In my last post, I challenged anyone who believes there is no Creator to explain how there can be such thing as a right and I connected it to the question of whether or not slavery is wrong. In this post, I am going to push even hard, because, in this post, I am going to push those who do not believe in a Creator to explain how there can be such things as rights, free will, morality or justice without Him.
Here’s what I mean: in order for something to be a right, it must belong only to you. It must also be something that can never be taken from you. You happen to have at least one right that belongs only to you and which can never be taken: your free will. It can be broken, but never taken. If you chose to resist unto death, no one can force you to change your will about anything.
Now, because you must have life to exercise your free will, this gives you a right to your life. You need your body to sustain your life, so you have a right to your body. You need food to sustain your body, so you have a right to seek food – but you do not have a right to food. In this respect, you are no different from any other animal. They have as much right as you to seek food to sustain their bodies to preserve their lives so they can exercise their free will. So you think I just proved the skeptics case? Wrong!
You see, this is where we part from the animals and the necessity for a Creator manifests itself as self-evident. You and I are moral agents. We know there is such thing as right and wrong – the animals do not. And what is right and what is wrong is connected to our rights. If I steal your food, I jeopardize your body, your life and, therefore, your ability to exercise your free will. Therefore, stealing your food is an immoral act. But why, what is different between us and the animals? There is no moral connection between a lion stealing food from a hyena. So why is it wrong for me to steal food from you? Because we are moral agents, that’s why.
This is one of the main differences that separate us from the animals: we can tell right from wrong. And this is where we derive the notion of justice. We view trespassing on another person’s rights as immoral and unjust. The entire concept of our legal system was built around the intention of making good on the wrongs one person does to another person’s rights. And thus, rights beget morality, and morality begets justice.
But now, here’s where it gets interesting. If you and I are just a random accident of elements violating the second law of thermodynamics (note: this would be a super-natural event in and of itself), then why do we recognize right from wrong when such a thing could not be possible. You see, if we are just an accident of the set laws of this universe, then there can be no such thing as right or wrong. To make such a claim would be the equivalent of saying the orbit of the earth is right, but the Andromeda Galaxy is wrong. An orbit and a galaxy can’t be right or wrong; they just are because the set laws of this universe dictate that they must be the way they are – just as the laws of nature dictate that there is nothing wrong with the lion eating the zebra. However, for you to instinctively know that there is something wrong about murdering your neighbor or enslaving him indicates that there must be a higher source of law: a source that does not answer to the laws of this universe. With that higher source, you have natural rights and there is a natural law that we can discover and use to govern our lives and society. Without the Creator, there’s nothing – not even a justification for laws or justice, only the law of the jungle where might makes right.
So, tell me, have you decided that there’s nothing right or wrong about slavery, or do you understand the necessity for a Creator?