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Monday, June 11, 2007

The Ethical Atheistic Humanist: Murder is not mandatory

I was encouraged to look up a dictionary definistion of Humanism. Of course, there is more than one brand of Humanism, depending upon whether you are a Renaissance type, a German Movement type, A fringy like Peter Singer, an atheist, an agnostic and so on and so on. Rather than go there, I would like to present beliefs that an atheistic Humanist would be likely to hold.

1) No God. The Universe happened by chance, it wasn't created by a higher power. It was simply a Big Bang, not a Big God, that was the Initial Cause of all.

2) No absolutes. The Humanist doesn't believe any higher power has determined right and wrong and puts this ultimately in the hands of men. The end result is that each man or woman is the ultimate lawmaker for themselves. This means that there really is no sin, for who is to determine what sin would be?

3) The physical world is real, but it is the only reality we can observe. There is no room for the supernatural or any other existence other than what we can taste, see, hear, smell and touch.

4) Since man came from chance accidents and mutations and so on, via an evolutionary trail, he is simply an animal. He is the highest of animals, but he has no special worth or purpose.

5) There is therefore no particular reason to live, other than to seek pleasures. Otherwise, an evolutionary urge to pass on one's genes could be argued and not much else.

6) There is no need for salvation, for there is no afterlife and no judgment to avoid.

7) Darwin's Origin of Species is the most important/significant book in the history of mankind.

Now, I grant you that the EAE is not required to murder anyone. As stated in the previous post, he may wish to avoid being apprehended and punished by society or he may simply not wish to murder someone else. But does he recognize any moral imperative to avoid murder, or rape, or theft? Humanists will give you wishy-washy answers about a seeking for the common good, the desire to make a better society and so on. But why? How does that fit in with evolutionary thought, the survival of the fittest? If you seek pleasures above all, how does helping the guy next door accomplish this? If you wish to be number one, how can helping the neighbor up to your level fit in with that desire? If you want your genes to be passed on, wouldn't you seek to eliminate or hinder the competition rather than help them? I cannot fathom the logic of a compassionate EAE, since it is not in keeping with the precepts of evolution.

No, I think rather that the Christian ethic underlies the morality of the Western World and in fact most of the world. God's influence has cause altruistic concepts to be adopted and certainly the Biblical morality is the basis for the legal system of countries like Great Britain and the United States. Biblical morality is so intrinsic to modern society that it is often not apprehended. Unfortunately, it gets attacked and eroded with time when Christian influences are not strong.

The pure EAE only cares for those who give him some kind of pleasure and fulfillment. He has no reason to be concerned about others. He fits into the system in order to avoid troubles, or else moves on the outskirts of the system and schemes to get away with ungodly acts by subterfuge. I've yet to see any good arguments to contradict my observations!


Lava said...

I have yet to meet a the "pure EAE". Have you?

Survival of the fittest. Note the word survival. It is important. Many animals spend their days looking for food and trying not to become food for another animal. Survival must be their focus or they die.

But, humans? In America, how many people really really have to worry about survival? Thankfully, not many of us at all. Thus, this desire does not dominate our everyday life and only kicks in at moments.

6) There is no need for salvation, for there is no afterlife and no judgment to avoid.

Is this the only reason you are a good person, radar?

Anonymous said...

Is Radar a good person? What do you mean by good? You just proved Radar's point. The value of good comes from somewhere, some objective standard. GOD set the standard and also provided the way to meet it. Yes Radar is good because he is saved.

cranky old fart said...

Actually, Radar is good (if he is) because he is afraid. He may couch it in terms of "being saved" or "loving God" etcetera, but it all comes down to fear of what will happen to him if he doesn't listen to daddy.

Radar further tells us that without the absolute authority of god, he can't imagine how people could resist killing, robbing or otherwise acting out each nasty thought that pops into their heads.

And yet, atheists do "resist". Why?

Perhaps we see the value of human society, intellectually, and without being "told"?

Imagine that.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps we see the value of human society, intellectually, and without being "told"?

Yes, intellectuly, emotionally you value good with out being told what it is because you cannot rid yourself of "His image" Genesis 1:26. Intellegence comes from intellegence. Deb

cranky old fart said...

"Yes, intellectuly, emotionally you value good with out being told what it is because you cannot rid yourself of "His image"'


If you feel our ability to reason is because of "His image", thanks be to Him (if it makes you happy) but the point stands.

radar said...

Cranky, I am not operating out of fear at all. I respect God but faith is the antidote to fear. Furthermore, the point is that the mores by which we generally live were given to us by God. If you are taught primarily Godly values as a child then, in practicing them, you are in agreement with Him to some extent even if you deny His existence.

Your point may stand in your eyes, but Deb made your point moot. God was the progenitor of moral codes.

Jesus said that there is no one good but God. I am only as good as I am able to follow God and obey him, which is mostly but not always. I definitely don't bat 1.000!

Why do most atheists not murder, steal, etc? Like I said, the fear of getting caught and punished is one factor. Being raised to respect Godly values is another. A personal preference for peace over anarchy would apply in some cases. I am just saying that the atheist has no moral imperative that prevents him from murdering if he so chooses, since he doesn't acknowledge absolute authority.

Taxandrian said...

So, if atheists, by your own admission, are able to lead responsible, peaceful lives, without bothering or harming anyone....why bother?
Surely you'd rather have a peaceful atheist than a violent Christian?

cranky old fart said...

"If you are taught primarily Godly values as a child then..."

Values taught without reference to gods are values nonetheless.

"I respect God but faith is the antidote to fear"

Well, obedience to any master (no matter how cruel) would make you less fearful of him. But that doesn't mean that fear of retribution isn't at the root of the obedience.