A Case of Misunderstanding
It can be almost guaranteed that when you present The Moral Argument (TMA) to an unbeliever they will object to premise (1) in a similar fashion following:
“I don’t believe in God and I am a lot better than most Christians I know!”
“Are you trying to say that I have to believe in God in order to be a moral person?”
This sort of response is a very common misunderstanding of premise (1). Remember that the premise says:
If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist.
It is a mistake to understand this as saying; one must have belief in God in order to live a moral life. That is not the claim. In fact, I would like to mention that I know a number of atheists I worked with in the SEAL teams. And I am certain of this when I say those guys would run into harms way in the blink of an eye for the sake of others.
With that said, it is not a belief in God that is necessary to live a moral life; it is the existence of God that is necessary for the existence of objective moral values! Again, the issue at hand is not belief in God; it is the existence of God.
(1) If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist.
Thus, in the absence of God there is no such thing as a moral life in the objective sense that we have been discussing! With God in the paradigm, morality reduces down to subjectivity. Just an aid to survival and any deeper meaning is illusory.
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“The position of the modern evolutionist . . . is that humans have an awareness of morality . . . because such an awareness is of biological worth. Morality is a biological adaptation no less than are hands and feet and teeth . . . Considered as a rationally justifiable set of claims about an objective something, ethics is illusory. I appreciate that when somebody says ‘Love they neighbor as thyself,’ they think they are referring above and beyond themselves . . . Nevertheless, . . . such reference is truly without foundation. Morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction, . . . and any deeper meaning is illusory . . .” -Michael Ruse, Philosopher of Biology