Jerry Rivard asks: “Do you have a reason why objective morals can’t exist without an omnipotent omniscient deity? (And please don’t just say “well where else would they come from”.)”
I’ve dealt with this topic in a previous blog post, “If there is no God then is everything permissible?” Let me give the nuts and bolts of that response with a big, fat quote of myself (the height of hubris, I know):
As the virtue existence argument goes, the existence of objective virtue or value could only exist if God exists. Thus, if certain free human actions exemplify objective moral value or disvalue, then this implies the existence of God as the source of that value.
Unfortunately I don’t think the virtue existence argument is particularly persuasive. But that is not to say that it is a complete misfire. It certainly does refute naturalism which claims that only the spatio-temporal continuum that is the object of scientific enquiry exists. On the value view there is at least one dimension to reality irreducible to the spatio-temporal and that is the moral universe in which free actions have moral value or disvalue.
But the fact that the existence of objective value counts against naturalism does not mean that it necessarily counts for God. Rather it only counts for supernaturalism, and that is compatible both with objective value being rooted in the necessary willing of a personal agent (i.e. God) or with it being self-existent as in Plato’s form of the good.
In other words, a person could continue to affirm objective moral values apart from the existence of God but if one does one is left with a metaphysical brute fact which looks rather “goddish” and which certainly refutes naturalism and scientism, the two wooly bedfellows of most contemporary academic atheists. That is not a minor concession for an atheist to make.