I’m sure all of you aware of the recent Texas church masacre. I initially didn’t want to write anything about it as it connects Atheism or Theism because quite frankly I think his Atheism or his Theism aren’t relevant at all. Quite frankly we do not know whether he would or not have done what he did had he held a different position on the existence of God. As it seems however some Christians *cough The Activist Mommy *cough seem to disagree.
I have written quite a bit about morality on my blog but I think despite it’s repetetiveness and despite the fact that I’ll have to raise some of the points of the past, I’ll either write this today or not at all. So today it is.
It seems like one of the fundamental misunderstanding that some Christians have (not all but some) is that if God doesn’t exist, then there’s gonna be hell to pay. Society will break out in chaos because if God doesn’t exist then we have no basis for right and wrong.
I am sorry but that view is blatantly absurd. If we get away for a moment from the words “right” and “wrong” (since not everyone shares the same definition) then there are most definitely reasons why we ought to be in favor of a society where these things don’t happen.
The reason for that is because life and especially human life is valuable. Now I know some Theists often then ask “How can there be value to life, if we’re just evolved chemical reactions?”
The thing is value is not intrinsic. If I didn’t like eating bananas then bananas would have little value to me. I don’t like eating peas, so they do have little value to me. For something to have value it needs a valuer or valuers and these valuers are us humans. Life or the “evolved chemical reactions” as some like to degrade it is valuable because we value it.
Now there are some people who don’t value (human) life. But I think it’s Universal for people that they at least value their life and their well being. If they at least fulfill that requirement then it follows that they should behave in a way that is condusive for society because in the long run if society flourishes you’ll benefit. Furthermore if you commit crimes against us, we will stop you and throw you into prison where your well being is guaranteed to decrease.
Even if you don’t have empathy, even if you don’t value the well being of other sentient beings as long as you value yourself and your well being, you ought to behave in a way as if you did value life and well being of others.
From a purely pragmatic standpoint alone it necessarily follows, that we in fact DO have a basis for abstaining from commiting the acts that the shooter did commit.
There are many more reasons of course but in the interest of keeping it short let’s leave it there.
Another aspect which this attitude of the Theists suggests is that if God exists then somehow magically the problem is solved.
Theists in general believe in God based morality and in objective absolute moral values and duties.
I don’t believe this is the case but let’s grant for a moment that it is.
This automatically begs a few question: What are they?
There are Theists who believe that God commands them to kill others. There are Theists who believe it’s moral to kill a specific group of people be it based on ethnicity sexuality etc. . There are Theists who think it’s moral to let your children die or even kill them.
How do we detect them and how come they differ so greatly?
If we have no objective way to measure them, then they might as well not exist. If we detect them subjectively by what feels to be right, then despite some general overlap, which I explained earlier, we can’t get on the same page. Not even close. There are Kantians, Utilitarians and Divine Command Theorists etc. who largely disagree among themselves. Divine Command Theorists themselves aren’t on the same page either. Christians also disagree at various points despite having the same God.
So if we can’t detect them within us since we don’t agree, how can we at all? If we can’t at all, then what action can’t be justified by invoking God and on what arguments can a Divine Command Theorist make despite “My God says this is objectively wrong” . Well okay but not everyone believes in your God and not everyone buys your interpretation of him.
The Divine Command Theorist clearly can’t appeal to human well being, at least not without borrowing from my morality.
In summary I do not claim that Atheists are incapable of commiting atrocities. They clearly aren’t. What I claim is that Atheists can have sound and well functioning ethic views and while Theists are as I contest wrong they are in general well functioning members of society as well.
Goodbye from yours truly,
Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation