“Objective” or “Absolute” Moral Values?

Hello Dr. Craig,

As always, I want to thank you for your continued commitment to defending the faith and equipping the church to meet the challenges of this increasingly secular age that we live in. I myself have been deeply influenced by your work and am in the final stages of completing my requirements to be a Reasonable Faith Chapter Director in West Texas.

My question to you today is about the difference between absolute vs. objective when speaking about morality.

I have heard you address this question in one of your Q&A sessions while doing your tour through Europe. You stated that you were very committed to stating the moral argument in terms of "objective" morality, rather than "absolute" morality. However, I do not believe there was further explanation on the subject.

In your debate with Sam Harris, you refuted the notion that you were advocating for a position that asserted a "universal" system of morality, but maintained that objective moral values and duties are what you were declaring to be evidence for God's existence. In both Reasonable Faith and On Guard, I've noticed you define "Objective" by stating that something is objective if it does not depend on human opinion or knowledge. It is simply valid and binding, regardless of human opinion.

While chaperoning an Apologetics mission trip to a local college campus, the moral argument was addressed and one of the atheists made the statement that went something like this:

"When you say absolute, I don't know what that means. What I hear most Christians say when they speak of 'Absolute Truth' or 'Absolute Morality' is really the same thing as speaking in terms of Objectivity. Most of the time the words 'Absolute' and 'Objective' are used interchangeable with no meaningful distinction".

Since you've spoken extensively about the moral argument, and given your educational background, I'm sure that this is a question that you have thought about and resolved yourself. My hope is that you can shed some light on this subject for myself and the rest of us. Thank you very much, once again, for all that you do in the name of Jesus. God Bless!


United States

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