Back on Friday, April 24th, 2009, I made a post, A Moral Atheist, which detailed my view that an atheist, while perfectly capable of being ethical, cannot be moral since an atheist inherently lacks an absolute sense of- or source for morality. The post generated – and continues to generate – some discussion and debate.
One of the prevailing arguments that atheists could, in fact, be moral was that morality can stem from a culture and/or society instead of from a Divine source. This is certainly a seductive argument; who, after all, doesn’t think their society is source of what is Right and Good?
There is a serious problem with that belief though as the philosopher and theologian, Francis A. Schaeffer so very eloquently pointed out:
Here is one simple but profound rule: If there is no absolute by which to judge society, society is absolute.
— Francis A. Schaeffer
How Should We Then Live? p. 224
Think on that for a moment for it is certainly true. In the absence of an absolute – inherently external – source for- and code of morality, a society is absolute in and of itself and the morality of its doctrines, policies, and actions could not be judged.
Of course, the truth of the matter is that this argument of morality stemming from society is a fantasy with no grounding in reality and it never could have any grounding in reality as long as mankind is made up of separate and heterogeneous cultures and societies.
What is sad and more than a little dangerous is that there are apparently a sizable number who either believe this or, at least, are willing to use the idea to rationalize their positions on morality.