If they're not moral nihilists who reject that good and evil exist, most atheists hold the view that morality is subjective, meaning that what's good in the mind of some is evil in the mind of others; "good and evil depend on the opinions and decisions of people."
And in fact, this view of morality is perfectly consistent with atheism (for reasons I'll explain later).
Conversely, objective morality says that morality "transcends" personal feelings, opinions, and decisions. For example, the moral objectivist would argue that rape is wrong despite human opinion.
So which view matches "the human experience" - subjective morality, or objective morality? Let's find out...
If good and evil are a matter of opinion and decision, consider that the moral relativist must concede the potential existence of:
- Evil justice
- Evil kindness
- Evil empathy
- Evil well being
- Evil charity
- Evil 'doing unto others'
- Evil (non sexual) love
- Evil compassion
- Evil patience
- Evil peace
On the other side of the coin, the moral relativist must concede the potential existence of:
- Good serial rape
- Good serial murder
- Good suicide
- Good hatred
- Good child abuse
- Good cannibalism
- Good pedophilia
- Good incest
- Good bestiality ("beastiality")
- Good greed
...Do such concepts match the human experience?
Or, does your conscience scream that notions of "evil kindness," "good hatred," etc., are utterly absurd?
"Daddy Of The Year"
Let's assemble a hypothetical, relativistic scenario by combining several "moral options" from our lists above:
Alex, the father of several young children, wants to do good for his children - as any good daddy would.
Just one problem...
Alex holds the opinion (from our first list) that kindness and love are evil. Alex also holds the opinion (from our second list) that cannibalism and murder are good.
You can imagine the hell on earth that would ensue if Alex were to proceed to "avoid evil" and "do good" for his children.
And in what possible world would such a situation ever be good?
Now let's extend our hypothetical "moral dilemma" to drive the point home...
Despite getting away with it, Alex has a change of opinion after slaughtering his kids (yes, he went through with it - and why not since he was doing legitimate good?)... He decides that love is good, but still maintains that murder is good as well.
...Thus, Alex decides that love and murder are moral equivalents; equally good.
Isn't it a conflict of interests for Alex to accept both love and murder as being good? ...Any normal human being would conclude as much. But if relativism were true, a person could legitimately reason the following:
1. Love entails doing good things for others.
2. Murder is good (per relativism).
3. Therefore, murder is loving.
Now back to our scenario. Being the wonderful daddy that he is, Alex again wants to do good for his (newly adopted) children. So he decides to show them love by tucking them into bed with a story, followed by hugs and kisses. And then...
Alex decides to go the extra mile by showing his kids the goodness of murder.
...Daddy of the year award, anyone?
"Build Your Own Psychopath Profile"
It only takes one objective moral wrong in order for objective morality to be true!
But virtually countless objective wrongs can easily be demonstrated by using the following chart (expanded from our lists above)...
"The Dahmer Chart"
- A man who thinks that peace is evil, and goes around cannibalizing his friends.
- A mommy who thinks that hatred is good, and therefore makes her innocent 2 year old daughter the object of her wrath - while her neighbors of similar view compliment her on what a good mom she is.
- A man who thinks that human well being is good ... but that child abuse is also good:
1. Good actions promote well being.
2. Child abuse is a good action.
3. Therefore, child abuse promotes well being.
And the list goes on.
"Rape & Vanilla Ice Cream"
Do we conclude that the actions of a serial rapist result from a difference in opinion - like preference for vanilla over chocolate ice cream?
Or, do we conclude that a serial rapist's actions are wrong?
...Of course we conclude that rape is wrong, despite what the rapist may claim - and despite the rapist's mental condition.
...And this reveals that morality transcends humanity. It shows we "know that we know" things are wrong despite what a person - or entire society - says or does.
It simply does not compute (in the human mind) to seriously argue that a person is wrong for preferring vanilla over chocolate. And we wouldn't put a person in prison for choosing green as a favorite color over red...
But if moral relativism were an actuality, we should perceive "good rape" and "evil rape" as nothing more than just two flavors of ice cream; one man's taste over another. No big deal.
Instead, "evil rape" is perceived as an objective truth equivalent to "1+1=2." No sane person ever argues that rape is good, that love is evil, that kindness is evil, etc.!
"Why Atheists Reject The Obvious"
Most atheists are moral relativists for one of two reasons, or a combination of both:
Reason 1. They want to decide their own good and bad and not be accountable to a higher power (God).
Reason 2. They simply can't explain transcendent morality, because it is entirely incompatible with the materialistic worldview...
If our thoughts were nothing more than neurochemical reactions resulting from an arrangement of atoms, where did awareness of good and evil come from? In order to identify that "x" is good or bad requires a priori knowledge of good and evil. But obviously, chemical processes are neither good nor evil.
Furthermore, even if awareness of good and evil were somehow enabled by amino acids, a glaring problem would remain: Changing brain matter is simply not compatible with unchanging (and universal) moral thinking and awareness. Brain matter and neural connections are not only different from person to person, they're also in a constant state of flux on an individual basis (see neural plasticity).
Conversely, transcendent, unchanging, universal moral thinking and awareness is perfectly explained by a transcendent, unchanging, universal MIND... The mind of God!
If a person still doesn't see the issue with moral relativism after considering the points we've covered here, this should explain it.
Click here for more.