Since you would be good even if God didn’t exist, then God is not necessary for morality

by Jason Dulle

apologetics - good-without-godThat’s the claim anyway. Michael Shermer is fond of using this kind of argument in debates.  He reasons that God’s existence is irrelevant to morality because even if God didn’t exist, people would still think killing, stealing, and lying were wrong.  Want proof?  If it could be proven to you today that God doesn’t exist, would you go out and kill/steal tomorrow (particularly if you knew you could do so without getting caught and punished by the authorities)?  No.  There are still good reasons to act morally even in the absence of God.  Therefore, it follows, claims Shermer, that God is not necessary for morality.

While this has great rhetorical force in a debate, Shermer misses the point completely.  The question isn’t whether one needs to believe in God to know and do good, but whether God’s existence is necessary for the good that we know to actually be “good.”

Greg Koukl has pointed out that Shermer’s question—Would you still do good even if God didn’t exist?—makes as much sense as asking whether you would still be faithful to your wife even if you were not married.  If there is no transcendent source to ground moral values as objective features of the world, then there is no such thing as the good to know or do.  Morality becomes completely relative.  Whether morality is the result of social norms of conduct or impulses caused by our evolutionary past, the good is not objectively good.  So while humans may behave the same way whether God exists or not, if God does not exist none of those behaviors could be characterized as “good” in an objective sense…

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The Poached Egg ApologeticsSince you would be good even if God didn’t exist, then God is not necessary for morality

 

RECOMMENDED APOLOGETICS RESOURCES FOR FURTHER READING:

Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions

Reasonable Faith (3rd Edition): Christian Truth and Apologetics

 

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