He tries to make the point that moralism can not exist without the existence of a god.
The interesting thing is not that he tries to argue this, as this has been a favored argument among christian apologists for years. The interesting thing is that he is not trying to prove it by quoting scripture, which is the usual fallacious approach to such arguments.
He tries to prove it logically. That it is a logical self-contradiction.
Whoever he was arguing against, I don’t really care. Whether he made the points I am about to make or not, it apparently bears clarification and repetition.
His entire argument has a single linchpin that he keeps returning to as if it has been logically proven beyond all doubt, so by knocking this linchpin out of place, his whole article comes flying off its axle.
Here’s the key argument he makes (emphasis is mine):
I didn’t ask what’s good or bad, I asked what determined it? If morality is relative, it’s not really morality. It’s simply a personal choice on how to live. If morality is subjective, then it’s simply a set of social agreements. Neither of these, of course, is actual morality. If you believe it’s wrong to hurt someone, then WHY is it wrong to hurt someone? What if I believe it’s RIGHT to hurt someone?
You’d say I’m wrong, of course, but then you’d be appealing to an absolute moral objectivity that exists OUTSIDE space and time, outside our influence, independent of us, that determines morality. You have to, if you believe in morality and are being logically consistent. Of course, something existing outside space and time and influence would be considered a god by almost any person. Atheists are logically inconsistent when they speak of morality. If you don’t believe in an intelligent god, you at least believe in an absolute that transcends the universe and existed before and outside our own existence.
Here’s the thing that believers such as yourself seem to have a great problem grasping:
Morals are not universally considered an absolute concept.
They are for you, of course, since you are convinced have a perfect rule book for life, but to argue from a point that assumes that your standpoint is correct is a logical fallacy, and therefore entirely invalid.
But we are not referring to any kind of absolute moralism, and therefore not to anything that could – even by your thinly stretched argument – be perceived as god in any sense of the word.
I think what might be confusing is that we use words like “bad” and “good”, as if they were absolute concepts. But they aren’t.
When you try to debate something with someone who has a very different outlook on life, it’s a prerequisite for a useful discussion that common ground is established. In the case of the naturalism vs supernaturalism debate, some of the things christians such as yourself and atheists/antitheists such as myself can agree on are things like “it’s bad to hurt one another”.
Therefore, we work from that common ground, which is then the closest thing we have to a absolute reference point.
But it’s not absolute – it’s just absolute to the parties who agreed to the absolutism of it. Typically the parties involved in the debate.
So unless you can prove that there is a universal consensus that objective absolute moralism exists, you have no basis for your argument.
And proving that your opponent in that debate is silly enough to hold that opinion is not good enough, because you have stated in no uncertain terms that the entire concept of atheistic moralism is self-contradictory.
As for your other implied claim that morals are somehow useless if they are consensual man-made constructs, you could also apply that to spoken and written language and global economy. It’s not a universal truth, so it does not stand alone.