The professor peered at him from above rounded-spectacles. "What was your thesis, young man?" The student smiled, "It's about how atheism denies objective morality." The wise sage nodded ever so slightly. "I see, I see," he said. The professor then pulled out the student's test and without even glancing at a single line of the meticulous draft, put a large, red "F" at the top of the paper. The student's countenance dropped as his eyes darted from the grade to the teacher's face. "But, but, I don't understand...you haven't even read it, how can you fail me?!"
"Oh, I'm sorry, " the instructor continued, "let me explain. I don't like the color blue, so all tests in the blue folder get an 'F'". The student was indignant. He looked at the teacher, then around at the few remaining students scattered about. "But--that's not fair! It isn't right!"
Morality, that inner witness to something that "ought to be", a conscious and yet subconscious acknowledgement that some things are intrinsically "right" and others are undeniably "wrong". That pleasant sense of FAIRNESS or that horrific realization of INEQUALITY, or INJUSTICE. People often speak of the "innocence of a child," in other words, kids will often point out the fundamental issues that us "adults" are too complicated and sophisticated to, um...admit.
Here in America we cherish and value the Declaration of Independence. Drafted by a mix of intelligent, enlightened, and thoughtful founders, it declares:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness..."
Right there, within the first few paragraphs of arguably one of the most important, quoted, and well-supported documents of all time, is a treasure trove of understanding about this issue. Notice certain key words, such as "self-evident", "equal", and "Rights." Also, note the foundation of these moral issues: Their Creator. America's founders, whether deist, theist, or fundamental Christian, considered to be among the greatest congregations of educated people ever assembled, understood and laid out the case before us ever so eloquently. Morality is a universal truth, and it is given by our Creator.
"The very idea of freedom presupposes some objective moral law which overarches rulers and ruled alike...Unless we return to the crude and nursery-like belief in objective values, we perish."
In fact, it was the irrefutable issue of morality, of the undeniable witness of fairness, equality, and justice, that tormented the mind of the brilliant skeptic. As he wrestled with the implications of this universal phenomenon, the light of a greater truth began to dawn on his intellectual horizon. As he finally emerged out of the haze of his own arrogant self-deception, he declared:
"Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning..."
Leprechauns and the Pot of Gold
We have all heard the children's story of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but unfortunately, it is guarded by jealous leprechauns. These tiny green menaces will do all in their power to keep us from "stealing" their magical treasure troves. Now, if you ever find one of these magical pots of gold, guess what...that's pretty good evidence for the existence of Leprechauns, since the two are always linked together. Leprechauns and pots of gold are two sides of the same coin.
Let's pull back the veil of the analogy for just a bit. Instead of "pot of gold", let's replace that with "morality". Instead of leprechauns, let's say "God." (no disrespect intended). Now, for the atheist, who asserts that there is no Creator, no God, no lawgiver, no higher authority---he/she has been hit in a head-on collision with an irrefutable fact. They cannot allow the concept of morality, of fairness, of right and wrong, without admitting the leprechaun behind that pot of gold.
So, Who Has the Delusion?
Perhaps the most famous living atheist is Richard Dawkins. But poor Richard has fallen into this little pot-of-gold-trap in his most famous recent book, The God Delusion. In this attack-book, he sets his sights on Christianity (as he always does).
He immediately goes after the Bible, particularly the Old Testament. He alleges that the God of the Bible is the most evil, sadistic, and repulsive figure of all literature.
Watch out Professor. That's a downward spiral that you don't really want to go down. Actually, it's not that you shouldn't go there, or that you wouldn't go there---to be blunt, you CAN'T go there. As a committed anti-theist, who denies anything higher than man, you cannot make those assertions. It's illogical. If there is no God, no Creator, then, guess what? There is no good, bad, evil, right, or wrong. Richard Dawkins cannot claim that the God of the Bible is evil or bad---because, by very definition of his own worldview, Dawkins cannot allow for those concepts. They simply don't exist in the world of Richard Dawkins. Things may be inconvenient, or disappointing...but they cannot be wrong, or bad, or unfair, or unjust...or any of the charges that he has laid out in his self-refuting case against God.
Once an atheist makes value claims regarding morality, they have admitted their own contradiction, in a sense, they have won the argument for the theist (those who believe in God). This lack of a cogent and cohesive argument comes up all of the time in debates with skeptics. They invariably point out tragedies, disasters, and horrible evils in the world, and then challenge: "How could a loving God allow these terrible and evil things, if He really existed?"
The next time you run into an avowed atheist, tell them that you will respect the arguments of any belief system, except for atheists.
When they say: "But, that is unfair!"---
That little pot of gold is truly priceless.