The weakness of a moralistic Atheism.

What motivates men to be moral if not an absolute outside of themselves ? Why should I listen to the whiny  platitudes of the anemic moral agnostic / atheist ? If life is fleeting and then no final justice then I am more inclined to get mine then care whether or not you get yours . This is my heart without the presence of my God. A few nights ago I listened to a debate with Bart Ehrman a very articulate and educated atheist . In his closing statements he talked about the good life in the midst of a suffering world . He said we should eat steak and drink fine wine , we should give to the poor , we should help our neighbor , we should sacrifice for the starving , oh and we should eat chocolate . While I share his sentiments for chocolate and fine wine and red meat I found myself asking this question over and over again  . “Why?” Why should I help the starving ? why should I give to the poor ? Why in the world should I care what happens to my neighbor ? I mean unless it suits me ? Who in the hell is Bart Ehrman to presume to tell me or anyone else what we should do in light of an fleeting life that is completely over  when it’s over ?

While I think it is ridiculous to believe that all atheist are doomed to become moral cannibals or degenerates . I believe it is equally ridiculous to believe that some wont , or that the ones  who do are wrong somehow in their conclusion. I have no desire apart from my belief in the love of God to be good to any soul . Not for the reasons you may think. Hell is not my motivator I don’t wanna be good or kind because I fear punishment . No indeed It is His compassion to me that motivates me to love . It is His person that changed my self centered worldview not fear of Him . I actually admire and want to be like Jesus , because I believe He is the only one who knows what it means to be human.

However if he is a myth , a dream , a fairytale , then well thats another story isn’t it ? Without Him my worldview will go back to where it was long ago. ” Look out for number one cause aint nobody gonna do it for you .” I like red wine , I might hurt my neighbor to get more , I might not , but no one can tell me definitively that I should do either. I might eat good steak , I might take from the weak to get my good steak , But to hell with any man who would tell me I shouldn’t . Spare me the  “It’s better for our survival if we help each other” tripe . Why do I care if we survive ? If it’s over when it’s over and no final makin right of wrongs ,  and no true  example of what good is since that is up to the individual , then I dont care if you survive or not . I mean unless your hot . then I might care for a little while. Mostly I would be indifferent I would love and help my friends as longs as I wanted to but only because I wanted to not because I should. My point is simply this . The idea that atheist can’t be moral is false. The truth that they have no authority to stand against tyranny or injustice is self evident. They can still stand against it but only because they don’t like it , not because it is actually wrong. The fact that they have no right to tell any one period what is good or bad is equally self evident , they can say this is how i ought to behave in my society ,  but that is all ,  and if I am strong enough to change society… well ? The atheist can say he doesn’t like what Hitler or Stalin or “George Bush ” did but he can’t say they are evil or wrong . in fact they of all people ought to be respected by the atheist , simply because they had the power and strength to dictate their morality as law for millions while we are resigned to ourselves.

So again my question is Why ? why If there is no moral absolute outside of us , why should we be nice or even care unless it suits us to be ?
Why should I listen to the whiny  platitudes of the anemic moral agnostic / atheist ?

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20 responses to “The weakness of a moralistic Atheism.

  1. “What motivates men to be moral if not an absolute outside of themselves ?”

    Pragmatism.

  2. IWTT

    As an atheist your agenda is:

    “…dedicated to the philosophy of free thought, as well as promoting aggressive activism against theology and theological institutions, encouraging non-believers to take pride in their history and community, and providing to them the same fellowship that those of a religious background share.”

    Do you agree with this statement?

  3. jarrod

    Pragmatism : a practical approach to problems and affairs . Doesn’t by necessity lead to any kind of morality . My Idea of practical may vary greatly from your own But the point of my article will stand . you may pragmatically Choose a nonviolent means to a given end while I may choose a violent one . Without something outside of us to go by it will ultimately boil down to who is strongest if we meet in conflict of ideals , but never who is right or wrong . Because they simply would not exist in concrete forms . Pragmatism is too weak to constitute morality . It may motivate some to be moral but it wont motivate all .

  4. IWTT

    Jarrod,

    Since my comments really have no bearing on this subject could you please delete my post above and this one.

    Don’t want to muddy up the works, thanks

  5. “you may pragmatically Choose a nonviolent means to a given end while I may choose a violent one .”

    It depends on what you value.

    Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that you and I value the same things. Things like ‘living’ and ‘happiness’ and ‘freedom’.

    Being pragmatic, we can look at certain actions and see how well they preserve those values. And it’s quite clear that being a violent sociopath will very quickly lead to you losing your freedom, probably your happiness and very likely your life.

    Pragmatic morality is superior because there are valid reasons to do things. You aren’t just following the direction of someone or something you think is stronger than you.

  6. jarrod

    “Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that you and I value the same things. Things like ‘living’ and ‘happiness’ and ‘freedom’.

    Being pragmatic, we can look at certain actions and see how well they preserve those values. And it’s quite clear that being a violent sociopath will very quickly lead to you losing your freedom, probably your happiness and very likely your life.

    Pragmatic morality is superior because there are valid reasons to do things. You aren’t just following the direction of someone or something you think is stronger than you. ”

    As I stated in my article above I am not saying that all atheists are going to be moral degenerates . I am saying that you have no right to dictate your values to others who do not share them . When you say “it’s quite clear that being a violent sociopath will very quickly lead to you losing your freedom, ” Sadly this is not quite clear from a historical perspective. What we do find is that the cruel do usually rise to the top. Look at the past century and you will find this is so. Being a stupid violent sociopath leads to the loss of freedom , but not always . all to often it is the road to power. That is Wrong. Being a sociopath is evil . I can say these things without blinking an eye because I believe we are made in the image of God , but have fallen and are a warped picture of the true standard of Goodness. However if I am just an animal I am left with only the strongest group enforced morality which I may or may not resist , I may be a conformist or a rebel , but cannot be evil or good . Just an animal doing what I do . Your Pragmatic moralism is not superior simply because we will not agree on what we value , nor will we agree on the best steps to take to achieve those ends. Men are not able to do what ever is right in their own eyes and cohabitate together simply because we WILL come into conflict with one another based on our own seperate pragmatic morals.

  7. jarrod

    I will repeat what I originally posted .

    Spare me the “It’s better for our survival if we help each other” tripe . Why do I care if we survive ? If it’s over when it’s over and no final makin right of wrongs , and no true example of what good is since that is up to the individual , then I don”t care if you survive or not . I mean unless your hot . then I might care for a little while. Mostly I would be indifferent I would love and help my friends as longs as I wanted to but only because I wanted to not because I should.

  8. morsecOde,

    Are you a fan of Ayn Rand? Because, your post sounds like a textbook self-interest approach to morality. This is an almost effective model. And, one of the better secular approaches.

    Might want to check into Christian hedonism. Interesting perspective to say the least.

  9. IWTT

    Jarrod,

    I am a little loss here. Please explain this a little more… “I am saying that you have no right to dictate your values to others who do not share them .

    such as? (e.g.)

  10. jarrod

    Such as It is wrong to murder . Or to rape . It is wrong to steal . It is evil to sleep with other peoples wives . ect ect ect . If you are an atheist you can tell me you don’t like what I am doing but you cannot tell me any of these things are evil or wrong . Just not your preference . If you are only imposing your values based on no other authority than yourself or your culture then who are you to tell another that what he is doing is bad or good ? No you can only tell him you don’t like what he is doing or at best that the rest of culture has said he can’t do these things , but you are powerless to appeal to anything save force if he cares not for you or cultural preference and even then what is good or evil are irrelevancies because they do not exist apart for an absolute standard outside of ones self .

  11. IWTT

    Thanks, I get it.

    So what they think or believe or try to impose is moot because there are no real standards to go by. In reality what an atheist might think is right or wrong has it’s premise on the law as given to us in the scripture anyway because that was and is the basis of what many of our laws come from anyway. The… “Thou shalt not(s)….”

  12. I think you are right Jarrod. If you don’t believe in an outside force and you ONLY believe in your own perception of good and evil, a finite being, then you have no sense of what is right or wrong. For example, God is our outside source. He is perfect, and we follow Him and want to be like Him. He is right We are wrong. If you do not believe in ANY outside source (I don’t believe in any outside source other than Jesus) then where do you get your values from? I mean you don’t believe in any outside source. And you do not believe in the world’s views. So what else is there to believe in? Chance? Well if you believe in chance, then chance can change and make the morals different. Not saying that ALL atheist’s are not moral, they can say we ought to do somthing, but they cannot say somthing is evil or good because they have no outside source they can depend on.

  13. observant

    Jarrod, I think you should be fair to Bart Ehrman, because he is a perfect example of what you say you could not do. We can only speak for ourselves and that is all we should presume to speak for.

    In your opening post you state “However if he is a myth , a dream , a fairytale , then well thats another story isn’t it ? Without Him my worldview will go back to where it was long ago. Look out for number one cause aint nobody gonna do it for you .”

    Yet, Bart Ehrman, who started out as a young born-again Christian states, “we should give to the poor , we should help our neighbor , we should sacrifice for the starving”.

    His world-view did not change upon changing his mind about the Christian religion. Therefore, he must be a stronger person than you are, if that is what keeps you on the straight and narrow.

    As a sophomore in high school, Bart Ehrman loved Jesus so much that he was motivated to go to Moody Bible Institute. He went from there to Wheaten College to complete his bachelor’s degree, with full intent of becoming a highly educated evangelical voice in a secular world. (Wheaten is a top-rated evangelical college and the alma mater of Billy Graham). He wanted learn Greek (and later Hebrew) so that he might understand the Bible better. He completed his education at Princeton Theological Seminary, studying textual criticism of the New Testament under the teaching of Bruce Metzger.

    Today, Bart Ehrman chairs the department of religious studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

    His morals have not changed upon becoming atheist. He did not become or revert to being pathological. He is telling the truth about what he knows, just as he did as a Christian. He no longer believes in the inerrancy of the Bible, but it did not change his moral character. He still believes in being truthful – “Thou shall tell no lie”.

    Because you do not like what he says is no reason to say he has no right to call “good” good and “evil” evil.

    None of us are born in a vacuum. We have all been exposed to various moral teachings that have been of benefit or detriment to the human race as a whole throughout history.

    Love and nuturing is instinctual to human beings, as well as many animals. There doesn’t have to be an outside authority telling any mother to love her child, and this includes many animal mothers who have no concept of any god.

    I am sorry that you think “The fact that they have no right to tell any one period what is good or bad”, because, yes they do, they have every bit as much right as you do. That’s how attitudes and eventually, the laws of this nation change. Everybody gets a voice, with or without any particular religion.

    You also say “Mostly I would be indifferent I would love and help my friends as long as I wanted to but only because I wanted to not because I should.” Isn’t that really what most people, Christian or not, do anyway?

    I think that you were challenged by what Dr. Ehrman had to say, that it was upsetting to you, and I think that this is something you need to have the courage to face and reconcile.

    Should Bart Ehrman tell you the truth, or would you rather that he lied? It would have been much easier had he lied, but some very brave people are interested in the truth.

    BTW, I am not an atheist. But I do believe it is a higher calling to seek after the truth about God and to use the mind that He gave you to do it. He would expect as much, I think.

  14. desean jones

    You say:
    “None of us are born in a vacuum. We have all been exposed to various moral teachings that have been of benefit or detriment to the human race as a whole throughout history. ”

    This is true. But it seems to me that if Bart Ehrman’s beliefs are taken to a logical conclusion he will end up being driven by any other moral or immoral teachings that come down the pike that takes his fancy. Because he is without an anchor.

  15. jarrod

    Observant you said
    “We can only speak for ourselves and that is all we should presume to speak for. ” You are exactly right . Ehrman has zero right to use words like we should . That was my point . As to him being a stronger person for his worldview not changing that is a matter of perspective and again preference . If the universe is empty I think it is incredibly weak minded for anyone to try to be good in a moral sense , even for the sake of our entire race . Who cares what happens to us If when your dead you don’t exist . do what you want and stay alive as long as you can or don’t makes no difference .

    You say “Because you do not like what he says is no reason to say he has no right to call “good” good and “evil” evil.” You are wrong He has zero right to tell me what is good or evil period in his universe the concepts don’t exist . He may not like what I do but he has zero right to tell me anything . whos he gonna appeal to . I can hear him now ” Mr Taylor you shouldn’t lie . Its wrong . ” I reply “Who says it is wrong” He says “I do and our outdated judeoChristian culture does” I laugh and punch him in the nose and take his wallet. I don’t care what another man says is right or wrong they are no better than me and culture is made up of men who also are no better than me . they may enforce their laws but they can’t most emphatically call them right or wrong just preference.

    You say “I am sorry that you think “The fact that they have no right to tell any one period what is good or bad”, because, yes they do, they have every bit as much right as you do. That’s how attitudes and eventually, the laws of this nation change. Everybody gets a voice, with or without any particular religion. ” In an empty universe I would have no right to talk of good or bad either . I wouldn’t bother with the distinction . If I didn’t like what you were doing I would stop you or leave but I would not try to talk to you of virtue. In a Godless universe you only get to be amoral period granted an amoral of different shades of grey and mine would be much closer to black but thats only because I carry things to the logical end. This nation matters only in the sense that it enforces the laws right now, Right now everybody gets a voice , you better hope right now lasts cause if it doesn’t you have no one to appeal to for your “rights” The gov giveth and she taketh away sorry.

    You say “You also say “Mostly I would be indifferent I would love and help my friends as long as I wanted to but only because I wanted to not because I should.” Isn’t that really what most people, Christian or not, do anyway?” Most emphatically NO . Most people in the suburbs may but the majority of us do not. Sorry check your numbers we are not generally a loving race even when we get religious.

    You say “I think that you were challenged by what Dr. Ehrman had to say, that it was upsetting to you, and I think that this is something you need to have the courage to face and reconcile.” LOL hardly what angered me was the christian debaters weakness to point out the logical fallicies in Ehrmans statements. You may think what you will however. Not everyone who writes a post against an agnostic/atheist is struggling , but ok .

    You say “Should Bart Ehrman tell you the truth, or would you rather that he lied? It would have been much easier had he lied, but some very brave people are interested in the truth. ”

    You don’t seem to understand . With out God there is no moral truth period. What I am trying to communicate is if we have no God and thats the truth fine lets live like it and stop with all the right and wrong nonsense. Lets be honest and take what we want and eat and drink and be merry for tomorrow we die . That’s what we should do. Or not you wanna be good and go to work everyday and raise your family and blah blah fine thats on you , but not me, However I can’t tell you you are wrong for your choice it’s completely up to preference not to good or evil .

    Oh and just a quick ps

    In a country that kills 40,000,000 of it’s unborn every year that sits on a world where the number of abortions are sky rocketing you are gonna have a hard time with the we love our young by instinct point it is ridiculous.

  16. Chicknbiscut

    Maybe I am missing something here but Jarrod’s point is basic Christian apologetics. The idea of a moral code only being relevant as a set of right or wrong only works if God exists. Sure you can follow your own code but its just yours and has no bearing on someone else’s in terms of what is truly right or wrong. Anyway does anyone have a link to what Bart Ehrman said? I would be interested in seeing what got this thing going. Thanks.

  17. jarrod

    sure go to apologetics 315 and down load the Ehrman , Brown debate . Also just for clarification . It is basic Theistic apologetics not simply relegated to Christianity .

  18. Chicknbiscut

    Thanks and I didn’t mean to confine it to just Christianity. It was a little late when I posted and had been reading the back and forth for the last couple days, making the post slightly simplified.

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