Post Author: Bill Pratt
If morality is not grounded by a transcendent standard, a standard that is above all humanity, then it collapses to relativism. This concept is not at all difficult to understand, but relativism retains a negative enough connotation these days that atheists, who deny a transcendent, objective standard of morality, are still squeamish about the word.
Jeffrey Dahmer, the serial killer who gained notoriety for eating his victims, understood the connection between God and morality all too well. Dahmer’s father recounted his son’s moral reasoning in a documentary produced in 1996: “If it all happens naturalistically, what’s the need for a God? Can’t I set my own rules? Who owns me? I own myself.”
Exactly. If there is no God, you have no accountability to anyone else at all. You own yourself and you can do with yourself whatever you please.
In an interview in 1994, Dahmer himself explained his thinking. He wondered that if there were no God and we all came “from the slime,” then “what’s the point of trying to modify your behavior to keep it within acceptable ranges?”
The fact that we all instinctively cry out at Dahmer’s behavior does nothing to take away from the fact that his reasoning is right on target. He embodied the atheist worldview taken to its logical extremes. You may not like what Dahmer did, but unless you believe in an objective, transcendent moral standard, he didn’t do anything but act unfashionably.