any semblance of goodness, flourishing, well-being and the prevention of suffering.
- How can you tell if god does or doesn’t want something? According to religious accounts, people either hear god’s voice in their heads or get told by someone that they or someone else heard god’s voice in their heads. This is the opposite of an objective reference point. It’s as subjective and biased as it gets.
- Morality is no more supernatural than intellectualism, awkwardness, greed, genocidal aspirations or any other human idea. The difference between good and evil is no more godly than the difference between happiness and sadness, social comfort and awkwardness, strength and weakness, pleasant odor and smelliness. You can play the same kind of word game with almost anything and it will bring you no closer to establishing an objective reference point, let alone that the reference point is a supernatural creator deity.
Get the Debating Religion book now and start debunking common religious arguments in real time. This is a practical hand-book comprised of short segments that introduce common religious arguments followed by bullet-point replies that debunk them—simply, quickly, straight to the point.