Atheists Remain Relatively Indignant
I often muse as to why atheists are so angry. Don’t get me wrong. They aren’t all angry and those that are aren’t always. But, in the big scheme of things, they do seem to be irritated at those of us engaging in apologetics. To me, that seems kind of strange. You see, the worldview of atheism ends in relativism, making the idea that morality is relative the ultimate reality. So, atheists remain relatively indignant.
What I’m not saying is…
I don’t mean to say that atheists are immoral. They most certainly engage in moral actions, sometimes shaming Christians. Atheists embark on moral crusades, if you will. They are interested in the ought as well as the is. Atheists act as moral creatures.
And no, I am not saying that atheists are ignorant of morality either. Atheists know right from wrong. More importantly, they know that there is a right which transcends all people, places, and times. They know this inherently.
In case you were wondering, I am not claiming exclusivity. Christians by no means have the market cornered when it comes to morality per se. We are not necessarily better people than atheists. On a one on one basis, many atheists are probably better people. In general, they often live more ‘holy’ lives. They pursue ‘righteousness’ to a greater degree. They’re good people.
Atheists are moral beings who act and live as if there is a transcendent morality. They do this well and they do it consistently.
“They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them” (Romans 2:15, ESV)
By now I may be offending some of them though. That’s not my intention. All that I’ve said previously, I wholeheartedly mean.
How could all those compliments offend anyone, especially a worldview adversary? They ought to be considered compliments. They are gestures that attempt to find common ground.
Atheists hear something that I’m not saying. They’re picking up something that I’m not putting down. The proof is usually in the comments of any article written about the moral argument. Although I spent almost 300 words explaining that I believe atheists are moral, know morality, and engage in moral activities, someone will beat that straw man to smithereens!
Let’s be clear.
The logical outcome of an atheist worldview is relativism. Many atheists embrace this confession. They will flat tell you that all morality is relative. Killing and torturing helpless babies is a preference. Hitler and Stalin had every right to commit genocide. They make fun of Christian apologists for claiming to know what is transcendently moral. They attack religions for promoting moral exclusions. But, they realize that they campaign on cultural thin ice. So, their motto (as promoted on buses and billboards), “Be good for goodness sake!” It’s a coy attempt at rhetoric.
On the other hand, some atheists like Sam Harris do not admit to relativism. They engage in an atheist apologetic that presents humans as absolute moral creatures. The foundation for the morality of these creatures is the good of us all. “We (humans) are moral for the good of humanity”, they might say. Or, “we have learned that goodness produces better circumstances for our survival”, they retort. They propose that we have evolved into moral beings for the sake of our dominance, and that in their opinion, is good. The only reason to play nice is to establish dominance over people and cultures and other competing animals that don’t play nice.
Eat, drink, be merry!
If they are right, if there’s nothing else. if when I die, there’s no judgement and no reward, to be moral is nothing more than an inconvenience. If “the Universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference” (Richard Dawkins), then why should I care? The fact is, I shouldn’t. None of us should care.
Why should I be good for goodness sake? What if I think being good is hating atheists? What if I think being good is wrecking those buses with those signs on them? Who’s to say that that’s not being good for goodness sake?
On the other hand, it doesn’t make much sense to me to say that I am an absolute moral creature but base that on what’s good for humanity. It seems that the good of humanity is a vague, ambiguity that has no real value. In this universe, what’s good for humanity is relatively meaningless.
We should strive for the good of humanity to what end? To survive? Procreate? Dominate the universe?
That doesn’t make sense when in 10,000 years we’ll likely be engulfed by a star we presently look to for warmth. The good of humanity is a blind allegiance when in the infinite book of time, we are a mere blip on screen somewhere between amoebas and black holes. The reality of the universe doesn’t allow for the so-called goodness of humanities existence to dictate a morality to free individuals.
If there is no moral absolute, we are left with hedonism (doing what I like) or some form of the social contract theory (what is best for society as a whole is right). However, neither of these alternatives corresponds to the moral motions that men have. Talk to people long enough and deeply enough, and you will find that they consider some things are really right and some things are really wrong.-Francis Schaeffer
The ultimate explanatory story is icing on the contradictory confection.
Then there’s evolution.
Evolution necessitates genetic determinism. If we are just a product of our genetic makeup or what Frank Turek calls a “moist robot”, then how is anything we do moral or immoral? Our will, if determined, is not free. Our intentions have as much moral value as a single black-eyed pea. Human desires are innate, animalistic, self-centered, instinct that are dictated to me by my DNA. If Darwinism is true, then we are at best amoral. The death nail of Darwinism is transcendent morality or the other way around. You simply can’t have your cake and eat it too.
To be a consistent atheist one must be a consistent moral relativist. That’s all.
You say tomato…
That gets me to the point. Why do atheists get so angry at Christian apologists? What is there to be angry over? If morality is relative, what is wrong with believing in God or being convinced of the deity of Christ? If morality is relative then racism, bigotry, and hate are nothing but the way losers whine. If morality is relative, then preference reigns. If all morality is relative, nothing is wrong. That’s reality and I’d like to know why I can’t be left to my delusion?
Atheists remain relatively indignant though. That’s reality too. Their delusion is that they ought to be.