Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Can Atheists Claim Any Kind of Morality?



I had a conversation with an atheist the other day. He basically believes that the Moral argument for the existence of God is false, because he believes that morals have evolved, in order for survival.
The problem with this is that in order to believe morals have evolved, one has to posit that morals are evolved, but morals have never changed.
When people burned witches at the stake, they were burning them not simply because they were witches, but because people believed that these “witches” could murder other people through spells and hexes. Likely frequently and highly mistaken, the townsfolk were simply bringing judgment on a murderer. The point is, people then were trying to rid the world of murder, because they knew it was wrong. Morals do not change.
Secondly, the peacock, for example is not a moral creature, yet still survives even though it is one of the world’s most fragile creatures. It does not take morals in order to survive.
On top of all of this, the 20th century was the deadliest century in the history of humanity! If we are supposed to be getting more civilized and our morals are evolving, then why were so many people murdered in the 20th century? If everyone has their own idea of what is good, then how can we be sure what good really is? Goodness transcends time and space. I elaborate on this below.

He believes that people try to make things right by not doing wrong again.

The purpose of religion is to eradicate guilt. Let me explain. Even the atheist does it. He tries to make things right by not making the same mistake again; the mistake of committing adultery, or the mistake of lying, or the mistake of stealing, for instance. The problem is, however, he will find that if he reflects on his life, he cannot carry this out. He knows what good is, but constantly fails.
All religions seek to eradicate guilt. Even Buddhism, if one can even call that a religion. Buddhism’s four noble truths starts with the Dukkha. The dukkha is basically suffering. We suffer because we cling to things in our lives. Therefore, stop clinging to things. The way to do this according to Buddhists is to follow the eight-fold path. Once this is completed, one has reached Nirvana. When in nirvana, one is guilt free (Through suffering, we sometimes do things because we are unsatisfied. Dissatisfaction frequently motivates us to do things we know we shouldn’t. Doing things we shouldn’t do causes guilt. Therefore, not being satisfied [suffering] can ultimately cause guilt). The problem is that one must cling to the eight-fold path in order to reach nirvana and eradicate guilt! In any event, Buddhism is essentially saying, “you can be guilt free if you let go of absolutely everything impermanent, except the eight-fold path.” When in Nirvana, one does not require the eight-fold path anymore, thus making the eight-fold path itself, impermanent.
It seems that the best way to tackle this type of argument is to show the atheist that the worldview he or she has, allows him or her to do anything, without consequences. Why is rape wrong? Because someone once said it was? Who cares? If we are merely “dancing to our DNA,” as Richard Dawkins so famously put it, then it seems rape would be the natural thing to do. Why is anything wrong through the eyes of the atheist? For that matter, why is anything right?
Even if atheists say that morals are for the survival of mankind, why does this even matter? Eventually (in seven billion years) the Sun will become a red giant, leaving a scorched Earth, and nothing but debris will exist. Charred garbage and dust floating around in outer space, and eventually, even that will burn up. Therefore, who cares what happens? Who cares what we do now? Show him or her that without a transcendent Moral Law Giver, there are no set moral absolutes which will regulate humanity. Conclusively, the atheist frequently borrows the Christian worldview by claiming goodness or wrongness of any kind.


Feel free to reply or ask questions to this post, or on the ATC facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ApologeticalAndTheologicalCommentary

Written by Nace Howell through the grace of the Lord Jesus