In our previous article, we noted the difference between objective and subjective. For example, objective is the accurate measured temperature of a room. Subjective is how we feel about the temperature, too warm or too cold. Subjective is opinion, objective is truth, regardless of opinion. As with tall, how do we know what good and evil are? Is there an objective moral standard, and if so, from where did it originate? Our options are:
1. Society determines moral standards.
2. Morality evolves over time, and thus societies become more moral over time.
3. Certain moral standards are established by a Creator and are a part of the creation of human beings.
The problem with #1 is that it is ultimately based on opinion. For example, Society-A decides that murdering other humans is always morally bad. So, what? Society-B decides that murder is morally good as long as it benefits them. Without an objective moral standard outside of opinion, Society-A cannot tell B that murdering them is morally wrong. It is all opinion. (Please note: murder and killing are not the same. Murder is the immoral, unlawful killing of a human being. Certain killings under certain circumstances can be both moral and legal.)
Consider also the statement that abusing a child for fun is always wrong. The societal argument says that it is always wrong because it damages the child, likely for life, and is damaging to the abuser, thus making overall society worse. However, what if a pill could be developed to ensure that the child would have no memory or scars from the abuse, and that the abuser would also not be psychologically damaged. Is it still morally wrong to abuse a child for fun? Of course, it is. We all know it is always morally wrong and evil under any circumstances. Option #1 fails.
Option #2 posits that morality is always evolving, that evolution drives moral goodness. If that is true, then we can never actually know what is truly moral. What we think is moral now might be morally evil later as we “evolve.” Plus, this option (while rejecting objective morality) still ultimately supports an objective moral standard toward which we are supposedly evolving. Option #2 also fails.
Now, it is important to note that a person who does not believe in God CAN certainly be a morally good and kind person. Conversely, someone professing religious values can commit morally bad acts. (They either do not live by what they say they believe, or sin can still impact an honestly religious person.) But these two truths have nothing to do with the issue of whether objective morality exists. It just shows that human behavior involves an amount of human will. God’s existence does not ensure that all people will be perfectly good; it only ensures that a standard of good and evil exists outside of personal opinion or societal assertion.
It is also important to note that human beings, although knowing deep down that certain things are always morally wrong, sometimes act otherwise and can even convince themselves that their evil actions are somehow justified. Both scenarios indicate the brokenness (a.k.a. sinfulness) in human beings, but do not undermine the existence of objective moral standards. For example, people know intuitively that human sacrifice is wrong, and the holocaust was evil. Such events remain rare in overall human history and are clearly recognized by nearly all people through the ages as objectively evil.
Still, some moral values do indeed exist due to societal agreement. America agrees on certain moral standards of kindness toward animals. Other nations disagree. Yet, beyond all this there clearly exists certain objective moral values that transcend human society and opinion. Therefore, we can assert the following proposition:
1. If objective moral standards exist, then a Creator outside of us must exist who established such moral standards.
2. Objective moral standards do exist.
3. Therefore, a moral Creator exists.
God gifts each of us with a basic moral compass. We know this deep down. God also, in His infinite wisdom, allows us to deny it, ignore it, or convince ourselves otherwise; yet it remains our best guide toward a decent and moral culture. As Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. noted:
“If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values - that all reality hinges on moral foundations, and that all reality has spiritual control.”