The Instigator
KILLUMINATI
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
beatmaster2012
Con (against)
Winning
6 Points

Atheist can't have objective morals.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
beatmaster2012
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/26/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,960 times Debate No: 22337
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (12)
Votes (3)

 

KILLUMINATI

Pro

First I need to clarify that atheists can be morally good. They can even be people of integrity. But that isn't the issue. Having good morals doesn't mean you have objective morals. One atheist's good morals might only be coincidentally consistent with true objective morality where another atheist's isn't.

Objective morals are those that are based outside of yourself. Subjective morals are those that depend on you, your situation, culture, and your preferences. Subjective morals change, can become contradictory, and might differ from person to person. This is the best that atheism has to offer us as a worldview.

In an atheistic worldview, lying, cheating, and stealing are neither right or wrong. They are phenomena to which, if the atheist so decides, moral values can be assigned. Sure, the atheist might say that we all should want to help society function properly and it does not benefit society as a whole to lie, cheat, and steal. But, this is weak intellectual reasoning.

Let me reiterate by saying that atheism offers a subjective moral system that is based on human experience, human conditions, and human reason. By its very nature, such moral evaluation is relativistic, dangerous, can change, can become self contradictory, and can lead to anarchy.
True morality is not merely a collection of concepts agreed upon because it helps stop the guy with the gun from taking your food. There is something more, and the Bible offers us more.

William Lane Craig:
http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
beatmaster2012

Con

Challenge accepted.

I will counter your arguments first and add my own.

Objective: Not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased
Subjective: pertaining to or characteristic of an individual; personal; individual
Just so we don't have confusion over that. Now let's start.

In an atheistic worldview, lying, cheating, and stealing are neither right or wrong. They are phenomena to which, if the atheist so decides, moral values can be assigned. Sure, the atheist might say that we all should want to help society function properly and it does not benefit society as a whole to lie, cheat, and steal. But, this is weak intellectual reasoning.
As an atheist I agree to this and I would ask you to explain why this is a weak intellectual reasoning.

Atheism offers a subjective moral system that is based on human experience and reason.
Either you mean objective or you're wrong because this is the same with christians/muslims whatever religion you're part of.

True morality is not merely a collection of concepts agreed upon because it helps stop the guy with the gun from taking your food. There's something more, and the bible offers us more.
I assume you mean we have morals so we can practice those and go to heaven when we die. Although I disagree, that was not the point of this debate. I'd like to ask you to elaborate your statement. What does the bible offer?

Now here are my arguments:

#1
You say can't have objective morals because morals have to come from God. But let's go back to the time of the ancient Greeks. They had Gods too, and they had objective morals. But did Zeus make those morals? No. The society did. Because they only used Gods to explain things which were in the dark for them. Why did they have objective morals then? Because they made the country a nice place to be. Sure the Gods punished people once in a while, but this was because they knew the people's morals too. This shows that people are perfectly capable of creating morals on their own.

#2
You're implying the bible is the only source of objective morality, although not every country has the bible as their objective morality. Islamic countries have the Quran, Jewish countries have the Tora, and besides religion, a lot of countries like Netherlands and Germany have a government not based on religion. Knowing this we could conclude there are multiple sources of objective morality. This is a problem since there can only be one objective morality.

I might have more coming, but this is all for now.
Debate Round No. 1
KILLUMINATI

Pro

In an atheistic worldview, lying, cheating, and stealing are neither right or wrong. They are phenomena to which, if the atheist so decides, moral values can be assigned. Sure, the atheist might say that we all should want to help society function properly and it does not benefit society as a whole to lie, cheat, and steal. But, this is weak intellectual reasoning.
As an atheist I agree to this and I would ask you to explain

1."why this is a weak intellectual reasoning."

What if there were a global economic meltdown and social turmoil ensued so that robbing people at gunpoint to get food became common place. Robbery would then be a social norm. Would such a norm be wrong? If it is not wrong, then you affirm situational ethics and can�€™t complain when the situation suits somebody else�€™s fancy and you get robbed at gunpoint. Of course, this would lead to anarchy. If you say such theft is wrong, then why is it wrong? If it is your opinion that it is wrong, that is nice, but opinions dont make ethical standards. If you said it is wrong because it is wrong, you are just begging the question. Besides, that would mean there was a moral standard outside of yourself to which you must answer and that would imply a Moral Law Giver.some atheists maintain that the best moral system is that which brings the greatest happiness, the least amount of suffering, and the greatest freedom for as many people as possible. That is a nice sentiment, but it doesn't work. Take a look at slavery, for example. The greatest happiness for the greatest number of people means that a minority of people should suffer in bondage. This way, the greatest amount of freedom for the majority is ensured. But if the atheist says that it is wrong to enslave a minority to benefit the majority, then why is it wrong? Because he said so? If he says it's wrong because the minority is suffering, so what? Why is suffering wrong? It may be unpleasant. It may not be nice. But, from an atheistic worldview, why is it morally wrong to oppress a minority to benefit the majority? Atheism can't help us here. It just isn't up to the task of providing solid answers. As I stated earlier atheism offers a subjective moral system that is based on human experience, human conditions, and human reason. By its very nature, such moral evaluation is relativistic, dangerous, can change, can become self contradictory, and can lead to anarchy.
True morality is not merely a collection of concepts agreed upon because it helps stop the guy with the gun from taking your food. There is something more, and the Bible offers us more.

It offers us an objective set of morals: do not lie, do not steal, do not commit adultery, do not bear false witness, etc. These morals don't change depending on your opinion, your situation, or your personal preferences. They are based on God's character and since God doesn't change, these morals don't either. Therefore, it is always wrong to lie, to steal, to commit adultery, and to bear false witness, but not so in atheism's empty moral vacuum because morality is formed in a subjective manner.

So, after an economic meltdown when an armed stranger is approaching you on a dark road and you are taking food home to your hungry family, who would you rather the stranger be: a Christian who believes stealing is wrong and that God is watching, or the atheist who sees a need and points his gun at you as he adapts his ethics to suit the moment?

2."Either you mean objective or you're wrong because this is the same with christians/muslims whatever religion you're part of."

The Bible offers us an objective set of morals: do not lie, do not steal, do not commit adultery, do not bear false witness, etc. These morals don't change depending on your opinion, your situation, or your personal preferences. They are based on God's character and since God doesn't change, these morals don't either. Therefore, it is always wrong to lie, to steal, to commit adultery, and to bear false witness, but not so in atheism's empty moral vacuum because morality is formed in a subjective manner.

3. As I stated on the previous question we have commandments that do not change no matter how the world around us changes.

Now to answer your arguments..

1.If there is no God it is difficult to see how there could be any objective foundation, any universal standard for good and evil. How do you get ethics from only different arrangements of space, time, matter and energy? A purely materialistic universe would be morally indifferent. We would have only individual or cultural opinion, but no objectively binding moral obligations.

2.Morality is based in the unchanging character of God, which is always perfectly good. God doesn't create the objective moral standard with his thoughts or whims, he simply has it inside of him in the form of a holy genetic code. The Christian God embodies all that is perfectly good because he has the holy morality gene. God's actions and commands cannot be anything but perfectly holy and perfectly good at all times.

Simply atheism has no foundation for objective morality.
beatmaster2012

Con

I thank my opponent for the elaboration of his arguments.

But I just have to say this:

You say morals come from God and therefore have always been the same. Then how was it in medieval times a good moral to murder gays/jehova's/foreigners/people in general who are off from the average society? It was because it was the law then that it was acceptable. The law makes the morals. Morals can change. They will change over time. Of course not all morals, for example punching a baby will always be wrong, but morals like euthanasia and abortion will change over time. Just like abortion was acceptable and morally good back then.

Anarchy is not the change of morals, it's the abandonment of those. It's always wrong to mug a person, but when you're in desperation, it's hard to stay at the borders of morals and let your family die of poverty. Whether an atheist or a christian holds you at gunpoint, it doesn't matter what your religion is. Both ways it's a bad thing and both ways it's a desperate act.

You challenge me to answer the question: Why is it morally wrong to oppress a minority to benefit the society, in an atheist view?
Because every person deserves to have a decent life. Not because God says so, but because you would want a decent life too. So you allow another person too. And slavery would not be an option because many people would have a bad life. That's also the reason slavery is prohibited nowadays. It might also be interesting to know that in slavery times the majority of the people who decided it was acceptable was christian.

Counter arguments:

1. Have you ever heard of the so called "Golden Rule"? It is basically the rule that you should treat another the way you'd like to be treated yourself. This is a rule all bases of religion and society agree it's the best (even religions with other gods). If we wouldn't apply this rule and would assume the god argument, we would only be moral because otherwise we'd burn in hell. So we would live in fear. This happened in medieval times, and that fear was exactly what the pope used to control masses of people.

2. As I said, it that were the case, God would be a horrible person since many people have killed in God's name.
Debate Round No. 2
KILLUMINATI

Pro

In medieval times religion determined ideas about everything, including personal conduct, the law, morality, the behaviour appropriate to various roles, politics and economics, and the nature and functioning of society. In any domain you thought and behaved as the scriptures and the church said you should. The supremely important concern was salvation. All people had their function, contribution, role, and place, and with this went rights and duties. The church administered all this, ruled on disputes, interpreted, moralized, made judgments and punished. The social order was unalterable, to be accepted, not changed or improved.

You say it is always wrong to mug a person? Robin Hood the vast majority of historians and scholars agree; Robin Hood, whatever his real name may have been, was unlikely to have simply been myth. Earliest stories tell the story of a common man who took to the forest with a band of men to become altruistic bandits, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor and dispossessed. At the time that he lived people did not think he was doing a bad thing. So no it has not always been wrong to mug a person.

Why is it morally wrong to oppress a minority to benefit the society, in an atheist view?
You said "Because every person deserves to have a decent life." I am glad you feel that way. But the problem is that not everyone shares that belief which makes it subjective not objective.

It might also be interesting to know that in slavery times the majority of the people who decided it was unacceptable were Christians. So your point is moot.

To answer your counter arguments:

1. You said the "Golden Rule" you should treat another the way YOU WOULD like to be treated yourself. YOU WOULD is the key which makes it subjective not objective. Not everyone would like to be treated like you.

2. You said if that were the case God would be a horrible person since many people have killed in God's name. Once again who judges what is horrible ? Hitler was one of the worst people to ever exist but not to the german people which makes it subjective and not objective.

Without God and the laws of the Bible to live and die by life is subjective not objective.
beatmaster2012

Con

You're starting to narrow the line between objective and subjective and thereby contradicting yourself.
So I'm drawing the line again:

Objective: Not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased
Subjective: pertaining to or characteristic of an individual; personal; individual

"Robin Hood was unlikely to have simply been a myth."
There is no conclusive evidence found confirming Robin Hood, therefore it stays a myth. And was probably created for the poor people not to lose hope.

"At the time he lived people did not think he was doing a bad thing."
First off, only the poor people thought it, they rich didn't, thereby making it a subjective moral.
Second off, stealing is still objectively against the law and morally wrong despite the purpose.

"Not everyone shares that belief which makes it subjective."
The universal declaration of human rights is globally accepted as the law and therefore it is objective.

1. I'll grant you that one.

2. Not that it's important but most of the germans do think he was a horrible person. Also Hitler didn't kill in Gods name. Also what Hitler was doing was against the law therefore it being it morally incorrect.
Debate Round No. 3
KILLUMINATI

Pro

First I would like reiterate that atheists can be morally good. They can be people of integrity. But that isn't the issue. Having good morals doesn't mean you have objective morals. One atheist's good morals might only be coincidentally consistent with true objective morality where another atheist's isn't.

1."Robin Hood was unlikely to have simply been a myth."
There is no conclusive evidence found confirming Robin Hood, therefore it stays a myth. And was probably created for the poor people not to lose hope.

It was just an example of how some might agree with stealing and others would not agree with stealing. Making stealing subjective and not objective.

2."Not everyone shares that belief which makes it subjective."
The universal declaration of human rights is globally accepted as the law and therefore it is objective.

Again that's false as consensus objectivity. Classic example of argumentum ad populum. That is assuming the declaration of human rights is globally accepted, and judging by the actions of some nations, it is not objective.

In conclusion the bottom line is that other than simply asserting as a brute fact that certain things are right and wrong, atheism provides absolutely no answer to the question of moral objectivity. Atheist try to smuggle it in by saying it's objectively wrong to cause suffering, but then when asked why that is wrong, they either throw it back in the face of the one asking the question i.e. "Well don't you think it's wrong?" or just assert it as though it is obviously true. But what is not so obvious is why it is obviously true, given atheism.

One can see that atheists, humanists, and or secularists who desire to ground objective morality still have a lot of work to do.
beatmaster2012

Con

This will be my closing argument:



Atheists can have objective morality since we believe morality comes from the people and the society. The law makes objective morality to make sure we make a pleasant place of the earth. There is no God needed for that. Morality exists within the nature of the humans (source on this: http://rebekahrichards.suite101.com...). Objective morals change over time depending on the circumstances in that time period. If God's morals never change as my opponent says, then his morals are flawed (source: http://fayfreethinkers.com...). If anarchy occurs then the morals of an atheist don't disappear, but they may be abandoned by desperation.
Also the Greeks managed to create a society with fine morals without the help of Gods. Also if the bible is the true source of morality then a lot of countries would do it wrong since they have different religions and beliefs.

I thank my opponent for this debate.
Debate Round No. 4
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by KILLUMINATI 4 years ago
KILLUMINATI
@beatmaster2012

Babies are atheist in the same way puppys are
Posted by RoyLatham 4 years ago
RoyLatham
"Everyone must believe in something. I believe I'll have another drink." - W.C. Fields

I think there is an in-born human desire to want to solve problems and answer questions. That's a survival instinct for a species that survives by intelligence. Asking questions and figuring out answers, in general, is a survival advantage. For that to work, curiosity must be innate. The charm of religion is that it answers all the questions that people cannot figure out logically. However, in the modern word, political ideologies are alternative for answering all the unanswerable questions. Ideologues pin evil upon whomever opposes their ideology.

Many atheists think that believers harbor doubt. Why else would the devout feel it important to frequently and publicly profess belief? God obviously doesn't need to be convinced; He knows. So it's positive reinforcement of the individual.
Posted by beatmaster2012 4 years ago
beatmaster2012
Me neither, I'm just saying you start with believing nothing.
Posted by RinWindSan 4 years ago
RinWindSan
what killuminati said lolz
Posted by KILLUMINATI 4 years ago
KILLUMINATI
We are not simply born into either side is the point. You said "I think everybody is born atheist". After birth it is up to the parents to teach children either way. I did not say one way is right and one way is wrong.
Posted by beatmaster2012 4 years ago
beatmaster2012
Sure, smart*ss, I mean if nobody would be Christian, then no christianity would form ever again. Therefore christianity only spreads because it's taught to the children.
Posted by KILLUMINATI 4 years ago
KILLUMINATI
No, we are not born an atheist. No one is ever born an atheist regardless of where they stand in life now. To say anyone is born atheist is truly simplifying or dumbing down logic, usually for the sake of winning an argument. (i.e., not believing in God or any gods means to be atheist; when we are born we aren't believing in God or any gods. That equals born atheist, and therefore, I win.) This so called logic is misleading. Though we are not necessarily born theists, one must remember, Atheism is the disbelief in God or any gods (or a belief that there is no God or gods). We do not have the capacity to form any beliefs or dis-beliefs when we are born and a few years that follow. This states that while we are born unaware, once we become consciously aware, we make the choice to believe in God or not. We are not simply born into either side.
Posted by beatmaster2012 4 years ago
beatmaster2012
How is that?
Posted by RinWindSan 4 years ago
RinWindSan
but what if they weren't? not everyone believes in religion per say. but every one believes in something.
Posted by beatmaster2012 4 years ago
beatmaster2012
Funny, I think everybody is born atheist, and taught religion by their parents.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 4 years ago
RoyLatham
KILLUMINATIbeatmaster2012Tied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Con effectively conceded by agreeing that lying, cheating, etc., are neither right nor wrong. Con is arguing that "objective" equates to social consensus. That's not objective.
Vote Placed by LibertyCampbell 4 years ago
LibertyCampbell
KILLUMINATIbeatmaster2012Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Objective Morals was defined way too loosely for pro to ever win this debate. A better resolution would be "Atheism cannot provide a compelling objective moral system."
Vote Placed by ScarletGhost4396 4 years ago
ScarletGhost4396
KILLUMINATIbeatmaster2012Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: The refutations that CON made seemed stronger, for the most part. There were a lot of responses by the part of the PRO that just seemed under-explained or just nonsensical. I had to go to CON.