Atheists adopting theistic morality

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Christian apologists and others frequently argue that atheists appropriate their moral values from the theistic cultures in which they reside and they often do not have a strictly atheistic morality.[1][2][3] See also: Atheism and presuppositional apologetics and Atheism and ethics and Atheism and morality and Atheism and the problem of evil

William Lane Craig, citing research published by author Arthur C. Brooks, points out that atheists raised in religious households are twice as likely to give to charity than those raised in nonreligious households (see also: Atheism and charity and Atheism and morality studies).[4]

Moshe Avarick on Western atheists who adopt Judeo-Christian moral values

See also: Religion and morality and Protestant cultural legacies and Religion and crime reduction

William Lane Craig, citing the research published by author Arthur C. Brooks, points out that atheists raised in religious households are twice as likely to give to charity than those raised in nonreligious households.[5] See also: Atheism and charity.

Moshe Avarick, in his article The Judeo-Christian Atheist, writes about atheists Greg Epstein and Bart Campolo:

Greg Epstein (ordained atheist/humanist “rabbi”) and Bart Campolo (a former Christian minister) seem to disagree with Ruse. Epstein’s book, Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Believe, was one of the factors that inspired Campolo to become a Humanist Chaplain at USC, according to a recent New York Times article by Mark Oppenheim. The article described Campolo as “the son of a famous pastor…now a rising star of atheism.”...

It is self-apparent that in a universe consisting of nothing but mass, energy, light waves and the laws of chemistry and physics, morality means whatever you want it to mean. Ultimately, for the atheist, there is nothing that is truly “moral” and nothing truly “immoral.” There is only what I like and what I don’t like. The only “moral boundaries” that would prevent the humanist/atheist from committing murder with impunity (assuming a powerful motive) are the potency of one’s inborn nature and societal and psychological conditioning – and once overcoming those – the question: Do I think I can get away with it?

Despite this, I am certain that both Epstein and Campolo are very pleasant people and I’m not worried about them committing violent crimes. This is because they are not real atheists. They have not formulated their value systems by following an atheistic world view to its logical end, which is amorality. They are Judeo-Christian Atheists. Their values are drawn from the eternal, unshakeable, God-centered values of the society in which they have been raised.

The fundamental moral principle of Judeo-Christian society – which we take for granted but which was revolutionary when first introduced by the Israelites – is that all human beings are created in the image of God (Genesis, Chapter 1). All human beings, therefore, have value that transcends the entire physical universe. All human beings stand equal before their infinite, transcendent Creator. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they have been endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights.” This provides a rock-solid foundation for what is commonly called ethical and moral behavior towards our fellow human beings. It is this principle that has been embraced by humanists like Epstein and Campolo (and then quietly dropped the God part).[6]

Irreligious countries with Protestant cultural legacies and morality

See also: Protestant cultural legacies and Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism and Atheism and sloth

The atheist and Harvard University historian Niall Ferguson declared: "Through a mixture of hard work and thrift the Protestant societies of the North and West Atlantic achieved the most rapid economic growth in history."[7]

Harvard University historian Niall Ferguson declared: "Through a mixture of hard work and thrift the Protestant societies of the North and West Atlantic achieved the most rapid economic growth in history."[8](Ferguson is an atheist.[9])

Europe is more irreligious than most portions of the word (see: Secular Europe).

However, due to the history of the Protestant Reformation, significant Protestant populations can be found in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, the northern part of Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the east, north and west of Switzerland.[10]

All the above countries are developed countries. And when looking at any economic prosperity of the above countries and any positive effects that prosperity causes or other positive cultural attributes, one has to consider cultural legacy of Protestantism and the Protestant work ethic in these countries.

Furthermore, one has to look how atheism affects a culture and other relevant statistics related to atheism related to the social sciences (see: Atheism and culture and Atheism statistics).

Effects of cultural legacies

The website Cultural Front notes:

In chapter 6 of Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell highlights cultural legacies. He opens with disturbing descriptions of how longstanding cultural patterns and beliefs influenced violent conflicts among generations of families in Kentucky during the 19th century.

The compelling research findings concerning long-term and deeply held values led Gladwell to the conclusion that cultural legacies are powerful forces. They have deep roots and long lives. They persist, generation after generation, virtually intact, even as the economic and social demographic conditions that spawned them have vanished, and they play such a role in directing attitudes and behavior that we cannot make sense of our world without them. He goes on to note the possibilities of “taking cultural legacies seriously” in order to learn “why people succeed and how to make people better.”[11]

Protestant work ethic statistics

See also: Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism and Atheism and sloth and Christianity statistics

Harvard University historian Niall Ferguson declared: "Through a mixture of hard work and thrift the Protestant societies of the North and West Atlantic achieved the most rapid economic growth in history."[12]

(Ferguson is an atheist.[13])

Protestant missionaries and economic and societal development

The article The Surprising Discovery About Those Colonialist, Proselytizing Missionaries published in Christianity Today notes:

In his fifth year of graduate school, Woodberry created a statistical model that could test the connection between missionary work and the health of nations. He and a few research assistants spent two years coding data and refining their methods. They hoped to compute the lasting effect of missionaries, on average, worldwide...

One morning, in a windowless, dusty computer lab lit by fluorescent bulbs, Woodberry ran the first big test. After he finished prepping the statistical program on his computer, he clicked "Enter" and then leaned forward to read the results.

"I was shocked," says Woodberry. "It was like an atomic bomb. The impact of missions on global democracy was huge. I kept adding variables to the model—factors that people had been studying and writing about for the past 40 years—and they all got wiped out. It was amazing. I knew, then, I was on to something really important."

Woodberry already had historical proof that missionaries had educated women and the poor, promoted widespread printing, led nationalist movements that empowered ordinary citizens, and fueled other key elements of democracy. Now the statistics were backing it up: Missionaries weren't just part of the picture. They were central to it...

Areas where Protestant missionaries had a significant presence in the past are on average more economically developed today, with comparatively better health, lower infant mortality, lower corruption, greater literacy, higher educational attainment (especially for women), and more robust membership in nongovernmental associations.

In short: Want a blossoming democracy today? The solution is simple—if you have a time machine: Send a 19th-century missionary."[14]

Eurozone crisis and countries with a cultural legacy of Protestantism

A 2011 Telegraph article said about the Eurozone Crisis: "Either way, not a single Protestant or Germanic EU country has so far needed a bailout."[15]

Secular Europe's economic crisis

See also: Atheism and sloth

Euro banknotes

Although European countries have a cultural legacy of Christianity, the results of its present-day irreligiosity has not been without ill effects.

The Eurozone crisis is an ongoing economic crisis which has been negatively affecting Eurozone countries since late 2009. It consists of a sovereign debt crisis, a banking crisis and an economic growth and competitiveness crisis.

Western Europeans work less hours than Americans and workers in many other countries.[16][17][18] Commenting on this matter, Niall Ferguson wrote a 2004 article published in The Telegraph entitled, "The atheist sloth ethic, or why Europeans don't believe in work".[19] See: Atheism and sloth

Niall Ferguson also noted in his article:

There are, for example, many more Europeans out of work than Americans; over the past decade, US unemployment has averaged 4.6 per cent, compared with 9.2 per cent for the EU. Another difference is in labour participation. Between 1973 and 1998, the percentage of the American population in employment rose from 41 to 49 per cent. But in Germany and France, the equivalent percentage fell to, respectively, 44 and 39 per cent.[20]
In 2014, Sweden's new Social Democrat prime minister Stefan Loefven said, "Sweden is in a serious situation -- unemployment has become entrenched at high levels, school results have collapsed and the welfare system has major shortcomings".[21]

In addition, one the significant causes of Europe's economic stagnation is an aging population and the low fertility rates in many European countries.[22]

The regions of secular Europe which are performing better than the rest of Europe often have a cultural legacy of the Protestant work ethic. For example, a 2011 Telegraph article noted: "Either way, not a single Protestant or Germanic EU country has so far needed a bailout."[23] The Protestant Reformation started in Germany and Germany has one of the strongest economies of Europe.

See also:

In addition, many irreligious states (includes various countries in secular Europe) engage in an economic policy of tax, spend and sovereign debt accumulation (see also: Atheism and politics and Secular left).[24]

Although the United States with its tradition of religious freedom and a strong work ethic has experienced high levels of prosperity and religiosity, often prosperity is inversely proportional to religious belief due to men's arrogance when they become wealthier.[25][26] Vox Day has pointed out that arrogant and godless nations have often eventually experienced significant hardships [27] Economic and societal instability is positively correlated to greater religiosity.[28] Economic/societal instability in Europe could cause Europe to become more religious.[29][30][31]

Economic and societal deterioration in secular Sweden

See: Economic and societal deterioration in secular Sweden

Growing Protestant population in atheistic China and increased economic development

See also: Growth of Christianity in China

Christianity is rapidly growing in China. See: Growth of Christianity in China

China has the world's largest atheist population.[32][33]

According to Slate, "Protestant Christianity has been the fastest growing religion in China."[34] Evangelical Christianity is especially growing sharply in China.[35]

Hugh Whelchel's article The Protestant Work Ethic: Alive & Well…In China declares:

Christianity has exploded in China over the last twenty years. A 2011 report from the BBC conservatively estimated there were 60 million Christians in China. Small, primarily Protestant “house churches” are especially having a strong impact on the country.

This growth in religion has accompanied China’s rapid economic growth over the last twenty years. Now the world’s 2nd largest economy, China illustrates how even a limited amount of economic freedom has the power to lift millions of Chinese out of abject poverty and build one of the strongest economies in the world.

Ferguson suggests that China is starting to supplant the West, but is doing it by becoming more Western. China is booting up several of Ferguson’s “killer apps” – especially the Protestant Work Ethic.[36]

Atheistic Japan and theistic morality

Japan is one of the most atheistic countries in the world.[37][38]

Scholars in the Weberian tradition have argued that a Protestant-like work ethic found in traditional Japanese religions provided a motivational force in the early stage of Japanese industrialization during the Meiji era. Such an argument is misleading in several respects. No clear evidence indicates that the work ethic is found in traditional Japanese religions. Moreover, an assumption that religion guided the direction of economic development in Japan is more apparent than real. The Japanese business elite borrowed their work ethic from Europe, just as they borrowed the modern European technology.[39][40]

American business/work/cultural practices also had an influence on Japan and the work of the management consultant William Edwards Deming has a significant influence on post World War II Japan.[41]

See also

Notes

  1. BreakPoint This Week: Stealing from God - The New Atheists by John Stonestreet
  2. The Judeo-Christian Atheist by Moshe Avarick, THE ALGEMEINER
  3. Ken Ham: Atheists 'Borrow Christian Worldview' but Reject God, Since Secular Worldview Is 'Meaningless' by Ken Ham, Christian Post
  4. Christians Give more to Charity than Atheists (YouTube video featuring an audio clip of Dr. William Lane Craig)
  5. Christians Give more to Charity than Atheists (YouTube video featuring an audio clip of Dr. William Lane Craig)
  6. The Judeo-Christian Atheist by Moshe Avarick, THE ALGEMEINER
  7. The Protestant Work Ethic: Alive & Well…In China By Hugh Whelchel on September 24, 2012
  8. The Protestant Work Ethic: Alive & Well…In China By Hugh Whelchel on September 24, 2012
  9. Niall Ferguson on Belief
  10. Predominant religions, Adherence.com
  11. Outliers & Cultural Legacies
  12. The Protestant Work Ethic: Alive & Well…In China By Hugh Whelchel on September 24, 2012
  13. Niall Ferguson on Belief
  14. Christianity Today, The Surprising Discovery About Those Colonialist, Proselytizing Missionaries, January 8, 2014
  15. Yet another country needs a bailout from the Protestant North
  16. Why Europeans work less hours than Americans, Forbes
  17. Check Out How Much The Average American Works Each Year Compared To The French, The Germans, And The Koreans, Business Insider
  18. Who works the longest hours?, BBC, 2012
  19. The atheist sloth ethic, or why Europeans don't believe in work by Niall Ferguson, The Telegraph, 2004
  20. The atheist sloth ethic, or why Europeans don't believe in work by Niall Ferguson, The Telegraph, 2004
  21. New 'feminist' government with a Green tinge in Sweden
  22. What's Really Behind Europe's Decline? It's The Birth Rates, Stupid, Forbes magazine, 5/30/2012
  23. Another Catholic country needs a bailout
  24. European Sovereign debt crisis by Philip Lane
  25. The inevitable decline of atheism by Vox Day
  26. Does atheism thrive on economic prosperity? Does religion prosper when people are desperate and ignorant?
  27. The inevitable decline of atheism by Vox Day
  28. Does atheism thrive on economic prosperity? Does religion prosper when people are desperate and ignorant?
  29. Social unrest in Europe altering its religious landscape
  30. Another crisis hitting Darwinism, atheism and agnosticism - Eurocrisis is causing secular Europe to have falling fertility rates. Creationism does well in economic hard times
  31. Why a literal reading of the Genesis is surging in the world. Why a a literal reading of the Genesis will increase in the Western World
  32. Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics (Zuckerman, 2005)
  33. A surprising map of where the world’s atheists live, Washington Post By Max Fisher and Caitlin Dewey May 23, 2013
  34. When Will China Become the World’s Largest Christian Country?, Slate
  35. In China, a church-state showdown of biblical proportions
  36. The Protestant Work Ethic: Alive & Well…In China by Hugh Whelchel
  37. Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics (Zuckerman, 2005)
  38. A surprising map of where the world’s atheists live, Washington Post By Max Fisher and Caitlin Dewey May 23, 2013
  39. Moon H. Jo, "Japanese Traditional Values and Industrialization," International Social Science Review 1987 62(1): 3-13.
  40. Impact of Protestant Christians upon Modern Education in Japan Since the 19th Century
  41. Deming Influence on Post-war Japanese Quality Development