Update: I have written a response to criticism of this article here, so please do not read this post without also reading my updated response which clarifies many of my more emphatic statements.
I have many thoughts about the recent exchange I’ve been having lately on this blog and elsewhere. Mostly, I’m appalled by the schoolyard bully tactics and the weasely reluctance to delve into the hard questions. Is this what the new face of atheism has come to? Evade having a coherent reason for one’s own beliefs while insulting anyone who dares ask the simple question: why?
The fact is that it’s impossible to live as a true atheist, and the honest atheists who understand the basic tenants of philosophy understand this. True atheism realizes that the concept of morality is completely meaningless in a universe devoid of supernatural origin, mind over matter, and ultimate purpose. Therefore, a true atheist has to say that reality is one way while simultaneously living as if reality is another way. In a sense, they live like theists while denying the merits of theism.
Atheists claim they can live normal lives, kindly doing charitable works and contributing to society. That’s very true — but they do those things not because of their atheist beliefs. They do them in spite of their atheist beliefs. They act like it matters to be kind and generous, like it matters to live harmoniously within society, like it matters to accomplish good works, like it matters to put the needs of others at the forefront, like it matters to fight for justice and see truth reign over falsehood. Unfortunately for them, they are completely unable to explain why any of this really does matter. The universe doesn’t care. Space-time, matter, energy, laws of physics — they don’t care. They have no reason to support good. I could go murder a million people and rape thousands of women — do the molecules care? Are the chemical reactions within people’s bodies going to be upset?
Atheists constantly live in a paradox. They go on their moral crusades against “religion” and all its supposed evils, while denying the need to explain in any way why such moral crusades are justified. They say they don’t need a “sky-daddy” to scare them into being good (a silly straw man if there ever were one), yet at the same time they don’t have a sensible reason why their own capacity for morality has any merit whatsoever. After all, the dictator controlling the people of his nation considers his capacity for moral judgement to be quite excellent. Everything he does is for the good of the people, according to his own mind.
Please note that I’m not attempting to say atheism is wrong and theism is right (though of course that’s what I believe). What I am attempting to show is that atheists are every bit as hypocritical as the “fundies” they try to oppose and that the very nature of atheism dictates that it’s meaningless, illusionary, and illogical to have any moral opinion on what anyone believes. If I am, as they say, delusional, willfully ignorant, infantile, mentally retarded, etc. — who cares? Let me be so. The universe doesn’t care, so why should an atheist care?
According to atheism, every single human who ever lived before us is dead forever, we will soon be dead, and one day all humanity will be dead along with the entire universe. At the end of time (whatever that means), why does it matter that we’re even here today having a debate about religion, God, atheism, or any of the rest of it?
Why does it matter? Why does anything matter? Why?