There I said it and before you start running away from my blog thinking am going to kill you, take a moment and listen to me. Well, now that you have settled down to hear me out, atheism makes no claim about morality. If you have just arrived from Mars or do not own a dictionary, atheism is a lack of belief in gods/ deities. There is a big problem here though. What gods are, no one knows. In a sense, the talk about god is meaningless. Where are we going with this you may wonder, but not too long.
Every so often, a believer sits behind her keyboard and shares with the world their profound insights about atheists lacking morals because they have done away with childish things. Many times the believer forgets the writing of Paul when he says
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
You see, as a child, depending on where you were born, and especially if you were unlucky to have religious parents, they told you to do this or that so god ain’t angry with you or that sort of thing and you believed it. Now you are an adult and the admonition god wouldn’t be impressed is not as scary as spending your life in jail or facing public scorn when found out and you realize that god can wait besides you can always repent and ask for forgiveness.
So you understand how deeply disappointed I felt when I found this post of a believer who has had a profound moment and is sure the principle of do no harm is not a good basis for morality. We will look at what they say in a moment and see whether their thesis has any merit or not.
They start thus
Fact: God cannot be removed from the morality equation. If you try to remove Him, nothing will add up.
but this isn’t a fact. It is an assertion. There are problems with this assertion, and chief among them is we don’t know what god is and as such we can’t reasonably say they have a say in what is moral or immoral, whatever these are.
I proceed to say their next question though looking profound it isn’t. They pose
If you say that what is morally good is that which reduces over-all harm, then on what basis do you validate that assertion as being a proper moral standard?
The standard is given in the statement. To test this, one could as easily try to harm others and see the response. Morality has no relevance to us if it is not about how to live our lives. It can’t be abstract, that is, morality has to be practical.
Their next question suffers the same fate as the first. They ask
If reducing overall harm is the standard of morality, then should a nation that is being attacked by another nation not practice self-defense since by defending itself it would increase overall harm to both nations?
and we must ask why would the first nation want to attack the next? Why would they be so interested in violating the will and the peace of their neighbours.
And I must say some religious people need to see a shrink. They are a risk to themselves and the societies where they live in. How else would someone ask
If reducing harm is the standard of morality, then is it okay to sexually assault a comatose person if no physical or emotional harm is suffered, and the person is never aware of it?
It is a case of derangement to want to rape anyone, a child a comatose patient or yourself for that matter- if you can- that is. So whether the do no harm is a good standard, yes it sure is. I don’t want to be raped when am sober or comatose. Well if you fancy sleeping with dead people, go ahead, but please don’t rape those who are alive. You will cause them harm.
Depending on where you grew up
If reducing harm is the standard of morality, then is it okay for people to lie and commit adultery as long as others don’t find out about it, and there is no physical or emotional harm incurred by anyone?
lying may not necessarily cause harm. Being asked by a fat person if they are fat and saying no, though a lie is not really bad. And adultery is a problem because someone thinks the only natural way is to have one sex partner. It is a fact, a sad fact, that many people have extra pair copulation. The sooner this is accepted as fact, the closer we are to dropping such puritan ideals that help no one. While on the adultery case, you can nail me to the wall all you like, but the case is that it is not becauseof moral weakness or failure that people have EPCs[ Extra pair copulation]. There are many factors at play and it is useless to take a moral high ground just because one has not found themselves in a similar situation.
The two next questions, I will say could only be asked by a very ignorant person. Any reasonable person will tell you that no one chooses what they believe or not believe. It would be absurd to punish people for their believes. It harms the society at large. Only a sick society would think jailing atheists or believers would help their cause.
The last paragraph would be
If incarcerating Christians and/or atheists becomes the morally right thing to do because society decides it will reduce overall harm, then can you legitimately complain against the actions of the Nazis and the Jews of the Old Testament since both societies also wanted to reduce overall harm to themselves and preserve their societies?
the case whether it was believers or non believers in charge. It is possible a christian leader may think it morally right to damn atheists now given that they are already headed for hell anyway and get enough deluded christians to follow him. The belief in a god would not make this right.
In my view, there is no advantage the OP has shown us that believing in a god would be more beneficial than a lack of belief. In fact, we have had cases reported in the media where nurses have sexually assaulted their patients and these nurses were not godless. Those who have read the Euthyphro Dilemma would agree with me here that gods have no say about what is good or bad, whatever these terms mean.
Each man, must be his own priest and king to work out his morality. It is always important to remember there could be a police officer at the corner to apprehend you for what he/ she thinks is a violation. Go on and live your life, if there are gods, they have no say in your morals, your neighbour however does.