Goodness Without God Atheism Secular Humanism Atheist Atheists

Atheist philosopher tells atheists how to be moral on atheism

Let’s review what you need in your worldview in order to have a rationally grounded system of morality.

You need 5 things:

1) Objective moral values

There needs to be a way to distinguish what is good from what is bad. For example, the moral standard might specify that being kind to children is good, but torturing them for fun is bad. If the standard is purely subjective, then people could believe anything and each person would be justified in doing right in their own eyes. Even a “social contract” is just based on people’s opinions. So we need a standard that applies regardless of what people’s individual and collective opinions are.

2) Objective moral duties

Moral duties (moral obligations) refer to the actions that are obligatory based on the moral values defined in 1). Suppose we spot you 1) as an atheist. Why are you obligated to do the good thing, rather than the bad thing? To whom is this obligation owed? Why is rational for you to limit your actions based upon this obligation when it is against your self-interest? Why let other people’s expectations decide what is good for you, especially if you can avoid the consequences of their disapproval?

3) Moral accountability

Suppose we spot you 1) and 2) as an atheist. What difference does it make to you if you just go ahead and disregard your moral obligations to whomever? Is there any reward or punishment for your choice to do right or do wrong? What’s in it for you?

4) Free will

In order for agents to make free moral choices, they must be able to act or abstain from acting by exercising their free will. If there is no free will, then moral choices are impossible. If there are no moral choices, then no one can be held responsible for anything they do. If there is no moral responsibility, then there can be no praise and blame. But then it becomes impossible to praise any action as good or evil.

5) Ultimate significance

Finally, beyond the concept of reward and punishment in 3), we can also ask the question “what does it matter?”. Suppose you do live a good life and you get a reward: 1000 chocolate sundaes. And when you’ve finished eating them, you die for real and that’s the end. In other words, the reward is satisfying, but not really meaningful, ultimately. It’s hard to see how moral actions can be meaningful, ultimately, unless their consequences last on into the future.

Theism rationally grounds all 5 of these. Atheism cannot ground any of them.

Atheist objective morality

Let’s take a look at an atheist professor of philosophy, and see how good he is at rationally grounding the 5 points above. Remember, we’re not interested in his likes or dislikes. We’re not interested in his feelings. We’re not interested in his opinions. We’re interested in knowing what sort of MORALITY atheism makes rational for atheists. What is reasonable, if the universe is an accident, and human beings are nothing but random collections of atoms?

Let’s ask this distinguished professor of atheist morality:

Stephen Kershnar is a distinguished teaching professor in the philosophy department at the State University of New York at Fredonia and an attorney. He focuses on applied ethics and political philosophy. Kershnar has written one hundred articles and book chapters on such diverse topics as abortion, adult-child sex, hell, most valuable player, pornography, punishment, sexual fantasies, slavery, and torture.

This is a lot better stuff to think about than the stupid things that Christians think about. Love? Charity? Self-Denial? Self-Sacrifice? Those are stupid things to think about.

He’s written books against moral responsibility, against the pro-life movement, and against gratitude towards veterans.

He also defended atheism in a formal debate.

The Federalist reported on his views:

Stephen Kershnar is a professor at State University of New York at Fredonia, and a pedophilia apologist.

Here’s Kershnar on video saying that an adult male having sex with a 12-year-old girl is not obviously wrong, and that calling it wrong is a “mistake.” In the same clip, he refers to pedophilic rape as “adult-child sex,” another euphemism that, just like “minor-attracted person,” is being used in an attempt to run cover for evil.

[…]He continues to defend pedophilia, remarking “The notion that it’s wrong even with a one-year-old is not quite obvious to me.” He goes on. “I don’t think it’s blanket wrong at any age.”

Kershnar even argues that children can consent to sex with adults, comparing it to a child willfully engaging in kickball or participating in bar mitzvah lessons.

[…]Kershnar is open to the idea that pedophilia is deeply harmful to victims, but he just can’t put his finger on why. He thinks it could be because of bigots like you and me, who go “berserk” when pedophiles rape kids.

He even argues that we often make children do things they don’t want to do, like “go to church” or “go to temple” or “go to their sister’s ballet recital.” His perspective is backed up by podcast host Thaddeus Russel, who makes an equally monstrous argument when he says “all a child’s life is, is coercion by adults … often to make the child do something for the adult’s pleasure only.”

It’s also telling that these dangerous viewpoints have found their way into the mainstream through left-wing outlets. At one point, Russel boasts that he authored an article in The Daily Beast that argued for lowering consent laws.

Thaddeus Russel says this:

Black kids at school tackled me to the ground and lay on top of me until I thought I would suffocate when I mentioned that I was an atheist.

Do you think this is unusual for atheists? We just had a case where Democrats in Virginia were covering up the rape of a child and having the child’s father arrested. The same things happen in Canada. Last November, another LGBT activist professor was trying to normalize pedophilia.

If I had to pick the atheist capital of the United States, I’d pick Seattle. The voters there elected Ed Murray to be their mayor. Seattle voters loved that he had been the driving force behind same-sex marriage in the state. Atheists were proud of their state for legalizing same-sex marriage. They cheer for the annihilation of Judeo-Christian morality in our laws, and in our culture. It emerged later that Murray was a child molester.

5 thoughts on “Atheist philosopher tells atheists how to be moral on atheism”

  1. I’m red-green colour blind. However atheists have it much worse: they’re *evil*-blind. Even those who espouse objective morality and free will will cheerfully go along with the next evil-du-jour.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Number 2 in your list is much more significant than people realize, WK.

    An atheist can, more or less, know right from wrong because God’s Law is written on our hearts by Him. So, in theory and rarely in practice, an atheist can basically be somewhat in tune with that law written on our hearts. There are conservative, pro-life, anti-sodomy atheists, for example – I was one of them.

    I knew that abortion was absolutely wrong. (Everyone knows that, but many suppress the truth in their unrighteousness.) I knew that I wanted nothing to do with abortion, pro-aborts, or abortionists. When it came time to choose an OB for my wife, we made sure we stayed FAR away from the baby killers, the ones who also delivered babies on the side.

    But, did I ever really consider the fact that I had a duty to anyone besides myself and wife and children? Did I have a duty toward the unborn, knowing that abortion was absolutely wrong? No, that never really occurred to me in my atheist years. I only spoke up once or twice on it in the roughly 3 decades that it was legal prior to being born again in Christ. But, once that marvelous day came, it was like a light switch went on! Now, abortion was FAR more evil to me than it had been even as an atheist. Moreover, I was COMPELLED (by the Holy Spirit) to action on behalf of the unborn.

    Now, that’s not proof of being born again, because there are even atheists who speak up on behalf of the unborn – some even protest on behalf of the unborn, albeit rarely at the murder mills. (I’ve never actually heard of an atheist there on a regular basis – we had one one show up for 20 minutes in my city. Once.)

    But the point is that Item number 1 is easier for the atheist to (somewhat) achieve than Item number 2, IMHO, especially when such duties put one’s life at risk.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. #1 is regularly confused. Atheists often think we mean that they cannot be good, or affirm good and bad things (like you said about yourself). This isn’t the claim, though. It is that in the typical atheist’s naturalistic worldview there is no solid grounds for defining morality outside of personal or group preference. I agree that #2 is a sort of clincher, though, because even if an atheist dreams up some objective moral system for themself, they still have to answer why they should adhere to it.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I take Kershnar for a candid and intellectually consistent atheist, like Peter Singer. The key to his thinking is understanding that he believes that sex is not sacred, but is merely a physical act, like going to a ballet recital, but more pleasurable. The next step is affirming that “consent” is the biggest moral qualifier in any equation. So, in this moral economy, “having sex with a 12-year-old girl” is, then, “not obviously wrong.” His intuitions leave him open to the idea that pedophilia could be “deeply harmful to victims,” but his moral equations leave him at a loss to “put his finger on why.”

    Liked by 2 people

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