I get tired of hearing how atheism means we as a society would be brutal to one another. Take this post for example:
Hugh declares himself an atheist. He related how, in the first week of studying philosophy at university, he learnt an uncomfortable truth. A purely atheist society, he discovered, cannot produce a shared social and moral foundation. Atheists can have moral values, he went on, but they can only obtain them from the religious beliefs prevalent in the society around them.
Even if this were so, then why bother with the magical bits and just adopt the moral values?
If atheists are capable of moral values, then why wouldn’t they be capable of codifying these values into laws?
While we may take some of the moral values that were codified in religion, we have also discarded many of them, such as not working on the Sabbath or being able to enslave another individual. If we merely based our morality on religion, we would follow these barbaric religious laws and never question them.
Fortunately, we do question them given enough time.
For instance, would murder be outlawed in NoGodLand? Actually, no. It doesn’t make sense that murder would be considered a crime. A society that does not believe in the soul, or the sanctity of all life or the equal value of all people before God cannot logically produce laws that stem from these beliefs.
I don’t usually swear on this blog…but I’m about to make an exception.
What in the name of the great holy fuck!
It doesn’t make sense that murder be outlawed? Are you fucking kidding me?
In what universe does wanton murder lead to a thriving society or human flourishing?
So why the hell would atheists want to live in a society where murdering people for no reason is a good thing to do?
And why can’t an atheist believe in the sanctity of life? In fact, I would argue that many religious people don’t believe in the sanctity of life. They believe they are above other life forms. They believe they’re special and will even avoid the overwhelming evidence of evolution because they so badly want to believe they are different from every other life form on this planet.
Religion hasn’t stopped the slow but sure destruction of our environment or the extinction of animals caused by our cruelty and stupidity.
So what sanctity of life are you talking about? In fact, the whole eye for an eye thing has helped support the failed system of execution.
If we look back at Europe in its pagan days, about 1500 years ago, this is exactly what we find. The Viking invaders who terrorised Britain, Ireland and France held to an honour culture. You fought for your king, no matter what he did. In return, the job of the king was to bring victory on the battlefield and a sufficient supply of stolen food, animals and slaves. Nothing else mattered. If he failed to do this, he was killed and replaced.
Um…you do realize that the Vikings you’re talking about here had their own form of religion, right?
You know…Odin, Thor and the rest of them. Those Gods. And the idea that if you died in battle you’d end up in a magical realm called Valhalla.
So much for that theory.
So an atheist society is a place of permanent war and conflict, both within its borders and without. There is no peace or safety anywhere. That is where Europe came from. That is where it can still return.
Well, many parts of Europe are becoming more atheistic and they’re also some of the most peaceful places.
Atheism is just a lack of belief in God(s). It wouldn’t necessarily lead to either war or peace.
However, it does force us to look at our reasoning without hiding behind blind dogma. As an atheist I can’t support slavery by pointing at my non-book of atheism. I can’t pronounce that a higher being that created us has ordered we keep slaves and provided instructions on how to keep them. I can’t explain away infanticide using the bible, like William Lane Craig did.
That doesn’t mean I couldn’t support infanticide, but if I did, how much easier is it for the rest of you to see through my bullshit and realize that I’m a monster?
Furthermore, I would consider humanism (for example) a far more ethical code of values than Christianity, Islam or Judaism.
And you certainly don’t have to be religious to adopt them. Also, the best thing about humanism is that it can change with time. We can correct for errors in our thinking because we realize they’re not divinely inspired values but human ones. The very source of its strength comes from its ability to be improved upon.