Atheism is not a source of morality at all. It is merely the absence of God or the lack of a belief in God.
What is the basis of morality? It’s the idea of right and wrong actions and the use of a means to judge whether actions are correct; right or good -or not. Morality is the guide used to choose the actions that are good or evil. How are those good; those right actions identified? One way is to identify the actions that favor living compared to those that favor death. Eating in that sense is moral but there’s never been an issue with eating to stay alive so eating is not an action that needs to be judged as moral or not. An example of an action that would have to be judged would be one that would kill.
Religion does speak to life and death but not directly. Nor does religion show how to live. Religions are about death and what happens after death. Religions are about that life after death The Mosaic prescription is: “Thou Shalt Not Kill”. Pretty specific; to not kill. But there is no Counter-Command to live, just to not cause others to die. That’s hardly a way to live or to enhance the life experience. Religions don’t command people to live. They can’t do that in the face of the natural order of things which is: living things die. Religion is incapable and incompetent to change that so religions conjured up the idea of the supernatural. All religions have the supernatural in common because that’s what religion is about. They have advice and commands about the supernatural and what the supernatural means for reality about which they collectively have very little to say, or what the supernatural means for reason which is the opposite of faith and religions is about nothing if faith is invalidated.
Religion has not explained why murder is forbidden, just that it must not be done. What about self-defense? Forbidden. What about killing to protect one’s children? Forbidden. What about to protect a nation or culture against other nations or cultures who want to kill other people to advance their agenda’s? Forbidden. The question is why is murder always forbidden?
If the Mosaic belief forbids killing at all costs, how can it be argued that self-defense is moral? If there’s no reason given, just a command, the criteria that belief should be believed rests on nothing, i.e., the basis of faith, the commands and the beliefs cannot be claimed to be rational. If religion is not moral, and it is, the basis of religion to undergird the moral pantheon is false. If it is false what is the difference between a doctrine that’s false and a doctrine that is not about morality at all. It is this. Atheism is not false regarding morality but religion is, at least so far as the fact that it gets the idea wrong that killing in self-defense is moral.
Atheism is misrepresented if it’s believed that it should have a moral code that is equal to or superior to religion. But the counter-point is that religion to be moral should have a correct moral code and from the above example, it does not.
Shouldn’t the question be: “Is religion Moral?”. After all, religion claims to be moral so it should be delighted to prove it is. But religion starts with the idea that’s morality is intrinsic within religion and most people are content with that idea. One source of the moral code of religion is the bible but the bible has some pretty immoral actions in it. If the bible isn’t a good source for morality, what is? that doesn’t disprove religion, it merely asks for proof of the claim that religion is moral with the idea that if it isn’t moral it is false.
Religion began with the idea of answering the questions that are about the biggest ideas, those about the universe. The quest began on a good moral basis but when the correct answers weren’t known it veered into the supernatural which is supposed to have the answers to the questions about existence, about the universe and what that means for human life and in those answers it has utterly failed.
Martin Luther thought reason is the deadly enemy of faith. Kant came along and actually removed reason from human existence with his ideas contained in his book: “The Critique of Pure Reason”. Unfortunately, Kant had to use reason to critique reason which is a fatal flaw in his reasoning.
The clash between a Supernatural System based on God and a natural system based on observable elements means religion is for those who forgo the use of reason, at least so far as the nature of the universe is concerned. The idea that there is a supernatural set of answers has caused the obvious problem of which set of supernatural data are correct. Some would say which are more correct while others say none are because science has discovered the answers to many of the ancient belief systems yet those belief systems persist.
Is there a religion gene? Is the need for religion part of the human psyche or is it an acquired need? Many people lean towards religion because of the physicality of it. Inside religious buildings are large areas of great comfort and peace. Some places seem positively inspired by God yet we know every religious building is man-designed and man-made. There’s one of the difficulties of religion being the foundation of morality. It’s all man-made. Being made by human invention can religion claim to be the basis of morality? If religion is not made by God it loses it’s pedigree for being the moral standard. Why is religion more moral than science which is based on the universe without the supernatural? Few would claim science is the basis for a moral code but the evidence when it’s peeled down to the fundamental layer reveals human design.
Even the religious argument that design shows the existence of God is no longer accepted as a basis of religion. the vastness of the universe begs the question that begins with a watch and the question about the designer of the watch and ends by asking who was the designer of the universe? The major problem with the designer of the universe is that everything needs a designer even god and the supporters of Intelligent design are left with the question who designed God? that conversation segues into the First Cause proof which uses the idea that since everything needs a creator God does too so God couldn’t have created himself so who created him? the answer for the First Cause supporters is that God is unique and didn’t have to create himself because he always was. He is the first cause of everything except himself. That’s faulty logic but it’s good belief.
Here are the five proof’s of the existence of God invented by the greatest mind of the Catholic Church, Thomas Aquinas along with their counter-arguments. All five proofs were developed about 700 years ago and today there is much agreement that they are logically flawed meaning they are easily refuted by the use of logic. There is another proof called the ontological proof that was discovered by Anselm among others. It claims God is the entity above which a greater entity cannot be conceived. The Counter-argument is that is uses it’s itself to prove itself.
The bible itself offered a sort of proof in Psalm 14:1 that only a fool would deny God but the counter-argument is plenty of very smart people deny God and of course there’s the response that only o fool would believe there’s a God.
The First Way: Argument from Motion
It is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God. The counter-argument is who or what was the first mover who put God into motion?
The Second Way: Argument from Efficient Causes (First Cause)
It is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God. the Counter-Argument is who caused the first cause or who caused God?
The Third Way: Argument from Possibility and Necessity (Reductio argument)
Some being exists of its own necessity, and does not receive its existence from another being, but rather causes them. This all men speak of as God. The counter-argument is who caused the cause to exist?
The Fourth Way: Argument from Gradation of Being
There must also be something which is to all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and every other perfection; and this we call God. The counter-argument is who caused God?
The Fifth Way: Argument from (Intelligent) Design
Some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their end; and this being we call God. The counter-argument is based on the intelligence of god. If God is so intelligent something more intelligent caused his existence.
These are the seven most popular proof’s for the existence of God but there are plenty of other lesser proof’s. The point for using religion as the basis of morality means using the basis of religion, God, but at the moment all of the available proof’s are flawed. Believers of course don’t accept any of the counter-claims and they are free to believe as they please. The point for this page is religion no longer has the moral authority to be used as the basis of a code of behavior. that is still is shows the great power of belief.
Perhaps Dinesh D’Souza whose latest documentary movie “AMERICA; What Would the World Be like Without Her?” will make a movie about “RELIGION.