Regarding atheism and ethics, atheism generally does not adhere to objective morality. However, Craig Hazen points out that in recent years, some new atheist debaters, have taken the stance that there are some rudimentary/objective values, in order to escape the charge of being for amorality/immorality. See also: Atheism and morality and Atheism and the problem of evil
At least one atheist, Joel Marks, freely acknowledged that morality doesn't exist precisely because he believes God doesn't exist, and in that sense, agreed with Christianity that if God doesn't exist, morality doesn't exist. Even arch-atheist philosopher Friedrich Nietzche ultimately acknowledged that without God, no one can truly know morality. Any attempts at making morality through human lenses would also come across as subjective ultimately, despite what atheists argue. Although atheism claims that they can be as moral as a religious person, their tendency to demand radical social change as well as promoting euthanasia and genocide proves otherwise.
The bioethics chair of Princeton University, Peter Singer, once stated that human babies have no more a right to life than pigs and chimpanzees. Owing to this, atheists generally have little problem with either eugenics or using aborted embryos as fuel for heating hospitals. As such, a large part of their beliefs in these actions, and their amorality, is due to their belief in determinism.
Singer has also defended the practice of bestiality and the atheist PZ Myers has indicated that bestiality is acceptable under certain circumstances (see also: Atheism and bestiality). As far as secular Europe, a 2015 Jerusalem Post article indicates "Copenhagen has for long been the bestiality capital of Europe and has attracted many tourists mainly visiting to have sex with animals. Legislation against this practice was only enacted this year." Some European countries, especially the countries of Denmark, Germany and Sweden, after having received some negative publicity related to individuals engaging in bestiality, passed laws against the practice (see: Bestiality and various geographic areas and Bestiality and Sweden and Bestiality and Germany). In addition, the first "beststiality rights" organization was founded in secular Europe (see: The first "bestiality rights" organization was founded in secular Europe).
In addition, atheists compared to evangelicals are statistically more likely to engage in various sins such as viewing pornography, profanity in public, gossiping, drunkenness, with only gambling, sexual intercourse with a non-spouse, retaliation, and lying's statistics being unclear ( See also: Atheism and morality studies) In addition, there is research indicating that atheists with social contacts with Christians give more to charity than other atheists. Specifically, 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.
Furthermore, while atheist claim they have better ethics because it isn't for a reward, there's debate whether being motivated by evolutionary determinism is a good reason to do good. There's also evidence that their ethics rely on "ends justify the means", the opposite of what God decrees as ethics.
In fact, the closest they have to morality and ethics is via Darwinism and utilitarianism, and tend to argue that religion is responsible for the evils of the world. Atheists tend to confuse order of knowing for order of being regarding ethics and morality, and as such, Darwinism and evolution are not good substitutes for morality. In addition, while atheists generally agree that moral relativism is never a good way to determine morality, various attempts at creating objective morality apart from God such as Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene as well as Walter-Sinnot Armstrong's position that objective morality simply "is", and Michael Ruse and Edward Wilson's position that it is an evolutionary illusion also proved to have disastrous implications. Similarly, the atheists tend to mistake survival rules for morality.
What the world would look like under a truly atheistic worldview
See also: Atheism and morality
According to atheism, human life is nothing special and is, like everything else in existence, a simple accident. Protecting the environment becomes paramount because this fragile accident might be easily and catastrophically disrupted. Human life is also no better than that of animals, meaning that animals should be regarded as highly as humans (therefore, practices such as vegetarianism are logical) but also that practices such as abortion are excusable since children are simply immature animals.
|“||When it comes to pain, love, joy, loneliness, and fear, a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy. Each one values his or her life and fights the knife.||”|
Furthermore, what Christians and those of other religions consider sins against God and man are of less importance to atheists. What might be a sin against God (or gods) are simply irrelevant. Offenses against other people are only of some concern. Lying, for example, is only wrong because it may cause offense and a loss of trust if people find out. Some may refrain just to be "true to themselves" but many see lies as a tool which can be used as "needed." Gambling is only wrong to atheists if they are being irresponsible to the point of hurting others. Also, the assortment of activities known to the religious world as sexual sins are not specifically wrong to the atheist either. Hurting others through these activities, or breaking trust is some way might be something worth avoiding to them, but there is no higher power who disapproves, in their opinion.
Atheism and its effect on ethical behavior
As far as moral perfection, Jesus Christ taught that only God is good (Luke 18:19). The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah taught that the heart of man was deceitfully wicked above all things (Jeremiah 17:9). Secular humanism teaches that one can be good without God (see: Good without God).
The historical record and social science data show that atheistic morality results in lower ethical behavior (see: Atheism and morality and Atheist population and immorality and Atheism and morality studies).
For example, atheists have been the biggest mass murderers in history (see: Atheism and mass murder). Dr. R. J. Rummel's mid estimate regarding the loss of life due to atheistic communism is that communism caused the death of approximately 110,286,000 people between 1917 and 1987 (See also: Atheism and communism).
Christian ethics positively affecting the ethics and ethical frameworks of atheists
Atheist ethics and atheists borrowing from a Christian worldviewethics. Christians hold to the ethical and moral values that they do because they have received those values through the infallible and inerrant Word of God. Atheists and evolutionists, on the other hand, believe that there is no God or absolute being ruling over them and that life came to be through random, naturalistic processes. Thus, they have no rational basis for morality. However, they arbitrarily hold to many moral and ethical values, creating an inconsistent worldview. Atheists and evolutionists borrow from a Christian worldview, and ultimately they know of the existence of God:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Romans 1:18-23 (ESV)
Irreligious countries with Protestant cultural legacies
See also: Protestant cultural legacies
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."
Atheism ethics provide zero reason to live life
Atheists have no reason to oppose Christianity, creationism, conservatism, or any other worldivew they oppose. Afterall, they will all die, and all the succeeding generations will die as well.
- God, Naturalism, and the Foundations of Morality by Paul Copan
- Atheists and the Quest for Objective Morality by Chad Meister
- The amorality of atheim by Rob Smith
- Can we be good without God? by William Lane Craig
- Atheism and ethics and morality by Ken Ammi
- Does being an atheist interfere with being moral? by Lydia McGrew
- Nietzsche slaps down Dawkins on the illusion of atheist morality by Dr. Joel McDurmon
- Oxford Living Dictionaries
- Can We Be Good Without God? by Craig J. Hazen, Biola University
- The amorality of atheim
- Nietzsche slaps down Dawkins on the illusion of atheist morality
- Does being an atheist interfere with being moral?
- Would human life be sacred in an atheist world?
- Does Atheism (Determinism) Negatively Impact Morality?
- The Dangerous Mind by Joe Carter, First Things
- Atheist Achilles Heels: Objective Morality and Sacred Life
- The “objective morality” gotcha
- Suggestions for the anti-Semitic slurs list by MANFRED GERSTENFELD, Jerusalem Post, 2015
- Atheism Doesn't Lead to Immoral Behavior - Or Does It?
- Christians Give more to Charity than Atheists (YouTube video featuring an audio clip of Dr. William Lane Craig)
- Christians Give more to Charity than Atheists (YouTube video featuring an audio clip of Dr. William Lane Craig)
- Being Good “For Nothing” — Does That Make Atheist Ethics Better Than Christian?
- Questions on Atheism, Ethics, and Marital Conflict
- Atheism and ethics
- Secular Morality
- The Moral Evaluation of Religion
- God, Naturalism, and the Foundations of Morality
- Atheists and the Quest for Objective Morality
- Foley, Avery (February 7, 2017). Prescription for Morality? Answers in Genesis. Retrieved March 19, 2017.
- Ham, Ken; Foley, Avery (June 7, 2016). Should Animals Have Equal Rights as Humans? Answers in Genesis. Retrieved March 19, 2017.
- Ertelt, Steve (July 8, 2009). PETA: Upset President Obama Would Hurt a Fly, But Abortion Another Story. LifeNews.com. Retrieved March 19, 2017.
- Rummel, R. J. (November 1993). "How many did communist regimes murder?" University of Hawaii website; Freedom, Democracy, Peace; Power, Democide, and War. Retrieved July 19, 2014.
- Purdom, Georgia; Lisle, Jason (May 13, 2009). Morality and the Irrationality of an Evolutionary Worldview. Answers in Genesis. Retrieved March 19, 2017.
- The Protestant Work Ethic: Alive & Well…In China By Hugh Whelchel on September 24, 2012
- Christianity Today, The Surprising Discovery About Those Colonialist, Proselytizing Missionaries, January 8, 2014
- Lisle, Jason (October 10, 2007). Atheism: An Irrational Worldview. Answers in Genesis. Retrieved March 19, 2017.