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The Egoist’s Position - Second Moral Challenge to Atheism

02 July 2013, 10:48

The Egoist’s Position - Second Moral Challenge to Atheism

Herewith an atheist's* moral arguments in response to the moral challenge that eluded atheists in the article a week ago: "A Moral Challenge to Atheism"[1]. But with the response we will again be challenged...

(Skip to point 2 if you do not need the short background summary or to point 3 if you are not interested in Writer's defence of the Christian message in response to criticism to the previous articles).

1.  Background

In "A Moral Challenge to Atheism" Writer challenged atheist thinkers to provide a moral argument against an atheist leader's horrific plan to "improve mankind" by eliminating the 2% of the world's population with the lowest IQ.  The fictional atheist leader had irrefutable proof that his plan would eradicate poverty within a very short time and therefor would "increase the well-being of conscious creatures".  But more importantly it would bring "Evolutionary Progress" through "scientifically selected eliminations"...  Within a year it would bring about what nature would "need a million years to accomplish", he explained. The leader asked why the "Golden Rule" should not be replaced by "Evolutionary Progress!" in atheistic thinking. He asserted that in this day of an enlightened atheist society it makes more moral sense to improve mankind, than "just to be nice to each other".

Many Rational arguments were posted in response, yet a convincing Moral argument seemed to elude us. Could it be that Writer is correct and that we are left without objective moral values if atheism is true?  If moral arguments do not exist to prevent this Nazi-like horror, then we have no other choice than to agree with Writer's conclusion two weeks ago that "Atheism is Morally Bankrupt". [2]

But first, would the Christian message fare any better as claimed in "Is the Christian Message the Answer to Morality?"[3] 

2. The Morality of Christian message

Herewith a few responses to some of the criticism posted regarding the Christian moral message. (Skip to point 3 if you would rather only like to read the "new moral challenge").

It is important to notice that this article and Writer's previous ones focus on the morality provided by the "Christian message" juxtaposed with the "moral consequences" if atheism is true. We all know atheists can be moral and that some atheists are more moral than some Christians. But it seems clear that we cannot provide an "objective grounding of moral values" if atheism is true. Therefor for the atheist there cannot exist an unchangeable True Moral Target. If atheism is true then it seem like man is "inventing" moral values. These "noble lies" serves to keep us from the "madhouse option" of individually held moral believes. But if theism is true then man (believers and non-believers) is "discovering" true objective moral values "pressed upon our hearts by God".

But did God's morality not change since the time of the Old Testament, someone might ask. Not in the Christian mind. God did change His "elect". First it was a single holy nation that needed forceful protection against savage barbarians surrounding them. He elected this nation and made sure they had a secure country close to the middle of the world from where God's future elect - the Christian church - would be able to most effectively infiltrate all nations in a more civilized Roman Empire controlled world. In every sense and in every age God's plan was for as many people as possible to come freely into a saving relationship with Him. And indeed what, in a world where God does exist, could be more important than our lives after this temporal earthly life?

Thus, regarding critique to the Old Testament's brutal instructions and laws. This in the Christian mind is not for today. No true Christian believes today that God could instruct us to kill anyone for sin. Why? The New Testament teaches that Jesus replaced the law of death with the law of the spirit [4][5][6]. God's elect is now the church (in all nations) rather than one specific nation (the Jews).  So the Christian message is not in the Christian mind pulled away from Jesus’ teachings by the Old Testament. Those actions and those instructions from God (like the slaughter of the Canaanites) were for a different time and a very different people. Those actions still reflected God's holiness and love, but they need deeper reflection to understand. [7]

Not that it could ever be logically immoral for God to take life. Like a doctor deciding sometimes to deliver a baby early through a caesarean for critical medical benefit to the mother, unbeknown or incomprehensible to the baby, so God may sometimes decide to take us into the next life early for critical benefit to someone or some cause unbeknown or incomprehensible to us.

Yet, if from a verse or verses in the Bible it could be shown without any doubt (Writer think it cannot) that God's love in that instance was not perfect, His actions not without moral reproach, then the Christian would be forced merely to give up Biblical inerrancy. I.e. the 0.1% verses inconsistent with the Christian message could then be regarded as "errors" made by Bible copiers [8].

For these reasons attacks on Christian morality based on actions of God's elect or God's laws in the Old Testament is in the Christian mind a mute point without much substance.

But what about attacks on Christian actions of more recent times? Even though this might have no implications regarding the existence of true objective moral values in God, it is important regarding the "track record" of the Christian message.  Why is it, someone might ask, that Christians do not seem to feel the force of criticism of evil acts perpetrated in the name of Christianity? There is several reasons. Christians merely shrug at evil acts perpetrated in the past in their name, because...

- sometimes they were committed before the Christian message (the Bible) became readily available in people's own languishes; therefore before people knew exactly what God demands (mistakes: crusades);

- sometimes Christianity was under the control of strayed leadership; for instance when it was under control of some of the papacies (inquisition, holy wars, crusades);

- sometimes actions were committed in clear and obvious violation of the Christian message by people claiming to be Christian, yet their actions speaks clearly otherwise (paedophile priests, sexually immoral pastors);

- sometimes predominantly Christian countries were said to have involved them-self too often in wars for "religious reasons"**; yet it seems clear that there are almost always strong economical or political reasons and the "religious motivations" are rather to pacify those true moral recognition from the Christian message namely "love your enemy" (war in Iraq, crusades, holy wars);

- Christianity had at times yet to discover God's true objective moral values and therefore embraced practices and/or failed to stop practices that might have been either completely wrong, or wrong - yet the lesser of all evils (slavery, subjection of women, intolerance to homosexual people instead of homosexual acts);

- and sometimes people with a definition of Christianity other than the following true one committed evils in the name of "Christianity", namely: that Jesus was God, died for all our sins so as to give eternal salvation for those who truly repent of their immoral ways and believe and accept Him into their lives so as to become regenerate through the working of the Holy Spirit (Hitler & Nazis who claimed Jesus was an "Aryan anti-Semitic fighter")

For the above reasons Christians might feel terrible about horrors perpetrated in their name, but with no second thought regarding what those things say about the Christian message.

 It is therefore clear that in the Christian mind the Christian message provides a True Moral Target untouched by criticisms lodged against some tiny minority of its billions of followers over the ages and untouched by criticism against some tiny minority of verses in its multi-millennial old yet amazingly coherent book.

So if God exists, we have good reasons to believe that moral values believed in by Christianity set out in their book are "noble" [3] and could indeed be "true".  Yet Christians believe their book is not the primary revelation of morality. Rather they flow from God for all mankind to discover in their hearts. 

3. An Egoist Answer the Challenge

Herewith a moral argument against the atheist leader with the Nazi-like plan to eliminate the 2% of the world's population with the lowest IQ.  His name is Joe the egoist. He writes:

"Dear Leader. Your argument to improve humankind and erase poverty is "noble", but that is exactly the flaw. You see the idea to improve mankind is what is called a "noble lie". Some say we are to follow the "Golden Rule", some say morality is grounded in the "Well-being of Conscious Creatures", some says "Humanism", you say "Evolutionary Progress". Dear Leader. I am sad to inform you. These things are all "noble lies". As one Dr Rue explains: "A Noble Lie "is one that deceives us, tricks us, compels us beyond self-interest, beyond ego, beyond family, nation, [and] race." It is a lie, because it tells us that the universe is infused with value (which is a great fiction), because it makes a claim to universal truth (when there is none), and because it tells me not to live for self-interest (which is evidently false)."[9]

You see Dear Leader. What you need to do to understand the power that those "noble lies" have over you is to imagine yourself being changed into a "soldier ant". You see the ant have the evolutionary instinct to be willing to die for their species. Would you be "wise" to adopt that instinct if you were changed into an ant today? Of course not! We have but one life. Why give it up for ants!?  You see true enlightenment is not those "noble lies". True enlightenment is to realize that all moral instincts are either socio-biological (like for the ant), or noble lies like "Humanism" or your "Evolutionary Progress" ideal. Our instincts to progress the human race are no less primitive as those for the ant and all higher ideals are lies. Dear Leader, we should forget about all these noble lies and pre-historic animalistic instincts. There is only one moral truth:  Live for today and for yourself! Anyone who is clever enough to work this out will shake off their primitive herd morality and live for number one. Tomorrow we shall loose the only thing of any personal importance - our only lives. Living it for other "ants" today would be the biggest sin. Yes give yourself over to your natural urges. Enjoy whatever comes naturally and enjoy! For myself.  I am neither proud nor ashamed to admit my enjoyment of the carnal things in live. But before you get judgmental just remember rape, paedophilia, murder - these things happen all the time in the animal kingdom. To think we are more than animals is just another noble lie. So Leader, forget about the betterment of the human race.  That is clearly immoral because it would surely give you sleepless nights! Find your own passion and if it is anything like mine, then just remember: don't get caught. Regards Joe"

We all know that Joe is wrong. His moral argument against the betterment of mankind is pushing us yet again into another subjective moral quagmire.

I think Atheists and Christians alike know that some things are truly wrong.  That Joe and the Leader are both wrong. But why? Why is Joe wrong if atheism is true. Why is the leader wrong if atheism is true?

For the Christian it is easy. Jesus said love your neighbor as you love yourself.

4. Challenge to the Atheist Thinker

4.1 Why?

Why is Joe the egoist wrong if atheism is true? Why should we consider others if altruism is not our "thing"? Why not live only for one-self? Why can we say that the evil enjoyments that Joe is "into" are morally wrong if atheism is true? He has only his one life. No immortality. No moral accountability. He should be allowed to pursue full enjoyment thereof if atheism is true, should he not?

If you decide Joe isn't morally wrong to enjoy his evil desires as he likes. Then what purpose does the atheist message serve? Why should atheists post on this site to reveal "the truth" about religion? What is the purpose of breaking the Christian moral compass in this world? Why should atheists not rather go underground and hide "the awful truth" from a mostly believing world? For if God is dead then man is dead too. Regressed into intelligent animals.

4.2 Challenge to do an open minded investigation

The second challenge is the more important one though. This is a challenge to the atheist thinker to investigate the Christian message. It may surprise you to find that Christian philosophers have excellent answers for most every metaphysical question - from science to morality. I challenge the atheist thinker to list all his intellectual objections to Christianity. Then to one by one Google the Christian philosopher’s opinions regarding those questions. Especially read answers from sites like the theist philosopher Dr William Lane Craig's massive www.reasonablefaith.org website. Many or most of the questions or objections you may have against the existence of God are answered on this website or are even from time to time debated. It seems to me that Dr Craig mostly (or even always) win debates against the best atheist thinkers around. Why not make a serious open-minded study? What prevent us from believe is sometimes (without us realizing it) a deep seated subconscious clinging to a life that has become comfortable in its indulgences. But if you are fed up with that life. Fed up with guilt or with the lack of morality in your daily life. Then remember God is always there to accept us just like we are. He loves us even with our immoralities/sins (even though He hates the sins). He loves us not because He created us so wonderfully, but because perfect love is essential to His perfect nature.

I have found in my life that only in Christ does life have true meaning. Only in a close relationship with God is there (truly) something to live for. Only in God's existence are there an explanation for the existence of the universe, is there an explanation for the existence of objective moral values, do I seem to improve as a human being rather than get stuck in the same sinful ways. Only in Christ does most relationships with others seem to improve, do I seem to be able to better see past the material things of life, do I seem to be able to easier (or with less difficulty) forgive others, do I obtain redemption for my mistakes from God (not necessarily from man, and neither does God take away consequences of sin), do I have less fear of death, do I have peace, joy and freedom.

I invite you to read the New Testament and find the truth for yourself.  Use http://bibleapps.com/ to better understand the texts. Visit sites like http://www.reasonablefaith.org/. God loves all of us (even me). Anyone who is ready to break with the old immoral ways can through a mere truthful prayer find God today: http://www.intouch.org/you/article-archive/content?topic=how_do_i_accept_jesus_as_my_savior_article

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxoooooxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

*  "atheism" = as defined in philosophy, namely "the believe that God does not exist"

** "A recent comprehensive compilation of the history of human warfare, Encyclopedia of Wars by Charles Phillips and Alan Axelrod documents 1763 wars, of which 123 have been classified to involve a religious conflict. So, what atheists have considered to be "most" really amounts to less than 7% of all wars. It is interesting to note that 66 of these wars (more than 50%) involved Islam, which did not even exist as a religion for the first 3,000 years of recorded human warfare." From http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/war_and_religion.html

So a tiny minority of wars were fight in the name of Christianity. And even less by Christianity outside the control of the papacy.

[1] http://www.news24.com/MyNews24/A-Moral-Challenge-to-Atheism-20130620

[2] http://www.news24.com/MyNews24/Is-Atheism-Morally-Bankrupt-20130607

[3] http://www.news24.com/MyNews24/Is-the-Christian-Message-the-Answer-to-Morality-20130614

[4] Joh 8:7 “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

[5] "because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death." Rom 8:2

[6] Gill's Exposition" and it may be called "the law of death", because it threatened with death, in case of disobedience; it sentences and adjudges transgressors to death; and when it is attended with power, it strikes dead all a man's hopes of life, by obedience to it; it leaves persons dead as it finds them, and gives no life, nor hopes of it; by it none can live, or be justified: now, though Christ is the author of deliverance from it, yet the Gospel is the means of revealing and declaring this deliverance; which designs not an exemption from obedience to it, but freedom from the curse and condemnation of it; and this sense well agrees with Romans 8:1; likewise the words are capable of being understood of the power and efficacy of the Spirit of God, in delivering regenerate persons from the dominion and tyranny of sin; and which may be considered as a reason why they "walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit"

[7] http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-slaughter-of-the-canaanites-re-visited

[8] http://www.reasonablefaith.org/what-price-biblical-errancy

[9] as eloquently quoted by Dr William Lane Craig in an article: "The Absurdity of Life without God" in http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-absurdity-of-life-without-god of Dr LD Rue his address to American Academy for the Advancement of Science in 1991

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