Our “Quick Shot” series offers brief answers to common objections to the Christian worldview. Each response is limited to one paragraph. These responses are designed to (1) answer the objection as concisely as possible, (2) challenge the objector to think more deeply about his or her claim, and (3) facilitate a “gospel” conversation. In this article, we’re offering “Quick Shot” responses to the objection, Quick Shot: “There are no objective moral truths.”
“It sounds like you’re saying that there are no objective truths about morality, is that correct? If so, how can that claim about morality be true? If there are no objective truths about morality, then your claim about morality cannot be objectively true either. Do you see the problem? Even you would have to admit that there is at least one objective truth about morality: that there are no objective truths about morality! But if there are no objective truths about morality, your claim (that there are no objective morals truths) can’t be objectively true either. This kind of claim is clearly self-refuting. The challenge isn’t whether objective, moral truths exist, the challenge is simply identifying them and explaining where they come from. From where do objective moral truths come?”
“Let me give you an example of an objective moral truth that is not based on personal opinion or cultural consensus: ‘It’s never OK to torture babies for the fun of it.’ As rational human beings, we recognize this simple truth. If a person (or even an entire group of persons) claimed it was acceptable to torture babies for fun, I bet you would reject their claim and do everything you could to make sure they didn’t engage in that behavior. Why? Because you innately recognize that this claim is not a matter of personal opinion or cultural consensus. You know that it’s objectively wrong to torture babies for fun. If you didn’t know that, we would question your sanity. Can you see how claims like this have to be objectively true?”
“Some people have a hard time acknowledging the existence of objective moral truths because they seem difficult to identify. Is it wrong to lie? Maybe, but what if you are lying to avoid hurting someone’s feelings? Is it wrong to steal? Probably, but what if you’re stealing an activation code from a terrorist who wants to use it to detonate a bomb? How can any act be objectively moral (or immoral) if it can be justified in certain circumstances? Yes, it’s possible to rationalize certain acts, but to find the objective truth at the core of any action, simply add the expression, ‘for the fun of it.’ Is it ever okay to lie for the fun of it? To steal for the fun of it? The addition of these five words (‘for the fun of it’) expose the moral absolutes. It’s never morally acceptable to lie or steal for the fun of it. These are objective, moral absolutes that apply to us regardless of our culture, location on the globe, or place in history. Can you see how these moral truths transcend our personal or cultural opinions?”
Our “Quick Shot” series was written specifically for the Cold-Case Christianity App (you can download it on Apple and Android platforms – be sure to register once you download the App). When confronted with an objection in casual conversation, App users can quickly find an answer without having to scroll beyond the first screen in the category. Use the App “Quick Shots” along with the “Rapid Responses” and Case Making “Cheat Sheets” to become a better Christian Case Maker.
For more information about the reliability of the New Testament gospels and the case for Christianity, please read Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels. This book teaches readers ten principles of cold-case investigations and applies these strategies to investigate the claims of the gospel authors. The book is accompanied by an eight-session Cold-Case Christianity DVD Set (and Participant’s Guide) to help individuals or small groups examine the evidence and make the case.
J. Warner Wallace is a Dateline featured Cold-Case Detective, Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Adj. Professor of Christian Apologetics at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, author of Cold-Case Christianity, God’s Crime Scene, and Forensic Faith, and creator of the Case Makers Academy for kids.
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