How Much Do You Have to Hate Someone Not to Proselytize?

Francis Schaeffer on the Origins of Relativism in the Church

One of My Favorite Songs

An Inspiring Song


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Borrowed Morality

Welcome, atheist readers!


You know, most of the time, my little blog averages about sixteen hits a day. Recently, it spiked to about thirty-five readers a day for a few days, principally as a result of a couple of links from a blogospheric friend of mine.

But you people--you people take the cake, I must admit. At time of writing, I was up to 49 hits today, far and away the most this blog has ever had. And I have you to thank for it.

Well, like I say, welcome. Even to the people that think I'm a "loathsome person." I don't take offense.

'Cause, as I've noted elsewhere already today, who cares what an accidentally-animated bag of protoplasm thinks?
I was googling on a tangentially-related subject, and almost accidentally came up with the post from which this material comes. Emphasis is mine:
When one gives up the Christian faith, one pulls the right to Christian morality out from under one’s feet. This morality is by no means self-evident: this point has to be exhibited again and again, despite the English flatheads. Christianity is a system, a whole view of things thought out together. By breaking one main concept out of it, the faith in God, one breaks the whole: nothing necessary remains in one’s hands. Christianity presupposes that man does not know, cannot know, what is good for him, what evil: he believes in God, who alone knows it. Christian morality is a command; its origin is transcendent; it is beyond all criticism, all right to criticism; it has truth only if God has truth—it stands or falls with faith in God.
In this quotation, many of my readers will immediately detect the echo of Van Til, or Bahnsen, or some other related apologist infused with “worldview,” or presuppositional thinking. Such a guess comes close in content, but misses widely. The surprise: this quotation flows candidly—and insightfully!—from arch-atheist Friedrich Nietzsche. This is not, of course, to say that Van Til derived his ideas from reading Nietzsche—highly unlikely. The point—completely lost on modern atheists—is that when you strike down Christianity, Christian morality necessarily goes with it. Nietzsche candidly professed this, as did his earlier French counterpart Marquis de Sade: no God, no moral imperatives; no “thou shalt,” and no “thou shalt not.” Only, “I will.”

But modern atheists have not only ignored this logical conclusion, they have actually attempted to attack Christianity in the name of Christian morality, calling the Christian God cruel, bloodthirsty, racist, sadomasochistic, etc. Richard Dawkins’ now famous book begins an early chapter with such accusations and much more. Whence the moral outrage?
Time and again, I have pointed out that atheism has no morality, not unless you want to call the law of the jungle "morality," only to have people say that they know atheists who are very moral people.

They miss the point. It is not that atheists necessarily act immorally. Many don't. The point is that an atheistic worldview simply cannot intellectually justify any sort of morality. In an atheistic universe, you arrived here completely by accident, via an unthinking, uncaring process that results in a progressively more complex arrangement of biological matter (said process utterly violating the second law of thermodynamics in the process, by the way, but that is a mere side-issue as far as this post is concerned) that has no purpose whatsoever. You do not matter to the cold, uncaring universe that accidentally produced you. You winked into existence and in less than a hundred years, you will wink out of existence. What happens to your progeny will be of no concern to you, for you will not exist to care about them. What you do to yourself and to others matters to no one that has ever existed and will not matter to you after you have vanished from this earth. The only thing with which you can possibly have any concern is your own life, and, there being utterly no eternal purpose for your life, your concern has to be limited, in the rawest terms, to what you can get out of this life.

In short: a logical application of "atheist morality" dictates that you do whatever you can to make your own life more enjoyable to you, provided only that you can get away with it. All pretensions to the contrary are logical nonsense, as Nietzsche pointed out. Atheists with "morals" have borrowed them from a theistic worldview, and they either lack the integrity to admit it, or they don't have the intellectual candlepower to understand it, or they have simply not cared to consider the logical implications of their worldview.


  1. So, here's a rebuttal to this nonsense:

  2. Unfortunately for you, you'll have your chance to take it up with Nietchze personally in less than a hundred years. Probably less than fifty.

  3. Took a moment to read your post; touche, I had not read beyond the quoted material from the other post, and it does indeed appear that Nietzsche was rebutting someone else.

    Unfortunately, in your worldview, the best defense you can offer for any sort of morality is still that it is no more than an adaptive mechanism, devoid of any eternal significance whatsoever, mattering not at all to anyone in the universe but yourself and the handful of people you know, and that, for only the limited amount of time before you all become unrecognizable heaps of worm food without even the consciousness to realize it. There is still not, in your worldview, any reason at all you should care about anything save what you can get away with during the limited--very limited--period of time that you exist in a universe that did not have you in mind, does not care about you, into which you arrived by complete accident, on which you have no effect whatsoever, and which will utterly forget you and whatever progeny your adaptive mechanism has allowed you to have in an eyeblink of time.

    In short--whether he knew it or not, Nietzsche was right in the material quoted here.

    Have a nice life. What's left of it, anyway.

  4. Even that ridiculous caricature of atheist morality is a stronger basis than getting it straight from God.

    After all, any being that we could reasonably call God would presumably have reasons for its rules that would be far beyond mortal understanding - otherwise we would have no need to follow God's instructions, only the reasoning behind them.

    But since His reasoning is unknowable, God could change his mind tomorrow, and we would have no choice but to follow his whims. Assuming we could accurately tell that it was God changing the rules, and not humans misinterpreting. Or humans lying for some material benefit. Or Satan putting false words in God's mouth.

    This isn't academic - every holy war in history can be interpreted as a fight over whose version of God's morality is the correct one.

    I'll leave with this exercise for the reader: Suppose the Bible were divinely inspired, not by a loving God, but by an evil demon. How would we know the difference?

    (Hint: Start with a comparative body count. You will find that God beats the devil, several millions to 0).

  5. Hmmmm. Suppose Josh's words were not inspired by a concern to avoid holy war, but by an evil demon, or his own desire to avoid ultimate accountability. How would we know the difference?

    I'll let you take the body count thing up with Stalin, when you meet him.

  6. We have arrived in the 21st century a better, more caring, fairer society than at any time in history. The morality that allowed this to happen did not arrive with Christ, it took centuries of struggle, reason and (believe it or not) scientific understanding.

    To suggest that scoiety devoid of god would return to a law of the jungle is insane. Society decides morality, some times getting it right, sometimes wrong. Religion nearly always gets it wrong.

    Christianity allows for the unfair, inequitable treatment of gays, women and witches!

    Even you would admit that you pick your morality very carefully from the bible, effectively quote mining for passages that fit in with your pre-existing understanding of morality.

    Has Christianity shaped morality in modern western society? Of course it has, and often much to the good, but that doesn't make it the ultimate arbiter of what is good and what is evil. Society has to do that collectively and we'll get it wrong from time to time but so far the progress has been in the right direction.

  7. No matter how many times I see it or experience it, it's one of the most amazing things I've ever seen: write on evolution or atheism--or God forbid, both--and a previously largely-unread little blog experiences a sudden spike in readership.

    What do you do, Google everyday for someone fresh to argue with? What a life. But then, it won't matter to you for too much longer, will it?

    Interestingly, you agree to a certain degree with Francis Schaeffer. You wrote:

    Society decides morality...the ultimate arbiter of what is good and what is evil. Society has to do that collectively...

    Schaeffer said long ago that if you don't have Biblical absolutes, then, ultimately, society is absolute.

    It's odd how your dhimmitude has commenced, isn't it?

  8. MOTW:
    Firstly, you'll have to prove anything that lasts for an 'eternity'. 2ndly, you'll have to prove that lack of belief in the supernatural somehow eviscerates peoples' empathy. Third, I can say w/o hyperbole, that 'any reason at all you should care about anything save what you can get away with during the limited--very limited--period of time that you exist' applies to theists more than atheists, simply by counting the numbers. In fact, your side provides a 'get-out-of-free' card, does it not?
    4thly, it's painfully obvious there's nobody @ the helm, so no, the universe doesn't care, more's the reason we need to care about each other.
    and a previously largely-unread little blog experiences a sudden spike in readership.
    So it went from 1 a day to 5 a day?
    Schaeffer said long ago that if you don't have Biblical absolutes, then, ultimately, society is absolute.

  9. Firstly, you'll have to prove...


    I don't have to prove squat. This isn't some forum where I'm required to waste my time with you at all. As I told March Hare in the comments on another post:

    I don't generally waste time debating with atheists. Experience has taught me well that the problem with atheists is never the nature of the evidence or the quality of one's reasoning. The problem atheists have is always one of the will. Engage them and take their sophomoric arguments seriously, and they will sit at their keyboards or across the table from you and argue strenuously that white means black, or the reverse, as long as they think it suits their purposes of the moment, revealing with every breath that they choose not to read carefully, have no understanding of the concepts or scriptures they criticize--indeed, not enough understanding even to indicate that they have bothered to read them carefully, as I said--and in general, fully justify the biblical admonition that it is the fool that has said in his heart there is no God. They don't believe because they hate God, and no argument in the world will turn them around, for their hatred leads them to suppress the knowledge of God that all men have in their hearts and they are determined to keep it suppressed.

    So no, I'm not going to waste my time answering your points.
    I'm not trying to hurt your feelings, but the reality is that you sound unbelievably ignorant and haven't the wherewithal to realize it.

  10. I don't have to prove squat.
    Excuse me, but you made a specific pejorative claim against a specific & large amount of people, a particularly obnoxious & untrue claim @ that, in public on a media that allows commentary & discussion. Being a member of that group of people, I feel obliged to point out the metaphysical bigotry that you perpetuate. If you don't feel the need to explain yourself, fine. But don't pad your answers w/intellectually empty calories, like 'oh, you just hate god," or any of your other vacuous homilies.
    'Unbelievably ignorant' a is pretty rich irony, considering you're invested in some fables some shepherds told around the campfire in the Iron Age.

  11. But don't pad your answers w/intellectually empty calories...

    Try and stop me... :)