October 1st, 2007 at 5:29 pm
My response to that quip is short, to the point, and brutally honest:
There are no atheist suicide bombers either.
Another great comment! And it brings up an interesting point about atheistic morality. Atheists don’t practice suicide bombing for the very simple reason that no god is going to reward them for sacrificing their life. Since this mortal, earthly existence is the only existence we have, atheists have no alternative but to define morality in terms of what’s good and what’s bad in this world. And, as it turns out, neither do Christians.
Thou shalt not kill? People in heaven are immortal and can’t be killed, according to the Bible. The prohibition against murder is a moral precept based on the realities of this mortal, earthly existence. Thou shalt not commit adultery? That’s about this life too: Jesus said that “in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.” Adultery in heaven isn’t even an option.
Thou shalt not bear false witness? This life. What would you lie about in heaven? Especially with the indwelling Holy Spirit continually bearing witness to the truth in everyone’s heart, so that any lie would be immediately exposed? Stealing? You’d have no need to steal, having received all the rich rewards of salvation. Plus you’ve supposedly been purged of your sin nature, so you’re no longer even subject to greed and covetousness and other sins of the (mortal) flesh.
Christians like to pretend that morality comes from belief in some future heaven and hell, and that atheists therefore cannot be moral. But when we look at the actual moral principles that people do embrace, we find that the Christian, like the atheist, makes moral judgments based on the real-world consequences that we experience in this life, in this mortal existence. The moral principles we live by today simply would not apply in heaven (and wouldn’t do anybody any good in hell). They’re drawn from our experiences in this world, and they apply only to our behavior in this world. The argument that atheists have no morals is not only a baseless slander, it ignores the fact that Christians have the same morality as atheists do. Except for their spurious and superstitious additions.