The best explanation of objective moral values and duties is the existence of God. Most atheists recognize that some things, such as the Holocaust, are objectively evil. However, if atheism is true, this cannot be said, as no moral position can be objective, but at best the subjective consent of the will of a person or people group. If man is nothing more than the product of nature, then what basis is there for the objectivity of the moral values we affirm? Evolution? Social conditioning? These factors may at best produce in us the subjective feeling that there are moral values and duties, but they do nothing to provide a basis for them. Let us not forget that it is the evolutionary model that gave rise to such things as racial eugenics, and it was the Darwinian view of humanity that permitted the National Socialist scientific establishment to bypass normative objective morality and ethics, since they were looked upon by the National Socialist state as coming from a theocentric model and therefore antithetical to the natural rights of man and the survival of the fittest. If there are no moral absolutes, if everything is relative, then genocide, pedophilia, rape, etc. cannot be said to be objective evils. By contrast, God Himself serves as the paradigm of goodness, and His commandments constitute the moral duties and dignities of humanity. They are inherent to man as part and parcel of his created self. Thus, theism provides a better explanation of objective moral values and duties.
Moral laws point to a moral law-giver.
There cannot be any such concept as morality without God. Nature, the animals of the wild, insects, etc. has no concept of morality, nor does it operate by moral law. If, as the atheist would have it, we are merely products of nature, then we cannot say there are objective evils such as genocide and pedophilia. Dostoyevsky said, “If there is no God, then everything is permissible.” That there are moral laws, then, that not everything is permissible, is an evidence that God exists.
Some facts are facts about the way that the world is. It is a fact that Paris is the capital of France because there exists a city called Paris that is the capital of France. For most facts, there are objects in the world that make them true. Moral facts aren’t like that. The fact that we ought to do something about the problem of famine isn’t a fact about the way that the world is, it’s a fact about the way that the world should be. There is nothing out there in the physical world that makes moral facts true. This is because moral facts aren’t descriptive, they’re prescriptive; moral facts have the form of internal commands to the conscience. If we acknowledge that some things cannot exist without something else existing with them, then we are closer to understanding the relationship of morality to the existence of God. For example, without oxygen, water cannot exist. Likewise, without hydrogen, water could not exist. The elements are interdependent to create water. Likewise, the internal commands of the conscience cannot exist without something or someone giving these commands and thus creating objective morality. Since moral facts are internal commands of the conscience, then we must ask who commanded them? Morality is of over-riding importance. If someone morally ought to do something, then this over-rules any other consideration that might come into play. It might be in my best interests not to give any money to charity, but morally I should, so all things considered I should do so. If someone has one reason to do one thing, but morally should do another thing, then all things considered they should do the other thing. Morality overrules everything. Morality has ultimate authority. This very fact defies an evolutionary answer, as it does nothing to satisfy the demands of personal survival or comfort. Commands, though, are only as authoritative as the person that commands them. If I were to command everyone to pay extra tax so that we could spend more money on the police force, then no one would have to do so. I just don’t have the authority to issue that command. If the government were to command everyone to pay extra tax so that we could spend more money on the police force, though, then that would be different, because it does have that authority. As morality has more authority than any human
person or institution, morality can’t have been commanded by any human person or institution. As morality has ultimate authority, as morality over-rules everything, morality must have been commanded by someone who has authority over everything. The existence of morality thus points us to a being that is greater than any of us and that rules over all creation.
Morality proves the existence of an author of morality, of a being that has authority over and that actively rules over all creation. Together with the ontological argument, the first cause argument, and the argument for design, this would give us proof that there is a perfect, necessary, and eternal being that created the universe with life in mind and has the authority to tell us how we are to live it.