Why Atheists Cannot be Objectively Moral

To steal or not to steal, that is the question.  To murder or not to murder, that is the question.  To lie or not to lie, that is the question.

The lists of moral do’s and don’ts could go on endlessly with varying explanations for the conclusions drawn.

That is, unless one asks an atheist.  Then there is no objective right or wrong, moral or immoral, truth versus error activity, much less is there a coherent reason to explain any conclusion.

Everything is a matter of personal opinion or collective opinions based on either the ad populum fallacy or just flat-out conventionalism.

Now, the typical atheist balks over the reality that he or she has no objective reason to refrain from horning in on his neighbor’s wife or husband.

“Oh, that would hurt someone, and that just isn’t right” is a common response.  But, hurt is an emotional response that is purely subjective or a personal opinion.

Worse yet, it is the atheist projecting what he believes is hurt upon a particular situation, and just because he does that, does that mean it is right, wrong, moral or immoral?  Hardly.

What is hurt to one person is pleasure to someone else, and in the case of two people committing adultery, they will find all kinds of reasons to justify their tryst.

When the atheist has his emotional response put into perspective, then comes all the blather about science, ethics, and psychology, as if any of those are any more objective than his original opinion.

What the atheist fails to realize is that science, ethics, and psychology do not tell us anything.  People do.

But, what human is “big enough” to tell us what is universally applicable to all persons at all times in the form of a moral statement?

Is it the so-called godless scientist, ethicist, or psychologist?  If so, what other human made that determination and upon what objective basis did he or she make it?

Such questioning could go on for quite a while, until it was finally understood, there is no one on earth capable of determining objective morality that is universally applicable to everyone, especially when the starting point of determination was simply another human being.

Of course, some atheists retort that religion is as immoral as anything man ever created.  Just look at the Inquisition, Salem Witch Trials, and the Crusades!

Such equivocation is easily rebutted by simply stating that religion is not God.

God, in other words, is a person, not a thing, who can be the ONLY objective source to anchor moral decision-making apart from human opinion and have it universally applied to everyone.

If a question is asked “Which god among the many gods and goddesses,” the answer is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who was incarnated in the person of Jesus Christ.

Only the God of the Bible has ever revealed Himself in creation, in person, and in Scripture.  None of the other so-called gods or goddesses ever has.

The atheist knows this as well but, as the Apostle Paul has succinctly pointed out, he has chosen to suppress those revelations, professing himself to be wise, he has become a fool (Rom. 1:18, 22).

Does this mean that the atheist cannot act morally?  Of course not; he simply has no real reason why he does what he does.

Today, he may decide that it is the “compassionate” thing to visit his neighbor dying of cancer in the hospital.

Tomorrow, he tosses compassion to the wind and goes to play golf, as his neighbor breathes his last breath, while the atheist celebrates his round at the nineteenth hole.

The only thing objective about atheist morality is that there is nothing objective about it.

It is purely subjective, as whimsical as the flight of a butterfly, and totally, contradictory every time the atheist chimes in with an opinion of what he or she things is moral.

So, to steal or not to steal is not a question the atheist can answer.  Neither can the atheist objectively answer whether to murder or to lie or not.

His opinion means nothing in the universe and the only way he can express it is by contradicting himself and then forcefully imposing it on others.

Is it any wonder that down through human history the greatest despots have shared and advocated the godless “morality” of the atheism?

More on that in another article.

About the Author


President, Christian Apologetics Project
PhD Candidate, Northwest University (2018)
MA Apologetics w/ Honors, BIOLA University (2005)
ThM, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (2003)
MDiv, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (2000)
BA Pastoral Ministry & Bible, Baptist Bible College (1992)

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