Search This Blog

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Ethical Atheistic Evolutionist

If you truly believe in evolution, and you are an atheist, then you are probably not being true to your core worldview. I could be wrong, but I'm not, as the song goes. Why do I say this? Because most people with such a worldview mix large helpings of Christian mores and morals into their lifestyles. Let me explain, but first allow me to help myself to an acronym, EAE, to save my fingers from additional work going forward.

The average EAE, as an atheist, doesn't believe in God and therefore doesn't accept rules laid down by God in the Bible. This is a conundrum for him, since society in general is based on quite a few of the Biblical injunctives and so if he is to remain free in society (not being jailed) then such laws must be obeyed. However, as a believer in evolution, survival of the fittest and all that, he sees life as an accident with no intrinsic meaning or value other than to simply please oneself. Other people are meaningless to him except as they please him somehow. Laws of the land are a nuisance, but he will either obey them to remain free or cleverly get around them as he is able. In short, the EAE finds himself adhering to many Biblical laws in order to maintain his freedom, while seeing no value in those laws otherwise.

Some EAE simply try to believe, and convince others, that Biblical morality was actually thought up by men and have nothing to do with a God. There are those who devote a great deal of time to promotion of evolution and humanism and atheism at the expense of belief in God, like Richard Dawkins (who recently published The God Delusion). Hank Hanegraaf of Christian Research Institute recently cited a few current EAE who are actively seeking to eliminate Christianity:

1) Sam Harris, a devoted atheist, wrote that "Science must destroy Christianity."
2) Bill Maher, liberal talkshow host, said that Christians have a "neurological disorder."
3) Comedians Penn and Teller ridicule the Bible as "expletive deleted."

So, some EAE preach against Christianity and some want their name to live on after themselves. This is something that pleases them. It therefore fits into their worldview to an extent. But people who are not actively promoting or living the EAE philosophy, like Maher and Harris and Dawkins, are pikers! They talk the talk, but do they walk the walk, really?

Look at me, a Christian! I give both time and money to the cause of Christ, serving in the local church, supporting missions, posting blogs and having conversations with others concerning both my faith and my worldview. Unlike Christ Himself, I don't do these things perfectly but they are thematic to my life. I am living in accordance with my worldview.

Some of the most famous preachers against God are more talk than action. They believe things written by Karl Marx and Charles Darwin but don't carry the thoughts out very far. But there are those who have...

Adolf Hitler is a great example of an EAE who dared to live his beliefs. He considered evolution to be true and wanted "his" race to be the winner, in fact, was quite sure that the Aryans would eventually dominate humanity. His goal was to hasten the process and see his name go down in history as the great Fuhrer and Leader who led the Aryans to the pinnacle. Naturally, inferiors such as the Jews had to be eliminated or enslaved. Actual Christians had to be eliminated or enslaved. Hitler's only religion was humanism and his only god was himself. He dared to live out his beliefs.

Jeffery Dahmer is another EAE Hall-of-Famer.

‘If a person doesn’t think there is a God to be accountable to, then—then what’s the point of trying to modify your behaviour to keep it within acceptable ranges? That’s how I thought anyway. I always believed the theory of evolution as truth, that we all just came from the slime. When we, when we died, you know, that was it, there is nothing…’

Jeffrey Dahmer, in an interview with Stone Phillips, Dateline NBC, Nov. 29, 1994. Believing as he did, he didn't try to keep his impulses in check...

"I was completely swept along with my own compulsion. I don't know how else to put it. It didn't satisfy me completely so maybe I was thinking another one will. Maybe this one will, and the numbers started growing and growing and just got out of control, as you can see. "

Dahmer, the serial killer/cannibal, was living out his worldly philosophy. He didn't care about rules or regulations and gave no consideration to God or morality, he simply decided to do what he wanted to do and believed himself capable of getting away with it. He would later say, in retrospect:

"If I'd been thinking rationally I would have stopped. I wasn't thinking rationally because it just increased and increased. It was almost like I wanted to get to a point where it was out of my control and there was no return. I mean, I was very careful for years and years, you know. Very careful, very careful about making sure that nothing incriminating remained, but these last few months, they just went nuts… It just seemed like it went into a frenzy this last month. Everything really came crashing down. The whole thing started falling down around my head… That was the last week I was going to be in that apartment building. I was going to have to move out and find somewhere to put all my possessions. Should I get a chest and put what I wanted to keep in that, and get rid of the rest? Or should I put an end to this, try to stop this and find a better direction for my life? That's what was going through my mind that last week."

Dahmer became miserable upon being caught. He lamented his fate and spoke freely of the things he'd done, almost as if he'd been an observer rather than the active participant.

"Yes, I do have remorse, but I'm not even sure myself whether it is as profound as it should be. I've always wondered myself why I don't feel more remorse."

But of course, his remorse is centered upon one thing, being captured and facing consequences. Dahmer's remorse, such as it was, centered upon himself and not on those he had killed and tortured and desecrated. Thus, he remained true to his belief system even after capture.

We see the result of the selfish heart illustrated in the book, Lord of the Flies. Away from the influences of society and Godly instruction, the natural man (or boys, in this case) allow their own desires to run roughshod over others to the point of murder.

But the most dedicated and pure of EAE don't simply allow themselves to be ruled by their beliefs and emotions, but are proactive in living them out. I give you Leopold and Loeb, who decided to kill young Bobby Franks simply because they could, because they believed themselves to be superior beings and they believed that they would get away with it. Clarence Darrow, their attorney, had them plead guilty to the crime once caught, but pleaded with the judge to spare them with the following words:

"I say to you seriously that the parents of Dicky Loeb are more responsible than he, and yet few boys had better parents." and, "I know that one of two things happened to this boy; that this terrible crime was inherent in his organism and came from some ancestor, or that it came through his education and his training after he was born."and also, "I do not know what remote ancestor may have sent down the seed that corrupted him, and I do not know through how many ancestors it may have passed until it reached Dicky Loeb. All I know is, it is true, and there is not a biologist in the world who will not say I am right."

Both Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb were followers of the Nietszche school of thought and considered themselves to be "supermen" not answerable to society at large. Nietzsche (known as "the child of Darwin") preached that evolution would inevitably lead to the development of the "superman" who would be above all laws, a law unto himself. Thus, like Hitler, they lived out their beliefs...and, like Hitler, would discover that consequences would come to them despite their personal philosophy.

~

I would argue that the majority of EAE adherents are living out a lie. They don't truly act upon their beliefs, instead living half-in and half-out of a lifestyle that has its roots in Biblical morality. They do so to get along, to avoid making waves, etc, etc. They obey the laws of the land, may well be generally kind to others (in order to receive the praise/admiration/acceptance of their peers) and may well participate in Godly traditions such as marriage and parenthood. I am glad that they do so! We don't need any more Hitlers or Dahmers. But I will also say that the average EAE hasn't truly considered the belief system they claim as their own. For in the purest form, the EAE is amoral, anarchistic and destructive. Hitler was a great EAE.

But how can I say someone like Dahmer is ethical??? Wikipedia:

Ethics (via Latin ethica from the Ancient Greek ἠθική [φιλοσοφία] "moral philosophy", from the adjective of ἤθος ēthos "custom, habit"), a major branch of philosophy, is the study of values and customs of a person or group. It covers the analysis and employment of concepts such as right and wrong, good and evil, and responsibility. It is divided into three primary areas: meta-ethics (the study of the concept of ethics), normative ethics (the study of how to determine ethical values), and applied ethics (the study of the use of ethical values).

Because "ethics" to an atheistic evolutionist, a humanist, are quite different from the ethics of the traditionalist. The EAE doesn't recognize any authority behind the concepts of "right and wrong" and may even deny that "right and wrong" even exist. Perhaps I would be better served using the term, "Integrity" instead. Hitler had integrity of belief and actions, he was what he was and he did as he believed. He practiced what he preached.

If you disagree with my thoughts, I want to ask you a question, two, in fact: "Is there such a thing as right and wrong? If so, by what authority have they been proclaimed?"

~


I am curious to see what the responses may be. Myself, I certainly believe what is written in the Bible, specifically, Galatians 6:7&8:

"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life."

There is a higher authority, there are absolutes, there is a reason for living and a Creator who created with purpose and plan. Those who understand this and live accordingly tend to support a better world now even as they work to attain another world beyond this plane of existence. Those who do not often are a detriment to society and to themselves. That's my story...rebuttal, anyone?









8 comments:

ExPreacherMan said...

Radar,

No rebuttal here!!

You nailed it eloquently.

Until I trusted Christ as my Savior at 35, 42 years ago, I was one of those EAE "elite," trying to walk the line between my secular worldview and the norms of a "respectable" society.

Now, I thank God for my Savior, Jesus Christ, and pity those atheists who refuse the Light!

Ib Christ eternally,

ExP(Jack)

Anonymous said...

WHAT?

Yes, murder was in the ten commandments, but do you think that is really a Christian/Biblical injunctive? If it weren't for the bible, would murder be legal?

Do you pay your taxes because the 10+ volumes of the Internal Revenue Code and corresponding regulations were derived from the bible?

This blog makes little sense.

Mazement said...

However, as a believer in evolution, survival of the fittest and all that, he sees life as an accident with no intrinsic meaning or value other than to simply please oneself.

That doesn't follow. An EAE believes that Evolution accurately describes aspects of the universe; but there's no reason for him to see it as a moral imperative. The Law of Gravity describes certain aspects of the universe, but nobody thinks they have a moral obligation to take things off of high shelves and put them on the floor.

So an EAE is under no particular obligation to kill the "unfit".

And most EAEs don't have any particular desire to kill the "unfit". I think there are two reasons. First, humans are somewhat empathic by nature, and we don't like to cause suffering even if we benefit from it. Second, society has given us moral training that discourages us from killing people. ..possibly because societies that discourage random killing tend to out-last societies that don't. Christianity is certainly one framework for this kind of moral training, but it's not the only one and it's quite possibly not even the best one.

I like Humanism, because it gives us a way to argue about morality. Suppose we agree, "An act is good if it benefits humanity." Even if we disagree about a moral issue, we can discuss it pragmatically. Eventually we can look back at a decision and decide if the long-term consequences were good or bad, and we can use that to make future decisions.

Religion doesn't seem as useful to me. It's too easy to fall into the trap of, "God says I'm right!" and "No, God says I'm right! You're a heretic!" Once we've gotten to that point, there's no way to find common ground.

Anyway, here's a moral puzzle: Suppose that God orders you to kill a child. If you refuse to kill the child, are you committing a good act or an evil one?

(If you answer, "God wouldn't order me to do that", then I can point to some Bible verses where God orders other people to kill children.)

Taxandrian said...

However, as a believer in evolution, survival of the fittest and all that, he sees life as an accident with no intrinsic meaning or value other than to simply please oneself.

As mazement already correctly pointed out: the evolution theory describes natural phenomena and in no way dictates any moral or philosophical mindset.

Also, your statement begs the question: not everyone needs a 'higher authority' or the fear of eternal damnation to lead a fulfilling life full of love, friendship and warmth. For the majority of atheist 'evolutionists' goes the same as for everybody else: 'The best things in life are for free.'

radar said...

Mazement and Taxandrian, I'll post on Sunday concerning your comments, thanks very much. Intelligent discussion is welcomed!

Anonymous said...

Mazement and Taxandrian - excellent points. Radar... not so much:

Okay, so we have a false dichotomy, a strawman argument and apparently you’re very confused about the meaning of the word “humanism”. And of course, according to Godwin's Law, you've already conceded the entire argument in the opening post.

The false dichotomy is that you pretend that one must be either a Christian or not moral - in your view (which doesn't correspond to the real world around us) it is for example not possible to be moral and not a Christian, or Christian and not moral. The strawman argument is your entire fictional EAE who supposedly rejects anything that happens to also (but not exclusively) be Christian.

humanism:
1. A system of thought that rejects religious beliefs and centers on humans and their values, capacities and worth.
2. Concern with the interests, needs, and welfare of humans.
[...]
5. Humanism A cultural and intellectual movement of the Renaissance that emphasized secular concerns as a result of the rediscovery and study of the literature, art, and civilization of ancient Greece and Rome.

- American Heritage Dictionary


Note that what humanism is not is simply the “anti-Christianity”; note especially the emphasis on the value, worth and welfare of humans.

”If you truly believe in evolution, and you are an atheist, then you are probably not being true to your core worldview. I could be wrong, but I'm not, as the song goes.”

Actually, this EAE you’ve constructed is simply not being true to a core worldview of your own invention. You’ve just not bothered trying to understand a point of view that isn’t yours.

”Because most people with such a worldview mix large helpings of Christian mores and morals into their lifestyles.”

What exactly makes such morals exclusively Christian, in your view? There is significant overlap between humanism and Christianity.

”This is a conundrum for him, since society in general is based on quite a few of the Biblical injunctives and so if he is to remain free in society (not being jailed) then such laws must be obeyed.”

Not a conundrum at all, since the “rules laid down by God in the Bible” that apply to everyone’s everyday lives (i.e. putting aside God’s rules about worshipping other supernatural entities etc.) are not exclusively Christian, and it doesn’t take a belief in God or, of all things, Creationism to have the capacity to feel love and empathy.

”However, as a believer in evolution, survival of the fittest and all that, he sees life as an accident with no intrinsic meaning or value other than to simply please oneself. Other people are meaningless to him except as they please him somehow.”

You’re drawing conclusions here based on your own preconceived notions. I know quite a few atheists, all in happy, loving relationships and upstanding members of society. This is your false dichotomy (you’re either a Christian or a hollow shell of a human being, plotting to commit crimes), and a ridiculous attempt to demonize people who think differently from you.

”Laws of the land are a nuisance, but he will either obey them to remain free or cleverly get around them as he is able.”

Can you base this on anything at all?

”In short, the EAE finds himself adhering to many Biblical laws in order to maintain his freedom, while seeing no value in those laws otherwise.”

I obey the laws of the land because it is a better way to live. If they happen to coincide with Biblical laws, then that is only because human society over time has reached the same or similar conclusions about what is a good way for us all to live together. What you refer to as Biblical laws are simply another expression of this, and they weren’t the first.

As for those laws that are Biblical but not the law of the land (“worship no other supernatural being before me etc.”), no, I don’t see any value in them, you’re correct in that.

”Some EAE simply try to believe, and convince others, that Biblical morality was actually thought up by men and have nothing to do with a God.”

This doesn’t just apply to your fictional EAE. Was “thou shallt not kill/steal/fool around with they neighbor’s wife etc.” an innovation at the time of the ten commandments, or had human societies already invented such rules because they were a better way to live?

Now, as for your list of so-called “humanists”: Hitler, Dahmer, Leopold/Loeb. One thing they have in common is that not one of them is a humanist.

Another thing they have in common is that they can be described like this: “Someone whose social behavior is extremely abnormal. Such a person is interested only in their personal needs and desires, without concern for the effects of their behavior on others.” That, to me, seems roughly the definition you have in mind for your EAE – but it is a strawman. It’s easy to knock down the other side when you ascribe fictitious qualities to them (which is what a strawman argument is, Radar).

What this description refers to, however, is not a “humanist” or even an “atheist” or “non-Christian”. No, it’s the definition of a sociopath. Do you seriously want to argue that the world is divided into Christians and sociopaths? That it is not possible to be an atheist without also being a sociopath? You’ve indicated as much, but of course this is yet another one of your rash claims that you can’t back up.

”Is there such a thing as right and wrong? If so, by what authority have they been proclaimed?"

Yes, of course there is right and wrong, sometimes obviously so, and sometimes it’s a little more difficult to figure out – both for Christians and non-Christians. Even Christians still find plenty of moral questions to ponder, as I think we’ve pointed out on this blog before. So much for absolutes.

By what authority have they been proclaimed? They derive from our nature as social beings capable of feeling love, empathy, kinship and were worked out by human society throughout the ages. Religion is one expression of this, and laws are another.

As for your insistence that atheists are merely kept in line with laws and would run amuck otherwise (yet another argument you can’t substantiate), it could be argued that it is a certain subgroup of Christians (the most fundamentalist ones who insist most on the literality of the Bible) are most subject to being “kept in line” by the promise/threat of a reward/punishment in the afterlife. That is why you, for example, insist on a personified authority to keep human society in line.

”Those who do not often are a detriment to society and to themselves.”

In what way would you say the commenters on this board who disagree with you are a detriment to society and to ourselves?

Danusha said...

Hi, I stumbled across your blog while doing a Google search.

I very much liked your post about how atheism has sometimes looked in practice.

Of course not all atheists are cannibals, but some have used atheism as justification for horrible crimes.

Stalin. Just one example.

This doesn't mean that all atheists must take responsibility; it does mean that responsible atheism will factor in that history to any presentation of atheism's ideas in the public square.

Certainly, Christians own up to those who committed crimes in the name of Christianity. Atheists must do no less.

Alas, prominent atheists *don't* address crimes committed by atheists inspired by atheism in the commission of crimes.

One of the major flaws in atheism today.

I just reviewed Christopher Hitchens' "God is Not Great" at Amazon.

The first sentence of my review is, "If 'God Is Not Great' is the best argument for atheism, it's no wonder that so many believe."

It's an intellectually shoddy book, as is Dawkins' "The God Delusion."

Atheism has quite a way to go if it wants to catch up to public intellectuals who are persons of faith. For now its most prominent public intellectuals are ranters rather than thinkers.

Danusha Goska

Taxandrian said...

@radar:

If everything you said were the absolute truth, then Richard Dawkins, who is both an atheist and an evolutionist, should be in jail, while Kent Hovind, who is a Christian and a creationist, should be free.
Yet, surprisingly, it is the other way around. How can THAT be?