Are atheists in denial concerning the consequences of their atheism? Well reading from the Richard Dawkins Foundation recently I found a refreshing contributor, a writer who was pretty much saying what everybody outside of the atheist bubble says, they were pointing out atheists can’t have “morality” in its most profound and attractive sense. Though that’s clumsily worded, which leads to atheists becoming indignant and raging against whoever it is they’re talking to, in fact a vast majority of the time the moral argument against atheism is an excellent criticism poorly formed. Moreover, sophisticated atheists tend to agree with the lack of moral objectivity under the atheistic worldview, instead their often lengthy and conciliatory rebuttal ends agreeing with many believers and their views. The modern atheist (the sort you find at the Richard Dawkins Foundation) believing in the theory of evolution, naturalism and even being a reductionist, finds him or herself (ordinarily himself) having to glibly approve of ideas like freewill, personhood, equality, and self-sacrificial behavior not because they’re REALLY real or objective in any sense, rather they’re in agreement with this behavior because it’s of benefit to their survival, or to the overall survival of the human race.
Their brains being indistinct from their minds have simply evolved to react to outside stimuli they’re receiving via our complex material system, thus they have been programmed to support such notions, there’s nothing really going on outside of ourselves though, or if there is it isn’t worth talking about in an objective sense. Now the above is only true for a small minority of sophisticated atheists, while the vast majority still like to insist in their humanism and other nonsensical ideas as being objective, and this is because facing the reality of atheism is just too hard for most atheistic people to do. Moreover I don’t blame them for looking down the barrel of a gun and wincing, these ideas sound unlivable because they are, it’s literally impossible for a human being to live while at the same time believing they’re not thinking, choosing or even believing! According to the modern atheist life is absurd, but believing in this truly and consistently would be destructive to the human machine, for which they refuse to live out the view properly in their thought life or publicly. They’re yet attacking God for being morally bankrupt (though there are no morals), and still undermining believers for not using their minds (though there are no minds), they even go so far as to blast terrorists for undermining the value of life (though life has no value!). Concerning this dilemma philosophers have written:
About the only solution the atheist can offer is that we face the absurdity of life and live bravely. Bertrand Russell, for example, wrote that we must build our lives upon “the firm foundation of unyielding despair.” Only by recognizing that the world really is a terrible place can we successfully come to terms with life. Camus said that we should honestly recognize life’s absurdity and then live in love for one another.
But is it possible to behave in such a way as this?
The fundamental problem with this solution, however, is that it is impossible to live consistently and happily within such a world view. If one lives consistently, he will not be happy; if one lives happily, it is only because he is not consistent. Francis Schaeffer has explained this point well. Modern man, says Schaeffer, resides in a two-story universe. In the lower story is the finite world without God; here life is absurd, as we have seen. In the upper story are meaning, value, and purpose. Now modern man lives in the lower story because he believes there is no God. But he cannot live happily in such an absurd world; therefore, he continually makes leaps of faith into the upper story to affirm meaning, value, and purpose, even though he has no right to, since he does not believe in God.
Well, we known we’ve got a bit of something in this universe and we know nothingness is coming. So, some design, huh? Nothingness is not just innate, programmed, it’s the next big thing, and we at least had some somethingness. As if, to make assurance doubly sure, the Andromeda galaxy is headed directly—directly in a collision course with our own. Measurably, it’s already filling the sky can be seen with the naked eye. In five billion, which is to say fucking soon, ladies and gentlemen, it’s on us and if it hasn’t happened before then, our sun goes into a red giant, then a red dwarf, we become a crisp. That’ll be nothingness programmed instead of somethingness. Some design, huh? Well, let’s move then while you ponder that to the tiny suburb in which we actually do know we live, this little corner, just our solar system. Every other rock in our solar system is completely inhospitable to life, either too hot or too cold, as is most of our planet, which as we know—have good cause to know is on a knife edge of climatic survival as we speak. We could become extinct at any moment.
What would you say is the distinguishing criteria to draw the line between atheist and nihilist? I consider myself an existential nihilist and yet when I read much of the arguments made by self-labelled atheists I can’t help seeing that they are intrinsically nihilistic or at the very least if followed to their logical ends, lead fundamentally to a nihilistic viewpoint. If logical, rational thinking is used then I fail to see how nihilism cannot be the conclusion.
Atheism is merely the rejection of religious beliefs, whereas nihilism goes further to saying that there is no meaning to our existence, we are just what we make ourselves to be. But how many ‘atheists’ fall into the latter category? If you don’t believe in a creator or divine plan and you understand how our minds and emotions have evolved as chemical signals and electrical pulses then where do you fit the meaning in to this? I enjoy being alive and live as hedonistic lifestyle as possible yet I am under no illusion that this has any meaning outside of my own mind. I believe that when living memories of myself die then my existence is erased entirely, in a few billion years that anything that ever happened on Earth won’t matter, the universe will continue regardless and nothing will have any more significance than if the Earth hadn’t existed at all. In trillions of years when the final stars die out and all matter is erased then time will cease to have any meaning. Oh and I can’t negate the classic quote ‘we have no choice but to have free will’ as nor do I see that having the ability to choose one’s destiny is synonymous with a ‘meaning’.
So, what gives your life meaning and if it is indeed something only in relation to yourself then why are you an atheist?
To an honest atheist believing in equality, objective good or a person’s behavior being evil is appropriate only if you understand these concepts for what they are, useful fictions. However to think they’re really real is no better than believing in God or some other fanciful fairy tale. Humanity doesn’t hold any important role in the universe, we weren’t made or possess intrinsic value, and for atheists who think humanity does, they’re simply wrong according to their own atheism.
Perhaps people remember an interview which gathered a fair deal of attention awhile back, in it Ben Affleck had a hard time articulating himself around the more cool headed Bill Maher and skillful Sam Harris, during the interview Ben angrily said: “You guys (meaning Maher and Harris) are saying if you want to be liberal believe in liberal principles, like freedom of speech, like umm we are endowed by our Cre forefathers with inalienable rights.” Very nearly getting it right Affleck had to reword the declaration of independence by replacing “endowed by our Creator with inalienable rights” (which makes sense) to “endowed by our forefathers” which couldn’t make sense even if we tried to make it sensible. Now during a history test Ben’s flippant comment wouldn’t get him a passing grade, as he should’ve quoted like so:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, we don’t have these rights endowed upon us because nobody is doing the endowing except us, what’s more we’re each ultimately accidental creations declaring in a clamor our own purposes, many of which contradict or override each other. To this atheists say: “That’s better, we think it’s more meaningful when people decide their own purpose in life.” But that totally misses the objection, the problem isn’t that we can’t have subjective meanings and purposes without God, obviously we can, the woman I wrote about above wasn’t being stopped from dedicating their life to a cause, rather the problem is we are barred from having objective meaning and purpose outside of our own delusions! So how is modern atheism best understood?
“I am just a primate living in a world of make believe values and self delusional meaning and I feel great!” Modern atheists have in some places escaped denial and entered into stage two of their confusion, which clearly is far deeper than the first, they’re actually agreeing with the plain facts surrounding their belief. So they understand their views are unlivable, self delusional and amoral, which leads into their new line of reasoning. They’re driven by the sheer ugliness of their belief to look it directly in the eye and say “Isn’t it an amazing accident!” That’s right, atheists are hopeful to market a belief which makes human lives worthless, life absurd and mind into matter as good. Atheists no longer disagree that their beliefs destroy meaning, value and purpose, instead of denying it they’re going to convince everyone that it’s a good thing!
So atheists reject historical evidences, modern cosmology, fine tuning, logical arguments, philosophical arguments and even their own natural inclination towards equality, justice etc, and all in favor of how wonderful a world without value is.
The above is funny in that it’s the atheist’s burden of proof which hasn’t nor will ever be met, yet looking at the above arguments and evidences they have so many reasons to believe, perhaps more now than at any point in the last 1000 years. What exactly are modern unbelievers safeguarding by their refusal to embrace any kind of transcendent authority, their autonomy? They don’t have it, their moral stance? It’s a delusion, perhaps they just don’t feel like it. The saddest part of this kind of purely volitional rejection of the divine is that atheists are made in the image of God, due to which they’re generally (outside of the internet) good-natured chaps, that’s partly why I as a believer spend my time telling them there’s a better way to be. Jesus doesn’t just love Christians, He loves and died for unbelievers too, what’s more atheists weren’t the people who crowned the Lord of Glory with thorns, we all were.
― T. C. M