On the popular online site Prager University, the conservative radio talk show host Dennis Prager recently posted the video “If there is no God, Murder Isn’t Wrong.”
Nearly two million people have heard his argument that without God, anything goes.
I’ve known Dennis for many years and have been a guest on his show a number of times. He’s a smart guy, and we agree on many issues, but on this one I think he is wrong.
Prager’s belief that without God there can be no objective morality is, in fact, a common one many people hold. It’s wrong for 4 reasons.
1. Divine Command Theory is Fallible
The argument that our morals come from God is what philosophers and theologians call Divine Command Theory, well captured by the popular bumper sticker:
God said it. I believe it. That settles it.
This argument was refuted 2500 years ago by the Greek philosopher Plato, when he asked, in so many words:
“Is what is morally right or wrong commanded by God because it is inherently right or wrong, or is it morally right or wrong only because it is commanded by God?”
For example, if murder is wrong because God said it is wrong, what if He said it was okay? Would that make murder right? Of course not! (continue reading…)