My friend believes there is no God and that over time, we have developed moral laws to protect society and allow it to continue. She believes that moral laws are subjective and that everything is chance, made by evolution. Where is the logical flaw in the idea that laws were developed over time and have been different for different societies to allow them to continue, meaning there is no objective moral standard for right and wrong?
I LOVE this question. I grew up thinking exactly as your friend where evolution was the only truth and moral law was determined by society. I am in the middle of tugging on my sister-in-law and brother over this very question. The issue here is this: your friend is not entirely wrong. For thousands of years, society has dictated morality. Laws are defined differently in every city, state, country, and in every generation. We have seen, especially in America, an evolving morality. For example: 30 years ago it was illegal to get an abortion, any abortion. Today, in New York, its fully legal up until the baby is born on its own terms at 9 months gestation.
So how do we address the issue? We ask questions to our friends/family that get them thinking on their own terms. So yes, society is responsible for creating their own laws but who gets the ultimate authority over what is right and wrong? “society” is not a valid answer. A specific individual, a “who” is needed because everyone agrees that each of us have our own idea on what that looks like. For example, in the middle east women have virtually no rights, can be claimed for marriage as early as 9 years old, and are given the death penalty if their husband sees “fit.” In America, this is considered horribly corrupt and evil; whose to say which is right and which is wrong. Someone has to be “right” by logical standards.
If I were in your shoes I would agree with your friend, “yes, society has dictated morality” then ask the question, “but is it right?” Get them really thinking about that point. Right vs. wrong. Evil vs. Good.
Blessings to you for being in this space! Hope this helps.
… and the next step of the question from Shara “but is it right?” is:
upon what basis can you say anything is right or wrong? is it not just an opinion?
What happens when my ‘opinion’ (of good and bad) conflicts against yours? What if my ‘opinion’ includes hurting or taking advantage those that you love deeply? upon what basis can you demand justice because it’s my subjective morality version of ‘good’.
For example, how can you prove that the holocaust was wrong? Was not Nazism just helping natural selection along?
The question is “Can you have a moral law without a moral law giver?”
great question, and I hope that you will be able to further talk to your friend and reach them for Jesus.
I am going to copy and paste this in my brain.
I’m on a bus so I’m not going to weigh in on this just yet, but I thought y’all would be interested to know that the next Trending Questions will be by Ravi and it will be entitled, “where do our values come from?” Watch this space…
I recently listened to this fantastic podcast episode of an atheist and a Christian having a conversation over the moral argument. It’s a great example of how to have a good conversation while getting your point across.