How do you know God exists? Part Three: GOODNESS
Atheists often attack Christianity because of all the evil and suffering in the world: “If there is a God, why is my life so hard?” It’s the so-called “problem of evil.” But there is an equal and opposite problem for atheism that we might call “the problem of good.” People everywhere have strong moral convictions; but without a belief in God, they have no place to base those convictions.
These days people like to say: “Everyone has the right to define right and wrong for him or herself.” But who really believes this? The Nazis said they were doing a service to humanity by wiping out the Jews, but we know that idea isn’t just impractical or mean—we know it is wrong! Not just “wrong for me personally” but wrong according to an universal standard of morality. It’s what God’s word describes for us: “Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right.” (Rom 2:14-15 NLT)
Think about our universal sense of moral obligation. Why do all people feel an obligation to help others in dire need? If someone falls in a river, people everywhere instinctively know they should help out. Evolutionary biology certainly can’t explain this! That trait shouldn’t have made it through the filter of natural selection. Self-sacrificing people would have been less likely to survive and pass on their “niceness” genes to their descendants.
Or think about “human rights.” There is a growing consensus worldwide that every human being has inherent dignity and that we are obligated to order our lives accordingly. But why? Who says that the majority has no right to kill or oppress or silence the minority? Why is it bad to starve the poor or sell someone into slavery?
So here are some questions we might ask our atheist friends: Are there people anywhere who are doing things you feel they should stop doing? If so, doesn’t that mean you do believe that there is some kind of moral standard? Doesn’t nature itself tell us that it’s normal and fine for the strong to bring violence against the weak? Can you explain where human rights come from? Why should we treat women and minorities and disabled people equally?