Atheism and Morality

For the purpose of this article I am using the terms "ethics," "morals," and "morality" synonymously. Morals relate to principles of right and wrong in our behavior. The Judeo-Christian behavior is governed by the truth and moral principles revealed in the Scripture. These principles are absolute, eternal, and unchanging since they were revealed by God who is eternal (Isaiah 40:28) and unchanging (Malachi 3:6, Hebrew 6:17). God is the ultimate reality. People and world views change, but truth itself does not change. Adultery was wrong several thousand years ago and is still wrong today.

 The atheist's presupposition rejects moral absolutes by which moral guidelines are universal in their application. The atheist's position can be best described in the Humanist Manifesto II where it says, "We are responsible for what we are or will be," and "We affirm that moral values derive their source from human experience. Ethics are autonomous and situational, needing no theological or ideological sanction. Ethics stem from human need and interest." To a certain extent, we see this identified in Judges 21:25 when we read, "In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes." With atheism morality and ethics are chaos and anarchy. Fyodor Dostoevsky expressed this idea in his book The Brothers Karamazov, where one of his characters says, "If there is no God, all things are permissible." Examined from every angle, you can only come to the conclusion that with atheism there is no universal morality or ethics, since there can be no such concept of right or wrong. Remember the Humanist Manifesto II affirms that values derive their source from human experience and ethics is autonomous and situational. Ethics stem from human need and interest. When it comes to morality and ethics with the atheist, it can truly be said, no one knows what they are since no one can define what it is except in vague terms and foggy generalities that shift as desires and needs change at the individual level.

 Finally, the Judeo-Christian code of morality is best expressed in Romans 12:9-21 and more concisely stated in Philippians 2:3-4, " Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.  Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others."  An application of these two verses can be found in James 1:27 which specifically states, "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." Remember that the atheist's ethics stem from human need and interest and not every man looking to the needs and interests of others. When you eliminate God from your life, you have become like a fallen leaf floating on turbulent waters with no control or guidance in going with the flow of the raging torrent we call life.

 Charles Royal, Decatur, AL