Can there be morality without God?

Walking with Jesus

God Running is a place for anyone who wants to love Jesus more deeply, follow Jesus more closely, and love people the way Jesus wants us to.

I’m not sure exactly why, but I’ve found myself involved in apologetics oriented conversations lately. Recently I was discussing the question of whether or not morality can exist without God. The person I was discussing this with said, yes, of course morality can exist without God. And I disagreed. And the other person said, morality can exist for an atheist because it can be based on societal consciousness. And do you know what?

He’s right.

An atheist can indeed be a moral person with his morals based on societal consciousness. The only thing is, that morality is a subjective morality.

There can be no objective morality without God.

Because if morality is based on societal consciousness, and the consensus in society worldwide is that, oh let’s say, greed is good (which is probably the situation we’re experiencing right now in the world) then I think you’ll agree with me the societal consciousness is objectively wrong.

Or, let’s say Germany won the Second World War. And their influence dominates our culture. And the consensus in society world wide is that all Jews must be exterminated. Again we find we’re in agreement the societal consciousness is objectively wrong, even egregiously wrong.

Or let’s say there’s an apocalypse. And the only human survivors are you, and me, and a handful of men from a remote jungle tribe. Let’s say there are twenty of these men from the jungle tribe. You’re survivor number twenty-one, and I’m survivor twenty-two. Whatever those twenty believe, whatever their values, that’s what’s moral. Because, it’s societal consciousness that determines morality — remember, we’re taking God out of the picture. But the handful of men left on earth, from the remote jungle tribe: they believe cannibalism is good. In this scenario, what you and I believe about how bad it is to kill and eat other human beings is wrong. Is there a more obvious example of why morality based on societal consciousness is subjective?

So yes one can say an atheist can be moral, as long as their morality is subjective.

But without God, there is no objective morality.

Teach me your way, O Lord,
    that I may walk in your truth;

Psalm 86:11


Image of man walking with Jesus by Helen Thomas Robson via

Available on Amazon!

Love Like Jesus: How Jesus Loved People (and how you can love like Jesus)

Love Like Jesus begins with the story of how after a life of regular church attendance and Bible study, Bennett was challenged by a pastor to study Jesus. That led to an obsessive seven year deep dive. After pouring over Jesus’ every interaction with another human being, he realized he was doing a much better job of studying Jesus’ words than he was following Jesus’ words and example. The honest and fearless revelations of Bennett’s own moral failures affirm he wrote this book for himself as much as for others.

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  • How Jesus didn’t love everyone the same (and why you shouldn’t either).
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3 Comments on “Can there be morality without God?

  1. Pingback: Paul on Mars Hill and My Favorite Atheist–Acts 17:16-34 | God Running

  2. This post was so timely. I didn’t have a chance to read it until today but I can see now that was God’s perfect timing for me. I listened to an interview yesterday. You might already know of John Dickerson’s book Bullies and Saints. Andy Stanley at interviewed him yesterday and it was a sobering reminder for me of just how much we need God. We need God to keep us from confirming to the world’s standards…just as what you were writing. I hope you will watch the interview if you haven’t already. Just go to click watch. I think you have an option to listen to the music before the interview too …that was pretty awesome as well. Thanks for always being faithful to provide a post on Saturdays! I really appreciate it.

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts Tina and for following God Running! I appreciate you and agree with you: we need God, so much. God bless you!

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