Atheists claim they can be good without any belief in God. How do atheists account for good in a world of pure matter? Morality is not physical. Who’s to say that killing someone is morally wrong since atheists teach that animals — and evolutionists claim that humans are animals — evolved through actions like rape and violence? Keep in mind that “in the mid-1800s, Darwin showed that human beings weren’t exactly created in ‘His image.’ In fact, we were not all that exceptional even among our fellow terrestrial creatures. Instead, like Pterodactyls, pachyderms, paper wasps, parsnips and Portobello mushrooms, people are the more or less accidental products of a very complex and evidently capricious evolutionary process.”
In evolutionary lore, “survival of the fittest” and “nature, red in tooth and claw” got us where we are today and there was nothing immoral about the process. As Richard Dawkins has said,
In the universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, and other people are going to get lucky; and you won’t find any rhyme or reason to it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is at the bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good. Nothing but blind pitiless indifference. DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is, and we dance to its music.
The supposed first emergence of organic life struggled to survive by dominating lesser life forms the strong over the weak, and there was no cosmic moral arbiter to say anything about it. Consider this from Bryan Appleyard’s review of Jonathan Glover’s book Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century:
“God died in the nineteenth century and Nietzsche danced on his grave. The foundation of the external moral law was destroyed and, in its place, was a vacuum, soon gleefully filled by the narcotics of Nazism and Communism. It may not be possible to say that the death of God led directly to the death ovens; but equally, nobody can ignore the fact that the cruelest era in history was also the first to deny the existence of an external moral force.” If this is true, “can we stop the long nightmare of the twentieth century from spilling over into the twenty-first?”
Or this from William Provine (1942–2015), an American historian of science and evolutionary biology and population genetics, who taught at Cornell University:
Evolutionary biology … tells us … that nature has no detectable purposive forces of any kind. . . . Modern science directly implies that the world is organized strictly in accordance with deterministic principles or chance…. There are no purposeful principles whatsoever in nature. There are no Gods and no designing forces that are rationally detectable…. Second, modern science directly implies that there are no inherent moral or ethical laws…. Third, human beings are marvelously complex machines. The individual human becomes an ethical person by means of only two mechanisms: deterministic heredity interacting with deterministic environmental influences. That is all there is. Fourth, we must conclude that when we die, we die and that is the end of us…. There is no hope of everlasting life…. Free will, as traditionally conceived, the freedom to make uncoerced and unpredictable choices among alternative possible courses of action, simply does not exist…. The evolutionary process cannot produce a being that is truly free to make choices…. The universe cares nothing for us…. There is no ultimate meaning for humans.
Atheists are moral only in the sense that they borrow the concept of morality from the world of theism since they cannot account for morality given the operating assumptions of their matter-only worldview.
Even if it could be said that morality has evolved, there is nothing in the cosmos that says we must abide by any of it. Why is that? Because, according to atheists, “[m]odern biology has arrived at two major principles that are supported by so much interlocking evidence as to rank as virtual laws of nature. The first is that all biological elements and processes are ultimately obedient to the laws of physics and chemistry. The second principle is that all life has evolved by random mutation and natural selection.”
The question remains: Why is anyone obligated to follow anyone’s idea of morality when life is nothing but physics and chemistry? Physics and chemistry don’t do morality. When a building collapses and kills people, that’s physics. You can’t haul the laws of physics into court. When a virus invades our bodies, that’s chemistry. Chemistry doesn’t know morality from immorality. When you hear an atheist like Greg Epstein, the new head chaplain at once Christian Harvard, claim that we can be Good Without God, the title of his book, keep in mind that he’s an ethical thief. He must steal from God’s moral garden to even use the concept of good since there is no accounting for good or evil in an evolving cosmos. — Gary DeMar
The Reverend John Harvard must be rolling over in his grave. America’s oldest and most prestigious university, named in the Congregational minister’s honor, just promoted a “devout atheist” to be their head chaplain.
This is not surprising since Harvard jettisoned its Christian roots long ago. But it’s shocking nonetheless. What’s the point of a chaplain if he doesn’t even believe in God?
The dailymail.com writes: “Greg Epstein, 44, who was raised in a reformed Jewish household in Queens, New York, was named president of the chaplains for the religious community at the school after serving as Harvard’s ‘humanist chaplain’ since 2005.”
They add that Epstein will be overseeing “40 university chaplains, who lead the Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist and other religious communities on campus.”
Epstein is the author of a book that has a dubious premise. It’s entitled, Good Without God. I say “dubious” because atheism by definition excludes divine accountability.
Even if an atheist happens to be a very nice person, he is tied into a worldview with no transcendent accountability. That means people can do what they want and not have to give an account to God for their actions (or so they delude themselves). To paraphrase Dostoyevsky: If there is no God, then all things are permissible.
In the 20th century, we repeatedly saw the deadly effect of that unbelief in Communist countries and under the National Socialists in Germany.
As the great British historian Paul Johnson notes in his book, The Quest for God, all the failed totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century were “godless constructs.” Johnson says, “The death-camps and the slave-camps were products not of God but of anti-God.”
In 1999, Harvard University Press even published a big volume, called, The Black Book of Communism, which documents how in the 20th century the anti-Christian, atheistic philosophy of Karl Marx led to the deaths of at least 100 million human beings — usually by their own governments.
Meanwhile, it was not the atheism of the new head chaplain that created Harvard. It was Biblical Christianity.
The Puritans founded Boston in April 1630, and their leader, Rev. John Winthrop, quoted Jesus when he said, “We shall be as a city upon a hill.” By September of the same year, they laid out plans for a school to train future ministers of the Gospel of Christ. This was the genesis of Harvard.
Even today at Harvard you can see chiseled in stone these words (in older English): “After God had carried us safe to New England, and we had built our houses, provided necessaries for our livelihood, reared convenient places for God’s worship, and settled the civil government, one of the next things we longed for and looked after was to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity; dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches, when our present ministers shall lie in the dust.”
The last time I visited there, I noticed they had planted a tree in front of this plaque. It used to be more visible.
The Puritan fathers began the college in 1636, and two years later, Congregational minister Rev, Harvard died of tuberculosis. In his will, he donated a large sum of money and his books for the school. They named the college in his honor.
Harvard was a Christian school for at least two centuries.
Walk around the campus, and you can still see the statue of Rev. John Harvard in his Puritan garb and with a large open Bible on his lap. Selfie-takers love to rub one of the statue’s shoes, perhaps for good luck.
The original motto of Harvard was (in Latin): “Truth for Christ and the Church.” Sometime in the 20th century — at least later than 1914 — they cut off the last part of the motto and just stuck with “Truth” (Veritas). I mention that year because you can still see on the main library building the “Christo” and “Ecclesiae” part, and that building dates from 1914.
“Laws and Statutes for Students of Harvard College” of 1643 began by stating: “Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life (John 17:3).”
The students at Harvard learned the Bible — not only in English but in the original Hebrew and Greek. And on it goes with Harvard’s Christian origins.
But in the 19th century, compromises were made towards Unitarianism, which stands in contrast to the Trinitarian beliefs which created Harvard. This compromise led to other compromises, where eventually they cut Truth off from Christ and the Church. And now they’ve even hired an atheist as the head “chaplain.”
All I can say is, “O Lord, revive the work of Thy hands.”
Thinking Straight in a Crooked World
The nursery rhyme ‘There Was a Crooked Man’ is an appropriate description of how sin affects us and our world. We live in a crooked world of ideas evaluated by crooked people. Left to our crooked nature, we can never fully understand what God has planned for us and His world. God has not left us without a corrective solution. He has given us a reliable reference point in the Bible so we can identify the crookedness and straighten it.