Sunday, July 17, 2011

Atheism is morally superior

For those who study the New Atheist movement I often find the following claims presented by such:
1. Religion poisons everything.
2. Atheists can be just as good as religious people.
While I contend the first premise I'm more than happy to acknowledge the second. There are plenty of wonderful people who for one reason or another do not believe in God, the Christian definition or otherwise.

There is a disturbing trend though to attempt to have it both ways among among the New Atheists. One the one hand we are told that atheists can be just as good as their religious counterparts. On the other hand we are told that 'traditional religious based morality' is outdated. The New Atheists typically set up a new set of rules for morality.

For example, there is a new movie out in select theaters where an atheist is the hero of the story. The synopsis basically is that the hero atheist has a love affair with a Christian wife, whose husband then, in a battle of wills, encourages the hero to commit suicide.

My first thought on the film was that it should be no wonder why those of religious belief find atheism to be morally subversive to say the least. To the movie creators the adulterer who seduces the wife of another man is assigned the role of 'hero.' This is enough for those who hold themselves to a moral higher standard to put their teeth on edge and rightly point out that this is simply subversive. It is easy to be 'moral' if morality is whatever one wants.

To me this is essentially to change the rules of the game. If I were to redefine morality to whatever I want and thus be able to redefine my 'vices' as 'virtues' then I would be the most moral person I know. No one else could match my moral stature, because it was crafted entirely for my benefit.

It is important then to realize that New Atheist claims to the moral high ground are rooted not in any sense of morality as understood by the traditional term. Redefine the term enough and Adolf Hitler can be the epitome of 'moral virtue.' Given where such high ground is located I'm perfectly content to let others occupy that swamp.

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