Shalini over at Scientia Natura responded to my previous post and subsequent inline comment attempting to refute both my off-the-cuff as well as carefully considered remarks on the whole idea of atheists opposing faith in the supernatural realm and in God on essentially moral grounds. I will now respond not to all of her individual points but to the overall moral argument. I must say it was quite an interesting expose of my apparently willful ignorance if not downright malicious intellectual sabotage. I appreciate your passion, Shalini, however misplaced it may be.
But unfortunately, you didn’t actually address my main point, which is that you have no reasonable basis on which to take a moral stance against belief in a supernatural realm or being. In fact, you pretty much ignored the problem of morality entirely, instead linking to an article concerning the group behaviors of monkeys which — interesting though it may be from an ethological perspective — sheds no light on this matter whatsoever.
The only possible way you could attempt to “prove” scientifically that the Christian faith is amoral from an atheist perspective would be to take two groups of people from all nationalities, ethnicities, ages, socioeconomic backgrounds, etc. The only factor not in common would be their spiritual lives — one group would be shown to be living as committed followers of Jesus Christ, the other group committed Darwinian atheists. Observe their behaviors over the course of, say, a year — maybe two years just to be thorough. Then compare various social factors such as altruism, charity, resilience in the face of negative circumstances, the quality of relationship between friends as well as strangers, the sense of peace and well-being (though that’d be hard to assess without a poll which would then bias the results), crime rate, etc. If it could be shown that followers of Jesus were inherently more of a general menace to society and fostered breakdown within various societal groups compared with their atheistic counterparts, then you’d have a good case to make.
As far as I know, such a study has yet to be conducted successfully, primarily because such a study would be impossible. Once people know they’re being studied, they’d modify their behavior to show how their beliefs are superior. The closest you could get would be just to measure existing demographical groups in various regions of the world, although at that point the statistics become mostly unusable. The other problem with such a study is that the actual social behaviors considered “good” are themselves subject to major disagreement. For instance, within the Christian group, abortion and divorce might be generally reviled, leading a woman to carry her baby to term and put it up for adoption, or a couple to stick together and seek marital counseling and spiritual guidance. Whereas in the atheist group, such behavior might be considered perfectly acceptable — even desirable. At which point could there be any possible consensus of which group’s moral compass is the correct one based simply on what “benefits the group” from an evolutionary perspective?
So again I say, you can argue up, down, and sideways that religion is evil, but within your own philosophical framework you can’t construct a coherent case for such a moral judgement. In fact, the very definition of evil itself is up for debate in a world where matter precedes mind rather than the other way around.
One more point I’ll quickly address, though this is a topic better served for another post. You ask me what evidence would prove to me that there is no God. You might as well ask me what evidence would prove to me that my mother who passed away last year never actually existed and was a fabrication of my mind. My relationship with God isn’t based on wishful thinking, it’s based on the fact that I actually am blessed to have a relationship with God. Basically, you must simply dismiss any supernaturally-caused experiences I’ve had or events I’ve witnessed that are reasonably unlikely to occur through sheer chance and coincidence without divine guidance as being simply by-products of a sort of mental illness. It’s unfathomable to you that I might actually be telling the truth. Why? Because nothing like that has happened to you personally yet (or at least you haven’t acknowledged it yet) and you can’t measure God or spiritual substances in a laboratory.
Where does all of this leave us? Back where we started: you are unable to show how belief in God is amoral based on your own worldview. Are you willing to acknowledge this conundrum?