Morality has always been a problem for secular humanism and its various forms (e.g., atheism, agnosticism, naturalism, and the like).1 In recent times some have tried to address this major problem, but their attempts fail miserably.
In a NewScientist article, there was a section conveying the latest secular thoughts on morality, as well as a brief article further in the magazine regarding the topic.2 The section is titled, “If morality is broken, we can fix it.”
That title caught my attention because there is no sure basis to say morality is broken outside of God and the absolute truth revealed in His Word. If one secularist says morality is broken and needs to be fixed, then another can say it is not broken and does not need to be fixed. So they are left with nothing but arbitrary opinions as people try to pick and choose their own morality.
Examining These Secular Claims
The article says, “Science has made great strides in explaining morality.” This statement attributes human-like qualities to the methodology of “science,” which is the fallacy of reification. “Science” does not explain things; people explain things. Sadly, this fallacy is made frequently on the secular side.
The article goes on to say, “No longer is [morality] seen as something handed down from on high …” Though many secular humanists profess that morality is not set by God, the majority of people disagree and still recognize that morality does comes from God. But does it really matter what people think, or is it about what God says?
The article continues, “… instead it is an evolved system of enlightened self-interest.” If morality is really all about “self-interest,” then who cares about the morality of others? Hitler was consumed with his own self-interest, and he was an evolutionist. So, was his morality acceptable by these evolutionary standards? I should hope not!
Next they say, “Altruism for example can benefit your genes and disgust can protect you from disease.” What do they mean by “benefit”? Did you catch that? They are appealing to some overarching “good” in the universe by which to judge something as a “benefit.” Secularists are borrowing from the biblical worldview when they propose that something such as a “benefit” or “good” exists. By so doing, they undercut the very argument they are trying to propose.
Furthermore, who are these people to say that “disgust” is a good thing or that being disease-free is a good thing? Such ideas are a reflection of Leviticus and the cleanliness laws from the Bible, which teaches to resist effects of a sin-cursed and broken world. But how can an evolutionist say that preventing disease is a good thing? Perhaps catching a disease and dying is what is needed for the next step of evolution.
Next, they comment that “this picture is progress, but it can also lead to a kind of fatalism, a belief that our moral values evolved for a good reason and so we should stick with them.” So, now they are appealing to an overarching concept of “good” by which to judge these things? For people who claim that they no longer believe in morality being “handed down from on high,” they have twice appealed to something higher that determines what is good and bad and governs everything. This is self-refuting!
In the article, the writer(s) further agreed that their moral guidelines are “arbitrary” and that “the rules are not set in stone,” so there is nothing to stop them from getting rid of the rules they think don’t work. I could continue, but I’m sure you understand the basics of how these arguments have failed.
This NewScientist article demonstrates that secular morality is baseless, and the writer(s) even appealed to Christian morality with an overarching “good” (probably without meaning to)—all the while saying morality is simply arbitrary and not based on an all-good God who declares what is right and wrong.
True morality from a secular perspective simply cannot exist—it is arbitrary and meaningless. Non-Christians have no choice but to borrow from a biblical worldview to make sense of morality—whether they realize it or not. In a way, I feel sorrow for those who have been secularized to believe morality is arbitrary; they don’t know what they are missing when they fail to understand the truth.
From a biblical viewpoint, we have a basis for morality since we are made in the image of a perfectly moral Creator. Of course, there are still moral problems because we live in a world full of sin, thanks to our mutual grandfather Adam.
When you take God out of the equation, everything becomes arbitrary. Sadly, this is the world we live in, and the next generation of kids is being taught God doesn’t exist and everything is subjective—not just morality, but even reality itself!
This is why the creation-gospel ministry of Answers in Genesis is so important in our modern age. Please stand with us as we battle for biblical authority against these false ideas that are permeating our culture. It is time to build your “house on the rock” of Jesus Christ instead of the false and sinking sand of secular ideas—especially when it comes to morality.
And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (John 3:19)