When Craig talks about an objective basis for moral values, he isn't saying that there are always easy to understand rules that apply in every situation or that every human being will agree with those standards. He chose an example -- rape -- because it is one of the most clearcut areas of morality.
No he picks rape and Hitler because most athiests, who are conscious of their reputation in THIS society, are going to be very squimish with giving up absolute morality in those cases. And then he can lambast them because "they must be getting their underlying moral compass from SOMEWHERE." Its a good strategy. Also, one of the most "clearcut areas of morality" doesn't even make sense. There are no aspects of absolute morality that are any more or any less clearcut (at least in my mind there should be). And once you examine things you believe to be absolute that are not "as clearcut" you start to see that your idea of absolute right and wrong breaks down.
A true moral relativist -- having no objective standard to seek -- either goes along with the prevailing view of his society or does whatever seems right in his own eyes without concerning himself with what others think.
Yes, I go along with the prevailing view of society and I also succumb to evolutionary tendencies. I think its "wrong" for a baby to kill or abuse her children. Why? Because there is something that says this is the absolute wrong thing to do? No, because a reproducing species does not surivive with that sort of instinct or tendency. So I have a tendency, just like the rest of society in general, to have a loving and protective view of children. As an example
Moral relativism says that there is no absolute standard that we should be seeking to understand and apply. Rather, morality is relative. One society has one set of standards. Another society has another set of standards. The standards of any given society are always in flux. No standard can be measured by an absolute standard and thereby said to be better or worse than another. "Better" or "worse" by whose standard? It's all relative.
But I don't think you really believe that. I think very few people are true relative moralists, and that I think is Craig's point.
Better or worse by the goals of society. Better or worse by our evolutionary nature. In my opinion, it is better for society, genetic diversity, etc that we don't kill large portions of the population. It is also contrary to evolution. You dont kill of your own species if you want your species to survive.
I assume you would consider the prevailing moral standards in the USA (as reflected in our current set of laws) to be far superior to the prevailing moral standards of Nazi Germany. And you don't consider this to be merely a subjective personal preference of yours with the Nazis' preferences being equally fine for them (as with conflicting opinions over which colors we like better).
Don't you think the genocide of Jews was really wrong morally and that it would be morally wrong even if Hitler succeeded in establishing a society where everyone left alive agreed with him that it was morally justified? If so, where would that moral standard come from? How could it exist independently of what all the human beings on earth agreed to? If morality is just a creation of human beings, how could everyone be "wrong"?
Ok so I wont say there is some higher standard of wrongness or rightness. Being raised in this society, being a product of evolution, the Holocaust is against everything that I am naturally taught to feel. But I wont go as far to say that our society is definitely "better" than their society on an objective scale. It's hard for me to imagine any scenerio where that would help society. Maybe our current society in believing every life is precious will get consumed in overcrowding, overpopulation and exterminate ourselves fighting for resources. Maybe a cold, genocidal population would simply think nothing of killing off the "weak" and that civilization would survive. I don't know. I doesn't make any sense to me based on who I am as a human being in this society, but it is conceivable.
Society tends to think that its morality is getting better and better. To take your list, we don't have slavery in the USA any more. We've evolved past that. Homosexuality is just as normal as heterosexuality (at least that's the direction in which our society is heading). Abortion is fine as long as the mother chooses it (that's USA constitutional law now). Genocide is wrong under all circumstances. We're far more enlightened that those repressive days of the 1950s and 1850s right?
We have certainly progressed scientifically a lot. Are morals today better or worse than then? I dont know. I am sure you will find differing opinions on that.
But suppose in the next hundred years the US collapses as the Roman empire did and is replaced by a dictator with the racial views of Jefferson Davis and the worldview of Stalin. He rules with an iron hand. His views become accepted as the norm. Now slavery is morally acceptable again. Homosexuality is an abomination again and must be eradicated by execution. Abortion is wrong unless ordered by the State in which case it is fine. Genocide is acceptable and good if ordered by the State.
Is there no absolute standard by which we can say that our current morality is better than that one? Is it all a matter of what societies think or feel or want at any given point in time?
Well in some sense you DO believe the "horror" scenerio is better, in terms of homosexuality being eradicated.
But to play along, i believe our current situation is better for the survival of the species, yes. Not because of an absolute code. But because trampling on other sentient beings (ie. with slavery) will cause them to try to reach out for what is morally acceptable to THEM. It would cause chaos and trouble in society if that were to happen (as it eventually did in the past). But from the standpoint of the people owning slaves, while they owned them and they were obedient, I will not judge if that society is "better" or "worse" than mine.
We treat feeling animals as slaves right now as it is. We just abuse them because they can't aspire to some moral code of their own and try to reach it. Are we a better or worse society for doing this? I don't know.