Share
A- A A+
Free Email News
Christianity for Skeptics
by Drs Steve Kumar, Jonathan D Sarfati

US $13.00
View Item
The God Reality
by Rob Slane

US $8.00
View Item
Evolution's Fatal Fruit
by Tom De Rosa

US $10.00
View Item
Evolution’s Fatal Fruit DVD
by Tom De Rosa

US $13.00
View Item

Feedback archive Feedback 2013

The secular ‘ten commandments’?

Published: 9 July 2013 (GMT+10)

wikipedia.org

10 commandments

What basis do atheists have for positing a ‘new 10 commandments’? Are they merely ‘10 suggestions’? CMI’s Lita Cosner shows how these ‘new ten commandments’ are vastly inferior to God’s 10 commandments.

J.B. from Australia writes:

To the CMI team, A quick email to say that your site is a wonderful resource and I enjoy delving into your articles as often as I can (usually a couple of times a week). As both a scientist and a Christian it is so helpful to have logical arguments and alternative interpretations to present to my collegues (who are by-and-large atheist evolutionists, with some old earth christians as well.) Of course I also have a questionSmilies I came across the following website [Weblink removed as per feedback rules—Ed.] which lays out a secular 10 commandments, some of which actually make some sense. I was wondering how you might go about refuting these? I find it much harder to refute topics where there is some congruence between Christian and secular beliefs. Thanks

‘The New [secular] 10 Commandments’1

First Commandment: Do not do to others what you would not want them to do to you.
Second Commandment: In all things, strive to cause no harm.
Third Commandment: Treat your fellow human beings, your fellow living things, and the world in general with love, honesty, faithfulness and respect.
Fourth Commandment: Do not overlook evil or shrink from administering justice, but always be ready to forgive wrongdoing freely admitted and honestly regretted.
Fifth Commandment: Live life with a sense of joy and wonder.
Sixth Commandment: Always seek to be learning something new.
Seventh Commandment: Test all things; always check your ideas against the facts, and be ready to discard even a cherished belief if it does not conform to them.
Eighth Commandment: Never seek to censor or cut yourself off from dissent; always respect the right of others to disagree with you.
Ninth Commandment: Form independent opinions on the basis of your own reason and experience; do not allow yourself to be led blindly by others.
Tenth Commandment: Question everything.

CMI’s Lita Cosner responds:

Dear J,

The 10 Commandments convict all who try to live by them because none of us are perfect.

Thanks for writing in. This atheist’s 10 Commandments are interesting, but they reflect nothing other than his own preferences. I think they’re vastly inferior to the biblical 10 Commandments, because the 10 Commandments were objective—you know what the definition of lying, murder, adultery, etc. are and you could be pretty sure whether or not you’d broken them. But “In all things, strive to cause no harm”? “Treat your fellow human beings, living things, and the world in general with love, honesty, faithfulness, and respect?” How does one define these things in concrete terms? The 10 Commandments convict all who try to live by them because none of us are perfect—we’ve all lied, we’ve all coveted, we’ve all dishonoured God’s name in various ways. In this way it points us to salvation in Christ because the Law condemns us—it can’t save. This atheist’s 10 Commandments leave one with a sort of nebulous ‘warm-fuzzy’ feeling that ‘we’re doing okay’, which is probably precisely the purpose of the list (if one can give the author the benefit of the doubt of having thought that much about them).

There have been lots of codes of morality over time, most of them not inspired by God, and most of them aren’t entirely wrong—for instance, most law codes punish murder, rape, and theft, because human societies throughout history recognize the destructive tendencies of these acts. But “do not covet” was the Commandment Paul focused on in Romans 7, and that’s a curious commandment, isn’t it? If I want John Smith’s position at work, or his shiny new car, or so on, it doesn’t really hurt John Smith—there’s already a commandment saying I can’t steal his things. But the Bible forbids me to even enviously desire his things—something that apart from the Spirit’s transforming power, we can’t do. In this commandment, God’s law is focusing on a condition of the heart, something that most other law codes do not do (of course, the New Testament, given to Spirit-empowered believers, takes this to a whole new level).

God has given ‘common grace’ to humanity—this means that He gives good things like food and other provisions, and basically every good thing that is common to humanity. One of these things is that He restrains evil to a certain extent—if evil were allowed to develop to the extent it could in every person, chaos and unremitting violence would be the result. I think that we can chalk up the good and true things that pop up even in unbelievers’ law codes to common grace, but we can also point to the weaknesses in their codes and the superiority of God’s law.

A closing thought: What is the atheist’s standard? What I mean is, who can he point to as the embodiment of everything his code points to? We believe that right and wrong are based in the character of God Himself—He is the standard. And of course, Jesus’ life is what perfect obedience to the Law looks like.

Sincerely,

Lita Cosner

Related Articles

Further Reading

Reference

  1. The New Ten Commandments, www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism/essays/the-new-ten-commandments, accessed 13/6/2013. Return to text.

Creation.com reaches millions of people each year–many of these aren't believers in our Creator and Savior Jesus Christ. How will we keep reaching them without your support? Please consider a small gift today. Support this site

Comments closed
Article closed for commenting.
Only available for 14 days from appearance on front page.
Readers’ comments
Renton M., New Zealand, 9 July 2013

‘There have been lots of codes of morality over time, most of them not inspired by God, and most of them aren’t entirely wrong—‘

By what standard? Only measured against the absolute standards of God. Never the less, while they may in appear to conform to the absolute standard God has set, they are actually humanistic and thus relative standards and so are not the same thing, even though on the surface they may appear to be.

‘Tenth Commandment: Question everything.’

Including this commandment...and the preceding nine?

Errol B., Australia, 9 July 2013

Do not the last six of these secular commandments seem a little hypocritical?

David L., Australia, 9 July 2013

Well put, Lita.

Commandments/Law affect the conscience. It is in the conscience that spiritual warfare is conducted. This is why evangelists who talk directly about conscience and consequences of conscience choices are most effective at bringing unbelievers to the TRUE understanding of where they stand before their creator, whether they choose to believe in Him or not.

The FACT is however that He is real and His laws/commandments are also REAL. When you break them you accept responsibility for them. even if you don't believe in them.

eg gravity: It existed even when I didn't know about it. I saw its effects even though I did not understand it. I've seen it thwarted, for a time. Such as air plane flight. But even mans efforts run out of fuel and the law remains solid.

When someone comes to an understanding of the law or the law hits them directly. A solid realization occurs in their conscience FORCING a situation that requires a choice to be made.

eg: You drive the highway every day and never see the Law. You may start to believe that the Law no longer exists. Others get away with it all the time. So you start to break the Law, a bit then a bit more. Your conscience becomes seared, it refuses to now accept the Law as law. Then 1 day you 'reflect' and see the flashing lights approaching fast. Your stomach turns. Realization hits like a sledgehammer. You stand knowingly convicted...You are now at the point of no more choice. Conviction has come. In the Gospel sense you are now at the cross. Do you accept the gift or deny it.

But what 'can' happen is the flashing lights overtake us; we breathe relief. Our consciousness of the Law is now very REAL.... Further up life's highway we find the result of someone else's law breaking. A serious crash & pain!

Peeter K., Australia, 9 July 2013

A common interpretation of moral action even with other religions' version of the "golden rule" is consistent with the secular philosophy of no harm. ie "don't do unto others".

The Bible has the much higher requirement of "DO UNTO OTHERS" ie a positive attitude which incorporates the command to "love your neighbour as yourself", not the negative avoid doing harm and the rest of their condition is none of my business.

james O., Australia, 9 July 2013

Well first off one must ask the atheist why. What would cause me to not do to others which I would not want done to me....I mean to say does a Lion think about the poor Zebra before it rips its guts out, possibly while the zebra still draws breath. But if one looks deeper the atheist obviously is stealing from the Jewish reabbis talmudic veiw point anyway in the first commandment so, he plaigirises without acknowleding the spiritual spring he drew this meta physical law from...thus invalidating this and every other command of his.

Looking further down, we need definitions of ' joy and wonder'...in a cold merciless universe with no point, just random happenstance, injustices abounding daily and without reproog what is this thing called joy...where does it originate and what purpose does it achieve...borrowing from another cynic, vanity, vanity all is vanity the preacher said..

Commandment eigth and nine are just a joke...the fellow needs to be asked if we should be allowed to teach Creation Science in schools and a young earth model alongside the much parroted and mimicked fairy story of evolution...dont cut yourself off from dessent...the fellow is a barking mad hypocrite...

Bob S., Australia, 9 July 2013

Hmmm, what happens if we apply these secular commandments to some well known atheists and atheist groups? C1 Do not do to others what you would not want them to do to you. Atheists want their theory of origins in the science class room so they of course must be willing for non atheists to have their theory of origins in the science class room as well. C3 Treat your fellow human beings, your fellow living things, and the world in general with love, honesty, faithfulness and respect. So, no more eating meat or destroying habitat of endangered species, and nor more referring to creationists in highly derogatory terms, or using deceit to descredit them as one evolutionist has approved the practise of (Bora Zivkovic)

C7 Test all things; always check your ideas against the facts, and be ready to discard even a cherished belief if it does not conform to them.

Oh how wonderful if so many atheists would practise this with the many problems in the theory of evolution and old age of the universe!

C8 Never seek to censor or cut yourself off from dissent; always respect the right of others to disagree with you. so why are so many people speaking out against those who challenge evolution? Why are scientists losing their jobs, losing university tenure? Why are teachers being warned and dismissed for the mere mention that there are theories of origin other than evolution?

Was this list really written by a secularist? sounds more like a list written by someone persecuted by atheists, calling them out on their wrongs!

Judie S., Australia, 9 July 2013

I once saw an Andy Stanley (pastor of a huge church in Atlanta, GA) video where he said that every society had laws. Examples were, "Don't take someone else's stuff", ditto "wife", "Don't murder" - pretty much all "don't's".

His point was that no-one obeys even the laws they set for themselves, and that no-one except Christ offers forgiveness or a way back.

I wonder what the atheist who set these laws does about those who break them.

Joseph M., United Kingdom, 9 July 2013

The first commandment basically reads if I want evil to be done to me then I can do evil unto others.

The second, third and fourth commands doesn’t clarify what harm, honesty, wrongdoing are. As the saying goes ‘beauty is in the sight of the beholder’. So a person’s wrongdoing can be another’s welldoing.

Not knowing what wrongdoing is nullifies the fifth and sixth

Sometimes there are no facts to test ideas against so is the seventh telling people not to think?

Not knowing what honesty is nullifies the eight

The ninth commandment virtually destroys the atheists Ten Commandments because it’s saying do not be led blindly, which the atheist’s ten commands are essentially trying to get people to follow its commands blindly. It’s self-refuting.

The tenth is a recursive loop because you’re always questioning the very Ten Commandments.

James T., United States, 9 July 2013

I love the last one "Question everything" and yet they wont allow anyone to ask the big questions when it comes to evolution because "evolution forbid", people find out the many problems with the theory and then people would not believe it.

Damien S., Australia, 9 July 2013

Interesting - most evolutionists would be found severely wanting on commandments 7-10 when it comes to evolution. In fact, most would be the antithesis of all four commandments when it comes to accepting evolution as fact. Agree totally that the first 4 commandments in particular are very subjective; who decides what's right and what's wrong? As for 5 and 6, apart from being a nice thing to do, what purpose to they serve apart from making one feel better about themselves?

Leslie G., South Africa, 9 July 2013

An excellent reply, Lita. As you point out, in God's common grace to all mankind, he sometimes puts (humanly) high aspirations in the minds and hearts of even his enemies (King Cyrus is a good example). But however high such aspirations are, they all fall far, far short of the glory of God. Our righteousnesses are always as filthy rags before the Holy One. His Word and His Word alone is truth. To formulate an alternative to the Ten Commandments is a gross insult to the One who spoke to Moses on Sinai.

May God continue to bless your ministry.

Ruby F., Malaysia, 9 July 2013

Good job on the article Lita! :)

Robert S., Australia, 9 July 2013

The first three of the ‘New 10 Commandments’ all basically mean the same thing and are covered by Mathew 7:12 (and 22:39-40)…

“Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the law and the Prophets.”

…so there are really only 8 'New Commandments.'

And the law is already ‘built in’ to us by the Creator.

“For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things contained in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing them or else excusing them.” Romans 2:14, 15.

So as far as the first three of the ‘New 10 Commandments’ go, the atheist is trying to claim credit for what God himself has already installed.

Darryl B., Australia, 9 July 2013

All of the atheist's commandments *assume* the person already abides by objective/good morals (not just knows them, but actually keeps them).

This is obvious if you think for a moment about the first and most popular one "Do not do to others what you would not want them to do to you."

God's first commandment says "Love God". If you love God, that means loving the goodness of God. So, the first commandment defines the standard of goodness first. The commandments that follow then make objective sense in light of the first commandment.

Eileen T., United Kingdom, 9 July 2013

Rather than 'commandments' these aetheist commandments are simply rules to live by. As well as the 10 Commandments, the gospels and epistles also give Christians rules to live by,eg Do not worry about tomorrow,Be kind to one another etc but The Lord Jesus said they are all summed in the first and second Commandments.

Atheist and believer alike, because we are made in God's image, know instinctively right from wrong and that this world we live in is out of control if we don't have rules to follow. This means that atheists , by following these commendable rules are going against their evolutionary laws and trying to follow God's laws.

George J., Canada, 9 July 2013

Hi J.B.

You are right about "much harder to refute topics where there is some congruence between Christian and secular beliefs". I tell people to remember the hardest counterfeit to identify is the one closest to the truth. I looked to find the fraud in the "ten commandments".

The first question I had was who gave these commandments and why should I obey them?

The first one is a passive, negative restatement of what Moses and Jesus said. We are asked to do no thing.

The second one is again instructing us to actually do nothing......we might hurt someone if we did.

The first part of the third is better covered by Jesus' second commandment. The last part raises creation to the position of man....a position evolutionists agree with. Some would as soon save a dolphin as a starving child.

For the fourth: Who defines evil? Is it breaking the law? It was lawful for Hitler to kill Jews.

The fifth commands a sense of joy and wonder. What is the source of this joy and wonder, and are we to exhibit it when we meet the evil mentioned in four?

In the sixth, there is no definition of what "new" refers to. New to the person, new in the sense of invention, or new in the sense of discovering truth that has not been known before. This occupies the mind, but Christians are saved unto good works. the comes a time to stop learning and start doing.

In the seventh, the first part is almost scriptural...like trying the spirits. The trouble with the last part is that ho do we know when we have all the facts? God says we should reason.

For the eighth, there's not a lot different from seven and part of their third.

It seems to me that nine is better covered by the verse that says work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

Start 10 with these fake "commandments"

George

Geoff W., Australia, 9 July 2013

Given that most atheists (western at least) believe that we evolved, on what basis is this person going to define such things as honesty, faithfulness and evil, and if defined, on what basis does s/he require that they be followed? If we truly evolved, it's free for all. Dog eat dog, and all that.

Having said that, it would be wonderful if atheists followed the last half of these 'commandments'. Then we'd be much more able to make some significant inroads into their thinking and beliefs! (Of course, this person clearly thinks the same about theists, not realising that we have a very solid foundation for what we believe.)

Bob S., United States, 9 July 2013

The reason that the greatest commandment is, "Love the Lord, your God..." is because without that, there is no hope of fulfilling any of the other commands. God is love. Without God, there is substitute love but not the agape of Scripture. Love fulfills all the commandments this way, the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. Ro 5:5 Love and righteousness cannot be separated. There is no righteousness without God. 1 Cor 1:31 says "... Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God--that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption." Christ is our righteousness. In fact, righteousness is a free gift from God that is given by grace through faith. Ro 5:17 Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word (logos, meaning utterance) of God. Ro 10:17 Faith gives us access into grace. Ro 5:2 Grace does the works of the law in and through us. 1 Co 15:10 If we attempt to obey them on our own, we frustrate the grace of God. Gal 2:21

So, where is the person without God? How does such a person approach the 10 Commandments. They can re-write them into convenient warm-fuzzies. They can use them to compare themselves with others for comparative self-righteousness. Or, they can allow these commands to convict them and bring them to Christ for forgiveness and deliverance.

Paul N., United States, 9 July 2013

"For all have sinned and fallen short..."

Every atheist I know is guilty of sinning against "atheist commandments" 3 (they extend NO respect towards those with opposing views), 7 (completely and summarily dismiss contradicting information esp. regarding creation), 8 (same as 7), 9 (by virtue of the failures to follow 7 and 8), and 10 (should read "question everything but the non-existance of God). An intersting side point is in number 4 since most atheist do not believe in evil as it is acknowledging their own fallen nature. Evil is a deliberate action against the will and nature of God; therefore #4 cannot be followed without (as Lita notes) acknowledging the referece point of non-evil which is God!

Jessica J., Canada, 9 July 2013

The last few comandments on that list made me laugh out loud. In order to be an atheist a person must do the exact opposite!! They must cut themselves off from dissent every time in order to maintain their worldview - and I have yet to meet an atheist who respects the right of others to disagree with them :S

"Form independent opinions on the basis of your own reason and experience; do not allow yourself to be led blindly by others" -- which is exactly what they're doing by believing everything a Dawkins or Sagen or Hawkins has to say to them.

"Question everything." -- Except your pre-conceived notions which bias your understandings. Never question those. Hahahaha!!

Peter H., Canada, 9 July 2013

I know that I am limited to 20 comments per year, but I can’t resist commenting on this one.

There are three of those “commandments” that I would heartily endorse for any evolutionist:

#7 - Check your ideas against the facts (I prefer the word ‘evidence’) and be ready to discard ... etc. - How many scholars look objectively at the evidence, but maintain their belief in evolution against the evidence? I am currently reading Denton’s “Evolution, a Theory in Crisis” in which he points out that the evidence for evolution is badly flawed, but it doesn’t seem to have taken him out of the “evolutionary camp”.

#9 - ... do not allow yourself to be led blindly by others. - This is true (in my mind) not so much for the scientists, but for the man on the street. Most have swallowed evolutionary thinking without doing any thinking on their own, and are letting themselves be “led blindly” by those who taught them in school and those in the media who assume that evolution is correct and base their thoughts and ideas on it.

#10 - Question everything. - This one worked for me. When I was in university I was taught evolutionary thinking as fact. One day I caught one lecturer out on one point (I won’t go into the details) and thought, “If this guy can make a mistake like that even a student can see, maybe there are other things that are wrong in the big picture.” I started to question everything, and it took me quite a number of years, but the result is that I left the evolutionary camp and accepted the truth of special creation which occurred only a few thousand years ago. Question - How many “evolutionists” following “Commandment #10” actually question evolution?

Ronald W., United States, 9 July 2013

I bet the unborn are glad the first, second and third "commandments" apply to them as well. They don't though, do they? I wonder if the secularist would even apply number seven honestly in light of what we know about the 'facts' behind the theory of evolution. Lastly, I think I will apply number ten to the previous nine statements.

Tony F., United Kingdom, 9 July 2013

Suggested commandments 6,7 and 8 are interesting

in view of the fact that most prominent atheistic evolutionists will not brook any discussion or argument against evolution.

Two Godly commandments are always broken. Break one and the 10th is always broken. For example Break the 1st and you covert God's position. Break the 8th and you covet someone else's goods

F. G., United States, 9 July 2013

Not only are the "secular 10 commandments" inadequate, they're downright hypocritical. For example, how likely is the typical secularist to "discard [a]cherished belief" or "respect the right of others to disagree"?

Some of these sound more like things they want others to do than things they want to do themselves. Most sound like things they want to say they've done so they can pretend they're "objective" and interested in "reason" and "facts."

Alan J., United Kingdom, 9 July 2013

It's a great pity that rules 7 and 10 do not apply to the Theory of Evolution, which is immutable fact (NOT!!)

Graham Y., United Kingdom, 9 July 2013

It's a shame so few seem to 'obey' rules 7, 8, 9 and 10; if they did they might discover the truth in the Bible.

Martin T., United States, 10 July 2013

Respectfully, there are at least three serious problems with this article:

First, you allege that the secular Ten Commandments must be merely be an expression of someone's preferences. But you don't say why this is so. Suppose someone were to tell you that Earth is a planet, and suppose she learned this in some way other than by reading the Bible, or Divine inspiration (say, from science). Would you respond that she couldn't possibly be saying anything "objective," but must be merely expressing her preferences? Presumably not. But then you need to explain what is different about morality, such that any moral claim a person makes which is not directly given from God can't be "objective." You make no attempt to do so. (Aside: you also don't say why the Biblical Ten Commandments aren't just an expression of God's preferences.)

Second, you claim that the Biblical Ten Commandments are "concrete" in a way that secular ethics can't be. You allege, for instance, that we all understand what murder is, although we don't understand what it means to "strive to cause no harm." You give no argument for this, and I believe it is false. It's debated, for instance, whether particular acts of killing are or are not murder; consider debates over actions taken in war, or concerning the use of the death penalty. The proscription of murder seems just as ambiguous as the order to cause no harm.

Finally, you imply at the end that the secularist must be able to identify something "as the embodiment of everything his code points to" in order for his view to be coherent. Again, you don't defend this claim. For my part, I believe that there are lots of tall things, even if nothing embodies absolute Tallness. Similarly, I think that happiness is good, even if nothing embodies absolute Goodness.

Lita Cosner responds

1. These commandments do seem to be only one person's preferences. In a secular worldview, how is 'living life with a sense of joy and wonderful' morally right in any definable sense? The Ten Commandments (and the rest of God's Law) come from God's own nature, so there is an objective standard for them.

2. I did not say that secular ethics can't be concrete, just that these ten commandments aren't, because there's no way to tell if one is following them or not. Whereas the biblical 10 Commandments are clear (we know if we've stolen, lied, or committed adultery, for example).

3. But what makes you happy may make someone else uncomfortable. What then?

David C., United States, 10 July 2013

Some of these "commandments" sound familiar. Parts were borrowed from the Bible it seems.

A M., United States, 10 July 2013

HA! Anyone else realize that #10 of the atheist "commands" nullifies the whole thing?! If you question everything, then you also question these!

It is amazing how nearly everything a liberal claims to believe, they will directly contradict themselves at some point. (Like women's rights... unless she is for rights they don't like. Like the right for a woman to be born to begin with.)

They've raised contradiction to what can only be called the level of it's perfection.

Carolyn P., Australia, 10 July 2013

As I read through this list I can 't help but think that it is mostly plagiarising or parasphrasing the gospels. Since there is nothing new in them and Christians have had a similar code for 2000 years I don't see why atheists feel the need to 'reinvent the wheel' except that deep down they understand the truth of needing to live in love and harmony while still maintaining that there is no God or actually any good reason to be nice to one another except its good for the evolution of our species (being a former atheist I know that argument well).

It is not a 10 commandments but a pretty good summary of the parts of the Gospel relating to how humans should deal with one another.

Mike W., United Kingdom, 10 July 2013

I think you nailed it in the first paragraph, viz they are suggestions not rules which would be self-refuting for secularists.

Evil, love, honesty & goodness mean nothing without absolute unchanging definitions and standards, therefore their commandments are meaningless and their suggestions are wrong if they go against Biblical absolutes.

Ian T., Canada, 10 July 2013

It would be a rare atheist who actually lived by those ten commandments and a pleasant one, at that, to converse with. Although as others pointed out, if they did live by those commandments they would not be atheistic because they would, with honesty, question the science conclusions which gives them their faith in atheism.

It is indeed a rare atheist who does not engage in belittling the believer. They like to claim we have an "imaginary friend." Isn't it they who have the imaginary friend who controls and directs all nature/evolution, named "Mother Nature?"

Thanks Lita, I think your insight goes beyond education. There are many educated persons who could never give Godly insight into the atheist's ten commandments as you have.

Sas E., United Kingdom, 10 July 2013

I find this hilarious like the "Atheist churches" in the west. This proves what I have always known which is that atheists have a concept and a fear of God (somewhere) but they don't want to be held accountable for their actions

C. M., Australia, 10 July 2013

There is nothing common about Grace....

Jim M., Canada, 12 July 2013

To Martin T,

While Lita has provided an excellent response to your points, here are some other observations.

First, it is a matter of definition.

Planet: a celestial body that is in an elliptical orbit around a star and has sufficient mass to have become rounded by its own gravity. (from Wikipedia)

Morals: A person's standards of behavior or beliefs concerning what is and is not acceptable for them to do. (top return from Googling “morals definition”)

It can be objectively determined whether the earth is a celestial body orbiting the sun in an elliptical orbit, what its mass is and that its basic shape is round. Thus it is possible to objectively determine whether the earth is a planet.

However, by definition, her morals are her “belief” about what is acceptable for her to do and, therefore hardly objective. In its article on morals, Wikipedia notes “ … "morality" refers to personal or cultural values, codes of conduct or social mores. It does not connote objective claims of right or wrong, …”

Indeed, the Biblical Ten Commandments are an expression of, well, more than ‘God’s preferences’, rather His absolute standard. Given God’s omniscience, we can take these as the definition of morals. After all, if one knows everything about something (never mind everything), one should be able to define that something. Consequently, we can objectively assess whether any particular behaviour is moral by comparing it to this definition, just as we can objectively determine whether any particular celestial body is a planet by comparing it objectively to the definition of a planet.

Second, I submit that there is no difference of opinion about the definition of murder. Various sources all seem to encompass something like “The unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another.” The debates that take place are not so much about what murder is but what constitutes ‘unlawful’ or ‘premeditated’ killing or what is a ‘human being’. One’s position in these debates seems to be largely influenced, perhaps even determined, by one’s morals, which, we have established, absent a foundation in Biblical morality, are simply personal preferences.

Thus, for example, despite abortion clearly being the “premeditated killing of one human being by another” it is nonetheless lawful in many jurisdictions because some people want it to be because of their morals and have constructed various arguments to justify their perspective. In fact, Peter Singer, Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, even suggests that killing newborns is acceptable until they obtain “rationality, autonomy and self-consciousness”, such is his belief about morality.

There is, however, no similarly clear-cut, mutually agreed definition of what constitutes harm. For example, some people think that extra-marital sex causes harm; others do not. Also, ‘striving’ seems a bit non-specific. Strive means “to exert much energy or effort”. How much is enough? The Biblical injunction is “Do not …”, which is crystal clear.

Finally, I suggest that you are conflating “tall” and “height”. Height is an objective entity that can be determined with a measuring device. Tall is a relative term. Thus my granddaughter might consider me tall but NBA players would probably not. And, I submit, there is an embodiment of absolute ‘tallness’, which is Mt. Everest.

J. C., United States, 14 July 2013

Atheists have no basis other than feeling to make moral pronouncements. Words like 'ought' or 'should' need an objective reference point. Atheists have to appropriate the absolutes of a holy God whom they deny. Atheists may do good and be repulsed by actual evil, but only because they are created in the image of God. Atheists have to get their own moral code.

dave C., United States, 14 July 2013

Test all things; always check your ideas against the facts, and be ready to discard even a cherished belief if it does not conform to them.

If he really did this - he would be a Christian, discarding his unbelief.

Charlene P., South Africa, 19 July 2013

I recently watched a Rich Christiano movie called Time Changer (2002) which challenged me immensely and helped me understand why one cannot remove the authority of Christ from the moral teachings of Christ. Understanding these principles definitely played a big role in restoring a fear of the Lord to my own life, faith and daily living and understand the prevailing lawlessness in our culture. Believe this is a vitally important understanding that the Lord wants to restore to His people in this time. Thank you for your article.

Comments closed
Article closed for commenting.
Only available for 14 days from appearance on front page.
Copied to clipboard
7207
Product added to cart.
Click store to checkout.
In your shopping cart

Remove All Products in Cart
Go to store and Checkout
Go to store
Total price does not include shipping costs. Prices subject to change in accordance with your country’s store.