The courtyard outside the Bradford County Courthouse in north Florida will include quotations from Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the founder of American Atheists. It will also include a list of Old Testament punishments that mandate the death penalty. The atheist monument will stand next to a copy of the Ten Commandments.
Atheists have no moral standing in critiquing any moral law system. Atheism cannot account for morality. Morality is not a thing. It is not made up of atoms. Morality cannot be derived from the stuff of the cosmos or extracted from our DNA. As a result, atheists can’t argue against murder, genocide, rape, theft, or any other moral aversion. In fact, the category “morality” does not exist in a matter-only worldview.
There’s No God. So Stop Worrying and Enjoy Yourself.
What if people enjoy killing, raping, stealing, and eating people?
If there were a set of commandments that said, “Thou shalt not drive red cars,” “Thou shalt not live in four-side houses,” and “Thou shalt not hop, skip, and jump,” there is nothing within atheism that could fundamentally raise an objection.
Arthur Leff (1935–1981), who taught law at Yale Law School, concluded that, given atheistic assumptions, no way to prove that “any particular act, no matter how horrible, is normatively wrong.” Leff stated:
“I will put the current situation as sharply as possible: there is today no way of ‘proving’ that napalming babies is bad except by asserting it (in a louder and louder voice), or by defining it as so, early in one’s game, and then later slipping it through, in a whisper, as a conclusion.”1
In Leff’s analysis, “‘good’ becomes just a function of nosecounting.”2 Was he exaggerating? I don’t think so. Look around us. Where is an absolute moral standard to be found? If you say religion, you’ll never be hired by a major university or sit on the Supreme Court.
Many don’t remember how then-Senator Joe Biden grilled Clarence Thomas on his belief in Natural Law. Thomas knew that any dialog with Biden over the idea that there is a God-given law would have doomed his nomination. Thomas was smart to let Biden ramble and get his analysis of Natural Law wrong and impossible to account for given evolutionary assumptions which America’s new religion.
But it’s worse than that for the atheist. There is no basis for the categories “good” and “evil” in a matter-only cosmos. Anything that’s left of the idea of fixed moral laws is an illusion that will soon fade as our nation becomes consistent with what it has mandated from the courts and taught in our schools.
The acceptance of the atheist monument by civil officials and the courts as somehow being equal to the Ten Commandments is a prime indicator that secularism is on its death bed. Let’s pray that we all don’t end up there with them.
- Arthur Allen Leff, “Economic Analysis of Law: Some Realism about Nominalism,” 60 Virginia Law Review (1974) 454–455. [↩]
- Leff, “Economic Analysis,” 455. [↩]