I want to tell you that the easiest topic to debate with non-Christians is the foundations of morality. Here’s a primer:
- If atheism is true, matter is all there is. Your actions are biologically determined. So there is no free will. As Dawkins says, there is only DNA and you dance to its music. Period. If there is no free will, there are no moral choices and no moral responsibility. Moral actions are not rationally justifiable on atheism.
- If atheism is true, humans are accidents with no intrinsic value. Any value that is assigned to humans is arbitrary, and arbitrary standards do not constrain the will of rational people when it is not in their best interest and/or they will not be caught (e.g. – Stalin).
- If atheism is true, there is no ultimate accountability for moral evil. Being good or evil is irrelevant to where you end up, and where humanity ends up. (The heat death of the universe). Being good when it requires self-sacrifice is irrational, on atheism.
- There are only 2 reasons to be moral on atheism. If you get pleasure out of following these made-up rules or if you avoid punishment. That is not what theists mean by virtue. Acting in the way you were designed to act in order to achieve what Aristotle called eudaimonia.
Try absorbing some of these actual public debates with real scholars and see for yourself:
- From Christianity Today, a written debate: Douglas Wilson vs. Christopher Hitchens
- From the University of Western Ontario, a transcript of a public debate: William Lane Craig vs. Kai Nielsen
- From Schenectady College, a transcript of a public debate:William Lane Craig vs Richard Taylor
- From Franklin & Marshall College, William Lane Craig vs. Paul Kurtz (audio, video1, video2, video3, video4, video5, video6, video7)
- From the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, William Lane Craig vs. Louise Antony (audio1, audio2, video1, video2)
These debate links are courtesy of ChristianJR4. Where’s your blog, JR4? Come on, man! Get with it! If you other readers agree with me that he should start his own blog, then e-mail me or comment about it, and I will see that he is appropriately castigated for his slacking.
If you want to learn about these issues at a deeper level, there is also a good paper by Bill Craig on the problem of rationally-grounding prescriptive morality here. My previous posts on this blog on this topic are here and here. The first one is about whether atheists can use a made-up standard to judge God for his perceived moral failures, the second one is on whether meaningful morality is rational on atheism.