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Our atheist commenters have kindly explained why atheism is doomed

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Go away. You're in more trouble than I am. I can just be an animal somewhere.

First, let’s briefly recap: Recently, I asked “Are atheists immoral (they indulge in kicking cats),” commenting

It’s not so much that atheists are immoral, but that immoral people are often atheists.

Because materialist atheism eases their fear that Things Will Get Added Up in the End. The answers I heard did not provide a convincing explanation and I discussed why here. I also introduced the problem that atheism must necessarily have a very hard time maintaining itself against cat kickers. After all, no transcendent moral code is endorsed, and everyone is simply the product of their selfish genes and neurons.

To illustrate the point, I asked readers to imagine – and this is no idle imagining – the rise to social power of an ignorant and violent sect that vastly outnumbers the virtuous, animal-loving Atheists’ League. (The sect holds that cats are unclean and that kicking them is a virtue.) The problem for the atheist then becomes how to sustain himself in the face of persecution.

After all, the materialist atheist can have no conviction that he is right in any transcendent sense. His selfish genes cause him to oppose the sect’s cruelties. And the sect is now dominant in public affairs. Sustaining injuries or death from public and private persecution by the sect is pointless because he lives for this world only.

Many responses have poured in, and I will attempt to address a mere few of them here:

Meleager at 1 writes,

When the moral subjectivist is asked what the basis is for any such morality, it will eventually shake down to consensus (majority decides), which then brings up the question, if morality is a description of how people ought to behave, and the consensus is that atheism (or insert whatever the minority opinion is of the one you are debating) is immoral, then isn’t the atheist being immoral by their own definition of morality? Shouldn’t they try to conform to the consensus norm?

Hmmm. I’m not certain that all will agree that “majority decides.” Quite possibly, nothing would induce the original members of the Atheists’ League to agree with that. You see – bear with me – the sect discussed earlier is headed by the Supreme Holy Interpreter for the Terror. (The Terror is the sect’s deity.) Because the head’s title is a bit, well, voluminous, let us abbreviate it to [SHIT]head.

The embattled Atheists’ League can hardly endorse that the majority rules, because the majority are now sect members who have heard [SHIT]head’s recent revelation from The Terror that atheists are as unclean as the cats they protect. If the atheists were Christians, they might pray for a good witness in death, but they have no one to pray to and no meaningful witness. It doesn’t really matter whether or not they conform to the consensus; the human mind is an illusion, you see.

Elizabeth Liddle says at 2,

I’ve said it is perfectly possible to derive a system of ethics without reference to theism, and I’ve also said how (essentially, the Golden Rule ensures that individuals don’t prioritise their own interests above those of other). That’s objective ethics, by definition – a system of ethics that transcends subjective desires.

Actually, the Golden Rule transcends subjective desires only under certain circumstances. It must first be grounded. The best known statement of the Golden Rule is from Jesus: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” But there is a difficulty: Jesus was addressing observant Jews, who interpreted such a statement in the context of ethical monotheism. It cannot easily be generalized.

Consider, for example, the unfortunate case of the ethical atheist Lucy. Lucy was dismayed by the pitiable state of Female, the wife of a sect member. (All sect women are named Female.) She approached this particular Female, assuming that she would want support, perhaps to escape. And that others might too. Female went ballistic at being approached by one of the Most Unclean (the Atheist League). Lucy was never seen again, which served as a warning to anyone who attempted to undermine one of The Terror’s central revelations to [SHIT]head: Abuse strengthens the moral purity of women. In the absence of a shared context, the Atheist League was forced to suspend their Golden Rule activities.

StephenB at 5.1.3 provides some real help when he says,

What is a good person? A good person is one who habitually behaves in a way that is consistent with the purpose of his existence, which is to achieve union with God by choosing to love God and neighbor. What is a good act? A good act is one which moves a person in the direction of the purpose or destiny for which he was created. What is morality? Morality is the behavioral standard or vehicle by which we arrive at our destination. If we have no destination, then it is ridiculous to speak of morality at all. All this will become evident to you the moment that you try to define the meaning of the word “good.” Why not have a go at it?

Using these standards, we can definitely support Lucy and the Atheist League against [SHIT]head and The Terror. But we must accept that these standards are defined by an Authority outside this world, who has  excommunicated The Terror for all eternity – and threatens [SHIT]head with the same fate.

Moving right along, Elizabeth Liddle has argued for the efficacy of human justice systems. Oh yes, that brings us to the most recent development …

An academic conference booked the town convention centre, with the goal of seeking to normalize pedophilia. The dwindling Atheist League thought, There! At last! We can make common cause with the sect on at least one subject – the rights of children.

Imagine their dismay when they learned that [SHIT]head had had a revelation some years ago from The Terror – sex purifies children. He himself was currently enjoying a five year old, and the sect was working busily through channels to legalize the practice. The government was eager to listen because resources currently directed at protecting children from pedophiles could now be directed to the increasingly popular cause of prosecuting the Atheist League for inciting contempt against the sect. – The League, you see,  publicized the sect’s doctrinally approved practices among that shrinking portion of the population that had not yet fully submitted.

A crushing blow!: Several of the academics advocating normalization of pedophilia proclaimed themselves proud atheists. The Atheist League had no coherent basis for saying that these academics were less representative of atheism than the League was. So the League lost respect among its supporters and sympathizers at a key moment.

The end came – mercifully, no doubt – when a group of young atheists held a pub confab on the trajectory of events – and one  fellow allowed it to be known that the best reverse trajectory would be  a bullet through SHIT’s head,  to forestall any further revelations from The Terror. The conversation was reported. None of the young atheists was ever seen again, though crushed bones were found. And a chapter in the intellectual history of that region closed.

Those who  live through the beginnings of some of this do not think  it fiction.

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8 Responses to Our atheist commenters have kindly explained why atheism is doomed

  1. I think the catholic church has pretty well settled the issue.

  2. “When the moral subjectivist is asked what the basis is for any such morality, it will eventually shake down to consensus (majority decides),”

    Ask the Jews of Germany how that worked out… People who try to ground morality in physics are delusional…

  3. Dennis Prager: Still the Only Solution to the World’s Problems

    This is particularly relevant to the discussion above.

  4. I want you to imagine that a similar sect arises only their justification is they interpret the Bible to justify their actions and that it is God’s purpose for humanity to kick cats. I know that you will say that they have intepreted the Bible wrongly but as a matter of historical fact it has interpreted in many different ways. But how do you know you are right and they are wrong? Is it just a matter of reading the Bible and others signs of God’s word more accurately? So the good Aramaic/ancient Greek scholar has a better chance of correctly divining what is moral behaviour? I suggest not. However strong the evidence that God actually intended humanity to kick cats, and however many people agreed with this view, you would still think it wrong.

    You can’t get round the subjective nature of morality. But if the majority thinks differently from you that doesn’t mean you are in error. It means you have a different opinion and will no doubt seek to change the minds of the majority.

  5. Denyse :

    Sustaining injuries or death from public and private persecution by the sect is pointless because he lives for this world only
    Is this really your argument? So no atheist soldiers,policemen,firefighters willing to risk death because they don’t believe in god?
    Denyse:
    It must first be grounded. The best known statement of the Golden Rule is from Jesus: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” But there is a difficulty: Jesus was addressing observant Jews, who interpreted such s statement in the context of ethical monotheism. It cannot easily be generalized
    Let’s give it a try
    “Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself.” – Confucius
    An example from a Late Period (c. 664 BCE – 323 BCE) papyrus: “That which you hate to be done to you, do not do to another.”

    Now I have a question. Since apparently everything wrong in the world is caused by atheism or government ,do you have any example present or historical that would approach your ideal society?

    Because the head’s title is a bit, well, voluminous, let us abbreviate it to [SHIT]head
    So what’s the deal with the language? I thought cussing was for godless atheists.Next thing you know you’ll be dancing and playing cards.
    .

  6. William Lane Craig (no less) on objective morality, commented that even if everyone in the world thought A, it doesnt make A right, because A may conflict with ‘objective morality’ (whatever the hell that is).

    The slight problem is that it means we have no way of ever divining the intent of objective morality, (so whats the point), but thats another story.

  7. But if the majority thinks differently from you that doesn’t mean you are in error. It means you have a different opinion and will no doubt seek to change the minds of the majority.

    Said markf, to the cat-kickers.

  8. Mrs O’Leary:

    Kindly understand that while I agree that the point being made is patently valid, I have a serious disagreement with the manner, in particular the resort to coarse language.

    Such, in my considered opinion, will only enable those who wish to use this as a lever that wedges open the door to wider and wider incivility. And, it creates the impression that we are being hypocrites.

    (Observe how, years later, cases where UD in the past slipped over the border into coarse speech, are still being used to distract from the serious matter at stake.)

    If you have the facts, pound on the facts. If, the law, pound on the law. If neither, pound the table.

    Please, do not let us open the door to table pounding as normal practice.

    That will simply drown out the matter that needs to be focused on, on the merits of fact, logic and moral suasion.

    I will make no further comments in this thread.

    Good day,

    And, regardless, all the best.

    GEM of TKI

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