Atheism: The “Church” of Amorality

By Wayne Jackson

A while back, U.S. News & World Report (11/13/06, 40-41) published an article titled “The New Unbelievers.” The piece discussed a new breed of atheists that are a militantly “in your face” variety. Names like Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion_) and Sam Harris (_Letters to a Christian Nation) are coming to the forefront because these men defiantly have challenged belief in God.

The pathetic thing is, the journalistic community is wholly inept at knowing how to respond. It cowers down, and even compliments, these irrational tirades.

Note this comment from U.S. News: “[T]he new atheists make a compelling case that moral and socially productive behavior is in no way dependent on religious belief.”

That is as false as it is naive. Atheism has no base from which to argue morality. Note the following concessions.

  1. Atheist philosopher Jean Paul Sartre wrote: “Everything is indeed permitted if God does not exist” (Marsak 1961, 484).
  2. Britain’s celebrated atheist, the late Bertrand Russell, declared: “Outside human desires there is no moral standard” (1957, 62).
  3. The late George G. Simpson of Harvard, affectionally known as “Mr. Evolution,” declared that man’s discovery [allegedly] that the universe lacks “any purpose or plan has the inevitable corollary that the workings of the universe cannot provide any automatic, universal, eternal, or absolute ethical criteria of right and wrong” (1949, 345). Where, then, does that leave us?
  4. Atheist historian William Provine has declared: “Except for the laws of probability and cause and effect, there is no organizing principle in the world and no purpose. Thus, there are no moral or ethical laws that belong to the nature of things, no absolute guiding principles for human society” (Schaeffer 1982, 104-105). Add to this the fact that Provine denies that human beings even have “freewill,” and you really have a mess. No one is accountable for anything he does!
  5. Or consider the standard of Dan Barker, a former Pentecostal preacher who fancies himself as the “Einstein” of atheism. Barker contends that “morality is a simple matter of kindness, respect, and reason.” He continues: “…relativism is all we’ve got” (1992, 323). But what if one does not care about “kindness” or “respect”? What if he chooses to trample over others with rape, robbery, and murder? Has he done anything “wrong”? Should he be tried and imprisoned for following what is “reasonable” to him? Whose “reason” is the standard? Dan Barker’s or Adolf Hitler’s? When one argues that “man” or “nature” is the measure of morality, he leaves the door open for every imaginable atrocity in the lexicon of human brutality.
  6. The Humanist Manifestos I and II states: “Ethics is autonomous [meaning ‘self-law’] and situational” (1977, 17). If man is his own law, he never can be wrong in anything he does!

Add to these concessions this interesting story. Some years ago a group of scientists convened a conference to arrive at some definition of how one measures “right” and “wrong” among human beings. Here is the proposition upon which they arrived: “The probability of survival of individual, or groups of, living things increases with the degree with which they harmoniously adjust themselves to each other and their environment” (Montagu 1960, 254).

There are two things wrong with this proposition.

First, it is wholly contrary to what evolutionists have been saying for the past couple of centuries, namely that species progress and evolve when the strong eliminate the weak. According to the theory, it is not cooperation, but elimination that advances living groups!

Second, what if one does not care about his own survival (he is utterly reckless in his abandon), or that of others? Shall his conduct then be characterized as “moral”? How senseless are those who so reason!

Atheists can defend no moral decision beyond that of their own judgment, and they know it. It is needless to say, “This is best for society,” if one doesn’t care about society. It is futile to speak of “oughts” and “shoulds” if there is not a higher standard than mere human opinion.

When an atheist says, “You should not do that,” or, “That is wrong,” he could not, for the life of him, tell you why—unless it is to escape societal punishment. But if one believes he can escape temporal adversity, there is scarcely a motive to abstain.

Does this mean that all atheists are immoral? No, it does not. It just means that many of them do not “live down” to their code of subjective ethics!

If the skeptic provides some response for ethical living, ask him “Why?” and again, “Why?”!

Those “whys” will drive a stake through his illogical heart. If there is no God, man is the highest form of biological life on earth. He is his own God, and as such no one can dispute with him or ask: “What are you doing?” (cf. Isaiah 45:9; Daniel 4:35).

It is time that Christian people qualify themselves and respond to infidelity. Atheism intends, if possible, to tear the very heart out of this nation. Some of them have already stated their intention. They want nothing short of the abolition of religion.

Sources/Footnotes
  • Barker, Dan. 1992. Losing Faith in Faith. Madison, WI: Freedom From Religion Foundation.
  • Humanist Manifestos I and II. 1977. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus.
  • Marsak, L. M., ed. 1961. French Philosophers from Decartes to Sartre. Cleveland, OH: World Publishing.
  • Montagu, Ashley. 1960. Human Heredity. New York, NY: Mentor.
  • Russell, Bertrand. 1957. Why I Am Not a Christian. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.
  • Schaeffer, Franky. 1982. A Time For Anger – The Myth of Neutrality. Westcheshter, IL: Crossway Books.
  • Simpson, George G. 1949. The Meaning of Evolution. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
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About the Author

Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.