The GeoChristian

The Earth. Christianity. They go together.

The abyss of atheism?

From Christianity Today: Staring into the Abyss by Dinesh D’Souza. The subtitle for the article is, “Why Peter Singer makes the New Atheists nervous.”

Atheists like Richard Dawkins argue that we can have morality without God. And I acknowledge that many atheists are very moral people. But is their morality based on their atheism, or is it a relic of the Christian-influenced culture in which they were raised?

Peter Singer is a bioethics professor at Princeton University, an atheist, and a promoter of utilitarian ethics. He has attempted to build an ethical system based completely on his atheist world view, and it includes the following values.

  • Humans have no more value than animals; sometimes they have less value
  • Abortion allowed in all nine months of pregnancy
  • Infanticide
  • Euthanasia of unproductive members of society: the elderly and disabled

These values are frightening.

Here are some exerpts from the CT article:

Singer argues that even pigs, chickens, and fish have more signs of consciousness and rationality—and, consequently, a greater claim to rights—than do fetuses, newborn infants, and people with mental disabilities.

To understand Singer, it’s helpful to contrast him with “New Atheists” like Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, and Richard Dawkins. The New Atheists say we can get rid of God but preserve morality. They insist that no one needs God in order to be good; atheists can act no less virtuously than Christians. (And indeed, some atheists do put Christians to shame.) Even while repudiating the Christian God, Dawkins has publicly called himself a “cultural Christian.”

Why haven’t the atheists embraced Peter Singer? I suspect it is because they fear that his unpalatable views will discredit the cause of atheism. What they haven’t considered, however, is whether Singer, virtually alone among their numbers, is uncompromisingly working out the implications of living in a truly secular society, one completely purged of Christian and transcendental foundations. In Singer, we may be witnessing someone both horrifying and yet somehow refreshing: an intellectually honest atheist.

Here are my questions:

  • Are Singer’s views the only natural outcome of an atheistic world view?
  • Can Hawkins Dawkins and the New Atheists really construct an ethical system apart from a Christian foundation without it looking something like Nazism?

Grace and Peace

March 19, 2009 - Posted by | Christianity, Ethics |

4 Comments »

  1. […] to some of its uncomfortable conclusions (I think Nietzsche also did this in the 19th century).  Check out this post over at GeoChristian to find out what Singer believes.  It’s quite eye-opening. Published […]

    Like

    Pingback by Where Can Atheism Lead? « Tough Questions Answered | March 23, 2009

  2. We can already see where this mindset of devaluing humans might lead. There seem to be increasingly common calls for reducing the world’s population over the fear of the human “carbon footprint” – which I call “carboniphobia”. Measuring humans in terms of their carbon footprints seems to be a prelude to trouble.

    Like

    Comment by on-the-rocks | March 26, 2009

  3. “Humans have no more value than animals; sometimes they have less value ”

    Since humans are a type of animal…

    “Euthanasia of unproductive members of society: the elderly and disabled ”

    Half of the population will always be less productive than the median. Additionally, this falls apart as it is against the self interest of those who would do the killing- after all, you are next…

    “Are Singer’s views the only natural outcome of an atheistic world view? ”

    No. Singer’s views come from naturalism and materialism. I’m not sure if they are supported by them though- newborn babies are alot smarter than fish.

    Of course, as a society we do recognize part of what he advocates- when a person is brain dead we consider them dead.

    “Can Hawkins and the New Atheists really construct an ethical system apart from a Christian foundation without it looking something like Nazism? ”

    Dawkins. It has a D. Hawkins is the physicist who wrote A Breif History of Time.

    Sure. Base it on desire.

    Or you could be lazy and go the human supremacy route.

    Like

    Comment by Samuel Skinner | March 28, 2009

  4. Samuel Skinner:

    I’ve changed my typo from “Hawkins” to “Dawkins.” Thanks. And it is Hawking, not Hawkins, for the astrophysicist.

    Like

    Comment by geochristian | March 28, 2009


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