Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Can Atheists Be Moral?

I was listening to the Apologetics.com Radio Show podcast with John Snyder this morning with guest “Bob the Atheist.” John had him on because Bob had claimed that the Atheist point of view was skewed on the show and he wanted to set the record straight. One of the items that Bob brought up is the idea of morals. He felt that Christians think that Atheists are either amoral or immoral but he feels that Atheists can be just as moral as anyone else. I must say that he is right, to a point.

Being a Christian or an Atheist does not define or describe the general moral condition. There are many Christians that act immorally and many Atheists that act morally. And the opposite condition exists as well. Merely being a Christian does not make one a better person, in fact a Christian is still someone that is going to make mistakes and do wrong.

The issue is from where morals originate. The host, John Snyder, pointed out that morality does not come from the Bible, but from God. This is why Atheists inherently know the difference between right and wrong. From the Christian world view, all people have the Law of God written upon their heart and this accounts for the morality of people whether or not they are Christians. From the Atheists world view, morals evolved as a set of rules that society has determined will best allow society to flourish.

Bob tried to make the case that it does not matter where morals originate from and all that matters is that one follows the morality of society. But he is wrong, the source of the morality really does matter.

Your source of morality ultimately determines your morality. There is a big problem with basing your morality upon natural selection, which is the foundation for the Atheists morality. Here is an excerpt from one of my previous posts:

If there are no moral absolutes that transcend nature then morality is completely defined from within natural means. So morality is solely based on what society has decided is right and wrong. These decisions can either be random, because we like it, or enlightened, it gives us the best chance for survival. Let’s take the case of Hitler and his murder of the Jews. What the atheist argues is that Hitler was wrong because we as humans, as a whole, have decided that murdering innocent people is evil and Hitler was acting outside what we have decided to be wrong and therefore we as humans needed to stop him.

We as humans decided that what Hitler was doing was wrong. Do you see a problem with this? I do.

What if we humans had decided that what Hitler was doing was not wrong? The Allies, one society, decided that Hitler was wrong and the Axis, another society, decided that he was right. What if the Axis had won WWII? Would that mean that what Hitler was doing was wrong if the Allies won the war but what he was doing was right if the Axis had won the war? I think that most people, if they look deep inside themselves and are truly honest, would say that Hitler was wrong even if no one ever decided that he was wrong and needed to be stopped.

The source of our morality ultimately determines how we act when it comes to the weakest of our world. I think that a fair number of Atheists know that it is absolutely wrong to murder and kill innocent people. They know this, not because they are amoral or immoral beings by nature, but because they are beings with the Law of God written upon their heart.

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