Friday, 27 July 2007

Those Immoral Atheists!

Why Do Religious People Often Call Atheists Immoral?

1. You Have No Absolute Standards of Morality!

I think this is not true. There are some things, in my opinion, that are always wrong, regardless of the consequences. Adultery is one example. Although it is possible for there to be a gain in happiness if the other partner didn't find out and the adulterer had fun doing it, it would still be wrong. This is because of the betrayal of trust in the relationship. So it is quite possible for an atheist to have an absolute moral rule.

And of course, there are problems with the "It's moral because God" argument anyway, the most obvious being the Euthyphro Dilemma: Is it good because God commands it, or does God command it because it is good?
On one, torturing a baby could be moral if god said so, and on two, the atheist can derive the same moral conventions without God.

Also, absolute morality can be used to argue against God anyway, on the following:
(1) There are some things that it is always wrong to do.
(2) God, in the Old Testament, has done, or commanded that you do some of these absolutely immoral things.
(3) Thus God cannot be moral.

2. You Have No Reason To Be Moral!

"So, you may know what morality is, but why should you be moral all the time, as no-one is watching you!"

Here are some reasons for an atheist to be moral:

a) Duty as a reason to be moral - If you believe it is your moral duty to do something, you will believe it right to do it regardless of whether God is watching or not.
b) Compassion as a reason to be moral
c) Self-interest as a reason to be moral - Even if you break a moral conviction you have, your consciousness will haunt you about it and make you miserable. Thus, self interest can be a reason for morality.

3. The Liberal/Conservative Divide

Atheists, as a general rule, tend to be more politically liberal than theists. And atheism is often associated with liberalism by religious groups. This is one reason I believe theists may see atheists as immoral.

There is no particular justification on an atheistic worldview to argue that, say, homosexuality or premarital sex are wrong. Whereas theists often hold this conviction very strongly, due to duty to God's ethics. This leads to theists thinking that atheists are immoral, because they do not have these convictions, even though the theist thinks that they are important moral commandments.
This is just an idea of mine; it may not be correct, but it seems rather reasonable, judging on what i know of fundamentalists.

Thus concludes this discussion of atheistic ethics.


James said...

It's not that secular people are immoral as such, it's just that secular people and Christians have a very different kind of morality, and Christians do not understand secular morality.

Essentially, the difference is that secular people treat others with respect because they believe in the intrinsic value of life, whereas if Christians treat others with respect, it is only because they think their god might punish them if they don't.

Both kinds of morality have their strengths and weaknesses. Secular morality, where it is employed, works better. But some people are twisted, selfish bigots with no respect for the value of life, and in these cases, a fear of buring in hell for eternity is the only thing that can make them act in a half decent way at least some of the time.

Some people seem to think that Christianity turns people bad, but it's not true. There is a strong correlation between Christianity and evil, but that is because Christianity appeals to evil people. Notice that there's a correlation between illness and medicine too, but that doesn't mean medicine usually causes illness.

Think of Christianity as kind of a sticking plaster on the festering wound that is Christian people.

Listen carefully when they talk about morality. They say things like "But if there's no God, then why shouldn't I rape my own children?". They are being genuine. They really don't get this. Think about that. It is better for everyone that they believe in their god.

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