The Amorality of Atheism

the-foundational-principle-of-morality-and-you-5-638The essential amorality of all atheist doctrines is often hidden from us by an irrelevant personal argument. We see that many articulate secularists are well-meaning and law-abiding men; we see them go into righteous indignation over injustice and often devote their lives to good works. So we conclude that “he can’t be wrong whose life is in the right”– that their philosophies are just as good guides to action as Christianity. What we don’t see is that they are not acting on their philosophies. They are acting, out of habit or sentiment, on an inherited Christian ethic which they still take for granted though they have rejected the creed from which it sprang. Their children will inherit somewhat less of it.

–Joy Davidman,
Smoke on the Mountain

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21 thoughts on “The Amorality of Atheism

  1. It’s the arrogance of Christians that so often annoy atheists. Too many Christians claim a monopoly on morality. Some fun suggest that atheists can’t be morally sound because they don’t accept Christian beliefs. Those critics don’t relate well to the real world, they are plainly wrong.

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    • Is it arrogance to suggest that the philosophical position of atheism does not support morality? Your best atheistic philosophers have recognized that fact. Friedrich Nietzsche clearly pointed out that atheism has no basis for morality. Jean-Paul Sartre agreed: “Everything is indeed permitted if God does not exist.” It is people who have not clearly thought through the logical implications of atheism that speak otherwise. If there is no God to issue commandments, how can we talk about moral obligations? How do we get morals from a Big Bang? This is not to say that all atheists lack morality. It is to say that their philosophical position does not support the idea.

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      • Atheism neither supports morality nor denies it. Atheism is about not believing something specific.
        Your post appears to suggest that there is no other source of morality. Mankind can and does create morality. It’s done through governments, courts and elsewhere.
        To suggest atheism is therfore immoral is to ignore the real world and how it operates.

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  2. Good Morning Jorge! again, to touch upon your last blog, why are there so many amoral Christians? It’s not an atheism issue, it is a human issue.

    and those Christian ethics and talk of morals haven’t seemed to help guide you when you create a blog just to cast judgement against people who have different beliefs then you. Perhaps you know the commandment “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor”?

    Namaste!

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    • Hi David,

      You’re right. Sin affects all of us. That’s why we desperately need a Redeemer. The only one I know of who does a good job at it is named Jesus. I have seen Him change a lot of lives. My wife visits prisons and she can give you dozens of stories. Following Jesus doesn’t produce perfection. It provides forgiveness and starts a process of change. Christians aren’t better than everyone else. Perhaps worse. That’s why they turn to Jesus.

      The verse you cited forbids knowingly declaring falsehood with the intent of deceiving. Presenting views on a topic is an entirely different matter. Please don’t misuse the Bible.

      This blog is not about “casting judgement.” It’s about discussing issues, it’s about presenting viewpoints. It’s about encouraging people to rethink their ideas. If you think that critiquing someone’s position is “judging,” why then are you “judging” me?

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  3. If your blog is not about casting judgement, why are you targeting Atheists? and if your blog is about discussing the issues, why did you not respond to the messages posted on a similar topic “Ominous Moral Storm Clouds” or respond to Essiep’s message? Looking at the “Moral” tag, you continually target atheists.

    You also knowingly admit “sin effects all of us” and “Christians aren’t better than everyone else, perhaps worse” and as such there is no misuse of the bible. You are casting judgement.

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    • So “targeting” atheists is out of bounds? Why are they exempt from getting critiqued? We live in a society where we can freely exchange opinions. That’s healthy; that’s necessary. In the process we can learn from each other and correct mistaken ideas that we hold to. Isn’t that what free speech is all about? Your idea of “judging” would shut down all discussion of differing viewpoints. Is that what you want?

      I am not a full time blogger. I respond to messages as I am able.

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      • My process all along has been to show you your use of a double standard. You make a claim that an atheist is immortal but then admit that Christians are no better.

        When I pointed out “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor” you tell me I am using it incorrectly but I am showing you that I have the correct usage. And again, you give me another example “So “targeting” atheists is out of bounds…”

        If I am judging you, I am pointing out your double standards. We are freely exchanging opinions. So when you state there is an issue with atheist morals yet Christians, as you admit are equally as guilty, then I’m going to call you out on it.

        So I ask, why are you singling out Atheists? and not Christians, and not humanity. Perhaps if you tried to be friends with atheists and find out who they are in real life, then maybe you would grow to have a greater respect for them. I’ll be honest, they are just like Christians. Some good, some bad, some indifferent.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. In one blog I can’t address every conceivable group and viewpoint. I have chosen atheists. I address issues relating to their worldview, with the hope of helping some to rethink their position. I would love them to know the wonderful God I have come to know. I believe they are seriously mistaken, and no doubt they feel the same way about me. That’s okay. Here’s a place to talk about it.

    And thanks for joining the conversation.

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  5. That’s okay as long as you only attack beliefs not the person. Many Christian writers will happily pay that atheists are immoral and will suffer on judgement day (as if there is such a thing).

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    • Hi essiep,
      Right on. I’m not here to attack people, but to challenge wrong ideas (and who can say he has it all figured out?). Atheists certainly don’t have a corner on immorality. Christian teaching affirms that we are ALL badly messed up. No one is exempt. And, according to Scripture, our wrong choices produce guilt, slavery, and spiritual death. That’s our real dilemma. The good news is that someone came to the rescue. His name is Jesus. And, if this story is true, it’s the best news ever broken on Planet Earth.

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      • That’s worth discussing. Personally I have found very strong reasons to support my faith in a Jesus who died, resurrected and offers us a relationship with God. However, the possibility exists that it’s not true. Let’s weigh the gains and losses involved…
        If the Jesus message is not true, both you and I end up in the same non existence. We share the same fate. But, on the other hand, if Jesus is for real, I win and you lose—forever.
        So, if we do the logics, you are best off to wager on Christ, because that way, even if He doesn’t exist, you’ve lost nothing. Whereas, if you wager against him, and you’re wrong, you lose everything.
        Clearly, the one running a huge risk is you. I would seriously reconsider my position. There’s just too much at stake.
        And in the process you might discover that what you were rejecting turns out to be more wonderful than you ever imagined.

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      • It’s a decision is one of balance, and the costs are high. I could end up wasting a significant proportion of my life on a fictional fairy story.
        I don’t want to adopt a moral code inherited from those who are untrustworthy.
        I want to adopt beliefs that sound feasible, at least in part.
        I want a belief system that is not riddled with contradictions or unrealistic predictions.
        I want ideology that can be verified, more than just a book of short stories.
        The list goes on.
        The whole idea just sounds too unlikely, absurd and does not relate to the real world.

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      • That’s a great question. Just to clarify, I’d like to mention that the “deity” I follow is Jesus Christ. He not just a myth, or a hallucination, but someone attested to by history and verified by the experience of millions. He claimed to be the Son of God, he did things no one ever did (healing the sick, raising the dead, etc.) he said things no one ever said (I am the bread of life, the light of the world) and he took the rap for our sins when he died on a cross. He then rose three days later, and offers eternal life to those who trust in him. If it’s true, it’s the most remarkable news we have ever heard.

        The Bible puts it like this: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

        How sincere do you have to be? A story comes to mind of a man who went to Jesus to get help for his demon-possessed son. When Jesus said to him, “all things all possible for the person who believes,” the man said, “I believe, help my unbelief.” Jesus didn’t say, “that’s not good enough.” He went ahead and healed the man’s son. It appears we don’t need huge amount of faith; we need enough to turn to Jesus in our need and say, “If you’re there, I would like to know you. I could use some help in getting my life on track and right with God. I invite you to come into my life and to make yourself real to me.”

        Why don’t you say something like that to Jesus? He invites you to turn to him, and he promised that those who do will not be turned away.

        If you want a more detailed explanation of what Jesus is all about, you might check this out:

        How do you know that Christianity is the one true worldview?

        321 – The Story of God, the World and You

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      • You only ‘know’ that stuff from a book. There are no reliable sources to cross reference. There are too many problems with it to give it any value.

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      • What would you consider a “reliable source”?
        Have you considered the problems involved in rejecting the existence of God? No rules, no truth, no purpose, no morals, no absolutes, no purpose, no meaning, no hope, no afterlife, no ultimate justice, no basis for human dignity, no real reason for being here. How much of a problem is that?
        For me those issues find resolution when you come to believe in the God Jesus came to reveal. This is not to say that being a Jesus follower is without its difficulties, I venture to say that those who have “many problems” (that are frankly insurmountable) are those who refuse to believe in Him.

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      • Rejecting religion does not lead to ‘no rules, meaning, hope, justice, or dignity etcetera. We don’t need religion for any of those values. Therefore no problem exists.
        I find it extraordinary that religious followers think they have a monopoly on virtue. In practice, they don’t.

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      • It is not rejecting religion that leads to meaninglessness, it is rejecting God. Religion could never invent such things. It is the absence of a Supreme Being that eliminates the philosophical basis for meaning, purpose, dignity, etc. Don’t take issue with theists on this point—the best atheist philosophers unequivocally affirm this message. They’ve done the philosophical math and understand their position. You need to go back and read what they say…

        “Life has no meaning the moment you lose the illusion of being eternal.” (Jean-Paul Sartre)

        “Unless you assume a God, the question of life’s purpose is meaningless.” (Bertrand Russell)

        “In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, or any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference… DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is. And we dance to its music.” (Richard Dawkins)

        “No gods, no life after death, no ultimate foundations for ethics, no ultimate meaning in life, and no human free will are all deeply connected to an evolutionary perspective.” (Dr. Will Provine, Professor of the History of Biology, Cornell University)

        To only mention a few.

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  6. Having said that, I cannot ignore the fact that there are a lot of wonderful atheists who are considerate, benevolent, self-critical, open-minded, and interested in the rigorous pursuit of truth. These values are a benefit to society and strengthen our conversations about issues of ultimate importance.

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