I was reading an article in the newspaper a couple of weeks ago that I had forgotten about until today. At the time I made a mental note to write a blog post about it but, my puny little mind being like a sieve these days, the mental note quickly flittered away and I moved on to other ideas. While sitting here today, wondering what to rant about, I remembered the article. It was in my Denver Post and it told the sad tale of how many atheists in the Socialist Democracy of Amerika feel picked upon by those of us who are not foolish enough to declare that God does not exist. I made a half-hearted effort to find the article so I could place a link to it in this post but I was unable to find it. If you are interested I am sure you can find it with a diligent search. The particular leader of the group of atheists who was being interviewed was telling the reporter how he had observed the startling success of the homosexual media campaign in recent years. He noticed how homosexuality has gone from being seen as a sin against God to a morally acceptable practice in just a few short years. He described how it is that the homosexuals in the SDA have managed to obtain special status from the government that allows them to persecute and prosecute anyone who does not support their lifestyle. And he wanted that same sort of social status for himself and his fellow atheists. Just as homosexuality is now a government protected lifestyle, the atheist wants atheism to be a government protected lifestyle. Just like it is a hate crime to say anything negative about homosexuality, the atheist wants to criminalize all criticism of atheism. As I read the story it struck me that there was an amazing similarity between the two groups. Both are thin skinned. Both suffer from enormous amounts of personal insecurity. Both want government endorsement of their views. Both worship at the throne of the State.
The primary reason the atheist wanted to mobilize a propaganda campaign to normalize atheistic thought and behavior in the SDA was due to the allegation that atheists are suffering horrific psychological abuse at the hands of believers in general and Christians in particular. This claim is similar to the claim made by homosexuals when they cry out that those who oppose them are driving them to commit suicide simply because the opposition will not endorse their sinful lifestyle. What is the nature of the abuse allegedly being perpetrated against atheists, you might ask? It was very specific, according to the atheist's spokesman. According to the article atheists are being immorally, unfairly and possibly illegally branded as hypocrites because Christians say they have no basis for an ethical system of behavior.
The philosophical and theological argument coming from the evangelical Christian camp that atheists are not logically permitted to make any ethical assertions has apparently hurt the feelings of so many atheists they are now calling upon the federal government to protect them from the assault. If you want to see how hot this argument has become, Google "atheists have no basis for morals" and just look at what comes up. Poor little atheists all over the country are crying foul and accusing Christians of unfair tactics because we believe they have no rational basis for making moral assertions. Being labeled hypocrites has really hurt their feelings. I suspect the argument is also driving many to suicide and drink, so they are now demanding that government action be taken against their Christian oppressors.
The argument that atheists are hypocrites when they use moral terminology is simple enough to make. It is also quite compelling. If you have never read it I will briefly explain it here. Atheists must necessarily believe one of two things about the origin of the universe. Either the universe came into existence on its own, and out of nothing, or matter/energy must be eternal. Being the logicians that they are, atheists realize what Aristotle reasoned so many years ago...from nothing comes nothing. If there is something here today and there is no outside entity such as God to explain it, then what is has always been. Matter/energy is therefore eternal.
Not only is matter/energy eternal, there is also no personality to or in the universe whatsoever. All atheists believe this tenet. Personality does not exist in matter/energy and matter/energy is all that exists. The existence of personality opens the door to the possibility of the person of God and that is not possible in the atheistic universe. So atheistic explanations of the origin of the universe are forced to conclude that impersonal matter/energy has always existed and impersonal matter/energy is all that exists. Several interesting things follow from this necessary conclusion. One of them is that what we see today has always been and will always be. Due to the machinations of the evolutionary processes the things that are today may have changed from the past and may change in the future but the basic constituent elements of a fixed amount of matter/energy never changes.
When this doctrine is applied to the origin of man it necessarily becomes the case that man is simply another entity that has come into existence as eternally existent matter/energy morphs from one stage to another. The existence of man is neither good nor bad, significant nor insignificant, relevant nor irrelevant. The evolutionary process has no consciousness and no purpose. There is no teleological goal in the process of evolution. What is, simply is. Given the fact that man exists merely as a by-product of a process of impersonal material evolution it is impossible to conceive how the concept of right and wrong could ever come into existence. Indeed, given those conditions the concept of morality cannot exist and yet it does. Those who are familiar with the writings of C.S. Lewis will recognize this argument as the great conundrum he described which was instrumental in bringing him to belief in the God of the Bible. Atheists have no basis for making any moral assertions whatsoever but, at the same time, all men, including atheists, are constantly running around making moral assertions. Where does this impetus come from?
My point today is not to argue for theism. My point is that atheists, being the tender-hearted souls that they are, are highly offended by the argument I have presented above. They reckon it to be the immoral equivalent of the Christian argument against homosexuality and they are increasingly asking the government to protect them from it. Their reaction to the argument is a prime example of the principle known as "Certainly you do not expect an answer to the question that exposes the weakness of my entire position, do you?" So rather than confess that they are fools by claiming that God does not exist, they clamor for the government to protect them from the question. Only in a post-Christian, first-world society like that found in the Socialist Democracy of Amerika could this sort of thing come about.
Atheists need to fess up and act like men. Physical/chemical reductionism does not allow for the concept of morality. A hydrogen atom does not produce the notion of right and wrong. A water molecule will not evolve to the point where it becomes a conscious thought asserting that stealing is immoral. A piece of tree bark cannot produce the idea that it is wrong to murder. Even an organism as sophisticated as the human brain is really nothing more than a collection of organic materials that have somehow mysteriously evolved to the point where the person it inhabits is capable of having conscious thought. But even conscious thought, however it evolved, does not authoritatively declare that adultery is immoral. Even if the evolutionary process can account for the origin of consciousness, and I believe that it cannot, it still does not solve the problem of a moral consciousness. The conscience, just like everything else in the universe, would be amoral.
Atheists believe they are good people. That is an irrational belief. Atheists believe that Christians, especially those who oppose them, are bad people. That is an irrational belief. Atheists believe they can experience love. That is an irrational belief. Atheists believe they can experience sadness. That is an irrational belief. If atheists were to actually live consistently with what they profess to believe they would be forced to deny everything they say about a moral universe. But they can't live in that universe primarily because that universe does not exist. So rather than admit that they are wrong they have made the conscious and immoral decision to enlist the services of the coercive state to keep Christians from challenging their views. Now why didn't the Christians think of that first?