We know things such a murder, stealing, rape and other such abuse is wrong because their is a standard of right. It cannot be subjective because then morals becomes "if it feels right to you then do it" and one should not judge their choices. Evolution does not have a adequate answer, if matter is all there is where does metaphysical concepts like right and wrong.
How do you know if something is morally right or wrong? How can you ground a belief that says acts such as torturing an innocent child, rape, murder, racism, and other such things are objectively immoral? By "objectively," we mean that such acts are immoral in a way that goes beyond personal opinion or feelings; they are immoral whether anyone thinks they are or not. It may surprise you to know that, without God, it is impossible to have objective moral values. Instead, unless God exists, all that is left is mere emotive opinions.
Those who do not believe in God object to such an assertion and say that a person does not need to acknowledge any kind of deity to understand moral right and wrong. And, they are right. Human beings do not need to believe in God to discern moral duties or understand that objective moral values exist. But, that has never been the argument of those who believe in God. Instead, the Christian argument is that in order to ground an objective moral law, you need to have a transcendent source of those values.
At issue are the requirements for being able to have objective moral laws. Three things are needed: (1) an absolute and unchanging authority; (2) an absolute and unchanging standard; (3) absolute truth. Atheism and naturalism admit to nothing being absolute, that everything is random, and that everything is changing. In such an environment, no one can ever be sure anything is truly and objectively right or wrong.
Without an unchanging, absolute authority that uses an unchanging, absolute standard, which is based on the right and unchanging truth, ethics simply becomes emotive and opinion. Rape doesn't become wrong, but rather the strongest statement that can be made about it is, "I don't like rape." C. S. Lewis put is simply when he said: "A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line." For those without God, that unchanging straight line does not exist.
Where does this universal understanding of moral right and wrong come from – an understanding that transcends human opinion? Why does a small child immediately know when they've been treated unfairly or know that it is wrong to have something stolen from them? They know because there is a universal moral law that has been intrinsically woven into them by their Creator. This fact produces what is called the moral argument for the existence of God, which can be stated in the following way:
• Laws imply a Law Giver
• There is an objective Moral Law
• Therefore, there is a Moral Law Giver
True object moral good cannot be defined without purpose, and purpose cannot be defined without a cause. Without God – the cause of everything – all that is left is time + matter + chance. And such a combination only produces chaos; not an absolute moral framework.
Deep down everyone around the world has a sense of morality placed there by the creator. Everyone knows that murder, rape, and stealing is wrong but just because they know that doesn't mean they won't break the rules. There was a kid at a university once who argued that morals don't exist. The teacher simply walked up to him and poured coffee on his head. The kid in return said "Hey what's your problem that was wrong." The point was clearly made. Everyone deep down knows what's right and wrong. Thank you and God bless.
We can make a sort of "Jefferson Bible' out of this and cut out the religious aspects of our morals, but in essence, yes, a lot of it is based on religion. The first schools, charities, gymnasiums, hospitals had religious aspects. We tend to look at the negativity that it has caused, but fail to look at the benefits that it has allotted to us as a whole. Moses was one of the first to try to ban child sacrifice and bestiality, both of which were rampant in the world at the time. Our modern morality is shaped by our religious past, even if we choose a secular path. At one point in time, we probably did not worry about offending someone by committing rape, murder, and theft, because animals are guilty of those things, and us being animals, follow nature. Religion is the reformer of human nature. Religion is the advancement of moderation. Had religion never have existed, we might be in the same barbaric situation that humanity began in; warring, bloodthirsty tribes killing for food and mates. If there is a all-knowing, good god, wouldn't he know better than all of us what is best for us?
Most of our morals are determined by a higher power. These are intertwined with laws and statutes. Criminal law is based around harm and stealing from others. We're conditioned to think something is morally wrong if there's a law against it. That's why many believe taking legal drugs such as alcohol is morally acceptable compared to one that is illegal, when the legal one causes much more harm.
We as humans should not actually have been able to gain the idea of unbeneficial or harmful. Arguments on the other side assume that we would automatically know the difference between what is good and or bad for a society, therefore we would gain the morals we have today. However we should not have known what was good or bad for a society because we did not just start our knowing what a good society looks like or what a bad society looks like. If there were two groups of individuals that accidently meet, one that was more "well behaved" and thriving while the other was a little more rambunctious and suffering, they would not be able to determine that one was better than the other because humans did not start out with the ability to determine what is better or worse.
A simpler argument I will make is that we are naturally born immorally. We are not taught to be bad, however we naturally are drawn to doing the wrong thing. People have to be taught morals, it is not prewritten in their genes.
Morals were built and formed and evolved around what's considered best for the human race (or life in general). Killing is bad because it's not only detrimental to the human race, but it hurts someone. Anything that's considered harmful to someone's well-being is considered morally wrong. And the fact alone that not everyone has the same morals is proof enough to show that morals aren't objective, and were not formed by a higher power.
Morals were created by humans as a way to balance civilization; "evil" is what undermines the human social order that maintains a society based on the stronghold of civilization that allows humans to evolve technologically and ideologically. "Good" is what strengthens this order as weaving the fabric of civilization. In reality, morality is probably relative and unrelated to definite cause and consequence. So, a higher power determining morality is irrational.
Morality is societal and evolutionary. Those actions which harmed cooperative society and made it less cohesive became "immoral" because it compromised survival capability of all individuals in that society.
Because of this, only a few morals seem to be universal among different cultures- those which most destroy the ability of our species to live in cooperative groups.
Objective morality is the idea that a certain system of ethics or set of moral judgments is not just true according to a person's subjective opinion, but factually true. Proponents of this theory would argue that a statement like "Murder is wrong" can be as objectively true as "1 + 1 = 2." Most of the time, the alleged source is God, or the Kantian Categorical Imperative; arguably, no objective source of morality has ever been confirmed, nor have any a priori proofs been offered to the effect that morality is anything other than subjective.
The moral principles that people claim to be "objective" usually coincide very well with what they feel subjectively to be true. When pressed to provide justification, the person in question will usually just fail to understand that morality might not be objective, and might consequently grow increasingly doubtful or hysterical as the subjective bases of their arguments are progressively revealed, as has been observed in recent times.
Most of the objective morals promoted today in the West are grounded in Christianity. Among Christians, it follows from the ideas of inherent human sinfulness and original sin that one's subjective moral instincts must be categorically classed as evil. Thus, say the Christians, one needs an external, objective source for morality. And — speak of the devil — there is such an external, objective source to be found at a nonspecific location in the sky, sitting on a throne.
The Catholic Church originally admitted several sources for such morality, including human reason; but at the Protestant Reformation, when the principle of "total depravity" was promulgated to an unprecedented degree, human reason became very dodgy and the Bible became the only source that was not suspect. Hence, we see creationists arguing that there are no meaningful morals if Genesis 1 is not true to the letter.
I think that when we behave as we do we are subject to the keeping or breaking of the laws of morality, whether we realize it or not, and that God has shared with us the truth of these laws so that we can choose to learn to live by them and receive the consequent peace or ignore them and recieve the consequent "discomfort".
Morality was created to establish order in society. The Golden Rule is an excellent moral rule to follow even if you're not religious or a humanist. It basically states that you should treat others the way you want to be treated. This rule is friendly in almost all mainstream religions including those that don't believe in the Judeo Christian god.