Atheism, morality and more


Atheism is a way to not only deny the creator but live a life of unaccountably. Moral values have existed. However objective morals have been there since God created the Heavens and Earth. Laws require a “Law-giver”

Before I started blogging, that is before I became an atheist, I had only met one atheist or a person who identified as a non believer. If there is anything I remember about this person, they were one of the coolest people I have met. We don’t keep in touch a lot. Why am I telling you all this? When I started to write, I decided I would not intentionally misrepresent anyone or a position and I have tried as much as is possible to stay true to this. Whenever am not sure, I try to verify what I am about to write.

For an apologist to write about atheism claiming that it is a way to deny the creator is beyond being willfully ignorant. It is to be obtuse. Atheism answers to a simple question, a question, which I must say shouldn’t even arise, whose subject matter hasn’t been properly defined to allow you or me to make a stand on it. To add that we live a life of un-accountability is an outright insult and betrays ignorance of atheists and their lives. But while at it, to whom does he want us account? If to a god, then such a thing doesn’t exist. If to our friends and family, yes, we do. So, pray, tell us to who we should account.

Morals, whatever these are, have existed as long as man has existed. To explain their existence one does not need to look beyond the nature of man. We consider bad anyone who forces us to follow their will, that is, anyone who violates our will such as a robber violates my rights to my property and forces me to live according to his will.

For this author to repeat the line oft-repeated by WLC and his followers about objective moral values without caring to list any, depicts a lazy person both in terms of thought and research. There have been countless arguments against this line of argument starting with Greeks who asked whether the gods say a thing is good because it is good or things are good because gods say so? To further say that morals have existed since god created the heavens and the earth, which is a direct reference to the story hobbled together by Jews and then later adapted by Christians and then Muslims ignores years of Indian, Chinese, Greek, Egyptian and other civilizations prior to this blot on human history. It assumes the traditions of countless people to whom the idea that a deity created the universe ex nihilo does not even exist in their vocabularies and to whom such a thought process is first absurd and foreign and lastly is a meaningless statement. Anyone who thinks laws need a law-giver need to live under strict supervision especially since his law giver who is invisible, unknowable and is beyond time and space [as WLC would say] may ask of him something that the rest of human would consider immoral. I must add that anyone who thinks in such a manner is, in the words of W.K Clifford,

 is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.

If a man, holding a belief which he was taught in childhood or persuaded of afterwards, keeps down and pushes away any doubts which arise about it in his mind, purposely avoids the reading of books and the company of men that call into question or discuss it, and regards as impious those questions which cannot easily be asked without disturbing it–the life of that man is one long sin against mankind.

If this judgment seems harsh when applied to those simple souls who have never known better, who have been brought up from the cradle with a horror of doubt, and taught that their eternal welfare depends on what they believe, then it leads to the very serious question, Who hath made Israel to sin?

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About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

67 thoughts on “Atheism, morality and more

  1. Mordanicus says:

    Moral sentiments are a by-product of human evolution, a certain degree of altruism helps a group of animals to cooperate and to survive due to better defense against predators or an increased capability to collect food. Evolution explains where human moral behaviour comes from, without having to rely on the existence of god.

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    • makagutu says:

      The christian posits the christian god as the source of morals. One wonders if the Greeks, the Egyptians, the Chinamen and Indians were living in immorality that this god did not consider them worth saving?

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  2. john zande says:

    “Atheism is a way to not only deny the creator but live a life of unaccountably.”

    Quite a statement… and quite a window onto the shallowness of this misguided persons thinking.

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  3. Allallt says:

    Excellent post! It is always difficult to know how to defend yourself against a wrong claim (of not wanting to be held accountable) wrapped in a nebulous and flexible claim that will always adapt to be what the other person wants it to be (“God grounds objective moral values”). You’ve hit the fundamental nonsense of the head!

    To Mordanicus: the theist will always argue that there are objective moral values, because otherwise there is moral relativism, and they don’t like that idea so the alternative must be true. Hence objective values. I posit that the word “moral” goes in there so that they don’t have to put the words “objective” and “values” right next to each other, because that doesn’t actually make sense. So the, to the theist, is about more than “moral sentiments”, it is about objective morality. But just like there is no obvious need for the laws of gravity or the laws of motion or the Hoyle’s gas laws to be authored, if indeed there is such a thing as objective morality (which I think there is) there’s no obvious reason that it must be authored.

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    • makagutu says:

      The theist starts his argument by making a claim such that he always wins. His interest must not be to engage the atheist but to throw insults hoping they will stick and duck for cover.
      And even if there were to be an author of these laws, how do you come from that to a YHWH or Jesus or the Mo variant?
      What would you consider an objective moral value?

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      • Allallt says:

        Basically Sam Harris’ moral landscape. I use the Moral Landscape as a tool. You can come over and have a look around, I talk about it a lot.

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        • makagutu says:

          I will definitely pay you a visit. I haven’t read any of Sam’s books. I intend to read Freewill but it has not risen to the top of my reading list.

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          • Allallt says:

            My stuff on morality has become a bit of a series, if you want to have a look:

            1) allallt.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/objective-morality-for-the-non-believer/
            2) allallt.wordpress.com/2013/01/04/the-evidence-for-objective-secular-morality/
            3) allallt.wordpress.com/2013/01/04/the-evidence-for-objective-secular-morality
            4) allallt.wordpress.com/2013/01/13/a-challenge-to-the-moral-landscape/
            5) allallt.wordpress.com/2013/01/19/dear-theist-2
            6) allallt.wordpress.com/2013/05/04/mining-in-the-moral-landscape-explaining-why-sam-harris-moral-framework-is-still-better-than-a-religious-one/
            7) allallt.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/deep-in-rivers-of-the-moral-landscape-secular-morality-drowns-religious-morality

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          • makagutu says:

            Thanks for the links I can visit them at my own time

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  4. melouisef says:

    Where does the first quote come from?

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  5. Last week, I watched a fascinating movie, based on the book of the same name, The Kiterunner, by Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini. Much of the movie was in Arabic, with English subtitles, which added to the authenticity.

    In the movie, the hero, as a young boy, had just returned from studying the Qur’an, and found his father enjoying a glass of wine – alcohol is forbidden in Islam. The boy, his recent Islamic teachings fresh on his mind, questioned his father’s morals, quoting the Mullahs, he cited the prohibition against alcohol as a sin.

    His father explained that the Mullahs were foolish old men, mumbling in their beards and fingering their beads, and then gave what I thought was an excellent insight into morals – “There is only one sin,” he said, “theft – all others are variations of it.” His son looked puzzled.

    “For example,” he continued, “If you kill a man, you have stolen his life; you have stolen a husband from his wife, a son from his parents, and a father from his children.”

    I just thought that that was a unique way of looking at it.

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  6. mixedupmeme says:

    I noticed that ladysighs sat here for about 10 minutes trying to think of something to comment. She didn’t write anything so I guess she just agrees with you. And that is about my thoughts too. 🙂

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  7. Atheism is nothing more than lack of belief in gods. Like the lack of belief in Santa Claus and it says nothing more about the atheist than, on at least this one point, they are sane and thoughtful persons.

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  8. Shinashi says:

    I’ve actually had my mother and other family members, close ones, mind you, say this to me. Of course, I’m quick to list their faults while listing my good traits. I especially like to end with, “Out of all the family members you know, if they all acted like one person, who would it be?”

    I do mean to toot my own horn about this, as they are quick to change the subject or say that it’ll be hard for me to get into heaven anyway. I always wonder why it’s so hard for them to think of ONE other family member. Probably because Christianity don’t make good people, and atheism don’t make bad ones?

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    • makagutu says:

      Only one of my friends has brought up such a discussion and I told her she doesn’t know what she is talking about and that was the end of the discussion. My family has adopted the live and let live position and besides we rarely meet to have to discuss to my atheism.

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  9. hitchens67 says:

    Reblogged this on hitchens67 Atheism WOW!! Campaign and commented:
    I am an atheist because I cannot believe anything without proof. Blind faith is how strong people rise to power on the backs of fools! Reason and logic are how one frees oneself from the confines of delusion and ignorance. I have personally seen more religious hypocrites than I care to and more honest and moral atheists than Christians who exhibit the same traits! Morals are innate, not taught by adhering to foolish unprovable myths of jealous impotent gods!

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    • makagutu says:

      Thanks for the reblog mate.
      The books of myth have contradicting stories of how to live that it would be impossible to follow them without going mad. We don’t know whether we should stone our children for disobedience or kill our daughters as sacrifices to god when we win in battle or to hand them over to be abused when the men of the village come calling.

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  10. I had originally intended to feed him contradictions from “Contradictions in the Bible,” but I see that a number of you have already provided him with a link (which he declined to use).

    So instead, I left this:

    Anyone with any significant knowledge of the Bible, knows that the Torah, or the Pentateuch, or the first five books of the Bible, “According to Moses,” however you choose to call it, was not written by Moses, if he ever existed, in 1200-1400 BCE, but rather by at least four separate groups, known as the “Yahwist (J) Source,” which wrote about 950 BCE, in the Southern Kingdom of Judea, the “Elohist (E) Source,” which wrote c.850 BCE in the Northern Kingdom of Israel, both of which were combined into JE around 750, BCE, when the E Source was brought south to Judea just prior to the destruction of the Kingdom of Israel. A third source, known as the “Deuteronimic (D) Source,” surfaced during the time of Jeremiah, c.800 BCE (and believed by many to have been written by Jeremiah himself), and the fourth source, the “Priestly (P) Source,” which was written in captivity after the fall of Israel in 722 BCE – all of which were pieced together, like a patchwork quilt, by a Redactor in 400 BCE.

    Genesis 1, for example, was written entirely by the Priestly Source, with the intention that it replace the tale of the anthropomorphic god of Gen 2, who takes walks on the Earth “in the cool of the day,” and personally hand-crafts clothing for the fictitious “Adam” and “Eve,” but the Redactor, working more than three hundred years later, decided to throw them both in, just to cover his…bases.

    The contradictions, and yes, they are many, are the result of three sets of stories, handed down by word of mouth like a generations-long game of “Chinese Whispers,” with the resultant errors that game guarantees, added to the fourth, “D,” and ultimately pieced together like a badly-crafted jigsaw, then handed to a gullible public, attributed to quill of a legendary Moses, for the existence of whom, there is no evidence anywhere, not even in Egypt, where surely, the death of all firstborn children would have been fully chronicled.

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    • makagutu says:

      He keeps insisting we identify one contradiction from the long lists he has been given. I don’t know if he just wants a debate for the sake of it or whether he means to say there are no there are no contradictions in the bible and the non-believer is mistaken?

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  11. aguywithoutboxers says:

    An excellent rebuttal. my Nairobi brother! No one has offered any rational reason to refute the atheists for what we know to be true. Great job! 🙂

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  12. After my comment to his site (above), he quickly changed the subject, but I left a final comment, based on his responses to me that the archaeopterys was NOT a transitional species, but rather was a full-fledged bird.

    October 5, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    I hadn’t intended posting again, but a couple of things you said stuck in my crop, so to speak.

    RE: Feduccia’s opinion, John Harshman would disagree, and I would have a difficult time believing anything that came out of your above reference, the Creation Museum.

    You mentioned, “God Haters,” which term creates its own illogical paradox – one cannot hate that which doesn’t exist, which brings me to my second point, you doubt evolution, for which there are literally mountains of evidence, and yet criticize those who fail to believe in an invisible entity who lives somewhere in the sky, for which there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever. It’s easy to understand why you call yourselves, Apologetics, the religious have much for which to apologize.

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    • makagutu says:

      Hahaha! I don’t think that will be let to pass.
      Why it doesn’t seem to him odd that what he thinks is true and attested to by several facts needs apologetics. Indeed the religious have lots of things for which they owe the human race apologies

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  13. Interestingly, my comment has been “awaiting moderation” for a number of hours now – what’ll you bet it never sees publication?

    I never modify comments on my site, as I’m not afraid of anything anyone has to say.

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  14. Daniela says:

    I found interesting that your commencement of blogging coincided with your atheism … how have they influenced each other?

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    • makagutu says:

      I have met very wonderful people who I can’t enumerate here, you among them.
      It is my godlessness that has influenced my blogging in a big way. I read and share the things I come across with the wonderful people who follow this blog.

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  15. Perspective Collector says:

    Not sure if you’re interested in my ramblings (if not, just ignore), but isn’t fascinating how different cultures have different morals, yet well all have them- that would be consistent with what you said about morals existing as long as man has existed.
    I find it interesting that in one culture, it might actually be a good thing to force their will. And a person who doesn’t willingly allow someone to borrow their jacket, say, gives the them the onus to take the jacket because the person committed a huge wrong. The biggest moral violation in this culture is greed. And when they see Western people with closets full of clothing that they won’t let people borrow, they are outraged. Can’t remember which culture this was, but learnt about it in a cultural anthropology class.
    And even something like killing people isn’t seen as bad in every culture. In some cultures murder allows peace to reign between two tribes because a debt has been paid. Without the murder, they continue to war with each other. And some tribes see infanticide as a good thing to keep the society healthy and if a Westerner ran into these tribes trying to stop them killing someone from another tribe, or their babies, they would be seen as committing the worst crime.
    So yes, all people have morals, but doesn’t mean we have the same ones.

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    • makagutu says:

      You need not apologise and your comments are welcome.
      Indeed, different cultures have had different morals as long as they have existed. There are places where child sacrifice was practiced to appease the rain gods and for them, there was really nothing wrong with it. It is therefore absurd to claim that for law to exist there must be a law-giver and that this law-giver is his god. That is being arrogant to say the least.

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      • Perspective Collector says:

        And without a law-giver, what right do we have to judge the morals of other cultures and people? None, I think. This jars with me, because in the case of murder to appease tribes, I would never advocate it. But put me in their culture, and I accept that the only thing for me to do perhaps is to let them do what they think is best. I can’t force my morals on them. That’s not the place of an outsider.

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        • makagutu says:

          You agree with me that even the good book says you shouldn’t judge so that you are not judged? That is quite an important teaching. And no, a law-giver isn’t necessary. As a rational being, all you need is to look into yourself and you are most likely to come up with a raft of things you wouldn’t want done to you and if you are able to see another person as being similar to you, that is, as a manifestation of the will, then you will probably know how to act when in society

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          • Perspective Collector says:

            Heck yes! There is way too much judgment in the church. It makes me feel like I can’t be me when I go to my own church. It baffles me. Yet, I won’t let myself off the hook; I judge even when I don’t want to. Stupid voice. I try to squash it as soon as the judging voice rears its head though.
            My fascination lies in what happens when societies and cultures cross over – which morals win out? Does the person who wants to live with the tribes not have to kill a baby, or will they only be allowed in if they agree to kill babies (for the benefit of the society)?

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          • makagutu says:

            As people of different cultures interact, there is a sharing process that goes on. Those who believed sacrificing children would appease rain gods may learn from these new people that rainfall depends on environmental factors and not the whims of a god and with time they may stop the practice. They learn their beliefs were based on incorrect knowledge and can then change it accordingly.

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          • Perspective Collector says:

            Cool!
            Just interested, what would you say to this one: where they kill babies all weak babies because they think it’s bad for society to have weak members in it.

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          • makagutu says:

            It assumes that a weak baby may not turn out better which I think is wrong. We have observed that people with disabilities have made significant contributions to humanity in different fields. To kill such babies, I think, would be wrong.

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          • Perspective Collector says:

            I agree, of course, but I’m pretty sure that’s because I grew up in the culture I did. If I grew up in the tribal culture, I would most likely be horrified at your suggestion. They might believe they need strong men for hunting and any weak baby is not needed.
            Anyway, it’s all hypothetical, just fun to think about.
            Thanks for the thoughts.

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          • makagutu says:

            I think it was Plato who suggested that people should be bred for different reasons so that we have mothers whose job was to give birth to nobility and so on down the slope.
            It is good to think of such matters, you may discover there are more areas where we agree than where we disagree

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          • Actually, Perspective, for a time, I worked for an organization here in America, known as Special Olympics, it is an organized athletic competition for children with mental disabilities. I found myself wondering if we were doing the right thing, keeping these children alive, when they likely would never grow up to be productive members of our society. But then I reasoned that just possibly the one quality that society needed more than physically and mentally perfect people, was people with compassion, and by caring for these children and making their lives just a bit more bearable, that’s what we were developing.

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          • Perspective Collector says:

            Thanks for sharing that! I love following your line of thought and the beautiful conclusion you came to.

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          • Thanks, I do have my occasional, lucid moments.

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      • Perspective Collector says:

        Oh and thanks for the welcome. I always feel scared as a Christian commenting on blogs of atheists. I don’t mean you, but I fear many atheists will hate me as soon as I say the word Christian.

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        • makagutu says:

          You are most welcome. I have no problem with anyone saying they are christian, muslim, satanist or whatever label is out there as long as you are not trying to proselytize, we are game.

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        • Oh no, Perspective, I can’t imagine anyone here doing that – our tolerance of others is one of the primary differences between ourselves and the religious.

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          • Perspective Collector says:

            Woohoo. Yay! Yet I’m Christian and accept all. Though I know many Christians who don’t, and so I fear they give me a bad rap and non-Christians might not give me a chance because of them. But I really do know of some atheists who won’t associate with Christians, it makes me feel so sad and rejected. But I know another Christian when he’s rejected by non-Christians, he doesn’t care and he just finds it funny. Whereas I’m all cut up and feel awful.

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          • The only time I have a problem with Christians, is when they try to convert me, otherwise they’re free to breathe the same air that I do —

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          • Perspective Collector says:

            Yeah, it’s annoying when atheists try to convert me too, although if it’s done without hostility I’m okay with it. Because I love hearing different views no matter what they are and if I’m convinced I’m the better for it because I’ve tested everything. My main issue is with the atheist who says they don’t want people to convert them, then they try to convert anyone who breathes to not believe in God – hypocrite. Sorry if harsh.
            But yes, let’s just all get along as people with different views, and talk abut favourite books, a dream to follow, things that made an impact in your life, the people you love, the times you cried.
            Let’s just get to know people as they are without worrying what they believe.

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          • makagutu says:

            Let’s just get to know people as they are without worrying what they believe.

            If we could all live like this, we would be halfway close to reducing the conflicts we have in the world

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          • Perspective Collector says:

            Hopeful but skeptical. We can do our part at the very least, though.

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          • makagutu says:

            Oh yes, we each must play our roles. Elvis? says in one of his songs, the world is just a stage and each must play his part

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          • Mak – RE: “Elvis? says in one of his songs, the world is just a stage and each must play his part” – hate to break it to you, but he may just have borrowed that from some guy named Will… Shapespeare, or something like that — Shakespeare, that was it!

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          • makagutu says:

            Thanks, I wasn’t so sure where I heard it before.

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