+Acts17Apologetics Yes, morality is a useful fiction. So is language. Should we stop using language because there is no perfect language? The English language is not objectively better than Chinese or Esperanto. People communicate just fine with them and many others. But just as languages have common elements, so do the various moral systems. There is no moral system where cowardice is a virtue and bravery is a vice. You can argue that some moral systems produce happier societies than others just you can argue that some languages are easier to learn or that metric units are easier to use than imperial units.
+Thomas Harty Thomas Harty said: "Yes, morality is a useful fiction." Thank you for admitting this! But that's precisely the point. Given atheism, morality is a useful fiction. Given theism, morality is more than a useful fiction. So, atheists who believe that morality is objective either need to give up their atheism or give up their belief that morality is objective. Perfect!
+Austin Archer Ugh. Odd that the guy who says he's interested in moral philosophy still can't understand the simplest of points.
Austin said: "You have some notion that if whatever you do does not matter on a cosmic scale, then it doesn't matter at all."
No, I don't. Your actions might matter to other people, but why should you care? Do you care that theists might be offended at what you're saying right now? No, you don't. So why should an axe-murderer care that people are offended at his actions?
Austin said: "If a god exists, there is NOT a right and wrong based on any objective standard, but rather it is based entirely on god's subjective and arbitrary nature. i.e. it is good if and only if god said it was good."
Oh my goodness. You don't even understand basic moral terminology. To say that morality is objective means that there are things that are right or wrong REGARDLESS OF WHAT WE THINK ABOUT THEM. If an omnipotent, omniscient, perfectly good being created us and issued commands, then there are things that are right or wrong regardless of what we think about them. Hence, there would be objective moral values.
You refer to God's nature as "subjective and arbitrary." Seriously? You believe that, according to theism, God's nature is subjective? Do you even know what "subjective" means? And do you believe it's the sort of term that can be applied to God's nature? I'd say I'm shocked that someone can be so sloppy regarding terminology, but I've dealt with too many atheists to be shocked by anything lately.
Austin said: "Moral philosophers, for centuries, have developed theories without appealing to god at all."
If you tried reading their works (as I have), you'd realize that, given naturalism, there are no objective moral values. If you can prove me wrong on this, why not do it instead of appealing to some unknown work on moral philosophy that you've never read and don't understand. (Blind faith at it's finest!)
Austin said: "You asserting that something is the case does not constitute it actually being the case."
And you complaining about it and displaying your ignorance doesn't show that it's not the case.
Austin said: "Also, what, on earth, does the existence of god have to do with morality? Even if he existed and did give us a moral code, you suffer from the is-ought problem. Why ought we even care what god said? Why ought we follow his commands?"
Are you really this clueless, or are you trying to make some point about atheism leading to absurdity? If you really don't see why showing some level of respect to the one who created you and sustains you for every moment that you exist is morally right, I'd hate to see how you treat others. If you have no obligation to honor or respect the one who has given you everything you have, surely you have no obligation to honor or respect ANYONE. Chilling.
+Acts17Apologetics David said: "So, atheists who believe that morality is objective either need to give up their atheism or give up their belief that morality is objective. "
Yes, although I don't believe in objective morality and neither do most atheists. Sam Harris has argument for objective morality (his boook, "The Moral Landscape"), but it basically boils down to utilitarianism, which is subjective. I cannot prove objectively that pleasure is better than pain, life is better than death, or honor is better than shame. I can only say that I most others share similar preferences.