RE: [asa] Re: good atheists?

From: Ryan Rasmussen, P.E. <>
Date: Thu Sep 03 2009 - 17:52:02 EDT

Hello ASA. It's been a long time since I have been on the listserv... Since '98 or so. I still see many familiar names and many new. Wonderful conversation still abounds! Looking forward to joining in again with you.

I came across this post and had to share an excerpt from Theodore Beale's ('Vox Day') book "The Irrational Athiests" with you that speaks to the issue of athiestic morality. The rest of the book (free download from his site) is also quite informative and entertaining. While I don't agree with all he has to say, it certainly is refreshing to see Dawkins, Harris, get thrashed at their own game.

Anyway... on to atheistic morality in Mr. Beale's eyes:

Most atheists abide by the morality of the culture that they inhabit, not because they have taken the effort to reason from first principles and miraculously reached conclusions that bear a remarkable similarity to the moral system of those around them, but because lacking any moral system of their own, they parasitically latch on to the system of their societal host.

That's a negative way of describing what is essentially a good thing, and it's why atheists in Christian cultures behave according to an individual morality that has more in common with the surrounding Christians than with Hindu atheists or Islamic atheists with whom they theoretically have more in common. In practice, this tends to work out as the dominant local moral system minus the proscribed behavior in which the individual really wants to engage, which is usually something involving sex or money. But this positive moral parasitism can never be confused with the possession of an independent system of morality, so the problem is that a voter has no idea which specific aspects of the dominant moral system have been rejected by the atheist politician.

While the atheist next door is likely to limit his rejection to the specific aspects that proscribe premarital fornication or gluttony and indulge himself in the sort of everyday moral failure to which even the most devout Christians are susceptible, history demonstrates that the ambitious atheist who seeks political power is significantly more likely to reject the moral proscription on things such as slaughtering large numbers of people who stand in the way of establishing a godless utopia. The peg-legged crack whore, on the other hand, only wants to shift agricultural subsidies from cereal crops to coca plants and poppies and install disco balls in the White House.

This is why the philosopher John Locke reached the conclusion that atheists could be tolerated in civil society, so long as they were not permitted to hold positions of political authority. Locke, who died in 1704, never lived to see just how astute his observation was; tens of millions of lives in dozens of nations would have been saved had his wisdom been heeded.

"Promises, covenants, and oaths, which are the bonds of human society, can
have no hold upon an atheist. The taking away of God, though but even
in thought, dissolves all; besides also, those that by their atheism undermine
and destroy all religion, can have no pretence of religion whereupon
to challenge the privilege of a toleration. As for other practical opinions,
though not absolutely free from all error, yet if they do not tend to establish
domination over others, or civil impunity to the church in which they
are taught, there can be no reason why they should not be tolerated."
-John Locke, "Letter Concerning Toleration," 1689

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Received on Thu Sep 3 17:52:30 2009

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