Atheists are fond of accusing Christians of believing they can’t be moral or good just because they are atheists. Christians don’t believe this, and atheists can be moral or good, but that doesn’t keep them from saying it. Atheists can be as good and moral, or bad and evil as any other human being because they are made in God’s image and so capable of good, and are fallen sinners like the rest of us and so capable of evil. It seems, though, that even many atheists think atheists are immoral, according to a recent study. One headline on this study put it this way, “Atheists more likely to be seen as immoral, finds report.” The article chalked this up to “anti-atheist prejudice,” but it is only a valid, and inevitable, logical deduction, and not prejudice at all. According to the study, even more atheists believed this than not.
The reason people believe this?
The study found people ultimately viewed god as holding the power to be a moral buffer to deter immoral actions.
Maybe so, but thinking about the issue logically, if all we are is lucky dirt, why should we feel compelled to be moral? Why would any one piece of material reality, say a rock, be of any more moral value than another, say a human being? We all know intuitively that it’s wrong to torture babies for fun, but from a purely materialistic point of view (that the material is all there is) babies have no more moral value than the rock. If there is no standard outside of the material itself, then no standard can be appealed to for us to adjudicate the difference.
This is what is known as the moral argument for God’s existence. Where does the sense justice we all feel come from? If we think of the most heinous acts of evil, like the holocaust of the Jews by Nazi Germany in WWII, every normal non-sociopathic human being knows that such evil is absolutely wrong. We feel it viscerally: this wrong must some how be judged! But according to materialism, and thus atheism, those six million plus murdered Jews were just a bundle of atoms and molecules who for no reason at all just came to exist. So why would it be wrong to kill them all? If atheism is true, these people had no more value than six million rocks.
Of course, all rational people are repelled by such an assertion, as they should be. But this only highlights the logical poverty of atheism, and the logical power of theism. The former gives us no logical reason for moral values, the latter does. Oh, philosophers and thinkers through the ages have tried to get to morality from dirt, but they just can’t do it. You can’t get ought from is, no matter how hard you try. It seems that even many of those who hold a materialist worldview agree.