I have asked this of several different non-theist sources and have yet to get a satisfactory answer. So I thought I would pose it here for your thoughts. This article is how I've argued against biblical morality. This is Matt Dillahunty discussing this point. Debate after debate atheists come close to talking about this but miss this documents point completely. I always end up yelling at the speaker "what about empathy". Please comment on anything you feel I've gotten wrong. For your contemplation. Here we go.
Why don't Atheists use empathy as an argument against Religious morality claims?
Theists argue that you can not have morality without god because god gave us our morals. That there is no scientific way to measure morality Thus it must have come from god. Beside it being a great leap to say it was god not some teapot around Jupiter that did it.
Even though empathy is not a physical thing made of matter that you can hold in your hand. Empathy can be proven to exist by scientific method. We know all animals have the ability of having and expressing empathy. The examples of a lion nursing a baby antelope, dogs nursing a cats kittens, animals adopting members of their own species and others. We have all seen evidence and cute pictures of this. When you see a child hungry you feed it because you feel empathy. You know how it feels to be hungry. It feeds baby because it can see it needs help just like you would. There is lots of examples of empathy. It's provable and experimentally repeatable. I would even bet money that the dinosaurs felt and displayed empathy. They had children didn't they.
How you respond to the empathy you feel is directly proportional to how moral you are doesn't it?
So the action of empathy is morality. We institute moral rules because of the empathy we feel. We show or preform empathy when we bandage a bleeding child or feed a hungry child. We do not spill oil and burn all the trees of other nations because we imagine what our lives would be like if it was done to us. Or how our children would be affected. Even the morality of something as immoral as war. We can feel how your life would be to survive such an attack. So the action is an agreement not to use chemical weapons in war. The father away from empathy we get the more immoral we get. Thus after making the agreement you use band weapons you are immoral. Empathy is being able to place yourself in an others situation in our imagination or experience.
A lion though killing animals to eat lives by it's own moral code. They are unable to empathize with their prey does not make a lion immoral for feeding themselves or their young. Unable to imagine what being an antelope must be like but can imagine what being a baby is like, thus will nurse a baby of it's prey. We have moral rules instilled in us from living with empathy. The more reasoning ability an animal has the greater probability that it will develop a moral code just as we have done all by ourselves. The next step in our moral evolution after banning war might be ,say, not eating meat. We feel empathy for how it must be like to be someones food. If we discovered cows felt that way we would have to stop eating cows to be truly moral. It's moral to eat cows because they don't use reasoning powers the same way we do. Through evolution of the human mind from ape to hominid to modern our morals evolved with us in a fully natural way. Through empathy, no god or religion needed. So we have proof of empathy through a repeatable scientific method and no proof that the bible or any book was here before empathy or morality. Which is more probable?
So why don't atheists use empathy as an argument against the existence or need for a theistic morality? Is there a theistic point that makes empathy moot that I'm not seeing?