atheism and relativism.

Author: keithprosser ,

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  • keithprosser
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    PGA wrote:

    Morality to an atheist worldview is a relative thing. It is based on preference and behaviorism. You can't get an ought from an is, a prescriptive from a descriptive. You can describe what you like (subjectivism/behaviorism) but that doesn't make it good, and the problem with relativism is that no society or culture can be any better than any other. If you hold a materialistic worldview then truth and values are measured through the five senses. How can you measure goodness through those senses (the descriptive)? Values can't be measured by the same token
    Repugnant Hitler's Germany is no more wrong than Kim Jong-un's North Korea or Trump's USA.
    My guess is that given this list
    Genocide
    Donating to charity
    Cruelty to animals
    Being polite
    etc

    there would be little differerence btween how an atheist or a theist would rank them for their 'moral value'.


  • PGA2.0
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    PGA wrote:

    Morality to an atheist worldview is a relative thing. It is based on preference and behaviorism. You can't get an ought from an is, a prescriptive from a descriptive. You can describe what you like (subjectivism/behaviorism) but that doesn't make it good, and the problem with relativism is that no society or culture can be any better than any other. If you hold a materialistic worldview then truth and values are measured through the five senses. How can you measure goodness through those senses (the descriptive)? Values can't be measured by the same token
    Repugnant Hitler's Germany is no more wrong than Kim Jong-un's North Korea or Trump's USA.
    My guess is that given this list
    Genocide
    Donating to charity
    Cruelty to animals
    Being polite
    etc

    there would be little differerence btween how an atheist or a theist would rank them for their 'moral value'.

    Funny you say that. I was just reading an article about our value system written by Dennis Prager, and I'll get to it in a minute.

    The biggest genocide in the history of the world to date is taking place before our eyes and the LEFT, which is largely secular, and perhaps atheistic is leading the charge. I'm speaking about abortion. Underlying this issue is the human rights and intrinsic value of a whole class of humans. The left gives lip service to intrinsic worth yet, as the article explains, it is only there in that form and no other for it totally ignores this group. The Left are most intolerant while screeching tolerance, most racism while screaming Conservatives are racists, largely ignorant of others and the way things truly function while placing that blame on Christians and anyone who opposes their viewpoint.

    Here is what Dennis Prager said:

    When I was in graduate school, I learned a lot about the left. One lesson was that while most liberals and conservatives abide by society’s rules of order and decency, most leftists do not feel bound to live by these same rules.
    I watched the way leftist Vietnam War protesters treated fellow students and professors. I watched left-wing students make “nonnegotiable demands” of college administrations. I saw the Black Panthers engage in violence – including torture and murder – and be financially rewarded by leftists.
    Today, we watch leftist mobs scream profanities at professors and deans, and shut down conservative and pro-Israel speakers at colleges. We routinely witness left-wing protesters block highways and bridges; scream in front of the homes of conservative business and political leaders; and surround conservatives’ tables at restaurants while shouting and chanting at them.
    Conservatives don’t do these things. They don’t close highways, yell obscenities at left-wing politicians, work to ban left-wing speakers at colleges, smash the windows of businesses, etc.
    Why do leftists feel entitled do all these things? Because they have thoroughly rejected middle-class, bourgeois and Judeo-Christian religious values. Leftists are the only source of their values. Leftists not only believe they know what is right – conservatives, too, believe they are right – but they also believe they are morally superior to all others. Leftists are Ubermenschen – people on such a high moral plane that they do not consider themselves bound by the normal conventions of civics and decency. Leftists don’t need such guidelines; only the non-left – the “deplorables” – need them.

    Those underlined statements above reflect what is going on with your social and ethical value system. Society, in general, has been captivated by the leftist ideology of stupidity. Values are being jettisoned out the door by relativism, then Postmodernism. The moral issue of abortion has promoted and protected pro-choice since Roe v. Wade. They have done this because the left controls the media, law (outnumbered conservative judges on the supreme court for years), medical, education and politics, entertainment, every gatekeeper of society. What is more, it reaches into the entertainment industry in the form of Hollywood to permeate these radical views that can't be made sense of. 

    I'm not new to this issue. I have taken an interest in it for perhaps as many as15-20 years since I started focusing on worldviews and the nuts and bolts of the different systems of thought in explaining the world. Morality is a big part of a worldview and relativism seems to be this dominate, leftist view. They are deconstructing the Judeo-Christian value system which can make sense of morality. Heaven help us if they impeach Trump because your value system is almost lost but there may be hope for it if Conservatism holds power and returns it to the people instead of big government (the Swamp).

    Continue on next post.
  • PGA2.0
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    --> @keithprosser
    Here is what Greg Koukl said about the relativist, and I agree wholeheartedly:

    Rule #1: Relativists Can’t Accuse Others of Wrong-Doing [I experienced this with Mdh2000 on the "For Stephen" prophecy thread]
    Rule #2: Relativists Can’t Complain About the Problem of Evil
    Rule #3: Relativists Can’t Place Blame or Accept Praise
    Rule #4: Relativists Can’t Claim Anything Is Unfair or Unjust
    Rule #5: Relativists Can’t Improve Their Morality
    Rule#6: Relativists Can’t Hold Meaningful Moral Discussions
    Rule #7: Relativists Can’t Promote the Obligation of Tolerance

    You can read more about those seven rules here:

    So, even though you may be right about there being little difference between how an atheist or a theist would rank them for their 'moral value, I doubt it, based on the illustration I gave regarding abortion. Even if a secularist or atheist ranked genocide 1st, they would do it for different reasons, since I would imagine the majority are pro-choice.  But the point is that from within the atheist or relativist viewpoint they don't remain consistent to their worldview. They borrow from the Judeo-Christian system of thought to do this because their relativism lacks what is necessary to make ultimate meaning of anything. 

    One other thing, again an article by Dennis Prager:

    "My wife saw in the answer “I’ll look it up” one possible key to the problem: If the young people we interacted with this past week are representative of their generation, many do not feel the need to know much, because all the information they need in life can be found via Google."

    Most people on these forums will not even engage in the open dialog regarding biblical evidence yet they continue to issue the statement that there is no evidence for God. They change the subject because, frankly, I don't think they know much about what the Bible teaches on prophecy. The same is true of morality in which we now speak. I'm still waiting to hear a reasonable explanation on how they justify their position if there is no objective, universal, unchanging standard that we derive morality from. Show me your truth doesn't reduce to personal preference which means nothing. Anyone can have an opinion. The question is can you justify your opinion as true? Can you answer this?

    What I have experienced from a few is emotion and poisoning the well with no interest in investigating. They shut you down and are intolerant to your view. Again, it speaks of the left, it speaks of relativism, it speaks of postmodernism, pluralism, multiculturalism, and secularism - the works. 





  • secularmerlin
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    --> @PGA2.0
    Whether you believe abortion is right, or wrong or you are neutral on the subject I think we can agree that unwanted pregnancy is the underlying issue and the numbers show that incidents of unwanted pregnancy go sharply down when people have access the reproductive health care and education about reproductive health. That being the case I would think that you agree that the best thing would be to have well funded and easily accessible family planning centers and yet I find that much of the vocal opponents of abortion also tend to be for the refunding and or shutting down of family planning centers. Is that the case with you? Do you feel that family planning centers like planned parenthood should be refunded and or shut down?
  • secularmerlin
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    You mentioned the problem of evil. I actually don't generally use the term evil. For me it is the problem of suffering.

  • drafterman
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    Couple of common fallacies here:

    Morality to an atheist worldview is a relative thing. It is based on preference and behaviorism. You can't get an ought from an is, a prescriptive from a descriptive. You can describe what you like (subjectivism/behaviorism) but that doesn't make it good, and the problem with relativism is that no society or culture can be any better than any other. If you hold a materialistic worldview then truth and values are measured through the five senses. How can you measure goodness through those senses (the descriptive)? Values can't be measured by the same token
    Repugnant Hitler's Germany is no more wrong than Kim Jong-un's North Korea or Trump's USA.
    I don't see anywhere that an atheists must believe or accept relative morality. The only necessarily limitation is that, whatever kind of morality they believe in, it can't be sourced to a god.

    Furthermore, I don't really see how theists get a pass here with respect to morality. Different religions, different denominations, carve morality out in different ways. The morality one ends up with is almost entirely based on the random circumstances of their birth and upbringing, which are entirely relative and subjective. The only difference is, religious morality has the lack of humility to describe itself as objectively right and everything else as objectively wrong.

    Given this, the objections levied against "atheist" relative morality aren't unique to it. It is correct that, without some higher level framework, you can't judge between different relative frameworks, but again, that applies to the variety of different religious frameworks as well. How can we say that Christian Morality according to the Bible is "any better" than Islamic Morality according to the Quran?

    The most egregious error is this notion that because a system is relative, it can't be used to judge anything. Well that's simply false. The entire point of a framework is to make such judgments. It's just that different frameworks can judge the same situation differently. It doesn't eliminate the ability to judge one as better than the other, it just means that such judgement is only relevant to those people that participate within that framework. Which, for yet another time, applies just as much to religious as it does to irreligious frameworks. You think a Buddhist gives a shit as to whether or they're observing the Sabbath?
  • Mopac
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    Really, I think it would be clearer this way...


    The atheist position doesn't really believe in morality, because there is no such thing as truth. There are no atheist morals, so an atheist who makes the pretense of believing in morality is simply going off of an arbitrary sense of personal aesthetics. 

    If there is no absolute truth, there can be no moral truths. In fact, there are no truths in atheism, because ultimately everything is meaningless and the professed atheist is simply playing games to give their life personal meaning.


  • janesix
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    Yet the atheist still has a real sense of right and wrong, a conscience. They just don't know it comes from God.
  • Goldtop
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    Or more likely, the theist believes his sense of right and wrong comes from God when in fact it comes from the same place as everyone else, which is from people who live together in societies and working it out through trial and error. Theists just don't want to accept that fact.
  • keithprosser
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    --> @Goldtop
    They are not encouraged to.  They are taught man is inherently evil.

  • janesix
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    --> @keithprosser
    Humans are inherently both good and evil.
  • TwoMan
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    From where, exactly, does a theist derive their morals that is less arbitrary than an atheist?

    If the answer is "from God" then I would ask how God communicates this moral code to you.

    If the answer is "the Bible" I would say that it provides only a very basic guideline for what is considered right and wrong with some very questionable moral positions concerning rape victims.

    Religion can't possibly provide a comprehensive moral code for every circumstance one might encounter. Any moral code is still going to be filtered through fallible human minds for any given circumstance. Unless God is whispering in your ear what to do at all times, morality is subjective. An atheist can use empathy, common sense and the history of the human condition to create a moral code that is no more arbitrary than a religious one.
  • keithprosser
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    Theists often give the impression that they think atheists have no moral compass.   That follows if morality is from god, but it's obviously not true that atheists are all selfish monsters, a fact which confuses those same theists so they try to ignore it!



  • janesix
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    --> @TwoMan
    Through your conscience.
  • janesix
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    I agree, some theists believe that. 
  • TwoMan
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    --> @janesix
    How is morality derived through a theist's conscience less arbitrary than morality derived through an atheist's conscience?
  • janesix
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    Did I mention the word "arbitrary"?

    We all have the same sense of right and wrong, and it comes through our conscience, which is a gift from God.
  • TwoMan
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    --> @janesix
    Someone else mentioned arbitrary.

    Would you say that theists and atheists have the same moral source or code since, for both, it comes through the conscience?
  • janesix
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    Yes, that's what I think
  • Goldtop
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    --> @keithprosser
    Yes, they are taught we are inherently evil. Yet, theists themselves evolved over time allowing their previous set of morals (Old Testament - eye for an eye) to be replaced with different morals (New Testament - forgive your enemies), the result of living together in socieites over time to find vengeance doesn't work. Again, they just don't want to admit it.
  • janesix
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    I have to agree, some are taught that. Maybe a lot, in the Abrahamic religions. it is sad. I have heard Jehova witnesses call atheists"goats".
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @janesix
    Conscience is a product of empathy. That is why it is easier to mistreat a person or group of people if you first dehumanize them in some way. For example it is easier to accept that "goats" are doomed to hell for their beliefs (rather than their behavior) than to accept the same thing about people who just happen to have different beliefs than yours. Dehumanizing people often involves comparing them with animals (racists will often refer to those they discriminate against as monkeys for example).

  • janesix
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    Conscience is your gift from God, SM. I know you think otherwise.
  • Mopac
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    I wouldn't call atheists selfish monsters, but I would say that without God there is no such thing as morality. How can you believe in morality if there is no truth? 

    An atheist who is professing belief in morality is not being consistent with their atheism. Atheist morality is merely an aversion to the nihilism that naturally follows the implications of denying the truth.
  • Mopac
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    Atheism is a stupid position. I wouldn't say the atheist is stupid. I would say they don't really understand what their position means.


    The refusal to admit that The Ultimate Reality exists.