This post was written by a guest.
“If God isn’t real, murder isn’t wrong,” claims Dennis Prager of Prager University in a new Youtube video which has garnered 570,000 views and more dislikes than likes. To be frank, Prager’s arguments are nothing short of atrociously backwards and illogical, which may speak as to the reason why so many people disliked it.
Prager begins by asking if good and evil exists, and he somehow claims that the answer to this question separates Judeo-Christian values from secular values. He then asks the viewer if he or she believes ‘murder is wrong,’ and if so, how does he or she know?
He continues to state, “If I asked you how you know that that the earth is round, you would show me photographs from outer space, or offer me measurable data. But what photographs could you show, what measurements could you provide, that prove that murder or rape or theft is wrong?
“The fact is…you can’t. There are scientific facts, but without God there are no moral facts… Every atheist philosopher I have read or debated on this subject has acknowledged that if there is no God, there is no objective morality.”
Ok. Well let’s examine the opposition arguments, which are 1) God does not exist (or there is no proof of his existence) and 2) there is no way, logically or empirically, to prove that a given moral judgement is objectively true.
To elaborate on the latter point, consider the reality that, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” What is considered to be beautiful (or valuable) is subjective rather than objective, and this is not a controversial reality in the slightest. These are (or are based upon) value judgement, they are opinions.
You can’t prove something to be objectively beautiful (or valuable) you can only claim that you subjectively find the given object beautiful (or valuable.) Similarly, morality is purely based on value judgement and opinion and thus must be subjective.
The subjectivity of morality may be uncomfortable to admit, but the truth is more often than not unsettling at first.
To get back on point, the reason why Prager’s video is odd is because he concedes the opposition’s point that you can’t prove moral objective moral truths right off the bat. The video itself can be summed up as: ‘Without God, there is no objective morality. With God, there is objective morality.’
Prager believes in both God and objective morality, but offers evidence for either, making the video largely pointless, unless he intended to imply that the lack of logical or empirical proof of objective morality is proof in itself that God exists because he believes objective morality must exist, but that would be comically absurd.
He goes on to reiterate, “only if there is a God who says murder is wrong, is murder wrong. Otherwise, all morality is opinion.”
Firstly, the religious people making these arguments always automatically and conveniently assume that the objective morality they believe in stems from the God they personally believe in. They ignore that adherents of other religions can make the same claims about the truth of morality and its relation to their God’s existence and that there is no way to prove them right or wrong. These are unfalsifiable claims.
Secondly, it’s incredibly frustrating for non-believers to be lectured about morality from people who believe in a God who has committed or condoned genocide, slavery, human sacrifice, and other atrocities, according to their own Holy Books.
Imagine the audacity (or perhaps lack of self-awareness) it takes for a person to tell non-believers that God will have them tormented in indescribable ways for eternity merely for engaging in thought crime (non-belief). And not only this, but that God is morally correct in doing this, after all, whatever God does is by definition moral.
All in all, Prager’s video is largely pointless and somewhat pretentious.
Note: Originally, I interpreted Prager’s arguments to imply mainly that the lack of logical or empirical proof of objective morality is proof in itself that God exists. Some noted that this could be a far off interpretation, and I think they have a point. I have edited the article accordingly to largely remove this interpretation of his arguments and video.