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I just had a long conversation with a fellow student of our local university. He knows that I am a Christian, and since the topic shifted toward values and ethics, I began asking him questions about his beliefs on the existence of subjective and objective values - based on the premises that
1. If God does not exist, then objective values do not exist.
2. Objective Values exist.
3. Therefore, God exists.
It was a very tough conversation (albeit a cordial one), and I am very glad that my friend is still interested in picking up the conversation where we left off (it is now past 3am in Germany) - he seemed surprisingly hooked by the debate, took his time to think his answers through, and was the one to suggest continuing it sometime soon. (I am praying for him to find Christ).
So I just have a few questions: This person is not unsympathetic, in fact, he is generally kinder than most people I have known.
However, he seems to cling to the belief that objective values do NOT exist - because however bad we might think an action to be, there will never be universal consensus on its being bad.
I tried to explain that this was moving into the realm of subjective values - for instance, even if everyone on earth had been brainwashed and persuaded of national socialism (in which condition the whole world would be subject to a subjective value), this wouldn't change the fact that objectively spoken, the holocaust was still wrong (just like, while the whole world subjectively thought that the earth was flat, objectively the fact remained that it was round, not flat, even when no one believed this). He didn't disagree on this, however he is still not convinced that objective values exist, saying that objectivity only applies to facts, not values.
How could I respond to this?
My friend also does not find any "problem" with the naturalist assumption that without God naturalism reigns and morality is a delusion (Although he does admit that it is a bitter truth) - and although I countered with naturalist, Darwinist and evolutionary arguments (the shark forcing the female to mate, humanity as compared to bees in a hive, the baboon's self-sacrifice as equal to man's conditioned values, etc.), he still clings to this naturalist worldview. (I also might add that he comes from a Chinese background, thought he isn't per se religious at all. I don't even know yet whether he is an agnostic or an atheist, but am destined to find out soon.)
Is there any argument or example I could use that might be able to open his eyes? How am I to adequately continue this conversation?
It is the first time that I have dared to venture into the realm of philosophical debate - and I feel very incompetent, as I am very new to it all.
I would be really grateful for help…
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