I am also very thankful that I'm not an atheist like I used to be. I've been talking to some verbose atheists over here and though I can't match them keystroke for keystroke b/c of time constraints, they've given a good opportunity to contrast the worldview presented to us by atheism and the biblical worldview. Most of their arguments against God's existence have been based on moral objections, so I thought I'd respond in this way.
I'm going to make clearer the difference between the atheistic worldview's ability to make value judgments that go beyond personal preference and the biblical worldview's ability to do the same.
What I mean when I say "an objective morality" is this: a moral system that is prescriptive and that is true whether or not anyone believes it or not. With that in mind...
We haven't seen a justification yet for saying that, say, raping little girls is definitely, always morally wrong.
Raping little girls is wrong because:
1) Rape is specifically proscribed.
2) Rape is also theft, which is specifically proscribed.
3) Rape is also wanton aggression against another, which is specifically proscribed.
OK, so WHY are these things proscribed?
Because they violate the command of God, Who has given a law of behavior by which His creation has a responsibility to abide.
WHY did He give this law this way?
Because these laws are how He is. The law He gives flows out of Who and how He is. He is holy; His law demands holiness (and describes how to be holy). He is good; His law demands goodness (and describes how to be good). He loves truth; His law demands truthfulness (and describes how to be truthful). Etc.
What makes these laws good?
-We need SOME standard to tell what good and bad are. In atheism, that's totally lacking.
These laws from God are backed up with the force of justice. He will punish all breakers of the law with eternal torment, so evil is met with just judgment. The law has a policeman and judge as well - God.
In other words, the statement "Raping little girls is always wrong for everyone at all times everywhere." is true, everywhere, for all people, at all times.
That's what I mean when I say "objectively wrong". It doesn't depend on my personal preference. It doesn't depend on society. It doesn't depend on whether my personal preference changes at a different time in my life. And if I break that law, I'll be punished, JUSTLY, for the crime.
Finally, this is most important - EVERYone has broken the law of God, so EVERYone deserves the eternal torment as a just reward for his/her actions. But God took the torment and death (the punishment) on Himself in the person of Jesus Christ as a substitute for all who will repent and believe. As the gospel of John says: "He who believes in the Son is not judged, but he who does not believe in the Son is judged already."
Now then, as we've seen so far, the option offered so far here is either question-begging (more on that in a sec) or based on nothing more than personal preference.
-If it's based on personal preference or societal preference, we have no standard; we just have a DESCRIPTION. Is does not imply ought, remember?
-Also, if personal/societal preference, there is no mechanism in place by which we might know whether the person's preference is good or bad. It just IS. And it ends at the tip of your nose; my personal preference might be totally different. And there's no way to judge between them.
-You may have noticed that I often ask WHY your standards for morality are the standards. What I've seen so far is:
**I am a member of a species of social animal with traits common to that species, one of which is empathy for others; Empathically, I can put myself in the shoes of a victim
**secular morality is about getting along with your fellow humans
**The justification is that the foundation of human society is respect for other human beings.
Perhaps more, but that's so far.
But **WHY** are these good? What makes respecting fellow humans good?
You might say:
We recoil from pain, we don't like to suffer. So it's wrong to inflict suffering.
But is it not the case that, while some don't like to suffer, others welcome it, others inflict it on themselves, and still others enjoy inflicting suffering on others?
Why did you arbitrarily choose the former rather than one of these latter options?
You might say:
If people inflict suffering, it's usually in the name of a god.
That's a distracting side issue and begging the question again. Tell me WHY it's wrong.
It's necessary to proscribe the inflicting of suffering on others in order to sustain society.
That's begging the question again.
WHY do we prefer to sustain society? Some people prefer to sustain it, others prefer to scramble it, others prefer to remake it like they want it, others prefer total anarchy, still others want to raze certain societies of the face of the earth.
Why did you arbitrarily choose to sustain society? Why not one of these other options?
All this to say - you PREFER it that way, but you don't have a good foundational reason to beyond that.
Contrast that with the above-described biblical view of morality.
Now, I'd like to call attention to this comment:
One of the mistakes inherent in your theistic worldview is to think moral judgments will always be consistent.
This is a brilliant illustration of what I mean.
Yes, it is a terrible mistake to think that it might be best that a moral judgment ("Raping little girls is always wrong for everyone at all times everywhere.") be consistent forever. Is this where an atheistic morality leads us?