make the point often that only a God provides us with an objective standard for
morality. If there is no God, there is no such thing as objective morality.
(The reason I make this point is to lead people to the converse truth, which is
that if objective morality exists, then there is a God, but that is the subject
of another post.) I made this point in an email response to a radio listener
who disagreed with me by telling him that if there is no God than murder is not
objectively wrong, no matter what he or anybody else might think of it. He
wrote back

Basically what you state here, and correct me if I’m wrong, is
that if it was discovered tomorrow definitively that there is not and has never
been any God (use your imagination) that murder would be acceptable. Now
forgive me, I am twisting words a little bit, but truthfully to say that if God
doesn’t exist then there is no basis for what is right and what is wrong is a
fallacy. Right and wrong are human concepts… these are words we have created
to describe things that are desirable and undesirable within a human community.
Even without any supernatural element we as a society can agree on a whole that
murder, rape, name calling, stealing, etc.. is wrong… if we hurt one another,
this is wrong. Wrong = pain or anguish, Right = comfort and stability. Would
you agree?

My response: I stated (or tried to state at least) that if
there is no God, there is no objective basis for morality. Without God,
morality becomes subjective – based on man’s arbitrary decisions – which is
exactly what you have described ("right and wrong are human
concepts") validating my point. You might respond that the objective
standard is "desirable and undesirable" but this is completely subjective
as well. What one person finds desirable may not at all be what others do. And
even if a majority found something desirable, would we then automatically
consider it "right"? A large percentage of Americans thought slavery was
OK at one time in our history. Was it? What if the whole world agreed with the
millions who currently think that the eradication of Jews is desirable?
Would it then be moral? Can we really agree as humanity that "murder, rape
and name-calling" is wrong? After all, agreeing on the principle would
require that we agree on the definition and, as has been made abundantly clear
in history, one culture’s "murderer" is another
culture’s "valiant warrior", one culture’s "thief" is
another culture’s "liberator."

Even to try to use "pain and anguish" and
"comfort and stability" as a standard is futile as it is so
ridiculously simplistic. Are we really going to say that pain is the ultimate
standard for "wrong" and comfort is the ultimate standard for
"right?" Is the fireman who goes to very painful and uncomfortable
lengths to rescue a child from a burning building immoral? Is the couch potato
the ultimate standard for righteousness?

Don Johnson Evangelistic Ministries