I’ve been thinking over the years since I read “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis about whether objective morality is possible without the existence of God.

The best answer I could come up in favor of morality without God as a standard was the Social Contract model, in which morals developed as part of an evolutionary …survival tool as societies formed for the protection of the masses.

The problems I have with that though is that it’s too arbitrary – whose society gets preference in a conflict? That is, how do you define a society? It could be a country, an ethnic group, a minority group, a family, or even perhaps an individual.

The other issue that follows from this is whether or not living with “positive” moral values is really in my best interests without an afterlife in which I must account for my actions. That is, if I think I can get away with it, why not lie, cheat, and steal to improve my own condition?

The attached link is a paper (not mine) which develops this argument.