Atheists May Not Believe In God, But They Still Live in His World

by Sean McDowell

A few years ago I hosted a student debate at my church. Three of my high school students debated three students from the local freethinking club on the historical Jesus, intelligent design, and morality. The church was packed!

One of the freethinking students argued that there is no universal moral law, and hence no need for a God to ground it. As best as I can remember, he argued that morality is merely subjective and depends upon the individual or society.

But then, interestingly, during his closing speech, the same student used the opportunity of being at a church to rail against Christians for being hateful, bigoted and intolerant. In other words, he berated Christians for being immoral.

While I couldn’t say anything, since I was the moderator, I was hoping my students caught the contradiction. Do you see it? If there is no universal moral law, as he claimed in his initial speech, and morality is merely subjective, then how can he judge Christians for being immoral? In one speech he claimed that morality was subjective, but then in another speech he criticized Christians for failing to follow the objective moral laws of tolerance and love. Which is it?

Morality is subjective, you bigot!

The reality is that this young man held a worldview that denies objective morality. But he couldn’t consistently live it out. As Romans 2:14-16 says, he knows there is an objective moral law because it is written on his conscience, even if his worldview says contrary.

Here’s the bottom line: Even though he claims not to believe in God, he is still made by God and lives in God’s world. If God exists, then we would expect to see people who reject God, yet who live in the world God created, live out truths that reveal their knowledge that God is real. Like a light shining through the clouds, their behavior reveals that they actually inhabit the world God has made…


Atheists May Not Believe In God, But They Still Live in His World – Sean McDowell