Sunday, November 13, 2011

Atheism Has Consequences...And They Are Not Good

Andrew, no offense, but your last post was such a mess that I will confine my comments to only one point. Prior to proceeding with addressing that one argument, however, I would point out that you still have failed to answer any of my questions. You mock them, but you do not answer them.

Now to the one argument which to which I will confine my reply.  According to you, Andrew, atheists must develop their own moral code. Specifically, you have written, “It is the duty of every person to develop, investigate, construct, analyze and evaluate a personal code of ethics.  We must be able to look at our code, and modify it if needed.”  This is an extremely problematic position for you for two primary reasons.

First, where does your idea for what is moral come from?  There are moral norms that are universal, not dependent on any culture or societal influence.  There are even moral norms that are not dependent on the age in which we live.  For example, it is wrong in every culture and in every age to kill someone without justification.  It is wrong in every culture and in every time for someone to steal someone else’s property, even if the person is justified.  Where do such moral norms come from?  And, just as important, how are you able to perceive what is moral?  Moral absolutes exist, they come from God, and your ability to perceive what is moral comes from God.

The second issue with your position is that it smacks of relativism.  According to you, I am the sole determiner of what is moral.  Yet, if each of us is a moral island unto himself, then there will inevitably be conflict. And when there is conflict, how is one to determine which position is correct?  For example, a Palestinian believes it is moral to strap a bomb on his body, walk into a pizzeria, and detonate the bomb, killing non-combatant women and children.  Who are you to say that is wrong?  Or to use a more extreme example, Hitler believed it was his moral duty to exterminate Jews.  If it is as you say that each person determines morality for themselves, then you cannot say that Hitler was evil.

No, my friend, as much as you try to deny it, atheism cannot provide a basis for morality.  In fact, atheism fails to provide any idea on how you would even perceive what is moral.  Where does you idea for morality come from? It comes from God who instilled certain moral absolutes in each person.  We each have a conscience, yet a conscience serves no evolutionary purpose. Indeed a conscience actually is anti-evolutionary.  You feel good if you, without any benefit to yourself, help an old lady across the street.  Yet, opening a door for an old lady does not benefit you in any way or serve any evolutionary purpose.

Now to more particularly address your statements about Christian morality. Yes, slavery was once the norm; Christians were the ones who came to the conclusion that slavery was wrong and that it should be abolished.  They came to that conclusion based on what they read in the Bible.  Racism was once the norm, yet Christians were the ones who led the Civil Rights movement.  I challenge you to think of a single ethical “improvement” that Christians did not lead.

Jeffrey Dahmer was sentenced to 900 years in prison
On the other hand, what have atheists offered us?   It is thought that Stalin killed upwards of 10 million people; Pol Pot about 2 million of his own countrymen.  And they pail in comparison to Mao Zedong who is thought to have killed at least 20 million people.  Jeffrey Dahmer was a confessed atheist who brutally killed at least seventeen boys, dismembered them, stored their body parts, ate their body parts and indulged in necrophilia.  As Dahmer said, “if a person doesn’t think that there is a God to be accountable to, then what’s the point of trying to modify your behavior to keep it within acceptable ranges?”. He is right.  

Atheism has consequences… and they are not good.


  1. I'm just going to smack down a couple of points here. You can name as many horrible atheists as you want, but the local doctor, housewife, science teacher, etc. that is an atheist is incomparable to those people. You're kidding yourself thinking that those examples have any relevance. They killed because they were nuts. They killed because they read a book that poisoned their minds.

    Speaking of books that poison freethought...

    All it takes for the local religious person to hate a fellow human being is a few verses handed down from the Lord.

    So slavery was wrong (but justified by the Bible - Genesis 9), racism is wrong (but justified by the Bible - Genesis 9), and now we have gay rights (not wrong, but not justified by the Bible, yet Christians are learning to accept it), which is a nice test for how Christianity will be the hero again, in your eyes.

    Face it, Christians did not abolish slavery alone, nor did Christians accept the abolition without a fight (like a Civil War). Neither did Christians fight for civil rights alone. Dr. King had many atheists in his marches, and a few atheists whispering in his ear. I just wrote a book about atheism in the late 19th-century, so I know that while pious Christians were coming to terms with the end of slavery, and finding ways to make the lives of former slaves hell, atheists were forming what is now the American Civil Liberties Union, which has done more for humanity in America than 400 years of Christianity. Witch trials, civil war, racism, and gay hatred are all faith-based initiatives. The ACLU may protect the Westboro Baptist Church's freedom of speech, but that hateful speech is protected by Christianity. So step off.

  2. Hi, a quick question for Tom. Female Genital mutilation is a tribal tradition practiced by Muslims and Christians in Ethiopia and Kenya, with circumcised mothers often insisting on circumcised daughters. The bible is silent on the issue, and offer no guidance for it's morality.

    My question is: Is FGM objectively immoral, and, if so, why?

  3. Tom,
    "(but justified by the Bible - Genesis 9)" Not sure how Noah cursing someone justifies slavery? It was a curse after all. Much like our society might put someone in jail, but this does not justify putting everyone in jail.

  4. Tom, I am not sure where you get the idea that Genesis 9 has anything to do with slavery. Genesis 9 is about the flood. And atheists are always quick to say that the Bible justifies slavery, when I think a truer interpretation is that the Bible consistently moves away from slavery. And I am not saying that only Christians abolished slavery or that atheists had no part in the civil rights movement. I am saying, though, that Christians were the impetus for both and I think that is pretty irrefutable.

  5. This is all due to bad understanding of slavery in the bible. People like to talk without any justification and without any knowledge.

    In the old testament, many cases of slavery are due to repayments from people who have sinned, stolen, etc.

    The thief was instructed to restore what he stole.
    Exodus 22:1-3
    “He should make full restitution; if he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft”

    Are prisoners in jail who work in the fields and perform other government duties slaves? Do you have a problem with this also?

    If you really are interested in the truth and what slavery meant in the bible(which regulated and provides many protections) you can check out this link

  6. It has been claimed by some biblical scholars and apologists that the word for slaves used in the OT (‘ebed) means “means servant, a subordinate, an official, but does not connote ownership of the person.” Modern scholars argue thats such a conclusion “is clearly contradicted” by this passage, “for it uses the word ‘ebed when describing how the Israelites are allowed to buy slaves. Verse 45 states that an ‘ebed ‘may be your property’ and may be inherited by the slavemaster’s children (v. 46). If buying and inheriting an ‘ebed does not ‘connote ownership of a person’, then what does?”

    Quoted from "Slavery, Abolitionism, and the Ethics of Biblical Scholarship" by Dr Hector Avalos. If you haven't read this book or one like it, then you're just not educated about the issue.

  7. Quotes from the bible used to justify slavery for almost 1900 years:

    Old Testament:

    enesis 1:26: Let Dominion Begin
    Genesis 3:16 and Female Subjugation
    Genesis 9:19-27 and Noah’s Curse
    Genesis 16: Rape of a Slave Woman?
    Genesis 17:12 and Genital Mutilation
    Genesis 17:23: Abraham, the Blessed Slavemaster
    Exodus 1-15: A Liberationist Paradigm?
    Exodus 20:10 / Deuteronomy 5:12-15 and the Sabbath
    Exodus 21:1-6 and Term Limits
    Exodus 21:16 and “Manstealing”
    Exodus 21:20: Killing Slaves
    Exodus 21:26-27: Beating Manumission
    Leviticus 25:42: Who’s your Master?
    Leviticus 25:35-43: Jubilee Manumission
    Leviticus 25:44-46: Enslaving Outsiders
    Deuteronomy 15 and Inner Biblical Progress
    Deuteronomy 23:15: Fugitive Slaves
    1 Samuel 8: Exclusive Service to Yahweh?
    Ezra 2:64-65 and Slave Societies
    Job 31:13-15 and Justice for Slaves
    Joel 2:28-29: Possessing Slaves

    New testament:

    Matthew 7:12: The Golden Rule
    Acts 17:26 and Human Unity
    1 Corinthians 7:21: Better to Remain in Slavery?
    Galatians 3:28: A Magna Carta of Humanity?
    Galatians 4:7: No Longer Slaves?
    Ephesians 6:5: Obedience through Terror
    Philippians 2:4-6: Slavery as Human Destiny
    Colossians 3:18-4:1: The Magic of Socio-Rhetorical Criticism
    1 Timothy 1:10: Manstealing
    1 Timothy 6: Honoring Christian Slavemasters
    Philemon: What Are You Insinuating?

  8. not to justify slavery, but the opposite you mean right?

  9. Out of all the quotes above, does a single one say that men should not own slaves?

    When a book sets forth guidelines on an institution, prices for an institution, instructions on how to continue the institution and says that institution should be applied differently to different races - then it's pretty obvious that book approves of that institution.

    For example, would you argue that just because Obama set out the rules and regulations for Obamacare isn't evidence that he approves of Obamacare?

    Mankind has come a long way in the last 2000 years, ethically as well as scientifically. Just as any high schooler knows more about physics than Isaac Newton did, so does any adult alive today know more about moral behavior than the authors of the bible. The bible was a moral advance for it's time, but by today's standards it is morally stunted. We have better standards to live by.

  10. this is a silly argument, the bible doesn't specifically say every single thing you should not do. But it does speak of equality for all people of all races. You need to uderstand that the bible did not institute slavery, and it specifically provided protections and ethical treatment for those "slaves".

    Also please realize that slaves in the bible aren't the same as the slavery we are used to,
    (owning and working people endlessly without pay, without any rights, tortuting them and killing them, etc.)

    You take the old testament - 4000 years ago to justify this, and it simply is erroneous. You did not leave back them, you do not understand the situation then, etc.

    Again, people in prison right now are treated just as slaves were in the bible. Do you have a problem with it? Do you think they are treated unfairly? Can they leave if they wanted to? Do they not work without compensation? Do they not work while they repay a crime they commited?

    This is exactly the same thing, but becasue it is the bible that speaks about it, you have a problem with it. People really need to find something substantial, and all this does is explain how Atheists hate God, not that they don't believe in him, and if you don't believe in the bible, why do you keep mentioning i? What you do is take as true what you want and serves your agenda, and this is hypocracy.

  11. Hey Tim, some honest advice here, your arguments would be considerably stronger if you familiarized yourself with basic philosophical ethics. Your statement "atheism fails to provide any idea on how you would even perceive what is moral" is a bluff unless you are going to take the time to critique actual theories of ethics which do not require the existence of a God. It is no better than an atheist saying "No where does the Bible teach that we ought to care about the poor." The statement simply ignores the actual arguments Christians give which purport to show just that. etc.