Where does morality come from? Ken Ham of Answers In Genesis says it can only come from (his) God. Atheists have no grounds for morality, he claims, because, without a God to tell them, they’ve no way of knowing the difference between right and wrong .
As usual, Ham is being creative with the truth. Clearly atheists are as capable of being moral as anyone else. Equally and also evidently, Christians and other brands of believers are capable of deplorable immorality. Hardly a week goes by without more reports of Christians abusing, cheating, lying and killing in Jesus’ name.
Why do Christians act so despicably when, supposedly, they have God’s Spirit inside them – that’s the God from whom all morality flows, according to Ken Ham. Why doesn’t his indwelling Spirit guide Christians so that they always behave morally, or even just considerately?
I don’t have the answer. Perhaps Ken Ham or some other knowledgeable Christian can tell us.
No, morality doesn’t derive from any god. It has evolved, inevitably and like much of our behaviour, from our being social animals. Living in close proximity with other humans has meant we have developed ways of behaving that take these others into account, as well as the repercussions of our behaviour on ourselves.* The principle of treating others as we ourselves would like to be treated is very old – much older than Christianity.
Morality, though, is not absolute and is far from infallible. Non-believers, like the religious, make mistakes and don’t always treat others as they should. But the fact they behave well most of the time is evidence that behaving morally has nothing to do with a god, especially not the capricious, murderous psychopath of the Abrahamic religions.
Ken Ham’s position, and that of other religionists who tell us we have no grounds for morality without such a god, is as offensive as it is absurd.