Observations

An atheist may not claim, as Dostoevsky intimated that, “If God does not exist, everything is permitted.”

However if an atheist did make such a claim there would be no rational basis to contradict him.

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7 Responses to Observations

  1. hengwyte says:

    Nonsense. There are many “rational” arguments against such a claim. Based on rational observation and study of humans and other living creatures we know that empathy and cooperation, and an emotive world, that is part of that amorphous thing we call consciousness, when it tends towards empathy and cooperation the biological functions of the organism thrive — which is to say, we are healthier when we are what most folks define as “good”.

  2. jackhudson says:

    The problem with defining ‘good’ by how humans have acted when they have thrived is that humans have also thrived by raiding, conquering and destroying others. In fact people often cooperate to take take from others – would you consider such behavior to be good? Why not?

  3. Tristan Vick says:

    Unless you are like Marcus Aurelius who said we must strive to be good for goodness to have any meaning.

    No, not everything is or should be permitted.

  4. jackhudson says:

    Which wouldn’t contradict at all an atheist who claimed everything is permitted.

  5. Tristan Vick says:

    The assumption is that doing bad would not be permited, because it would negate the idea that one is capable of striving for good deeds.

    Your assumption is atheists have no moral compass, since they lack an objective moral standard, thus all would be permissible regardless of the atheist who does good.

    But the problem lies in the fact that regardless of the presuposition, most people have what David Hume called a moral sense.

    So permissibility of write or wrong acts can only be framed within this context of moral acts. So it is a good objection because it raises the point that you would have to redefine permissibility knowing the atheist has no reason to assume any or all acts would be morally permissible.

    Hence the failure of the argument all things are permissible without god. Actually, without god there is a greater emphasis on the self to strive toward goodness since we are all accountable for our own deeds. Additionally, with God all is permissible when you can use God as an excuse for immoral deeds. The atheist has no such luxury.

  6. Tristan Vick says:

    *Right not write.

    Also I should say immoral acts would not be permissible while the atheist is striving to be mrally good.

    That was the subtle point in Aurelius’ thinking.

  7. jackhudson says:

    The assumption is that doing bad would not be permited, because it would negate the idea that one is capable of striving for good deeds

    That’s nonsensical; given that everyone does bad, this would mean no one is capable of striving for good deeds.

    But this is also irrelevant – the point is if an atheist said, ‘adultery is permitted’ there would be no rational basis, as an atheist, to say he was wrong.

    Your assumption is atheists have no moral compass, since they lack an objective moral standard, thus all would be permissible regardless of the atheist who does good.

    That isn’t my point at ll. which don’t seem to understand. If an atheist said, “I don’t think a moral compass exists” there would be no rational basis to contradict him on atheist grounds. I believe atheists have a moral compass because I am a Christain.

    But the problem lies in the fact that regardless of the presuposition, most people have what David Hume called a moral sense.

    Yes, in this sense Hume agrees with the Bible. But if an atheist claimed they had no moral sense, there would be no secular argument to contradict them.

    So permissibility of write or wrong acts can only be framed within this context of moral acts. So it is a good objection because it raises the point that you would have to redefine permissibility knowing the atheist has no reason to assume any or all acts would be morally permissible.

    An atheist doesn’t have to assume anything – they simply have to claim it. There is no rational basis to disabuse them of the notion if they simply denied they had such a sense.

    Hence the failure of the argument all things are permissible without god. Actually, without god there is a greater emphasis on the self to strive toward goodness since we are all accountable for our own deeds. Additionally, with God all is permissible when you can use God as an excuse for immoral deeds. The atheist has no such luxury.

    Define goodness.

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