No Morality Without God

February, 2021 Barak Lurie

Today I want to talk about the notion of the “moral atheist”. Is there such a thing? You’ll hear a lot of times, your atheist friend will tell you, “Look, I’m an atheist and I’m a moral guy. I believe in morals.” And the way you have to respond to him is, “No you don’t. You don’t believe in morals at all. You may like to live in a world of morals. You may like the notion of truth and beauty and free will and responsibility and accountability and sharing and all the wonderful things that you would teach your children — but do you actually believe in morals?”

Because in a world of atheism, where there is no God, there are no morals.

Whatever morals you claim to believe in, come to you from the olden days. From the Bible itself. It’s in the mother’s milk of civilization and you just don’t realize it. The reason why you think that people shouldn’t steal is because it’s encoded in our civilization. It wasn’t always this way.

The Ten Commandments gave us the notion that we shouldn’t steal. The Ten Commandments gave us the notion that we shouldn’t murder. We shouldn’t lie. We shouldn’t commit adultery.  And all the things that we value — not just in the Ten Commandments, but the Bible itself.

That is where we get our sense of morality. Morality doesn’t mean anything without God. There are no morals in the animal kingdom. That’s the way you, as an atheist, have to believe. Survival of the fittest and all that. But survival of the fittest does not depend on whether you work really hard or whether you share with others. Survival of the fittest is whether you’re the strongest and the baddest and manage to manipulate things in such a way that you survive. That’s it.

So don’t tell me you as an atheist have morals. You don’t. At best what you have is agreed upon rules that you think are logical, but can change from day to day. That is not morality. Morality is the notion that we all have to believe in the same set of beliefs. The same core principles.

There are no morals without God. There cannot be an atheist that is also a morally guided person.