Atheism and morality

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In regards to atheism and morality, the Barna Group found that atheists/agnostics in America were more likely, than theists in America, to look upon the following behaviors as morally acceptable: illegal drug use; excessive drinking; sexual relationships outside of marriage; abortion; cohabitating with someone of opposite sex outside of marriage; obscene language; gambling; pornography and obscene sexual behavior; engaging in homosexuality/bisexuality. [1]

Dr. William Lane Craig states the following regarding the comments of atheist debator Dr. Kai Nielson:

He doesn’t really defend his point there, but he says, "I have a reason why we should be moral." He says, "It’s in our self-interest to be moral." I was really surprised to hear that coming from him. That sort of purely self-interested motivation for morality is, I think, fatal to the atheistic position because for someone who is sufficiently powerful not to be worried about what others do, self-interest can only lead to a sort of self-aggrandizing hedonism. It leads to the kind of life of a Marcos, a Papa Doc Duvalier, a Mbbutu, and so forth. Self-interest will never be able to justify an ethic of compassion. And so I think that was a fatal admission on Dr. Nielsen’s part for the atheistic worldview.[2]

Dr. Phil Fernandes states the following regarding atheism and moral relativism:

Nietzsche preached that a group of "supermen" must arise with the courage to create their own values through their "will to power." Nietzsche rejected the "soft" values of Christianity (brotherly love, turning the other cheek, charity, compassion, etc.); he felt they hindered man's creativity and potential....

Many other atheists agree with Nietzsche concerning moral relativism. British philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) once wrote, "Outside human desires there is no moral standard." A. J. Ayer believed that moral commands did not result from any objective standard above man. Instead, Ayer stated that moral commands merely express one's subjective feelings. When one says that murder is wrong, one is merely saying that he or she feels that murder is wrong. Jean-Paul Sartre, a French existentialist, believed that there is no objective meaning to life. Therefore, according to Sartre, man must create his own values.

There are many different ways that moral relativists attempt to determine what action should be taken. Hedonism is probably the most extreme. It declares that whatever brings the most pleasure is right. In other words, if it feels good, do it. If this position is true, then there is no basis from which to judge the actions of Adolph Hitler as being evil.[3]

See Also

Notes