So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Galatians 3:24

I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. Philemon 1:6

FRONT PAGE - here you will find the last 20 postings about recent conversations. Please pray for these people!

Atheistic Moralizing

2/25/14                      Jan                     about 55
What’s up with atheists?  Lately, in my outreach conversations, I’ve encountered more and more people who claim atheism.  One such person would be an older gentleman I talked with last night at Starbucks, named Jan, who is Jewish by heritage but atheist by belief.  I asked about the development of his beliefs, his thoughts about God and religion, and his motivations in life and hopes for the future.  Jan would be a classic example of some patterns of belief I’ve noticed among atheists that are very different from what I had assumed before I started talking to them.  Before, I might have figured they must lead unusually sinful lifestyles that cause them to want to deny God and religion and the possibility of judgment.  But the common thread I’ve noticed is very different.  The atheists I’ve talked to have all been very concerned about proving their moral superiority.  They were all concerned about being “good”, but without reference to God or religion, and they try to define “goodness” in a way that gives them the moral advantage, usually in many or all of the following ways:

1.  Most have said they don’t need the rewards or punishments of religion to be good; they just believe themselves to be good people naturally.  They try to be good without God, and believe the religious actions of others are usually just done for eternal reward and are thus selfish and immoral;

2. Most see themselves as more tolerant than people of faith, viewing tolerance as one of the highest virtues and giving themselves the moral upper hand.  Some refer to “coming out” as atheists in a way similar to the gay movement, viewing this as an act of moral courage and the chance to look morally down upon those who would criticize them as atheists.  For this reason, many say they don’t care what other people believe, unless this tolerance is trumped by #3, below:

3. Most believe reason is automatically morally superior to faith, seeing reason and science as inevitably leading toward progress, and religion and faith as holding humans back, with a growing number viewing religion not only as backward but a threat to our species and deserving of active opposition.  Their fight to save humanity from religion may also involve environmental issues, overpopulation, social justice, etc., all tainted by a certain moral smugness over “backward” believers whom they believe promote conflict or discourage scientific progress;

4.  Most of the atheists I’ve talked to seem sincere in their disbelief, so that in their eyes declarations of faith in God would be intellectually dishonest, and therefore, immoral.  I can sympathize with them on this; it reminds me that my own faith is a precious gift of God and that I could easily be in their shoes, but it doesn’t seem to occur to them that many non-atheists have had genuine spiritual experiences that would make denying their beliefs equally intellectually dishonest.


So, why are these atheists so concerned about proving their moral superiority?  My guess is, as Paul asserts in Romans 2, that like anyone they too have God’s moral law “written on their hearts” – and they can’t escape it.  Deep down, maybe even subconsciously at this stage, they know they will be held accountable.  Many, like Jan did yesterday, are quick to assert their supposed goodness without my even asking.  He seemed to expect a battle of claims to moral superiority, but I didn’t give him one.  Instead, I pointed to my own moral failures as compared to the Ten Commandments, allowing him to see his own in comparison, and asserting that I don’t deserve to go to heaven but need mercy and forgiveness instead.  By this I defused an argument, yet shared our need for forgiveness at the same time.  Jan may not have believed me, but at least he didn’t have a smug Christian to fuel his unbelief.

2 comments:

MyContext said...

1. Jeff, there are over 30,000 different denominations of Christianity. So, it is clear there is no single claim. You have yet to present what you consider moral yet act as if there is something to be claimed as clearly moral in the bible. Please take the time to understand that Divine command theory is NOT moral. You claimed to be a teacher, do what I hope you tell your students and take some time and study.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YW1E3sXJ7Q


2. Given the efforts to enact discriminatory laws against LGBT groups, it would seem that the idea of tolerance would indeed by less for the more religiously inspired notions. Since, the bible directs all manner of assault for actions which do no harm others. It is in a sense a point of courage in a predominately Christian environment to claim that one does NOT believe the common fiction claimed by so many. I say fiction due to the obvious errors and contradictions in the bible, which are an assault to the idea of an all-knowing all-powerful entity if such existed.


3. Reason and science has provided for more understanding and development than faith. It is not a matter of smugness, but fact. It is also clear that religion tends to retard the development of many due to religious texts being claimed as being true when the material does NOT reflect what is actually know in various areas. The clips below are just sad, We should want better for people than to have them believe fairy tales.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RsVKFMtyJo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ag2PQ-AiwE

If one care about the truth, reason and evidence are definitely superior to any claim of faith, since, in the absence of actual knowledge what truth can honestly be claimed?


4. If there were a shred of evidence for the idea of ANY spiritual something as opposed to purely a psychological labeling of a particular emotional experience perhaps there would be something that could be claimed that could be considered reasonable.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzFfP1jF_qc

People have a tendency to make up stuff when they do not know. This allows all sorts of labels to be applied with all sorts of claims being piled on when the actual issue may be something totally different from what they thought it to be.

MyContext said...

1. Jeff, there are over 30,000 different denominations of Christianity. So, it is clear there is no single claim. You have yet to present what you consider moral yet act as if there is something to be claimed as clearly moral in the bible. Please take the time to understand that Divine command theory is NOT moral. You claimed to be a teacher, do what I hope you tell your students and take some time and study.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YW1E3sXJ7Q


2. Given the efforts to enact discriminatory laws against LGBT groups, it would seem that the idea of tolerance would indeed by less for the more religiously inspired notions. Since, the bible directs all manner of assault for actions which do no harm others. It is in a sense a point of courage in a predominately Christian environment to claim that one does NOT believe the common fiction claimed by so many. I say fiction due to the obvious errors and contradictions in the bible, which are an assault to the idea of an all-knowing all-powerful entity if such existed.


3. Reason and science has provided for more understanding and development than faith. It is not a matter of smugness, but fact. It is also clear that religion tends to retard the development of many due to religious texts being claimed as being true when the material does NOT reflect what is actually know in various areas. The clips below are just sad, We should want better for people than to have them believe fairy tales.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RsVKFMtyJo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ag2PQ-AiwE

If one care about the truth, reason and evidence are definitely superior to any claim of faith, since, in the absence of actual knowledge what truth can honestly be claimed?


4. If there were a shred of evidence for the idea of ANY spiritual something as opposed to purely a psychological labeling of a particular emotional experience perhaps there would be something that could be claimed that could be considered reasonable.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzFfP1jF_qc

People have a tendency to make up stuff when they do not know. This allows all sorts of labels to be applied with all sorts of claims being piled on when the actual issue may be something totally different from what they thought it to be.