In his article Dr. Meister used the example of turning on a light switch. One could know that flipping the switch makes the lights go on and have absolutely no understanding as to why the switch goes on, or justification for how it really does so.
There is a huge difference between doing right or wrong and justifying right and wrong.
Meister states, "By arguing for a belief in or knowledge of morality without providing a justification for morality, atheists confuse moral epistemology (moral knowledge) with moral ontology (foundation existence of morality)."
Here is the real question: What grounds the atheists' moral position? What makes their moral views more then mere hunches, inklings, or subjective opinions?
Remember what Ted Bundy said?
"Then I learned that all moral judgments are ‘value judgments,’ that all value judgments are subjective, and that none can be proved to be either ‘right’ or ‘wrong.’ I even read somewhere that the Chief Justice of the United States had written that the American Constitution expressed nothing more than collective value judgments. Believe it or not, I figured out for myself–what apparently the Chief Justice couldn’t figure out for himself–that if the rationality of one value judgment was zero, multiplying it by millions would not make it one whit more rational. Nor is there any ‘reason’ to obey the law for anyone, like myself, who has the boldness and daring–the strength of character–to throw off its shackles…I discovered that to become truly free, truly unfettered, I had to become truly uninhibited. And I quickly discovered that the greatest obstacle to my freedom, the greatest block and limitation to it, consists in the insupportable ‘value judgment’ that I was bound to respect the rights of others. I asked myself, who were these ‘others?’ Other human beings, with human rights? Why is it more wrong to kill a human animal than any other animal, a pig or a sheep or a steer? Is your life more than a hog’s life to a hog? Why should I be willing to sacrifice my pleasure more for the one than for the other? Surely, you would not, in this age of scientific enlightenment, declare that God or nature has marked some pleasures as ‘moral’ or ‘good’ and others as ‘immoral’ or ‘bad’? In any case, let me assure you, my dear young lady, that there is absolutely no comparison between the pleasure that I might take in eating ham and the pleasure I anticipate in raping and murdering you. That is the honest conclusion to which my education has led me–after the most conscientious examination of my spontaneous and uninhibited." --Ted Bundy, cited in Louis P. Pojman, Ethics: Discovering Right and Wrong, 3rd edition (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson, 1999), 31-32.
The question to atheists is simply:
On what moral grounds can you provide a response to Bundy?
cultural inventions, as a few of you postulate, then it would always be wrong for someone within that culture to speak out against them. If culture defines right and wrong, then who are you to challenge it? To speak out against something that is culturally acceptable, like slavery, would be morally wrong. Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, or even Jesus would have been wrong.
The article didn't mention this but some atheists believe that what is moral is what minimizes suffering of others. So if society determines that molesting children is merely a $20 fine to lessen the 'suffering,' and possible retaliation towards the individual being imprisoned, would it be wrong? Are all societal laws right? Why did our Founding Fathers feel that it would be wrong to have a Democratic society?
At the very least, we are thankful that most atheists agree that moral relativism is doomed. Even Sam Harris recognizes the inherent dangers, and speaks against, moral relativism in his book "The End of Faith" but curiously he doesn't tell us what his moral theory is.
Now, most of the atheists here that I talk to use the morality 'just is' explanation instead of the 'selfish gene' that Richard Dawkins uses, something is good because our genes tell us it is. Morality, on this view, is something most of us believe in, follow, and practice, even though it doesn't exist in reality; its just an illusion foisted on us via evolution so that we don't kill ourselves off as a species. There is no objective right and wrong on these views though.
As we established, being moral and having a reasonable foundation or justification for being moral are two very different issues. Back to the example, we can "function well in society flipping light switches and never even entertaining the idea that electricity is involved in the process of causing the lights to turn on"
If asked what for a justification for the lights going on when the switch is flipped, is the answer simply, "they just do"? This is no answer at all.
One may be able to deny God's existence and still live a moral life,(flipping switches) but there would be no fundamental basis, no objective moral grounding, for such a life. Plus, there would be no answer for Bundy.
Meister puts the atheist's problem concisely:
1. If moral notions such as good and evil exist objectively, then there must be an objective foundation for their existence.
2. Atheism offers no objective basis for the existence of moral notions such as good and evil.
3. Therefore, for the atheist, moral notions such as good and evil must not objectively exist.
"Christian morality, rooted as it is in transcendent, personal, omni-benevolent God, has truly been good for this world. Heaven help us if an atheistic morality, rooted in evolutionary theory or otherwise, should ever become the guiding moral force on a global scale."
But Meister, keep in mind according to the Bible, global atheistic morality will happen very soon.
We have an explanation as to the why the absoluteness of truth exist. Our Christian worldview does indeed "account" for absolute truth and morality, atheism cannot and does not, so logically atheism is illogical.