This is not to say that atheists have no moral values. Most do. Sometimes very good ones too. But they are borrowed values. Values usually taken from Judeo/Christian roots, or from simple conscience or some assumed value in collective cultural agreements.
The question is not, however, whether atheists have morals. The question is what is the foundation of those morals. Upon what grounds of logic or reason have these morals been founded?
In the end, they have none. At least, nothing objective. Nothing truly, solidly or binding. And of course they have, in their own heads, no one to whom they are ultimately accountable.
There are a great many atheists who attempt to find grounds for their moral values without reference to any absolute Moral Law. This is normal. They want to have moral values but, not believing in God or absolutes, they are forced to find their grounds in something else. Invariably this something ends up being untenable and sometimes very illogical.
Some invent “objective” values based on materialist evaluations of the material consequences of actions. Others become relativists who, of course, can’t really practice what they claim to believe.
Relativism is self-contradictory by nature.
In my experience in debating moral foundations with atheists I’ve found that people who persist in attempting to demonstrate that there are no objective moral values, invariably dig in further to proving there are.
Obviously these types of people believe they are objectively “right”. But then , if what they say is true, they cannot be “right” or “wrong” about anything if what they state is true!
Relativism cuts its own throat.
They will often try to debunk objective moral values by pointing, as usual, at religions and the differences between them as being being immense. They tend to completely ignore the universality of morals and the universality of belief in a higher authority throughout all ages and in all peoples tribes and nations. Instead, they will focus on generally insignificant details in differences between one religion’s set of morals and anothers. Almost always centering attention on the outward workings of the underlying principles instead of the underlying principles themselves.
They will say something like the following I heard recently, “And where it [religion based morality] differs, all claims to objective morality vanish, because the claims are dependent upon a subjective opinion as to which deity is correct.”
Bad logic of course. This assumes that every specific religions deity is fundamentally different and opposite to every other. Another falsehood. They are in fact very similar in all fundamentals.
Moral values – their very existence – can easily lead us to conclude there must of necessity be some over-governing power to moral law. Atheists, of course, must deny this or become theists.
One of them said to me, “Like it or not, consensus response to material consequences is the way societies decide right from wrong.”
Frankly this is very off the mark. The way humans judge of morality is not according to material consequence but according to reason and then every consequence, material of other. But material consequence alone can never be the rule of judgment. It also requires some objective rule of evaluation for determining what consequences or more important than others.
Now one thing that has always both bothered me and amused me is this – atheists will often invade Internet debate forums on the subject and squeal and whine like little pigs, profanities and insults included, trying to tell you that there are no objective values. And the funny thing about this is that they are all objectively sure! They claim there are no absolutes and they are at once absolutely sure!
Do they think they’re doing some objective “good” in the universe by attending forums and debates to denounce objective morals, absolute values and/or God? Of course they do otherwise why do they bother?!
But how strange is this since, according to their own dogma, they really cannot because they also claim that there is no fundamental right or wrong! No fundamental truth or moral standard external to man. Thus what possible real “good” can debating the matter accomplish? None. All views are relative and the universe has no meaning. (Of course they all believe their own life has some inherent meaning which they invent out nothingness for themselves regardless of the universe being meaningless)
So what’s the point? It’s all useless in the end, in their view, and all views will perish in short time.
So their very presence is indication enough that they do indeed perceive a real objective absolute “truth” to exist. Otherwise they would know they are wasting time trying to objectively prove there is none.
And worse is that, like I said before, they focus on external details – (usually minor; polygamy, sanctions, how women are treated amongst various religions and etc.) – in the actual out-workings of law, to find their arguments against objectivity.
But even in this they must assume an underlying rule over-riding all. Thus any persistence in focusing on outward details is clearly a wrong approach.
Why don’t they focus on child rape? Find me a religion that has approved of this besides satanism or its cousins! There is none and never has been – except of course certain atheistic or demon sex cults who believe there are no objective morals and so they need not answer to anyone – like the NAMBLA member who was so insulted in a TV interview when the host asked him about the moral legitimacy of men in “love” (ie sexual) relations with very young boys.
Atheists assume underlying values which they are use to argue against objective values! Very strange indeed.
One said to me, “It is the human response to results that is the basis of what we consider ‘right’ and ‘wrong’“.
But again, Reason is what brings the moral considerations, not human response to material consequences. And upon what basis would the mere human response be sufficient for establishing an objective rule? Is this the way they live every day? I don’t think so, nor could they – they’d end up in the cell block of the asylum.
The atheist claims that we are the results of billions of unlikely concurrent, conjunctive
accidents – random mutations + selection. (Darwinism is it’s science.) So where do they get off inventing objective morals for themselves, or any morals at all? Or, where can they find a solid rule of moral action since they themselves are nothing like “solid” or meaningful? It never adds up.
We are, in the materialist view, without soul, spirit, heart (let all the artists in the world weep). Without free will (see Dawkins or Provine). Without anything but bio-chem processes in our brains and nervous systems that dictate what we are and even what we believe (Dawkins’ memes), yet they boldly state the contrary — when it serves their own purpose of course.
Again I was told, “All such claims [to a real objective morality] are comprehensively dismantled by studying the basis for any specific set of claims, the irreconcilable contradictions between competing claims, and the fluidity of claims over time. Every religion has its own ‘objective’ morality, and they are, to significant extents, mutually exclusive. “
First, their own proofs of being objectively right, are thus dismantled by the same rule of logic!
But no, their moral values are nothing like significantly different. Rather significantly similar!!
Thankfully there are virtually no “irreconcilable contradictions” nor is there any significant “fluidity over time”. All the most basic, fundamental Moral values remain unchanged over millennia.
It’s rather surprising they can’t see how obvious this is.
CS Lewis gives a quick list of fundamental values amongst very different religions through the ages in his book, “The Abolition of Man” now on-line here :
and the comparative list is here : http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/arch/lewis/abolition4.htm
a few short quotes :
“I have not slain men” – ancient Egyptian – confession of a righteous soul – book of the dead
“in Nastrond I saw murderers” – Old Norse – Volospa 38,39 (nastrond=hell)
“do no murder” – Hebrew -exodus 20
“Slander not” – ancient Babylonian – Hymn to Samas
“do not bring a false witness against your neighbour” – Hebrew exodus 20
“utter not a word by which anyone could be wounded” – Hindu
“never do to others what you would not like them to do to you” – ancient Chinese – Analects of Confucius
“speak kindness…show good will” – Hymn to Samas
“men were brought into existence for the sake of men that they might do one another good” – roman Cicero De Off.
“man is mans delight” – Old Norse Havamal 47
“what good man regards any misfortune as no concern of his?” – roman Juvenal15, 140
“love your wife studiously. gladden her heart all your life” – ancient Egyptian – ere
“has he appraoched his neighbour’s wife?” – babylonian – List of Sins
“you shall not commit adultery” – Hebrew
“In Nastrond I saw beguilers of others’ wives” – Old Norse Volospa
“take no vengeance though they do you wrong” – Old Norse Sigdrifumal, 22
“do not avenge yourselves” – christian Paul
“I have not stolen” – Egyptian – confessions… ibid.
“do not steal” – Hebrew
“to wrong, to rob, to cause to be robbed” – Babylonian List of Sins
It simply isn’t true that there are so many contradictions in the base principles of morality. There is always and universally an underlying belief in justice, goodness, mercy, truth, faithfulness, loyalty, kindness, patience, love, humility, candor, honesty, fair play, benevolence…..
No exceptions outside of satanism and it’s relatives. And even the “values” of satanism prove atheists wrong!
In summary, the atheist ought to re-think his life. Perhaps : “Oh God, if there is a God, save my soul, if I have a soul.” would be an adequate prayer for him.
You don’t have a soul, you ARE a soul, you have a body.