I’ve recently had a number of conversations with several atheists and agnostics regarding the issue of morality. Â Can true objective morality exist without the existence of God? The answer, of course, is that it cannot. But that hasn’t stopped Sam Harris from arguing to the contrary.
As I was preparing to write a post of my own on this subject, I came across an article on The Huffington Post that was written by a Jewish Rabbi named Adam Jacobs, who explained atheism’s moral conundrum better than I could. Â Rabbi Jacobs responds beautifully to Sam Harris’ new book entitled The Moral Landscape, and, specifically, to Sam Harris’ talk at a TED conference claiming that science can explain morality.
Click here to read Rabbi Jacobs’ response. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. I pray this will serve as a blessing to you, but, if not, it should at least be entertaining!
Sharon Barnes says
I found Rabbi Jacobs comments spot on. How can one begin to justify their own ethical values if they do not arise from internalized morals and beliefs? These cannot be explained, and therefore have been internalized by faith or teaching, but regardless, cause one to live based upon those ethical standards. Ethical standards are nothing without the beliefs on which they are arrived. How you behave, and the ethical conduct on which you stand, is directly related to the “baggage” you carry around. Admit it or not, that baggage contains beliefs that affect your actions, and are the fabric of the morality by which you hang your hat.
Thanks, son, for posting this. I taught ethics for 25 years, and found this very insightful. Love you!
Chad Barnes says
The thing I most appreciated about his response is that nothing may be identified as either moral or immoral if people have evolved by random chance from some primordial goo. Â I have friends who argue that harming humans and animals, as opposed to plants, rocks, etc., is immoral because humans have the ability to feel pain. Â But from what authoritative source does one draw the conclusion that causing pain is immoral?
And I think the issue of morality poses a massive problem for the honest atheist who knows objectively that child molestation, for example, is immoral. Â To be consistent with his own world view, he must ask the question, “Is the immorality of child molestation really just a matter of personal or cultural opinion, so that I’m, in essence, saying, ‘Child molestation is wrong… for me.’ Â Or do I know child molestation to be objectively wrong regardless of what anyone else thinks about it?”
I love you, too, Mom. Â And thanks for commenting on my blog!
Nice. I can’t believe how darkened our hearts are! It’s amazing what lies we all believe before God allowed us to see the Truth!
Chad Barnes says
Thanks for the comment. Â And I entirely agree. Â We are by nature “children of wrath,” “sons of disobedience,” “slaves to sin,” “worthless” (not in the sense that we no longer bear God’s image, but in the sense that we are ethically worthless, or morally bankrupt), “having no fear of God before our eyes,” etc.
I know I would be absolutely blind to the reality of Christ had He not chosen to have mercy of me for reasons beyond my comprehension. Â Praise God for sweet mercy given at the infinitely high cost of His own blood!