It is commonly asserted by people who do not believe God exists, that a person can be moral without God or His word. When we examine this premise there are many inadequacies as to its logic. What many people forget is that when atheists say anything, it is always from their own definition of the particular thought they posit.
The basic failure of atheism is understood by its reliance upon self, human wisdom, and is therefore, always inadequate and weak. All humans are fallible; every person is incapable of perfection. For this reason it is not possible for any person to prove that their particular philosophy or tenet of belief, based solely on human wisdom, is perfect, complete, and without fault.
Atheists claim that a person can be moral and not believe in God.
Atheistic philosopher Julian Baggini stated:
“There is nothing to stop atheists believing in morality, a meaning for life, or human goodness. Atheism is only intrinsically negative when it comes to belief about God. It is as capable of a positive view of other aspects of life as any other belief.”
The flaw in Baggini’s thought process is understood by his own definition of morality; human reasoning.
Ask an atheist to define morality, and you will find that their standards are situational, changeable, depending upon opinion and circumstance. Atheists can make moral choices, but the vast majority choose not to. The atheist defines morality by what they think is right, not by any moral absolute.
Atheists believe that lying, deception, twisting facts, are acceptable, depending on the circumstance. In atheism, and all philosophies of secular thought, morality is relative, situational, changeable depending on opinion or circumstance.
Genuine morality is fixed, absolute, unchangeable. This is the principle that is found in the word of God. In this regard, the atheist is not capable of genuine morality, only the type of morality that atheism and secular humanism defines for itself.
Genuine morality from God is immutable, unmovable; it is clear and easy to understand. Human morality constantly changes depending on current societal perspectives, which creates confusion. No one under human morality really knows what is right and wrong because it’s never the same. Popular opinion dictates secular morality, not a fixed standard.
Anything that is true is unchangeable, absolute, and cannot be amended or altered. Truth in this regard, is always very narrow; lies are very broad and adaptable to circumstance.
The frailty and inadequacy of human wisdom is seen in its changeability. This is the morality that atheists adapt for themselves. This is why the atheist can say that they can be moral and not rely upon any standard established by the God of the Bible.
Genuine morality is only possible by a knowledge, acceptance, and practice of God’s word. For this reason no atheist or any person apart from God, is capable of living a truly moral life.
All morality outside God’s word is inadequate, unreliable, incomplete, and unstable. God’s word is perfect; His laws are reliable, trustworthy, and have no need of change depending upon circumstance.
The Mechanism That Proves Morality Is From God
The conscience that every person has, is evidence that God exists and created us with the ability to know right and wrong. A conscience is not necessary in the evolutionary process. No other creature but man, has a conscience that dictates to him, what is right and wrong.
Animals are ruled by instinct alone, but man is ruled by the instinct of a conscience that tells him what is right and wrong. Only by a continual suppression of the conscience can a person make himself immune to guilt and a feeling of error.
The conscience knows that right and wrong are absolute. This reality defines where our conscience originated from, and that we were created to be moral beings by God who is perfect in every regard.
Genuine morality is absolute and comes only from God. Human morality is flexible, according to circumstance, and is therefore inadequate and defective.
When a person denies the absolute standards for morality that God established in His word, he sets for himself a flawed standard that is defective in both practice and discernment.
The reality proven by people from all over the earth, is that all humans are sinners; people lacking moral perfection. The truth that humans are imperfect, is observed consistently in every country, by all people. During the entire history of man on the earth, he has consistently exhibited behavior that defines humanity, in its present form, as evil. We lie, cheat, steal, covet, hate, have bias, ulterior motives, selfish ambition, are self-centered, and often commit malicious acts, even brutality and murder. All over the world, in every person, universally for all of man’s time on earth, he has been a sinner.
The book of Romans defines the purpose of God’s law as a teacher. We see the moral standards set by God, and if we are honest, we will admit that keeping the laws of God perfectly, is not possible. This was the very reason that the law was given to us as it is written in the Bible. God wanted to eliminate all of our excuses, so He showed us that we can never be truly righteous by His standards.
The purpose of Jesus coming into the world was to show us who God is, what He is like, and that it is possible for a human being to live a truly moral life. The men who saw and heard Jesus during the final three and one-half years of His life, said that He never sinned. There is not a single record in history that Jesus ever committed any sin. Have you ever known anyone that didn’t sin?
Jesus asked if anyone was able to accuse Him of sin. The prophets of the Old Testament said that when the Messiah comes to earth, He will be without sin.
Only God is without sin, yet Jesus never sinned. This gives us a clue as to Jesus’ true identity. When Jesus came to earth as God, taking the body of a man to die for our sins, He is the only man to never sin.
It was this perfect and sinless life that Jesus presented to the Father as payment for our sins. Each of us has broken the laws of God, and according to His law, “the soul that sins will die.” It is sin in us that causes us to die. If we had never sinned, we would not ever die.
The penalty of death for our sins was an irrevocable sentence that could not be amended or changed by any of us. The one exception to this law that God established in the Old Testament, was the law of a sinless substitute, taking the penalty for the guilty.
A penalty had to be paid for our sins. Because God said, “the soul that sins will die,” this penalty had to be paid by death. God could not make a law and then ignore His law. God could not simply ignore our sins because He loves us. In order for God to be righteous, He had to do what He said. Either we would have to pay this penalty ourselves by an eternal death, or God would send His Son to take the penalty and die for us.
If a man could be found that had lived a perfect life, and if that man had the value of an endless life, He could offer it as payment for the lives of all other humans. As God, He could never die, but If God came to earth in the body of a man and lived a perfect, sinless, life, He could present that life as payment for all of us.
All that was necessary after Jesus paid for our sins, was for us to believe and accept what He did for us. The moment anyone truly believes that Jesus’ death paid their penalty for their sins, and they trust in Him, they are born a second time by the Spirit of God and have eternal life.
The law, the moral code that God gave to man, was never kept by any of us. This places the whole world of human beings under death. When Jesus died for all sins, every person had the right to believe and accept what Jesus did for them, and in this belief in what God said and has done for us, we are seen by God as righteous, perfectly keeping the entire law of God. Only Jesus’ death for our sins, and our trust in what He did for us, makes us right with God, ready to live with Him in heaven.
The atheist acts as thought the moral laws of God are wrong, restrictive, and cruel. In fact, they are all for our good. Not lying, killing, stealing, coveting, honoring our parents, and loving God, are good laws that enhance life for all of us. If we would follow these laws, earth would be filled with love and peace—not the evil and violence—suffering and death that we have seen since our beginning.
It is because human beings do not obey the laws of God that we suffer. It is because the majority of humans have decided that they will not do what God commanded, that the world is filled with evil, violence, suffering and death.
In the world to come, after God has allowed us sufficient time to change our minds, turn from our sins, and trust in Jesus for our salvation, Jesus will come a second time to earth to rule over it in complete righteousness.
The atheist asserts that a person can live as a moral being without God, but to the present time, there has never been a truly moral atheist on earth. In fact, by their decision to set their own standards for the morality they say they can follow, this morality is insufficient to make them truly good people.
It is only persons who have been born again by the Spirit of God that we see people who are truly loving, patient, kind, compassionate, and live lives of purpose.
The atheist cannot live as a moral being, because his morality is self defined, changeable, and unreliable. This morality is confusing to the world because it constantly changes and no one really knows what secular morality is defined as.
The morality that God defined in His word, is fixed, easily understandable, and doable for those who try. When we fail to be perfect in our attempts at following the moral law of God, He forgives us, and applies Jesus’ death for our sins to our account, and we are righteous in the sight of God.
 Baggini, Julian (2003). Atheism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-280424-2.
 Matthew 7:13-14 Jesus Said: “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it. John 14:6: Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.
 2 Samuel 22:31 As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.
 All human beings are born with a conscience—the sense of right and wrong. There is an inner voice that speaks to our heart and guides us as a moral compass to direct our words and actions. When human beings violate their conscience repeatedly, this ability to sense the difference between right and wrong becomes seared and loses its ability to feel guilt. When this occurs in an individual, we say that he is a “sociopath.”
A few of the behaviors that develop in people who have lost or do not possess the ability of a conscience:
- They do not recognize the rights of others.
- People are seen as instruments to be used.
- A grandiose sense of self
- A person can tell a lie or speak an untruth without guilt.
- It is almost impossible for this person to consistently tell the truth.
- A complete lack of remorse or feelings of guilt
- Any sense of empathy or love comes from an underlying ulterior motive.
- Often promiscuous, with deviant sexual behavior
- Lack of empathy for the suffering of others
- Leading parasitic lifestyle, taking pleasure from the pain of others
Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron. ~1 Timothy 4:1-2
Notice that the conscience, which has been provided by God, is damaged by denying God that, in turn, opens the spirit of this person up to “giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.” This conscience that is seared, or can no longer feel guilt or remorse, leads to an abhorrent lifestyle. It is interesting that this loss of conscience is linked to demonic activity in the life of a person. This is not to say that this person has knowingly participated in the worship of demons. A denial of God removes His protection from our life and opens us up to the possibility of demonic oppression or possession. These individuals become prey for demonic activity that can further sear the conscience and prevent a person from feeling any guilt or empathy towards other people. Along with the loss of a clear moral compass that dictates what is right or wrong behavior, these individuals are without feeling concerning how their behavior hurts or affects other people.
It is clear that the human conscience, which causes us to feel guilt, is intended as a sign that God exists. Source for the above: “These Things Were Written,” Robert Clifton Robinson, Chapter 2, “The Conscience Of The Human Soul.” https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FLDF8PC/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p2_i1
 Why is Jesus hated so vehemently? Because He reminds people that they are sinners. Most people do not want to be told they need a Savior. To even imply that a person is deficient in his moral life is offensive, and causes anger.
The reason the world hates Jesus Christ is because He has a claim upon our life that demands an answer. Jesus came into the world to save sinners. To acknowledge this truth is to admit that we have a problem. For a majority of people, this is an insult to their pride and self-worth, and an impossible fact to acknowledge.
I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.~Luke 13:3
Jesus is able to save us all because His life was perfect, without sin, and eternal—as the Son of God. Having an infinite life of eternal value, He could take our place at the judgment of God and bear the punishment we all deserve.
The liar, the fornicator, the adulterer, the homosexual, and the lesbian are all sinners equally before God. This truth is declared throughout the Bible: All sins must be repented of, turned from, and ceased in the life of the person who will come to Jesus Christ for salvation. If there is no repentance, there is no salvation.
 But this Man (Jesus), after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God. ~Hebrews 10:12
Paul’s language gives us an indication of what he is trying to say. The priests at the Temple never sat down. In fact, there were no chairs in the temple area. Jesus, as our Great High Priest, sat down after He completed His sacrifice for our sins, because the work was finished. When Jesus died on the Cross, He said these words so that the whole world could hear: “It is Finished.” ~Hebrews 9:11-15
Jesus came, in the words of this prophecy by Isaiah, to proclaim to the ends of the world this great salvation that would be accomplished by the Messiah. Jesus fulfilled every point and purpose of the law of God by becoming the perfect sacrifice that would, once and for all, remove our sins.
But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. ~Hebrews 9:11-15
Paul puts forth the argument, in Hebrews Chapter 10, that if innocent animals that shed their blood could take away the guilt of the offending sinner and allow them to continue to worship God, how much more can the precious blood of the Son of God completely remove our sin and our guilt forever? The purpose of these Old Testament laws were to serve as a “shadow of the good things to come.” If the Old Testament sacrifices had been perfect, then the person offering the animal would have experienced the complete removal of their sins. This was not the case, however; the sinner who brought his sacrifice understood that his sins were still present. God was allowing a temporary provision to cover the guilt of the sinner until the Messiah arrived to permanently remove them forever.
For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. ~Hebrews 10:1
 Although Jesus came to us from eternity, He also came to earth as a man. Existing forever in Spirit, Jesus had no permanent body. In order for God to be able to save all mankind, it was necessary for Him to become one of us. As the second Adam, Jesus was born without sin, conceived by the Holy Spirit in the body of a virgin. Because Jesus did not possess a sin nature, as do all those who are descended from Adam, and because He was able to live His entire life without sin, Jesus was qualified to be our Savior. If Jesus had sinned even once during His thirty-three years, He would have been disqualified as our Savior. If Jesus was born by a conventional birth—a union between a man and a woman—He could not be our Savior.
The testimony of all those who had known Him intimately, for many years, is that He had never sinned. (Paul) For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. ~Hebrews 4:15 (Peter) but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. ~ 2 1 Peter 1:19
There is not a single reference in the Bible where Jesus is said to have committed a sin. When Pilate came face to face with Jesus, his observation and judgment was: “I find no fault in Him.”
So Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no fault in this Man.” ~Luke 23:4
 Ezekiel 18:4: “Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father
As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die.
 In order for God to be seen as Just, He must punish sin by the death of the guilty. God does not ever overlook sin; He always judges it and punishes all wrong, just as He said He would. There is, however, a provision in the law of God that allows for an innocent, who has done no wrong, to substitute his life for the life of the guilty. The innocent is made culpable by the transfer of sins to his account and then takes the punishment that is due. The former guilty party is treated as innocent, and there is no record of wrongdoing attached to his account. This is exactly what was accomplished by the provision in the law of God to which Jesus availed Himself on our behalf.
Then he shall put his hand on the head of the burnt offering (who is innocent), and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him (who is guilty).~Leviticus 1:4
Although the process of sin’s removal is the same in both the Old and New Testament examples—through an innocent party—the permanent removal of those sins, during the time of the Old Testament, did not occur until the Messiah died and rose from the dead. When Jesus made His one perfect sacrifice, all sins for all time were removed forever.
Before Jesus arrived and completed His sacrifice, the sins of those in the Old Testament were only “covered,” not removed. After Jesus’ death, everyone who comes to Him, based on this provision in the law, has their sins fully paid and removed immediately from their record.
In the Books of Exodus Chapter 29 and Leviticus Chapter 4, the Lord describes a process whereby a person who has committed sin may have those sins atoned for by the death of an innocent animal. This sacrifice did not remove the sin of the persons who committed them; it simply acted as a kofar—a covering—until the Messiah would come and make His one perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people. By the animal sacrifices, God was illustrating the seriousness of sin and the cost involved in having those sins judged. If no sacrifice was made, if there was no shedding of blood, then sins could not be atoned for.
And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. ~Hebrews 9:22
God does not approve of nor condone either animal or human sacrifice. These principles were established in the Hebrew scriptures so that we could understand what Jesus was doing for us when He died for our sins. Today no sacrifice is needed, since Jesus’ one perfect sacrifice for all sins was accomplished.
But this Man (Jesus), after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God. ~Hebrews 10:12
Paul’s language gives us an indication of what he is trying to say. The priests at the Temple never sat down. In fact, there were no chairs in the temple area. Jesus, as our Great High Priest, sat down after He completed His sacrifice for our sins, because the work was finished. When Jesus died on the Cross, He said these words so that the whole world could hear: “It is Finished.”
 For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life. For He testifies: “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.”~ Hebrews 7:14-17
A sacrifice brought to the priest was offered to the Lord on behalf of the sinner. All that these sacrifices could accomplish was a temporary covering. Jesus brings His perfect life and offers it for you, as He lays it upon the altar of God for your sins. Because His life is eternal and of infinite value (Verse 16: the power of an endless life), His sacrifice has the power to “remove your sins as though they never existed.”
 When a person comes the first time to Jesus Christ, confesses all his sins, and asks Jesus to cleanse him of those sins—He does. When the prayer of repentance is sincere, the penitent is born again, and salvation occurs. It is not necessary to continue to be saved again and again. Only one heartfelt surrender of the old life and a complete turning to a new life in Jesus Christ is necessary.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.~ 2 Corinthians 5:17
Men and women do not change themselves permanently and become better people by the programs of man. However, when a person is Born Again by the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit living within a person can affect his life forever. The power of a changed life by coming into a relationship with Jesus Christ is incontrovertible evidence that no one can deny. There are countless millions of men and women, like myself, who were entirely different people before they met Jesus, who are today living new lives of freedom and power.
All those who are born into this world are lost and in desperate need of a Savior. This was the purpose for which Jesus came into the world as the Messiah. As the sons and daughters of Adam, we are born into the world with a natural tendency towards sin. The Pharisees believed that because they were the descendants of Abraham, they were righteous. Jesus makes it clear that only those who experience a second spiritual rebirth, known in the third chapter of John’s gospel as “born again,” are the children of God. ~1 John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
In this first prophecy of the Bible, God distinguishes between those who are born of men and the Messiah who will be born of God. It is not the purpose of God to disparage the human race, but to inform us of the truth. In our present condition as the descendants of Adam, we have no hope of eternal redemption. If God did not love all people intensely, He would not have sent His Son into the world to die for us.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. ~John 3:16-17
Nicodemus is a Pharisee of Israel. The Pharisees were the teachers of the law. Nicodemus has heard Jesus speak, and his heart is moved. He knows that no one has ever expounded on the true intent of the word of God like Jesus. His wisdom, power, and authority when He spoke is unparalleled in the history of the world. The way Jesus loved people while calling them to repentance for their sins was the perfect balance of love and correction. Nicodemus wanted to know more about Jesus. He is afraid that if he goes to speak to the Lord during the day, his colleagues might see him and rebuke his actions.
Coming at night, Nicodemus finds that Jesus has all the answer to his questions and meets the deepest longing of his heart.
There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”
Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness.
If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” ~John 3:1-16
Jesus counsels Nicodemus that it is not a man’s outward religious activities that causes God to accept him, but it is his heart of repentance for his sins and a willingness to receive God’s chosen Savior.
The work of Salvation is accomplished by the Holy Spirit, who moves in the hearts of those who are sincerely seeking God and are willing to do what He has said. In this example, Jesus is a Wonderful Counselor who bypasses all of the religious objections of Nicodemus, and simply tells him: “You must be born again.”
Categories: Atheists, Agnostics and Skeptics, Common errors of Atheists, Common objections by Atheists, does god harden hearts?, How Salvation Occurs, Reasons For Unbelief, Robert Clifton Robinson, The Authority of God, The Claims of Jesus, The Condition of the Heart, Those who stop believing, True Repentance, We must repent, What happens after death?
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