In answer to Hugo's preposterous claim that atheists can hold to some type of universal moral code, and thereby declare someone else's behaviours wrong, I give you this section from the book, “Trolling for Atheists.”
On the news this morning I saw a 17 year old woman being kicked to death. It took place in some city in Iraq. As Muslim police protected the attackers from interruption, this woman’s two brothers, with the help of a mob of men killed her as she lay in the street. According to the report, this group of Mohamed’s followers killed the defenceless woman because she was “seeing” a man who belonged to a different religion. The atheist’s basis for discerning good and evil, right and wrong was front and centre.
The mob kicked her. They punched her. They stomped on her and they hurled blocks of cement at her. They pulled her underwear down around her ankles to humiliate her. They all gathered around in a circle chanting who knows what and beat to death this woman because she had, in their minds, defied their socio-biological-religiously determined norms, values and morals. She had defied the behaviours that particular community had come to believe were necessary to advance society and humanity.
This behaviour cannot be condemned by modern atheists for two reasons. The first is determinism (more on this in next weekend's post). We are, according to atheist leaders, compelled to do what we do because of how we're made (molecules, atoms, firing neurons, selfish genes etc.). Here's how determinism is said to work. Everything in the material world that expresses an effect has a cause that produced that effect. Our thoughts and actions are material effects that must therefore have a material cause. The cause of what we “falsely” think to be our will or freewill ability to choose is the previously mentioned, molecules, atoms, and firing neurons. On determinism, there is no freewill, only a physical reaction responding to a physical cause. And if there is no freewill choice then the concept of morality is irrelevant if not out right ludicrous.
The irony here is that atheists, those who perceive themselves to be the most rational among us, would also lose the concept of rationality on determinism. This is because at the very least, rationality requires the ability for discernment, reasoning and powers of argument. If we are causally determined to think and act as we do then the conclusions we reach are also determined by the same causal laws of the world that are working in combination with our physiology. On determinism, our conclusions are not the result of reason or rationality but of the chemical makeup of our brains at that given moment. I suppose that atheists could point to their irrational, incoherent belief system as proof of determinism? Nevertheless, people who believe they live in a natural deterministic universe, and who express outrage over the behaviours of another person or community (eg. The men who killed that women in Iraq) should be seen as rather emotionally unbalanced individuals.
The second reason this behaviour cannot be condemned by atheists is because this behaviour is approved of by community and social standards. Atheists flip back and forth between these two suppositions as the situation demands, but community standards of morality are just as strongly defended by atheists as is determinism. Just as the atheist Khmer Rouge community agreed that the killing of millions of innocents was “the right thing to do,” just as communities both past and present have and do determine that Southern U.S. types of slavery is “the right thing to do,” just as certain Christian communities believe that discriminating against those who believe or live differently than they do is the right thing to do, that, as we know is how atheists discern what behaviours are right or wrong, good or bad, acceptable or unacceptable. Might means right. Survival of the fittest and the strongest. We humans, according to atheists are the highest authority and our community decides what is right.
Are Muslim social standards ones with which modern western atheists would approve? Probably not. But who are atheists to say that their standards are any better than those of this Islamic religious community? Adherents of atheism have nothing to fall back on for an authoritative stance on this issue other than their own minds, preferences, desires, likes and dislikes. Selective morality is the rallying call of the atheist. “Reasonable” morality (even though determinism makes the term “morality” irrational) is their standard of conduct. If an atheist agrees with it, it’s good. If s/he disagrees with it, it’s bad. Ethics by the majority allows for honour killing. In the atheist as well as the Muslim world, might is indeed, right. Perhaps that's why, as we see happening across Europe right now, where Christianity steps aside to make room for atheism, Islam so easily fills the religious void.
If atheism is true then we do not live in a moral universe. At best, our universe is amoral. Dawkins himself says, there is no good or evil, just blind pitiless indifference. If the reality in which we live is material and only material, then we are the product of impersonal causes and our moral intuitions are from the same origin. If the reality in which we live is material and only material, then our moral intuitions and judgements come from a reality that has no ability to generate moral pronouncements or put upon us the moral obligations that we all experience. In atheist-world, there is no basis for finding one community, or one person's behaviours more wrong than any other since right and wrong is decided either by each individual community or at most by the random firing of neurons.
Christians, on the other hand, claim that objective moral duties and obligations do in fact exist. We believe that we are speaking rationally when we make this claim because we've experienced that honouring our Creator by doing what is right and good (as defined through His Word) has always been in our self-interest. Even when we've failed to carry through on these obligations, we can intuit that had we done what we were supposed to do, our lives would have turned out better than they did as a result of our disobedience. Therefore accepting the reality of objective good and right is the most rational thing for a human to do. In fact, I can think of no example where fulfilling our objective moral obligations isn't closely tied to inner joy and peace. I believe this is because our sense of morality, the objective demands that whisper to us in the midst of confusion is the voice of our Creator. The pull to do right and good is a personal call from the One from whom all morality finds its origin. The pull to do right and good is the stream beckoning us to follow it back to the source of any full and fulfilling life that might be had here on earth. The pull of morality is a door leading to the eternal; it's our opportunity to stop fighting against life and instead slide into a peaceful coexistence with our Lord and Saviour.
Oh, did I mention that objective morality is yet another entity that atheists now tell us is all an illusion? Same old, same old. Can't explain it? Call it an illusion. It's atheism of the gaps. Yet it is precisely BECAUSE a good and loving God exists that evil seems so wrong for our world. Materialists have no reason whatsoever to be astonished at the reality of evil and they certainly should not be surprised at or upset by natural disasters. Only the Christian has reason to face the forces of evil head on and demand that they be defeated and removed from our existence. Jesus, our Saviour and Lord came to earth to do exactly that. He gave us His Spirit as a deposit guaranteeing that one day, Love would overcome evil because Love was here first.
From: “Trolling for Atheists”