Fear is the mother of morality. Friedrich Nietzsche
In his post, Howie quoted a comment by a christian who believes whatever god commands, is good regardless of what we think about it. If anything, the christian in question is consistent. In this post, the theist thinks he has shown that reason is helpless in guiding us on how to live with each other.
Objective morals are those morals that are based outside of yourself. Subjective morals are those that depend on you, your situation, your culture, and your preferences. Subjective morals change, can become contradictory, and might differ from person to person. This is the best that atheism has to offer us as a worldview.
and I must ask that he lists just one such objective moral. I am patient and will wait.
In talking of pure practical reason, I can only believe he is referring to Kant who argued
act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law
there are no mentions of deities.
When James writes
Because when you remove God from the equation, you remove the standard by which all moral truth is established.
I must say he has gone off the rails completely. Morality, whatever it is, only makes sense to organisms living in community. It is relational. And only a blind person would be unable to see this. Men, having formulated morals made gods speak the same laws in order they be obeyed. When Solon and Lycurgus, the great lawgivers of the Greeks, formulated laws, they didn’t claim divine assistance.
I can only say he misrepresents atheists when he writes
To an atheist, lying, cheating, stealing, not harming others, and maximizing utility have to be reduced to mere phenomena that can, if the atheist so decides, have subjective moral values assigned to them. Yes, atheists can say that we all should want to help society function properly, and that it does not benefit society as a whole to lie, cheat, steal, harm others…
which as you can see are relational. Without relations, such things as lying, stealing and harming others make no sense. It is such accusation that makes me wonder are some people so blind? Any society where harming others is the norm is one that would not survive. Natural selection will eliminate it.
He says reason cannot guide us and then presents this
For example, I think everyone reading this, including those who shun objective morality, would agree that a judge sending a man he knew was innocent to prison would be wrong, especially wrong if you consider that prisoners often suffer needlessly horribly at the hands of other prisoners.
and why? Because reason tells us it is unjust to punish an innocent person, especially when you know them to be so unless of course you are god then you can kill all firstborn sons for the infractions of the king and command rapine because you can. If you are god, stopping the sun for a few hours so your favourite can massacre a whole population is very much moral.
Morality, I submit, only makes sense without gods because then we are able to understand that it is relational. We have no way of knowing what gods want but we can know how to relate with one another. Only a person blinded by his religion would not see this. So When Wally Fry comments thus
I am so far from a philosopher it is not even funny. These deep debates everybody has about the philosophy of morality just zips over me sometimes. On the other hand, deep philosophy is not needed to get the gist of morality; even a child can get it. No standard=equals no true morality. Standard=standard giver=God. It’s really not difficult to comprehend.
I can confidently say he is dumb as soup [Thanks Ark].