For me, personally, atheism was a gateway ideology that lead to a far more dangerous state of mind: I am now a full-blown moral Nihilist—yet I’m still not rampaging, murdering, or raping. So what went wrong?
The theist’s and moralist’s case for their outmoded ideologies of right and wrong are looking evermore tenuous as I, along with countless other free thinkers, descend deeper and deeper down the pit of moral abjection. I now want to purge the words ‘morality,’ ‘good,’ and ‘bad’ from my vocabulary.
To be almost completely freed from the need to classify the world, people, and actions in one of two terms, namely ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ is something I am still coming to terms with, but I love how empowering I feel with all these new options for classification. Where I once saw a world of black and white (wrong and right | evil and good), I now see a world of colour—millions and millions of colours!
Becoming a moral Nihilist has had a far more profound effect on my thinking than being an Atheist ever did. I consider Atheism now nothing more than the intellectual equivalent of teenage rebellion, after which–for some at least—true intellectual maturity follows. Moral Nihilism is the real growing up part, which is why so many people shun this final leap into the chasm of purposeless nothingness that the reasoning mind must make if it indeed wishes to be fully acquainted with reality and its place in it.
However, I have not become some insensate machine incapable of feeling emotion or appreciating it; I simply don’t let emotion overrule my rational faculties as it once did (even while I was an atheist). I can still cry reading poems and the tragedies of history; I can still feel inspired, uplifted, and reborn when listening to music; I can still love people deeply and find joy in the moment, so I’ve given up nothing by becoming a moral Nihilist. I’ve just given up the need to be good or bad or classify others as such.
What good is it to forgo belief in a being that prescribes what is good or bad, desirable or undesirable if one retains much of that conviction … that need to see the world in moral absolutes. I don’t really care if you credit human philanthropy, charity, and mercy to the fact that we are a primate species whose individual success, wellbeing, and happiness mostly depend on the success, wellbeing, and happiness of the other members of our tribe—if you use morality, you are using an outdated system that is the core of all religion … and delusion.
No longer believing in a supernatural being as the author of morality does not make you any more rational if you insist on following some moral code, even if that moral code is one you self-fabricated in spite, forged with the press of experience, or received from evolution. Atheists, in my opinion, should cease this infatuation with morality and trying to prove that their rational or evolutionary morality is somehow superior to the versions peddled by the various religions.
Moral Nihilism would be unimaginable for people whose lives revolve around feeling morally superior to others. We see this amongst the religious, the paupers, and the peasants, who all shun those who are more successful, labelling them ‘morally inferior’ and ‘destined for eternal punishment’ as a guttersnipe attempt at being ‘morally superior’ to those who inspire their ire.
The common man constantly invokes his ‘moral refinement’ over those he envies or hates, but how much more moral (if at all) is the man in the street—really? I dare say, the more stunted the intellect and devoid the mind of instruction, the greater aptitude for bias, prejudice, and thoughtless violence such a mind has. And is this not exactly what we see with mob justice? Even if that mob justice is just the lynching of someone’s image or denying them a fair trial before labelling them as guilty or innocent?
We always see the common man’s moral repugnance at the failures of those he secretly envies or holds in high esteem. The Oscar Pistorius trial has demonstrated, again, how judgemental the common man is by way of his ‘moral code,’ and how addicted he is to proclaiming judgement before so the trial concludes.
After all, what is the difference between the peasants of present day and the Wahhabi muslim extremists in the middle east who blow themselves up for what they believe? Absolutely nothing … and here’s why.
The common peasant (you either subscribe to this class or you don’t, but don’t accuse me of putting you there if you take offence) feels as passionate about his stunted, uneducated opinion as a muslim extremists feels about his precious religion. Both of those have but one thing (extracted from thin air) on which they base all their self-worth, and from whence all their judgements about everyone else flows.
Both will yell at the top of their lungs and threaten jihad against anyone that tries to point out the flaws in their opinions/beliefs. And let’s face it these fanatics of the opinion and the faith did not elect their moral instruction from a shelf filled with a multitude of ideologies on offer, neatly packed together for reasonable comparison. Rather, they were indoctrinated from birth, or just never taught any better and now simply believe 100% in the only thing they know: what they were told by people who think exactly the way they do. This is the false comfort one gets from being part of a herd.
As a moral Nihilist, I no longer share any of the abovementioned conditions with the rest of my species, and I hate the fact that I ever did. But, hey, some of us actually make progress; we don’t just endlessly express our idle infatuation with the concept.
Indeed, I still judge people, but for their knowledge and rationality—the quality of their minds, basically. You will never hear me call anyone ‘good’ or ‘bad/evil,’ but you will often hear me call someone intelligent or stupid, ignorant or knowledgeable, wise or foolish. Such are much more honest and noble evaluations of someone than calling them ‘morally reprehensible,’ because people extract their morals from thin air—or loosely base it on some third-party guideline—so calling someone immoral is a blank insult; it addresses nothing, as people will not allow someone who ascribes to a different moral framework to judge the moral framework on which they themselves are perched.