Prof. Jerry A. Coyne tells us that morality "simply cannot come from the will or commands of a God" (You can be good without God" – USA Today, Aug. 1, 2011). What Prof. Coyne offers instead is a morality based on evolution and "secular reasoning." Yet his article reveals the flaws and weaknesses of such secular reasoning: he tells us that it is "human-generated" and is flexible, which is to say that it is essentially a morality of convenience that is not, strictly speaking, binding on anyone.
Prof. Coyne tells us that "secular morality has a flexibility and responsiveness to social change." We have seen this "flexibility" at work: it was the pragmatic morality of the great totalitarian states of the twentieth century. The only ones who dared to resist were those whose moral codes were not flexible -- religious believers who felt an accountability to God.
If God exists then why shouldn't His will be normative? Prof. Coyne gives the wrong answer to Plato's question. God is our creator and judge. Genuine morality is derived from His own character and from His creative design for us. Our sense of right and wrong stems from the conscience which He Himself has implanted within the human soul.
An atheist can be good because, as a human being, he was created in the image of God.