Atheists in this combox and over at the Atheism Experience are doing a great job at either misunderstanding or misrepresenting my point. I've corrected them several times, and this is yet another attempt.
Amazingly, one atheist even admitted explicitly that he didn't read the whole of the post in question and yet went ahead and commented anyway, completely missing my point and my questions for him. It's people like him that power my day, man.
1st, what I'm NOT saying:
1) Atheists can't ever act in a moral manner.
2) Atheists can only rarely act in a moral manner.
3) Atheists have no moral code.
4) Atheists can't explain why they hold to that moral code.
5) Only Christianity can denounce child rape.
5) The existence of any moral code proves that the Creator who is the source and standard of this morality is the Christian God.
OK? I'm NOT saying any of those things. With me so far?
Here's what I *AM* saying:
-If a worldview cannot justify making moral judgments that are objective, then any moral statement comes down either to personal/societal preference or borrows from a worldview that CAN justify such.
-The atheist worldview cannot account for any objective morality beyond personal preference or at 'best' societal preference (ie, a bunch of persons' preferences)...
-Therefore, any atheist who argues against Christianity on the basis of morally objectionable things that Christians or the Christian God has done has no basis to make such judgments beyond "I don't like it", and so these arguments have no merit at best and at worst (for the atheist) presuppose a theistic framework of objective morality in order to argue against said theistic worldview.
Quick aside on #6 - that's what's commonly referred to as the Moral Argument for God's existence. I make no comment here one way or the other on how effective I think it is, but it's NOT an argument I use. Maybe you can find some Church of Christ member or Methodist or something who'd like to defend it, but I shan't.
If anyone still has questions about what I mean, I refer you to the previous post and to parts 1-5 of the blogalogue I had with another atheist on the same topic a few months ago. Read at least the first one, and read it all the way thru. Alot to ask? Consider finding some other theist to interact with.
I expect to refer to this post dozens of times in blogging days to come, since I have seen little evidence that there are many out there who actually want to engage the points I *AM* making. It's easier to knock down the strawman of points I might've tried to make and defend 12 years ago in high school when I was a new believer. Not now.