Time for a bit of a double-header, involving both Blogging Theology and Theology Archaeology. That’s right, two for the price of one on morality. The Blogging Theology article suggests that atheism cannot offer a true sense of justice, whilst the Theology Archaeology article explores how evolution leaves out a sense of morality. The discussion on Blogging Theology ultimately drifts in that direction. My comments will be in blue, comments from Blogging Theology will be in pink, and anything quoted from Theology Archaeology will be in green.
The Blogging Theology article is less an article, and more a picture:
Does atheism really offer no sense of judgement? My view is that it focuses on the here and now. With religious judgement, the problem is that there are a lot of religions out there, with competing ideas of what justice is, and even contradictory ideas on justice too. What’s just under one faith may not be just under another.
There’s a little comment train, starting with a brief chat with one Ibn Issam.
If I am correct, you are an Atheist, right? If so…..then.
What more do you have to say to the victims of Aushwitz?
No, I’m not an atheist. At this stage of my life, I would say I’m an agnostic. As for what I would say… I would say that what happened to them was an act of great evil – and that it must never happen again. That we should never as a society permit such evil.
I agree with your statement on Aushwitz, and that is what I expected you to say.
But the point is that no matter what nice platitudes the kindly Atheist utters, ultimately, he can not offer any truly comforting words on ultimate justice and redemption, which might ease the suffering of the soul, spirit, heart and mind. The Atheist Hypothesis, renders any words of comfort meaningless and hollow in the end, because, accordingly, in the end……..there is nothing.
I rather believe the opposite – if this is our only life, our only chance, then we have an obligation to make it a good one, which means treating each other with good grace and respect, with dignity and fairness. It means opposing hatred, injustice and oppression, and it means striving to leave the world a better place for our children.
I think you are missing the point.
Everyone can agree with what you said, “treating each other with good grace and respect, with dignity and fairness….opposing hatred, injustice and oppression…. striving to leave the world a better place.” That is all well and good, sounds nice, and even many Nazi’s might have agreed on that. But when things go horribly wrong, (as they did with the Nazi’s) what comfort, aid, and succour can the Atheist hypothesis offer to a suffering soul?
Nice platitudes, ring hollow without a divinely revealed mandate which motivates one to do the good things you mentioned, and which, in the face of evil, provides reassurance of ultimate justice, redemption, and salvation in the end analysis.
Why does one need a divine inspiration or mandate to do good things, or seek justice for the living? It should be done simply because it is a good thing to do, the right thing to do, and because justice for atrocities – past or present – will bring relief to people and relatives. The offer of real, genuine aid (as opposed to the gesture of prayer, which hasn’t prevented atrocities or disasters, nor has it provided meaningful relief to those experiencing those disasters) is more important than hollow niceties.
I think you are conflating issues in an intentional effort to confuse the issue. The issue of justice in this life, vs. ultimate and eternal Justice.
What if after seeking justice for the living it cannot be obtained. Can the atheist offer justice in the afterlife?
An atheist doesn’t concern themselves with such things. They concentrate on the tangible, the right here and now, what’s known to be real. If there is an afterlife then one hopes what justice and peace is on offer gets apportioned correctly – if there isn’t… well, either way, seek to help and comfort the living, and the relatives of the dead, through tangible actions first, before anything else.
Next up is a discussion (on-going, so this page may grow) with a user by the name of Musegele.
The worst thing an Atheist can say about the comfort of believing in a God who will see to justice is that we’re giving a placebo which gives victims some sort of coping mechanism.
That’s the absolute worst we can offer.
Now compare the worst believers can offer with what, if any, consolation a cold and indifferent philosophy Atheism offers: There’s nothing more to life than survival and reproduction.
What’s worse – a philosophy handed to you that dictates your morality, that you follow because you were told to, or one that Regards life as a rare and precious thing?
Let me get this straight: A Darwinian survival-of-the-fittest world view is better than a philosophy which dictates morality?!
Can you run this by me again?
Seen from an evolutionary perspective what the Nazis did to the Jews is simply the mechanism of natural selection at work.
Just as Christians and Muslims and Jews are not monolithic, nor are atheists. There are plenty who regard life as precious, because we only get one shot at it, so it shouldn’t be wasted. The process of being told what to believe about morality by a being with arbitrary standards, that doesn’t even follow those standards, seems strange.
To me the process of being told what do by a society with relative morality seems strange.
You prefer being told what to do by a being that claims to love you yet would send you to eternal torment if you don’t love him in precisely the right way?
Those are his terms and I accept them.
I’m not a Christian and I don’t believe in God-loves-me-unconditionally line of thinking
So do you accept God’s terms in respect of God permitting widespread suffering?
That’s what Islam means : Submitting to God on his own terms.
If I didn’t accept God on his own terms I wouldn’t be a Muslim.
So you allow your morality to be dictated to you by a being that doesn’t lift a finger to prevent atrocities and disasters?
I think I’ve already answered this question.
I believe God on his own terms.
If this was not the case you’d be justified in accusing me of creating my own god.
With respect, you haven’t really answered the question, but that aside, consider this. We are being asked to place our faith in a being that apparently loves us unconditionally yet permits (or causes, if we are to take God as an omnipotent, omnipresent being) natural disasters on a horrific scale, to name but one area where God goes missing. The only answer I’ve ever seen to that is ‘God works in mysterious ways’. To bring this back around to the main point of this thread, I wonder if that ‘mysterious ways’ morality of God is of any comfort to people caught up in war, disasters or poverty?
I’ve answered your question more than once: I accept and submit to God on his own terms.
As for God unconditionally loving us, I think I told you that I don’t hold to this idea. It’s Christians who say God’s love is unconditional not Muslims.
Do you have a better and more comforting solution for people caught in wars, disasters and poverty?
How about material aid for the people caught up in these problems, instead of empty gestures?
First, Muslims are among the group who give the most charity ( thanks to the morality dictated by the God we believe in).
Second, following the logic of natural selection which atheist subscribe to why interfere with nature?
Why keep people who can’t survive on their own alive ?
Wouldn’t you only prolong their suffering by helping them stay alive and continue to breed?
Just let nature take it’s cause and reestablish a level of
sustainable population .
Who says atheists subscribe to natural selection? Offering help and support to people in need is not unique to the religious. It is hardly in the interests of anyone to permit or justify murder, violence and poverty.
Who says atheists subscribe to natural selection?
Evolution is the ace atheists play ad nauseum my friend. I don’t see how anyone can miss out on this. Atheist will tell you that life is the result of natural causes and not the creation of a god.
The question I asked is why interfere with nature’s mechanism of natural selection?
Why prolong the suffering of those unfit for survival and perpetuate their genes by keeping them alive?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I want the less fortunate to get every help from every quarter… I don’t care if it’s from Muslims, atheists, vegans or ludites.
What I wanted to show is how Atheist materialism will mess you up (I know that you’re an agnostic and not an atheist) and cause you, at the very least to suffer from cognitive dissonance, and at worst turn you into a psychopath.
For my part, there is no conflict in what I believe and how I live my life. I am, thanks to Islam, in a state of equilibrium.
You conflate evolution with Darwinism *and* with atheism. Believe it or not, they are not all one gigantic entity. You can believe in evolution, and *not* believe in God, and still be a good person, despite the near-constant barrage of attempts to convince people otherwise.
I know plenty of atheists, many of whom I dare say conduct themselves in a more reasonable manner than some of the more prominent posters on here. The default assumptions about atheism on this site are framed by people with little or no desire to actually educate themselves.
After all, the religious don’t hold the monopoly on morality. You can believe in evolution and still have clear definitions of right and wrong – how? Because some things are instinctively wrong. Mass-shooters in the America come from all walks of life, as do people who become murderers or violent offenders, all over the world – the likes of the KKK and IS self-identify (whether they’re right or not is a different question entirely) as the most devout of their faith, and yet commit violence. They certainly seem to have loose morals, in spite of their religious upbringings (or maybe, just maybe, because of them, at least in part). What’s happening to the Rohingyas right now is religiously motivated ethnic cleansing.
So the onus is very much on you to show why atheists are more likely to suffer mental health issues, and to show that all atheists all subscribe to exactly the same trains of thought RE natural selection, evolution.
I’m not conflating Darwinianism with evolution. I used it because it is the most prominent evolutionary model in public perception.
You can replace Darwinianism with any other evolutionary model and what I’m saying would still stand.
You claim that not all atheists subscribe to evolution.
Can you point to a single atheist who doesn’t subscribe to evolution and how this atheist explains the origin of life on earth?( I’m not ignoring the other points you raised and I’ll address them but claiming that atheists don’t hold to evolution is an outrageous claim )
I didn’t claim that atheists don’t subscribe to evolution. I said (and I repeat) ‘show that all atheists all subscribe to exactly the same trains of thought RE natural selection, evolution.’ There are differing theories on evolution, each with evidence of some degree to support them. http://www.yourarticlelibrary.com/biology/4-main-theories-of-evolution-explained-with-diagram-and-tables-biology/27220/
So not only are you conflating Darwinism with evolution, but you are attacking an argument I did not actually make.
Of course not all atheists subscribe to one model of evolution.
However, all atheists subscribe to evolution. And evolution – just like gravity or electromagnetism – is an impersonal and amoral natural process .
I’m fine with atheists as long as they stay within the strictly defined boundaries of the naturalistic and materialistic box which they have put themselves into.
But once they step out of this paradigm and start getting all preachy about good, evil, justice and the sanctity of human life then I’m going to point out their hypocrisy and double standards.
They can’t have their cake and eat it.
They can’t say on the one hand:
“evolution therefore your imaginary flying spaghetti monster sky-god doesn’t exist so quit following this and that arbitrary set of morals rules”
And on the other hand talk about good, evil, fairness, human dignity etc.
Good and evil are arbitrary value judgments my friend- why are your arbitrary values better than my arbitrary values.
Why is your lack of belief in a “sky-god” better than my belief in a “sky-god?
Atheists staying within their materialistic naturalistic confines;no problemo amigo.
Atheists getting into metaphysical arguments about good and evil; we will literally blow them out of the waters.
Just because evolution might be classed as ‘amoral’ doesn’t mean atheists are amoral. The concepts of right and wrong, good and evil are not unique to religion – indeed, some of the acts that God might command could be considered evil (one interpretation of Islamic rules on apostasy suggests that anyone who renounces Islam can be put to death – https://islamqa.info/en/20327 – and please note, I am not saying I share that interpretation and I am not saying anyone here shares it either). God, through actions or inactions, permits great suffering, unless we worship God in a very precise way – but of course there is no consensus on what is the ‘right’ way, even within specific religions (the Catholic/Protestant divide in Christianity, the Sunni/Shia divide in Islam).
Good and evil are not arbitrary judgements – no one is going to suggest that committing murder is good. That isn’t arbitrary, regardless of where that judgement comes from. Atheists do not go around randomly murdering people because they lack morals – https://www.thoughtco.com/atheists-have-no-basis-for-morality-248301
Do you refrain from killing only because you are told to by God? If so, your hold on your morals is fragile.
As this particular conversation is on-going, we shall have to see where it leads.
Next up is David Tee’s statement on evolution.
there is no point to anything. There is no purpose in life and no reason to be moral, upstanding contributing , constructive citizens. Not only would everything in life be subjective there is no one to please and live for. There is no objective standards to meet and every one gets to do what is right in their own eyes which means you have no security whatsoever. So if they want to steal your money they can.
If evolution were true, there is no reason to get out of bed for there is no hope, no salvation, no reason to do anything and that makes life mean nothing. If you are wondering why people are acting weirder these days it is because they are adopting this notion of evolution and living by its principles– you can do whatever you want because life and yourself mean absolutely nothing at all.
As already alluded to in my discussions on Blogging Theology, morality is not unique to religion, and in fact some elements of religious teachings can be interpreted as encouraging some truly dreadful behaviour. Furthermore, different faiths (and different interpretations of those faiths) have differing ideas about what objective standards are. Believing in evolution doesn’t automatically mean an end to morality – my view is it serves to show how precious life is. We cannot take this life for granted – it might be our only one. We should therefore be good to one another, be charitable and kind.