Worldviews have consequences. Particularly regarding morality. If you understand the concept of a “worldview” that is obvious. For those unfamiliar with the term, here’s a definition by “Purpose Driven Life” author Rick Warren who did a study series on it with the late Chuck Colson called “Wide Angle – Framing Your Worldview.” The concept of worldview is critical to the point made both in the meme above and repeated in this article, so if you’re not familiar with it, please take a look at the link.
Two Points in the Meme
Take a look at the meme above, and note both the meme and particularly the tweet used to send it actually make two points.
The first point: There is nothing in the atheist worldview that says that murdering innocent children is wrong, or evil or should be avoided. In fact according to the atheist worldview there is no morality, so there is nothing that can be called “evil.” All actions are equally valid or equally moral.
The second (and perhaps more importantly) point: Atheists are typically not honest about the fact that their worldview clearly and unequivocally teaches there is no such thing as “evil” just as it teaches there is no such thing as God. Of course that is a repugnant and morally reprehensible position to hold, so you can understand why they don’t want to admit it. But if that’s what your worldview teaches, to say that it doesn’t is to flat out lie and deceive.
The only question in this mix is, do atheists understand that their worldview teaches that in a world without God, there are no morals and there is no evil? That is the crux of the matter. That is also at the heart of the moral argument for God. I’ve dealt with objections to the moral argument for God in the article, “The Moral Argument – Revealer of Hypocrites“, so I will not reconsider the objections here. But I did not consider the question at hand: Do atheists understand that’s what their worldview teaches? So we’ll consider that question here. But first let me make clear that atheism in fact teaches there is no morality and there is no such thing as “evil”.
No Morality in an Atheist (Or Evolutionist) Worldview
In a book whose very title rejects the notion of God and Biblical truth (“River Out of Eden”) Dawkins, in very clear and concise terms, stated what is true about the atheistic worldview: there are no morals, no right, no wrong, no good, no evil. As he put it:
“The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.”
Dawkins is not alone in spouting this version of atheist nihilist nonsense. Evolutionary biologist and atheist Will Provine made the same point – that evil does not exist. You merely need to understand that by “ethics” he’s referring to everything we are discussing with regards to morality. Provine states:
“[There are] No Gods, no life after death, no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning in life, and no human free will.”
If there is “no ultimate foundation for ethics”, neither is there for one for morality, or good or evil, so evil does not exist.
Further evidence that this is not some obscure belief I’m bringing to the fore: atheist scientists hold the same position. They typically don’t state it outright as the atheists cheerleaders do but it’s there in the worldview of their science. You can see it in the worldviews of scientists like Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking. You can derive the “there’s no morality, no evil” teaching in their views once you understand their view of physics and the universe. But since the point has already been well stated by Dawkins and Provine I won’t take the space here. For those who are interested, I’ll put it in a sidebar below.
An unpopular position: No Such things as “Evil”
So that is the world of evolutionists and atheists – a denial of evil. In their worldview the murder of 19 children is not evil because evil does not exist. Remember, in an atheistic worldview there is neither good nor evil. Things just are.
So, while atheists and evolutionists may arrive at the “there’s no such thing as evil” conclusion by different means and for different reasons – atheists because they don’t want to acknowledge the God who has created the moral framework they live in and evolutionists because they don’t want to acknowledge the God who has purposefully created the universe they live in – both must arrive at the same conclusion and for essentially the same reason: there can be no evil, because there is no God who exists and embodies the good against which the evil is judged.
So let’s stop any pretense that the atheistic and evolutionary worldview acknowledges that humans are moral agents and as such, humans can do or be evil (or good). They do not. Just as they deny God, both the evolutionary and atheistic worldview emphatically deny there is such a thing as evil. And you cannot do or be something that does not exist. Thus if there is no evil, you cannot do evil, nor can you be evil, nor can the murder of 19 innocent children be evil.
Hiding the Repugnant Atheist View
For most people that is a repulsive thought. That is why most atheists work diligently to hide the fact that their worldview states murdering children is no more wrong than taking an afternoon nap on a sunny day. Don’t believe me? Look at the responses I received to the above meme. Notice there is not a single response that affirms the atheist denial of evil. In fact, there is not a single response that even addresses the issue. For those who responded all you see are either the expected personal attacks (when your opponent sinks to ad hominem attacks you know they’ve lost the argument and cannot refute your argument, so they attack you instead) and the requisite attacks on God, but not a single response addresses either point made. Consider the first – an expected ad hominem attack:
The next is a bit more sophisticated. He challenges the existence of God, but does not refute my points that: 1. Atheists deny evil exists and 2. They try to hide this fact – typically by refusing to acknowledge it. Rather he avoids them: (The bottom tweet was sent first.)
Please note the connection made by the atheist here. I’m talking about their lack of belief in evil. This atheist immediately connects it to the existence of God. Apparently the two are related in his mind.
That point, that in the atheists’ mind the existence of evil is connected to the existence of God, is confirmed in his final tweet. I point out he refused to deal with either point I made, which confirms the point I was making – that atheists (dishonestly in my opinion) hide their belief that evil does not exist. At which point he gets angry, picks up his marbles and goes home.
Interestingly, even in his final message he’s still not addressing anything I brought up. He’s still talking about God. So, clearly, in his mind, evil is tied to the existence of God. So with his final tweet he confirms my points. You can view the whole conversation here (part1 part2) Here’s a summary that confirms my points:
RF: Claims atheists believe there is no such thing as evil
Atheist: Counters there’s No God – It’s not about God, it’s about shared human traits.
(Aside: Clearly in the atheist’s mind, evil is tied to God, which he denies exists. So if there is no God, there is no evil – point verified.)
RF: You haven’t thought through your worldview which denies evil exists. Here’s help: (Link to “The Moral Argument – Revealer of Hypocrites“
Atheist: Again counters there’s no God. (“If there is no God”. What does that even mean?) and goes on from there – another clear denial of God.
RF: Points out his refusals to address the questions which I find dishonest, but proves the point.
Atheist: Leaves in a huff, denying God as he goes.
So, clearly, at least in this atheist’s mind, evil is a concept tied to God. If there is no God, as he claims, then logically, there can be no evil. What can we learn from this exchange?
Two things are clear:
1.The Atheist has confirmed the scripture that all people know God exists:
19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.
This is clear since every time I talk about evil, the atheist talks about God. Clearly he recognizes that evil cannot be defined or identified unless there is a morally pure God who embodies and demonstrates what is good and declares what is evil. Atheists must deny that fact or their entire worldview collapses. But in denying God exists, he also denies evil exists.
2. Atheists regularly steal from God
Though I’ve not yet read Frank Turek’s Stealing From God (great title), I assume he makes many of the same points that Francis Schaeffer made: that atheists cannot live consistently within their worldview. (The reactions to the above meme prove that.) So they steal from God to gain the meaning and purpose (“humanity” as the above atheist put it) that they need as creatures created in the image of God. Craig summarizes it well. I quote him verbatim. (Just substitute “atheists” every time he uses “modern man.” Both groups have the same beliefs.)
“Francis Schaeffer has explained this point well. Modern man [the atheist] says Schaeffer, resides in a two-story universe. In the lower story is the finite world without God; here life is absurd, as we have seen. In the upper story are meaning, value, and purpose. Now modern man [the atheist] lives in the lower story because he believes there is no God. But he cannot live happily in such an absurd world, therefore, he continually makes leaps of faith into the upper story to affirm meaning, value, and purpose, even though he has no right to, since he does not believe in God. Modern man [the atheist] is totally inconsistent when he makes this leap, because these values cannot exist without God, and man in this lower story does not have God.”
It’s clear atheists deny evil exists. It’s also clear they steal from God to live a life that’s not so repulsive and repugnant, so they can affirm that the murder of 19 children is evil even though their worldview says it isn’t. The only question that remains is: are the atheists aware that they’re stealing from God?
I suspect the atheists are like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day who would swear by the gold of the temple, not by the temple itself, thus making the gold more important than the God who dwells in the temple. (Matt 23.16-22) In like manner, atheists affirm things like the murder of children are evil, while denying the God who created the children in his own image and who declares anyone destroying that image placed on humans by God is worthy of death. (Gen 9.6) Such a harsh punishment is indicative of the fact that murder is evil. Jesus appears to indicate the Pharisees aren’t ignorant. They know what they’re doing is wrong but they’ve intentionally blinded themselves to the fact that they’re denying God. So Jesus has a few choice words for them.
I suspect the atheists are like the Pharisees. They likewise know what they believe is wrong and they’ve intentionally blinded themselves to the fact that their worldview says nothing is evil. So, while they may be blind to the consequence of their own worldview, it’s an intentional blindness. But, like Pharisees, since they claim they can see and they believe themselves to be oh so rational and correct, their guilt remains. (John 9.41) So, to the atheists, I give the words of Jesus to the Pharisees:
Woe to you!
(Matt 23:16, 17, 19)
“There’s no such thing as evil” can be derived from the worldviews of atheist scientists such as Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking. Carl Sagan famously said,
By which he was of course saying it’s not God that always has been and will be, it’s the cosmos. In a place where the cosmos is everything, God cannot exist. And since God cannot exist in such a cosmos the things associated with God – like morality, notions of good and evil, etc. – also cannot exist.
You can also derive it from Stephen Hawking’s view on scientific determinism. Regarding the big questions of life, “Why is there something rather than nothing? Why do we exist? Why this particular set of laws and not another?” Hawking answers:
With his plainly stated rejection of God firmly planted and a firm grip on a deterministic universe such that the laws of physics determines everything that happens, out goes free will and with it any concept of good and evil or morality. For if everything is predetermined,
To draw an analogy from the realm of computers, the universe is like a circuit board with many paths and integrated circuit processors the electrons can travel. Is any one path good or evil? No. Circuit boards are neither good nor bad. They just are. All the paths through them are neither good nor evil, they just are.
The electrons flowing through the paths on a circuit board would be analogous to people flowing through the paths of life. The electrons flow through various paths on the circuit board and reach various destinations. But can they reach a “wrong” or “bad” destination? Did they have a choice of where they arrived? The answer to both are no. As stated above, destinations on the circuit board are neither good nor bad. They just are. And destinations are predetermined based on the laws of physics and the predetermined paths on the circuit board.
Therefore the circumstances that caused the electron to follow that path to the destination is neither good or bad, merely the application of the laws of physics applied to electrons to usher them to their destination. No moral judgments allowed here. The same goes for people as they follow the paths of life. They’re just electrochemical signals acting according to the laws of physics. Any thought of free will is an illusion, as are notions of morality.
So the destinations people arrive at are neither good nor evil. They just are. Thus, in this worldview, a shooter murdering children can be neither good nor evil. It’s just the result of the human body following the laws of physics. It cannot be called evil because evil does not exist in a universe ruled by scientific determinism.
1. Richard Dawkins from River Out of Eden (1995) ref from: Wikiquote, accessed 3/30/2017
2. William Provine, ref from, Expelled – No Intelligence Allowed, Documentary by Ben Stein, 2008
5. Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, The Grand Design, New York: Bantam Books, 2010, p. 172
Meme – Don’t get your Morality (or theology) from an Atheist – by Duane Caldwell