Atheism: its beginnings and repercussions.

Words are powerful things. Pictures may be worth a thousand words, but words can change history. Words can slander, provoke, enrage or humiliate. They can also praise, calm or endear. But most troubling, words can hide the truth and change reality. This is especially true for the word atheism.

Atheism disguises itself as a mere disbelief in God. It poses as benignly contrary: like non-love is to love, or non-healthy is to healthy. But atheism is anything but benign; it is in reality anti-God with all the implications that would hold for anti-love and anti-health. Atheism operates in malignant opposition to God.

Atheism is held in high esteem by naturalists and those wedded to the scientific method. However, atheism is unavoidably a metaphysical concept. Unfortunately for them, atheists cannot escape this metaphysics no matter how loudly they profess their love of science. God is a concept beyond the proof of science, and therefore, atheists have no epistemic access to God and cannot legitimately speak about God. But what they can speak of is their fear and hatred of God and religion. And this they do quite vehemently, as if the only reason for their existence is to debate something in which they do not believe.

History is replete with atheistic vitriol born of fear and hatred, from which death and destruction have followed. In this essay I will demonstrate that because of their belief in atheism, logical consequences must follow: life to an atheist must be meaningless; morality must be an illusion; and egoism and narcissism, which are born from relativism and hypocrisy, are obligatory. But first let’s see how atheism became so malignantly anti-Christian. And for this discussion we must explore the Enlightenment—where the trouble begins.

THE ENLIGHTENMENT AND ANTI-CHRISTIANITY

What exactly is the Enlightenment and why is it important? I was taught the Enlightenment was the awakening of modern man that allowed us to escape the dark ages and gave us our progressive and civilized societies of today. In fact, if you google the enlightenment, Wikipedia appears first with its definition, “The Enlightenment included a range of ideas centered on the pursuit of happiness, sovereignty of reason and the evidence of the senses as the primary sources of knowledge and advanced ideals such as liberty, progress, toleration, fraternity, constitutional government and separation of church and state.” This is an enchanting interpretation. And on a side page you will see pictures of Enlightenment philosophers: John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Voltaire and Montesquieu.  But what Wikipedia doesn’t mention (and none of my teachers or professors ever mentioned) is the militant anti-Jewish and anti-Christian emphasis intrinsic to the Enlightenment.

            The deist philosophers, especially Voltaire (1694-1778), denounced the dogmatic and often intolerant and harmful church during the age of orthodoxy. In his book, The Dark Side of Church/State Separation (New York: Routledge, 2014), Strehle discusses the Enlightenment philosophers, “Their zeal in promoting toleration involved a polemic against intolerance and too often transmuted into its opposite, labeling others as bigots and creating extreme caricatures of their opponents’ shortcomings or intolerance.”[1] Strehle explains that the Enlightenment philosophers possessed a sympathy for the oppressed but that this sympathy was transformed into a “deep-seated hatred for ecclesiastical authorities and dogmatic religion in general as the main sponsors of bigotry . . . Rather than reform the church, much of French intelligentsia chose to work for its elimination altogether, much to the horror of English and American sensibilities.”[2] 

Continuing with this anti-Christian theme, Strehle notes of the Enlightenment philosophers, “Their hatred provided the fundamental atmosphere for much of the anti-Semitism and anti-Christianity in the Western world and laid the foundation for its secular cultures, all made in the image of the philosophes and intended to achieve ‘human emancipation’ from the tradition through the increasing power of the state—a state that rejected the need for revelation and professed to live in secular autonomy, just like the philosophes.”[3]

Thomas Jefferson, like the other Enlightenment philosophers, was no friend of Christianity. Jefferson laid the groundwork to dismantle the freedom of religion promised by the Constitution when he invented the “wall” metaphor from which the anti-Christian doctrine of church/state separation was born.

In 1947, the Supreme Court went far beyond the narrow limits of the First Amendment by using Thomas Jefferson’s metaphor—the “wall of separation between church and state”—to attack Christianity.[4] Rather than eliminating undue influence of religion upon the government as the Constitution intended, the wall metaphor was used to establish a completely secular state and eliminate religion from the state. As Strehle states, “It is clear that Jefferson was more devoted to the principles of the French Enlightenment/Revolution than the other Founding Fathers that he developed anti-Semitic/anti-Christian sentiments from this source in following the religion and biblical criticism of the day . . .”[5]

The dark side of church/state separation consists of “political movements [which] used the power of the government to promote the French concept in forwarding an extreme secular agenda and destroy the Jewish and Christian community.”[6] The Enlightenment replaced religion with the general will of the people as the “voice of God,”[7] and this was in keeping with Jefferson’s predisposition towards the Enlightenment.

The French revolutionists, Nazi Germans, and International Communists used the French Enlightenment as initial inspiration to “replace the Judeo-Christian tradition with the new ideology of the state”[8] that “exhibits anti-Semitic/anti-Christian roots of the concept through direct political measures designed to destroy the Jewish and Christian community.”[9] And this is the Enlightenment with which Thomas Jefferson and other elitists of yesterday and today are enamored. 

The Enlightenment created the ideological foundation of Western civilization, unfortunately this new enlightened ideology carried with it a deep-seated hatred of Judaism and Christianity. In America today, I fear that the horror felt by our English and American ancestors is gone. We have become anesthetized to the state’s incessant attack on Christianity, and complacently submissive to the push towards atheism. The worst aspect of this complacency manifests as acceptance of the atheist’s belief that life is implicitly meaninglessness.

ATHEISM DEMANDS THAT LIFE IS MEANINGLESS

If life is accidental, then it can have no meaning. Atheists may wish to impute a meaning, but this will be nothing more than an ever-changing, egocentric perception. Who better to describe atheistic belief that life has no meaning than Richard Dawkins? Dawkins explains, “Natural selection, the blind, unconscious, automatic process which Darwin discovered . . . has no mind and no mind’s eye.  It does not plan for the future.  It has no vision, no foresight, no sight at all.”[10] In Blind Watchmaker Dawkins clearly implies that life has no meaning. Other authors are more blatant.

            In his book, Unexceptional: Darwin, Atheism & Human Nature  (Adam Neiblum, 2017) Neiblum clearly expresses the concept of meaning as it applies to the purpose of life. He states, “That purpose is to survive, and to reproduce successfully. For many humans, in the past, but also in the present, this is no deeper purpose or meaning to life than this.”[11] I admire his honesty especially since he admits the inevitably logical conclusion of a meaningless life, “All of our striving and suffering and joy and wonder mean absolutely nothing in the truly big, cosmic sense of things. On that level, we are truly irrelevant, have no purpose, and there is no meaning to anything we do whatsoever.”[12] Yikes! As horrible as this sounds, it is the only logical conclusion one can reach if one is living a life devoid of meaning. Neiblum does hedge his bet a bit by stating that life has meaning and purpose that we impute to it.[13] This of course represents the egocentric worldview that is obligatory to atheism. Just to make sure that his readers do not miss the point Neiblum proclaims, “What is the meaning of life? There is none . . . Why are we here? Absolutely no reason whatsoever.”[14] Any wonder that atheists are angry individuals, and their morals and ethics are ever changing and as equally relativistic? The next section deals with the atheists’ illusion of morality.

ATHEISM ENSURES THAT MORALITY IS AN ILLUSION

Not surprisingly, atheists and Christians have opposing views regarding the origin of morals. Do morals even exist for atheists, and if so, are they like the God-given morals of Judeo-Christianity? Obviously, no religious person need ponder where morals originate—the answer is a given. But for atheists the problem of morality is massive. Watching the mental gymnastics that atheists employ in dealing with morality tells us a lot about atheists. An excellent starting point is Charles Darwin himself.

            In his book, The Descent of Man, Charles Darwin leads us on a serpentine metaphysical journey as he describes the evolution of morality. For Darwin, the journey begins with man being a social animal with social instincts.[15] As man evolves into a more intelligent creature, sympathy forms “an essential part of the social instinct.”[16] Habit then permeates man’s conduct, and along with social instinct and sympathy, this “can naturally lead to the golden rule, ‘As ye would that men should do to you, do ye to them likewise;’ and this lies at the foundation of morality.”[17]

Darwin has cleverly contrived a pseudo-mechanism for evolution. He summarizes intellectual and moral faculties of man in the following manner, “These faculties are variable; and we have every reason to believe that the variations tend to be inherited. Therefore, if they were formerly of high importance to primeval man and to his ape-like progenitors, they would have been perfected or advanced through natural selection.”[18] But Darwin is inappropriately using the terms variable and variation. When Darwin uses the term “variable,” this only means different, unless Darwin is claiming that morality is a consequence of numerous, successive, slight modifications as his theory requires in Origins. If he is claiming the latter, Darwin is therefore claiming anything that is different/variable is a variation, and all variations can be inherited. This is not a scientific mechanism, it is circular reasoning—if it’s beneficial, it’s inherited; and if it’s inherited it proves my theory of evolution.

Do Neo-Darwinists claim that moral variability is found in a series of nucleotides? If morality is genetically derived, in which chromosome or set of chromosomes does it lie? Or is morality an intuitive feeling and behavior? Genetic traits can be either inherited and selected over time or inherited and not selected. Moral beliefs can be taught and passed on to offspring, not inherited. Morality is taught and felt intuitively, not inherited as a row of nucleotides.

This is a perfect example of how Darwin utilizes circular reasoning. If an attribute is beneficial, it will be selected by nature—and morality is beneficial therefore it must have been selected (code word) inherited. Neo-Darwinists who do have access to molecular genetics, unlike Darwin, should be aware that “differences” may have absolutely nothing to do with genetic mutations. If an atheist believes God does not exist and cannot point to the stretch of DNA that codes for morality, then morality does not exist.

If morals are not found in DNA, then they originate from external, non-DNA sources, and are merely ever-changing behaviors taught by ever-changing societies. This is what atheists tell us. But don’t take my word for it, let’s hear from some atheists.

            Adam Neiblum, a philosopher and atheist, tells us everything we need to know about an atheist’s belief systems regarding morality, “We must be fully aware that the things we value are valuable because we value them. This is the source of their value. Their value is not written in the firmament of the heavens, god does not value justice, or beauty, or moral goodness.”[19] In summary, morality is relative. Morality is irrelevant to the atheist unless it can be used for personal benefit, and only then does it have value.

            Richard Dawkins presents a logically fallacious argument that he believes supports the non-existence of God, “we do not need God in order to be good – or evil.”[20] He cites studies by Hauser and Singer who found “no statistically significant difference between atheists and religious believers” when making decisions in morally difficult dilemmas (such as diverting a trolley, killing one to save five.)[21] But this completely evades the important question, where do morals come from? Christians believe in absolute morals given to us by God, whether an atheist believes in God or not is irrelevant. Atheists don’t need to believe in DNA to live and function, therefore, disbelief is not proof that God or DNA do not exist. The test is not what atheists believe or how they act, the test for the atheist is to demonstrate where in the DNA morality is coded, and then demonstrate what numerous, successive, slight modifications occurred to create morality.

Dawkins’ egocentric view is representative of all atheists. The worldview of atheism is egocentrism. Relativism (there is no absolute right and wrong) and assertion (hopes) rather than evidential arguments (molecular genetics) are their instruments. As Geisler and Turek insightfully note, “So the Darwinian explanation for morality turns out to be just another ‘just-so’ story based on circular reasoning and false philosophical presuppositions.”[22]

TWO INEVITABLE CONCLUSIONS—RELATIVISM AND EGOISM  

Due to its moral ambiguity, relativism is an inevitable consequence of atheism. If there are no moral/ethical absolutes, then everything is permitted. But, as Geisler notes, “relativism is ultimately unlivable.”[23] We can all conjure up endless examples of relativism where people treat one group in one way but another exactly opposite—just look at our media and current politics. But Geisler sums up the dilemma very well, “The Moral Law is not always the standard by which we treat others, but it is nearly always the standard by which we expect others to treat us.”[24] This is nothing more than hypocrisy.

            Due to lack a of meaning and acceptance of a higher authority, egoism is the second inevitable consequence of atheism. In fact, if an atheist is not egocentric and because he or she does not believe in any higher authority, that person will be left floundering, hopelessly searching for meaning that does not exist, purpose that will never be found, and bitter at best or angry worst, feeling impotent and victimized by those in authority and Christianity. And this is what we see in our atheistic/secular government and media—anger and victimization.


[1] Stephen Strehle, The Dark Side of Church/State Separation: The French Revolution, Nazi Germany, and International Communism (New York: Routledge, 2014), p. 3.

[2] Id., 4.

[3] Id., 38. Here Strehle notes the phrase “human emancipation” comes from Marx. “On the Jewish Question,” in Collected Works (New York: International Publishers, 1975) 3.52-55, 160, 174.

[4] Id., xii.

[5] Id.

[6] Id.

[7] Id., xiii.

[8] Id., xv.

[9] Id.

[10] Dawkins, 5.

[11] Adam Neiblum, Unexceptional: Atheism & Human Nature (Neiblum, 2017), 488.

[12] Id., 494.

[13] Id., 495.

[14] Id., 507-509

[15] Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man (Madison Park: Pacific Publishing, 2011), 64.

[16] Id.

[17] Id., 81.

[18] Id., 84.

[19] Neiblum, 396.

[20] Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (Boston: Mariner Books, 2006), 258.

[21] Id.

[22] Norman Geisler and Frank Turek, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist (Wheaton: Crossway, 2004), 191.

[23] Id., 174.

[24] Id., 175.

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