The Great Internal Irony of Atheism


Let’s address the atheist’s argument that he need not believe in God to be
moral; that morality comes from his heart; and that he doesn’t need a religion as
a guidepost to tell him what is right and wrong. I always found this argument
puzzling.

We understand that a healthy body temp should be about 98.6 Fahrenheit.
Higher or lower than that means you are sick. Likewise, your blood pressure
above or below certain ranges indicate you are unhealthy. We also have
objective measures for what pleasant weather is (say about 72 Fahrenheit, and so
much humidity); above that gets to be on the hot side, below on the cold. We say
18 is old enough for sexual consent, younger than that is statutory rape or even
pedophilia. Nor can you contract or vote younger than 18. We say that if you
drive above 65 miles per hour, you are violating the speeding laws. You get the idea. There are many other standards that we apply in life, not just in health and in safety, but in math (we’ve all agreed to work with Arabic numbers, using base 10) and specific words to communicate, as well as grammar (verb agreement, tenses, conjugation and pronouns).The atheist understands the need for standards, too. After all, how can one advance “science” without numbers and agreements on units? But when it comes to what one might consider the most important aspect of
our society—how we act with each other—it’s something you just know. You
know what I mean?

Atheists of all people should understand the flaw in their own argument; after all, they think that everything is relative, because there is no absolute “right” or “wrong.” Their own argument that logic should lead to “good” or “right” decisions presumes there is an “absolute” standard in the first place. Otherwise, a decision or action can be “right” while any other decisions or action—even the opposite—can also be “right.”

Some may call that confusing.

Either an absolute standard exists, or it does not. If you do not believe in God, then you must believe there are no absolute, universal standards; only
relative standards. That is the intellectually consistent argument. But if you
believe that pursuing a correct path is important, then that assumes there are
indeed absolute, universal standards. Above or below that “standard” should
indicate to us that we are morally unhealthy. It’s objective.For the believer, the Bible is humanity’s guidepost for morality. But to be a “true” atheist, your attitude must be: “Whatever anyone does to me, that’s what he does to me. It is not good or bad. It’s just survival, and likewise I will protect myself in the interests of my survival. I don’t mind if you do well, so long as it doesn’t interfere with me. But if you do interfere, watch out.”

Do you see the atheist’s conundrum here? He cannot be a “moral” person
because there are no real objective “morals.” He may individually act morally
because he knows a world without morals would be both devastating and
terrifying. But that does not mean his atheism leads to moral behavior. He might
choose to act moral in spite of his atheism, not because of it. Atheism offers only emptiness and, ultimately, nihilism. To say an atheist can be or is moral because of his atheism is like saying George Washington was a great man because he had slaves. You cannot both subscribe to an ideology that by definition offers no morals and at the same time argue it is a moral system. While an individual atheist can himself be moral and caring, atheism itself can only be amoral—that is, without morals. It’s a contradiction that an atheist cannot truly square for himself. Even during my most intense atheism, I never argued that there could be morals without God. On the contrary, I proudly acknowledged the contrary: I knew
morals had nothing to do with atheism. To argue otherwise would be like arguing a cheetah is a vegetarian. It’s just not a part of what he is. In the same way that today’s social agitators and revisionists wrongly try to re-cast killers such as Mao, Castro, Ho Chi Minh and Che Guevara into selfless fighters for the common man, the atheist cannot fashion atheism into some righteous moral enterprise. It is not.
And the world seems to agree: a recent study of 3,000 people in thirteen
countries over five continents presented a scenario of a fictional evildoer who
tortured animals as a child, then grows up to murder and mutilate five homeless
people. The study asked half of the group how likely it was that the perpetrator
was a religious believer, and the other half how likely that he was an atheist. The
study found that people were about twice as likely to assume that the killer was
an atheist. Remarkably, even atheists assume it. The study showed not only
that people consider atheism a doctrine without morals, but that they generally
fear atheism as dangerous and “morally depraved.” 1

And here’s the predictable, “no surprise” ending to this chapter: nothing “moral” has ever come out of atheism. Ever. Because there is nothing in atheism’s business plan that calls for morality. You might as well expect an ice cream store to start delivering babies. Morality? It’s just not what atheism does.

  1. https://phys.org/news/2017-08-atheists-thought-immoral-fellow.html, August 7, 2017.


Categories: atheism

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