On human worth

A reddit user has posed the following questions and a disclosure about himself. His questions are indented

1) Where do you, personally, derive the feeling from that (human) life has any value? Is this even a valid question, or do you simply accept the feeling as an evolutionary instinct of sorts?

There is only one source, I value my life and I would expect others value theirs. Beyond this, I think the universe is indifferent to how I feel about my life. It is possible to argue that human life has no value to military strategists except as pawns or to ISIS except as a means to an end.

2) What would you say is the reason that atheists should condemn current and historical crimes against humanity, like genocide, colonialism or slavery, in case of the absence of any downsides for the side that commits those crimes?

Because they are human beings. The second portion of this question makes no sense.

2a) Context: All atheists I have ever spoken to do condemn these crimes, but were unable to explain to me why they did. “Because no human being should do that to another one”, or even the categorical imperative, do not really seem to apply when purely logically, there is no problem with the “strong” eliminating the “weak”. What am I missing?

It must be the case that you wanted an answer that maybe be transcendent that is why you find their answers inadequate.

Disclosure: I am a Catholic from Europe – not that it matters, but I guess the question would arise anyway. No, this isn’t flamebait, I am genuinely interested in understanding where some of “you” atheists are coming from. I tried to formulate my questions as clearly and respectfully as I could – if I failed, please excuse, I am not a native speaker, so I might be pressing buttons I don’t even realize are there.

Here we had a discussion on the same


About makagutu

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

46 thoughts on “On human worth

  1. KIA says:

    For some reason, people of faith, mostly Christians like I was, want to push the narrative that God and his objective standard outside of our system, is the only ground of Truth and morals. They do this dishonestly by not admitting upfront that it what they are arguing toward (‘I’m a Catholic from Europe, not that that matters’) I call bs


  2. shelldigger says:

    I think i detect a hint of lying ass x-ian seeking to foist his/her ignorant arguments upon atheists who are already light years ahead. Having left superstitious nonsense in the ditch.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. “I am a Catholic from Europe – not that it matters” Of course it matters to this person. It’s ALL that matters to them. “Dear atheist, since you don’t believe in my particular take on my particular god, I’m completely confused as to how you can have any sort of decent moral compass by which to live. See, even though I’m an atheist myself, when it comes to the thousands of other gods out there, I can’t get past the fact you, dear atheist, hope I’m being respectful here, don’t believe in MINE. Why not? Are you an immoral child-eating monster? I was indoctrinated from a very early age to believe in my particular take on my particular god. I was also taught those who do not believe as I do will suffer forever in hell as they have no morals. So, I ask again, my dear, sweet atheist, I am being VERY nice, why do you not accept what I accept as real exactly the way I’ve been taught to accept it? Is there something wrong with you? I certainly hope I’ve not offended you, dear atheist. I’m simply asking asking an honest question. Why would any one choose to live a moral-less life rather than accept all I believe as absolute truth?” $Amen$

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Ron says:

    Penn Jillettes response to the question “If there’s no God, what’s to stop me from raping and killing everyone around me?” was:

    “I do rape all I want. And the amount I want is zero. And I do murder all I want, and the amount I want is zero. The fact that these people think that if they didn’t have this person watching over them that they would go on killing, raping rampages is the most self-damning thing I can imagine. I don’t want to do that. Right now, without any god, I don’t want to jump across this table and strangle you. I have no desire to strangle you. I have no desire to flip you over and rape you.” (Source}}

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Charity says:

    When we finally get rid of all gods we’ll then have the time, energy, mental capacity and resources to take care of human beings. It is religion that makes us inhumane, not non belief.

    Liked by 1 person

    • basenjibrian says:

      No. I actually disagree somewhat. Religion is not some outside source acting on human beings and cultures. It is generated by us and used by us to justify things we want to do for all kinds of often nefarious or hidden reasons.

      The executives of Union Carbide did not need religion to justify building a chemical plant time bomb in Bhopal. Religion was only a justifying factor, not the motivator, in the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Drug Gangs that have turned the Brazilian favelas into war zones do not need Jesus to instigate their territorial disputes.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Charity says:

        No. Religion is bad. I won’t argue with you because the fact that you can’t see that proves to me it’d be a waste of my time.


        • basenjibrian says:

          No. I am not saying “Religion is not bad”. I am questioning the proposition that eliminating religion (gods) would also miraculously eliminate the underlying human urges and social structures and primate aggressiveness that USES religion to justify rape and pillage.

          Of course religion is bad. It’s a meme, a cultural aspect, maybe even a biological urge, that can justify terrible things. But it has survived because it also does some useful things for societies-or at least elements within societies.


          • makagutu says:

            There will always be a reason to go to war, even without gods.
            Even without religion, there will be some ideology that will motivate people to hate the other and so on


      • makagutu says:

        You have a point there.
        Gods have been used to make people obedient to the laws. That is why most lawgivers add; thus says the Lord


  6. I’m going to be my usual self and say that no, human life does not have value- not in a real sense. The value we ascribe to it is a construct based on a number of different things which go from the fear of death to running a reasonably civilized society.


  7. This isn’t written down anywhere, but human life in America is worth exactly what monetary value it serves to the system of capitalism.

    Liked by 4 people

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