The following is an short piece my 8th grade daughter Ky submitted to a NYTs essay competition. Hope she does well! I thought it was worthy of a guest blog post here on the blog:
Good Sans God?
A woman donated a kidney to a child in desperate need of a transplant. She does not believe in God, but has she performed a morally good act? Of course. One can be good without believing in God. To say otherwise is absurd. The question to answer then is can good exist without God? I propose that if God does not exist, then objective moral values do not exist.
Some moralistic atheists, as Louise Anderson argues, would think this hypothesis false. They “find moral value to be immanent in the natural world, arising from the vulnerabilities of sentient beings and from the capacities of rational beings to recognize and to respond to those vulnerabilities and capacities in others.” This definition replaces right and wrong with vulnerabilities. Yet vulnerabilities are not defined, nor do we know which vulnerabilities pertain to evil or good. More importantly, if God does not exist and people are simply highly developed animals, then why are humans alone subject to basic morality? If a lion kills and eats another lion, it has committed no injustice. Yet murder and cannibalism are inarguably wrong by all accounts. What holds us to a moral standard?
Let us return once again to my thesis, ‘If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist’. To prove this, we must differentiate between objective and subjective morality. Objective morality means right and wrong are set in the object itself, in its fundamental rightness or wrongness. As William Craig said, “To say that there are objective moral values is to say that something is right or wrong independently of whether anybody believes it to be so.” In contrast, subjective morality means that right and wrong are not set; they exist only in the beholder’s eye. We know that in space, without an objective reference point, we couldn’t be sure which was up or down. Similarly, without an objective moral standard, one cannot be sure of right or wrong. This objective moral reference point is found only in the character of God.
Atheism provides no standard, no secured reference point, to differentiate between right and wrong. New Atheist Richard Dawkins stated without God, there is “...no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.” So do good and evil even exist? Yes. Objective moral values do exist. This is blatantly evident in the world around us. Human trafficking is evil. Whether the trafficker thinks so or not, the practice remains an atrocity. We now arrive to a conclusion: if God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist. Yet objective morals do exist, and therefore, so does God.