Who decides what is right?
I would like to make two points in response to the recent letter by Dr Victor Evelyn. Firstly, it is difficult to see what all the fuss is about because in a godless universe we would be faced with what Jean-Paul Sartre calls the bare, valueless fact of existence.
Why care about torture chambers (or human trafficking, or racism) if we are time plus slime plus chance just dancing to our DNA? It makes no difference whether we live as Stalin or a saint. As Dostoyevsky put it: “If there is no immortality then all things are permitted.
”In a godless universe, moral values would have to be reduced to either, personal preference (true for you, but not for me), an evolutionary by-product or pragmatically adopted social conventions to avoid chaos.
Since none of these options can be binding in any meaningful way, it naturally leads us to the question: who really determines right from wrong?Moral obligation Without God, the concept of moral obligation becomes unintelligible, and there can be no objective moral values.
One atheistic writer puts it this way: “To say that something is wrong because… it is forbidden by God, is… perfectly understandable to anyone who believes in a law-giving God. But to say that something is wrong… even though no God exists to forbid it, is not understandable…
“The concept of moral obligation [is] unintelligible apart from the idea of God. The words remain but their meaning is gone. ”Secondly, it smacks of intellectual dishonesty to conveniently omit the deeds of secular or atheistic regimes over the course of history.
Mass killings In The Real Murderers: Atheism Or Christianity, Greg Koukl notes the following: “China under Mao Tse Tung, 26.3 million Chinese. According to the Walker Report, 63.7 million over the whole period of time of the communist revolution in China. “Solzhenitsyn says the Soviet Union put to death 66.7 million people.
Kampuchea destroyed one third of its entire population of eight million Cambodians. “The Chinese at two different times in medieval history, somewhere in the vicinity of 35 million and 40 million people… make note that these deaths were the result of organisations or points of view or ideologies that had left God out of the equation.
None of these involve religion. And all but the very last actually assert atheism.”Facts may be passé nowadays, but the work of the International Association of Genocide Scholars is tough to ignore on this point.