What do atheists, child molestors, abortion supporters and wall street investors have in common?

If they don’t repent, they’re all going to end up in the same place.

And that’s true on either end of Pascal’s Wager.

After all, if the atheists are right, the final destiny of all these people is to be food for bugs, so why does anything in this life matter? Why do they pretend that it matters? Why do atheists conveniently claim moral indignance over one select matter while proclaiming freedom of lifestyle choice in regard to others?

34 responses to “What do atheists, child molestors, abortion supporters and wall street investors have in common?

  1. Atheism is a direct response to the sins of religious people and the problem of evil.

  2. I’ve heard many Christians ask this question…”If there is no God, and no afterlife, then why does this life or anything we do during it, matter?” The question never fails to boggle my mind.

    Let’s put some obvious sticking points aside for a moment–like the fact that there either IS or IS NOT a God, and the implications to how we VALUE life bears absolutely no connection at all to this fundamental truth about the universe. Let’s, just for argument’s sake, assume that there is no God.

    Why should the absence of an afterlife diminish the importance of the here-and-now? As an atheist, I can tell you that I value every single day and awake every morning with a zeal for life that, I would guess, you can’t imagine. The reason for this is because I know how valuable the life I have is–because it’s all I’ve got. I know that one day I will cease to exist and, therefore, will have no further opportunities to experience all that the universe has to offer. As a Christian, this life will always be a pale second to that which you believe comes next. You may love your life–but you can never love it as I do because you believe it is some sort of cosmic “on-deck” circle before the really good stuff begins.

    Please…you may not UNDERSTAND how an atheist looks at the world, but you should refrain from filling in the gaps in your knowledge with speculation and conjecture–never mind, that’s pretty much what religion does, isn’t it?

    • In a 13-to-18 billion year old universe (depending on whose science you believe) a 100 year life, even a single day, has no meaning at all. I see NO reason for an atheist to have this “zeal for life” you speak of at all. Can you explain it to me using OBJECTIVE evidence only why one human life matters? Even if it’s all you’ve got, why does it MATTER what you’ve got?

  3. But why value it? According to your own view, you matter nothing in the grand scheme of the Universe. You are just a speck.

    I don’t get it. As C. S. Lewis says, if your intelligence is nothing more than random molecules bumping together in your brain, how can you even be certain *you* think??

    No, religion does *not* fill in gaps with speculation. We have perfectly valid evidence for our beliefs, which is well explained; you atheists just deny the evidence because it doesn’t suit your nihilism.

    You only value your life because it’s convenient to you. As Socrates says, the unexamined life is not worth living, and the goal of atheists is not to have to much examination. “Evolution answers everything; I don’t have to think anymore!”

    Life is short. Whether it’s 20 years or 100 years, it’s short. Your only hope is to extend your life on this mudball as long as possible–or end it as quickly as possible if you start to suffer.

    I am under no illusions about that. I’ve lived every day of my life aware of my mortality and can count on my hands the number of pain-free days I’ve had.

    I value life because I value each person as an infinitely precious child of God with an immortal soul, because I believe strongly what C. S. Lewis writes in “The Weight of Glory.”

    If I am merely speculating and not understanding, then enlighten me. You’re not the first atheist to try, and none have succeeded.

    Prove to me that life has meaning if we’re just highly evolved apes or highly complex chemical mixtures. Prove to me that there’s any standard for morality without a transcendant Natural Law.

  4. Let me combine my response to Ted and GodsGadfly–since you both seem to have asked similar questions.

    If you derive your “meaning” from a source outside yourself, then you are right–I believe our lives have no meaning. Now, feel free to snip that sentence out and use it in the next apologetics newsletter if you like–but it’s not that simple.

    My life is important TO ME–because I don’t care about that which came before me or very much about that which will come after I’m gone. My life may be–is– inconsequential to the “Grand Scheme Of Things”, but my concern isn’t with the Grand Scheme. My concern is with the here, the now, and the near. I have an opportunity. I have an extremely limited amount of time to wade around in the infinite ocean of the universe. I can use that time to fulfill myself–intellectually, physically, emotionally–or I can choose to waste it. It will make no difference to the ocean, but it will make a difference TO ME. My obligations begin and end within my self. I have a zeal for life because it is MINE–not God’s–and I value that which I own. I know that you probably don’t understand that–our minds just work differently. I, for example, don’t understand why every Christian doesn’t go to bed at night praying that a bus hits them the next day so that they can blow this pop-stand Earth and get their ticket to everlasting bliss.

    As for morality, that’s an entirely different (and longer) argument all together. I would simply tell you that YOUR idea of “fundamental morals” probably doesn’t exist–and any morality that IS fundamental is a product of evolution–social contracts that enable us to capitalize on our intellect and social cooperation in order to better survive and compete.

    • “My life is important TO ME–because I don’t care about that which came before me or very much about that which will come after I’m gone. My life may be–is– inconsequential to the “Grand Scheme Of Things”, but my concern isn’t with the Grand Scheme. I have an opportunity. I have an extremely limited amount of time to wade around in the infinite ocean of the universe. I can use that time to fulfill myself–intellectually, physically, emotionally–or I can choose to waste it. It will make no difference to the ocean, but it will make a difference TO ME. My obligations begin and end within my self. I have a zeal for life because it is MINE–not God’s–and I value that which I own.”

      Actually, that’s the part I’d split out and use for an apologetics newsletter. I fully understand it- it just doesn’t go far enough for me.

      You see, I’ve taken a good hard look at evolution, and quantum mechanics, and I’ve discovered *there is no randomness in the universe at all*. There’s pseudorandomness. There’s the randomness that is the cop-out of quantum mechanics of “there be dragons” beyond which human intellect ceases to be able to trace cause and effect. But just because cause and effect can’t be traced by a human being doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

      The God of the Gaps, so to speak. Morality IS fundamentally a product of evolution. EVERYTHING we think of as morality, of as the Orders of God or Natural Law, was discovered by several lifetimes worth of trial and error.

      You say you don’t care what went before, or what comes after your life- your obligations begin and end with yourself. That is fine as far as it goes, but it’s a hell of a waste. It’s a waste of your own life; which could be used to make a difference for others. It’s a waste of your ancestor’s lives- all that 2.9 million years of crawling up from the muck to form civilization. And it’s a waste of the natural resources you will consume that your work can never actually replace- which affects me and my rights, which adds a new obligation to you (that’s the one thing Ayn Rand often forgot- that use of natural resources affects other people). And worst of all, by concentrating on competition, you miss out on the best life has to offer in communionty.

    • AHA! Thank you for your honesty! Your only standard of behavior is what is self-fulfilling to *you*. You claim no concern about what is “before” or “after,” so really you have no business making *any* moral or ethical judgements, because it’s all about *YOU*. That’s exactly the point I’m making.

      If you’re going to deny a transcendant moral code, then be consistent about it. Don’t turn around and condemn Catholics for doing X or pro-lifers for doing Y or conservatives for doing Z and then say you don’t believe in a transcendant moral code. Either there is a moral code that applies regardless of culture or legal system, or there isn’t. It doesn’t work both ways. It doesn’t even matter if we agree on what that moral code says, but you can’t have your cake and eat it, too.

      I can accept the argument, however stupid I think it is, that life is just about self-gratification. But even the Hobbesian form of Natural Law cannot really hold without a higher purpose. There is no objective reason for a person to obey the social contract if he or she feels the social contract interferes with his or her self-fulfillment. The only way to make any behavioral appeal is if the standard for self-fulfilment is itself based upon that higher behavioral standard.

      It’s entirely the difference between saying, “I am donig this because it’s what *I* think will make *me* the best person *I* *want* to be”–which is ultimately solipsism–and saying, “I am doing this because I think *this* is an objective standard for what makes a person the best human being he or she can possibly be, and I want to conform to that standard.” To have the latter view, you need a definition of what the “best” human being is, and for such a standard to exist, you need something extrinsic to human beings themselves–even if it’s just a pantheistic Oversoul–to define it.

  5. Ted,

    I could be wrong here, but I THINK I understand where you are coming from. You are not questioning my own belief that my life is important on the grounds that meaning comes from God–you’re actually swooping in from the other farthest possible extreme–that quantum mechanics, string theory, and the eventual “Theory of Everything” render concepts such as free will obsolete. Our fates were pre-determined at the instant of the Big Bang because we are all just matter and energy and the interactions of matter and energy are determined by the laws of physics. Do I have that right?

    • Free will is not obsolete because we don’t have the knowledge to make it obsolete.

      But I am swooping in from the other furthest extreme, and claiming your life has more meaning and import than you know, *because* we are all just matter and energy and our interactions within ourselves do not stay within ourselves, but in fact impact other people. Call the creator of the universe what you will- God or even non-existent, and your life still has meaning, and you have obligations that exist outside of self, merely because of the 2nd law of thermodynamics: that no amount of work you do can avoid entropy, you WILL consume more than you produce, in the long run. This creates a matter/energy debt that you cannot repay, in and of yourself.

      • Interesting theory, Ted…

        I think, however, that you are suffering from a slight problem of perspective. You claim that I have an obligation to others because of my contribution to entropy and the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Yes, in principle, my existence creates a matter/energy debt which effects the rest of the system. What you’re not considering, however, is that the impact I create is within the system as a whole–which is the entire universe–not within any other single living being, or within our planet, or even our galaxy. It is like saying that when I dip a finger in the ocean, the water that clings to my finger and makes it “wet” when I pull it out has, theoretically, lowered worldwide sea levels and negatively impacted the lives of fish on the other side of the globe. This is hardly a debt worth considering when crafting a philosophy on how to live one’s life.

  6. So you think your ethics are well-founded because they are founded on the threat of Hell?

    But Hell is a fantasy, like all religious concepts.

    Your ethics is founded on a silly fantasy.

    Better to admit the truth: there is no “ultimate” foundation for ethical behavior, and none is needed.

    • Actually, the threat of Hell is not intrinsically necessary; a higher standard or purpose to human behavior *is*. The Hebrew religion did not originally teach Heaven and Hell; it taught that, if people were raised from the dead at all, they went to the same vague place . But it did teach that human beings were made in the image and likeness of God and God’s imprint on the human soul makes human beings worth it.

      Buddhists do not believe in Heaven or Hell, either, but they believe in transcendant morality.

      But your deflection and circular logic just avoid the real question, which you have *never* been able to answer, which is how you can have any morality without transcendant morality. Appealing to Wittgenstein is useless because Wittgenstein rejects anything that is not empirically verifiable, and ethics are not empirically verifiable. A consistent following of Wittgenstein would be to reject all ethics.

      • RE: “…How you can have any morality without transcendant morality[?]”

        You just can, that’s all. No explanation is needed. You are making the mistake which Wittgenstein should have cured us of: asking for an explanation where there cannot be one, and where none is necessary.

        I can do it too! Ready? Here goes. How can there be a God? And whatever answer you give, how can that answer be true? And whatever answer you give to that question, how can THAT answer be true? And that one, and the one you give in reply? How how how how how?

        Sooner or later the answer is, it’s just so. You can say “it’s just so” about God, but you can equally well say it BEFORE you introduce your imaginary friend God into the discussion. The end-result is the same, and you avoid the nonsense.

        RE: “A consistent following of Wittgenstein would be to reject all ethics.”

        Nope. It would be to reject demands for an ultimate, supernatural FOUDNDATION for ethics. Ethics need no superhuman nor supernatural foundations. “This is how we do it” is enough.

      • “This is how we do it” is not enough, and you are once again proving that atheists are anti-philosophical, anti-intellectual 8th graders.

        First, there is no objective standard as to why your “this is how we do it” is superior to mine, except *your* insistence that it is.

        Secondly, if there is no transcendent purpose to human existence, why should I care? Why should I not just live for total self-gratification as Mr. Gault suggests?

        You claim to disagree with “pro-life terrorism,” but then you say people should be able to do whatever they consent to, because “this is how we do it” is the only standard of moral behavior. So what’s wrong with shooting one’s enemies then? You say consent is the standard of sex, so what’s wrong with a consentual relationship between a 12 year old boy and a priest?

      • Or more to the point of most of the cases I was aware of, between a 16 year old boy and a priest?

    • My ethics aren’t founded on the threat of Hell, but on the dream that people can live together in civilization in peace. Unlike yours, which seeks only to kill children in hopes of lessening the population to the point where you don’t have to deal with people like me.

  7. To me the size of the debt isn’t an issue. ANY debt at all is still a debt, and is still worth the effort to try to repay.

    When it comes to “resources available to our species”- your use of say, fossil fuels, certainly does affect my ability to breathe. Shouldn’t, even from a libertarian standpoint, you be expected to pay something in return for that usage?

    Libertarian atheists often complain about government regulation and taxes, but never own up to their own usage of common resources that the government is necessary to regulate, and the cost of the regulation. That’s one of my basic complaints about the economic theories of Ludwig Von Mises (HMM, just noticed for you Terry Prachet/Discworld fans- Could the Character of Moist von Lipwig be based on a critical reading of von Mises?)- he often takes for granted the commons, without recompense to the rest of society.

    It doesn’t matter how big the net debt is- if your life is guaranteed to end with a deficit in what you used vs what you provided to others, that is a meaning outside of yourself.

  8. I will answer your “how” when you finish answering all my “how”s. Starting with, how can there be a God? And how can your answer to that question, be true? And how can your answer to THAT question be true? And that one? And that one? When you finish answering all INFINITELY MANY of my “how”s, then MAYBE I will deign to answer a few of yours.

    In the end, neither of us can be answered, and no answer is needed. YOU DON’T NEED A SUPERNATURAL FOUNDATION! And if you had one, it wouldn’t help you.

    RE: “Secondly, if there is no transcendent purpose to human existence, why should I care? ”

    Maybe you shouldn’t care. Maybe you should just sit waiting for a supernatural explanation, until you and everyone like you dies of thirst.

    • First, this is my blog, and I’m not permitting you to redirect the question.

      My question is how atheists can claim any kind of morality without a transcendant standard. You can’t judge other people without a transcendant standard. That transcendant standard does not necessarily require a judeo-Christian God, though if you follow it logically, it leads to that conclusion.

      For the purposes herein, “God” is sufficiently “that than which nothing greater can be imagined.”

      God exists because He does, because only an idiot would fail to see the abundant evidence God exists. Only a person whose brains are located in his groin would be stupid enough to deny the numerous miracles that happen *every day*, and the grand, very public, well-documented miracles that have happened throughout history, from the Exodus to the Resurrection to the Sun dancing at Fatima.

      And there is more textual documentation, as well as archaelogical evidence, for the Exodus or the Resurrection than any other event in ancient history. The fact that you choose to plug your eyes and ears and say, “LA LA LA! I want to pretend there’s no evidence!” doesn’t change the fact that it’s there.

      • RE: “this is my blog, and I’m not permitting you to redirect the question.”

        WHY is this your blog, and HOW does the fact that this is your blog mean you don’t have to answer my question?

        RE: “You can’t judge other people without a transcendant standard.”

        Yes you can! People do it all the time. We judge according to HUMAN standards.

        RE: “God exists because He does, because only an idiot would fail to see the abundant evidence God exists. ”

        Only an idiot would fail to see that all the evidence can be more easily and more productively explained WITHOUT appealing to your imaginary friend God.

        RE: “For the purposes herein, “God” is sufficiently “that than which nothing greater can be imagined.”

        How can there be such a thing? No matter how big a number you give me, I can imagine a greater one.

      • But, those are concrete questions.

        People judge by “human” standards all the time, yes, and human standards are flawed and subjective, therefore unsustainable.

    • Only atheists insist upon a supernatural God. To the rest of us, God is a natural part of natural law.

  9. Ted Seeber, if God is part of Natural Law, then you should be able to demonstrate God by means of controlled experiments. You can’t. So He’s not part of Natural Law.

    • I can do so, but you need an advanced degree in quantum mechanics to understand the data, AND even then, God is indistinguishable from a new vision of God that atheists have, in their total obedience to self arrogance, given the name “Random”.

  10. Why does stuff matter to atheists? Because we would like to enjoy this life! This life is all we have, we aren’t expecting some big reward (or punishment) when it is over. Why do we care about others? Empathy is a natural trait, likely evolved with us because it is useful.

  11. Who knows the mind of God. Atheists do have their place in this world. God is so huge he can accept even those who see him as not. The Word of God reminds us that even prostitutes will be making their way to the Kingdom and those of us who think we are already in, mayl not make it. Atheism is a negative reaction to the existence of God. To be an Atheist is already to believe God exists, this is why atheists can so vehemently challenge God’s existence. In the final anlysis, it is not the sin. God loves the sinner but not the sin. It is whether you and I are witnesses to the Gospel in thoughts, words and deeds. Thanks for your insight in this article.

    Blessings,
    Viny

    • Uhhh, that makes no sense.

      First off, I don’t “think I’m already in.” You know, salvation is not a dice game.

      While certainly God’s mercy will welcome anyone who repents, that isn’t the point, but rather the intellectual errors of atheism. How are atheists to repent if we don’t tell them they’re wrong?

  12. Thank you so much for your response dear. But I may be wrong and I do admit if i am, however the christian life is not so much about “telling” someone about Jesus. Rather, I would think it is about trying to “be ” that Jesus to another. This is where the challenge comes but we try.

    Thank you for your response. May God’s blessings be yours.

    Best regards,
    Viny

    • I’d suggest reading Pope John Paul II’s encyclical, _Veritatis Splendor_ (aka _The Splendor of Truth_). I started reading it a few weeks ago and took on another chunk tonight. It would answer your objections very nicely.

  13. Thank you dear for suggesting “Veritatis splendour” by the late Pope John Paul. I pray that he will be declared a saint. It is a wonderful encyclical by the Holy Father. I am familiar with it and will return to it. The challenge still remains. How am I to “be” the Jesus out there , in a world that is so secualrised. How can my little voice, yet authentic touch the hearts of those out there, so that in our pluralistic world, we can all live in justice, peace and love, which is the message of Jesus, and the church today. There is a dignity that is inherent in every human and that has always been for Jesus and the church likewise.
    I thank you tremedously for your reading suggestions.

    My concern here (not objection) is how to “be” that Jesus out there. In the final analysis after we have received all the inpiration, how are we to manifest that “being.” This is where we constantly depend on the Holy Spirit, and those who have gone before us (like his Holiness Pope Jn.Pl. II), and through dialogue like we are having now, to be guided. Thank you for the opportunity to share.

    May God’s blessings be yours,
    Vincent

  14. That’s a good question, and actually gets to the point of this particular post, which is really that “we’ve all fallen short”.

    And that’s really was VS is about–he starts with the Rich Young Man and says how we must always take it to the next step.

    Henri Nouwen points out the difference in the responses. The man says, “What must I do to be saved?” and Jesus says “Follow the commandments.”
    “Check,” says the man (bold claim!).
    “Then if you wish to be *perfect*, sell everything and give to the poor.”

    Nouwen emphasizes the difference between salvation and sanctification, but JPII says we’re all called to be perfect, that the more we want to serve Jesus, the more we must practice heroic virtue. The negative commands of the law are absolute, but the positive commands of the law are open to interpretation. However, if we wish to be perfect, we must take the most absolute interpretation of the positive laws we can.

    • “However, if we wish to be perfect, we must take the most absolute interpretation of the positive laws we can.”

      That gets me back to the problem I have with libertarian freedom and free will. If we go with an absolutist interpretation of positive laws, then freedom becomes merely the license to do evil- we should not have freedom to disobey the positive laws.

      But that, then, denies free will. The ability to sin is in and of itself, the existence of freedom.

  15. We do not have the freedom to disobey the positive laws, but we do have freedom in how to obey them.

    That said, the false definition of freedom is the theme of the section of VS I read last night. Amazing book!

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