Debate question: Are my issues with atheism legitimate? Can atheism provide a coherent moral framework other than nihilism, relativism, or subjectivism? Do these problems really present evidence for theism? Is William Lane Craig right? Is this a real problem for atheism, or are my (our) emotions simply overriding my (our) rationality?
I'm not logician. But Craig seems wrong to me now as always with what he says.
1) If God does not exist then objective moral values do not exist.
How would one prove that?
If I were to say that "If God did not exist then gravity would not exist" would you accept this as true? Theists will usually tell you that the laws of physics exist because God chose them. I'm going to assume that you don't see this as a necessity. The laws of physics may exist because it is inherent that energy/matter will behave in certain ways, maybe even required that it behave as it does in this Universe. As an atheist, I have no problem not believing in Gods even though I couldn't begin to tell you how gravity came about.
There is no evidence for gods. There is evidence for gravity. Everything else we couldn't explain has so far turned out to be perfectly natural. I can't guarantee that gravity is, but I have no reason to conclude it isn't natural as well.
I'm an avid moral relativist. But I'm not going to go into all the reasons why it makes sense to me. Moral relativism is hard to get when you are used to thinking and talking in objectivist terms. (Please don't take that as an insult, it just is. I'm not saying you can't understand, just that I know I can't express myself well enough to make moral relativism click for you in one post.) So let's say that you continue to believe that there are objective standards of morality.
If we take objective morality as true, then it's origin can be unexplained just as the origin of gravity is. It would not require a god to set the standards, maybe the objective standards are as part of the nature of existence as gravity.
Then there is the litany of problems with the god solution. I'm sure you are familiar with them. If I say that morality is subjective you would say that's bull, there is no way that taking a blowtorch to a baby's face because the momentary warmth burning baby fat gives you is mildly pleasurable is morally acceptable. So is you can't reconcile this with moral relativism, how do you reconcile it with a god did it system? If the gods had determined that that's morally ok, would it have made it morally ok? May I assume you answered in the negative? So if the standards exist independent from the gods' opinions, saying that the gods determined moral truth isn't accurate.
The God did it answer seems to settle any question. But it raises so many more unanswerable questions such as what gods are and how they did it and when they did it and such not. So although it seems to be an answer, it isn't.
Certainty is comfortable. So an offer that seems to offer it is attractive. But choosing to believe something because it offers an answer misses the step of demonstrating the answer's correct. Many a fine, elegant solution has been ruined by that step.
Atheism, as you know, is just the lack of belief in any gods. There are atheists who believe in moral relativism and those who believe in moral absolutes. You don't have to accept moral relativism just because that's what so many atheists accept. I hope you come to accept it because it seems to be the better explanation.
But if you remain a moral absolutist you should be able to at least come to live with not knowing absolutely how those absolutes came to be. To finally get to the answer to one of your questions: No. Atheism cannot provide a good moral framework. Atheism is just the lack of belief in any gods. It offers nothing to take their place. You can remain fully an atheist while still struggling to figure out what philosophical outlook best satisfies you in explaining morality. Not being a football fan provides you with nothing to fill the time on sundays you would have spent watching the games. But it does leave you free to find out for yourself what best fills that time.
Pardon the rambling.