…But Atheism Does Teach That We’re Animals
Atheist blogger, Staks Rosch, was quite upset when Pastor Rick Warren, spiritual leader of the Saddleback mega-Church and author of the best-selling The Purpose Driven Life, tweeted the following on 6/20/12, just hours after the Aurora, Colorado movie-theatre shootings: “When students are taught they are no different than animals, they act like it.” Rosch was outraged that Warren seemed to be blaming the horrific murders “on the teaching of evolution in public science classes.” Hemant Mehta, the Friendly Atheist, was not friendly at all in his reaction: “So, according to Rick Warren, pastor extraordinaire, teaching scientifically-sound evolution is the reason the shooter went into that theater. Tell me again why he deserves our respect?” Dr.’s Jerry Coyne (“So much for Rick Warren…”), and P.Z Myers (“Rick Warren is a lying ghoul”), both outspoken atheistic biologists and prolific bloggers, also weighed in on the controversy. Even a Christian professor of New Testament Language and Literature at Butler University, Dr. James McGrath, wrote that he was “disappointed that Rick Warren would use the occasion of the horrible tragedy in Aurora, Colorado to make an inane, stupid swipe at evolution.”
As it turns out, Rick Warren’s tweet was not about the Colorado shootings at all. On 6/22/12, Warren posted the following on Dr. Mcgrath’s Patheos blog:
“My tweet was a brief response to a question to me about SEXUAL PROMISCUITY. It had NOTHING to do with the tragedy in Colorado! I had received this email from a dad: “Pastor Rick, my daughter told me her teacher said in class “There’s nothing wrong with sex with multiple partners! Sex is a natural, innate drive, and any attempt to limit it to one, single partner is a manmade construct.” THAT is what I was commenting on. Unfortunately, you also incorrectly presumed the context.”
This perfect tempest in a teapot involving the subject of Warren’s tweet, the motive behind the mass-murders in Colorado, and the aforementioned bloggers’ sloppy fact-checking, obscures the simple underlying truth generating the tension here; namely, that whatever be the motives of the shooter, whatever Rick Warren’s true intentions, and however inadequate the journalistic integrity, atheists do teach that we are “no different than animals.”
The inescapable conclusion of an atheistic worldview is that homo sapiens is to the lobster what the lobster is to the cockroach, and what the lobster is to the cockroach the cockroach is to the paramecium. We may be more intelligent than chimpanzees but then of course chimpanzees are more intelligent than other primates. Objectively, we are no more or less significant than the original bacteria or inorganic chemicals from which we all supposedly evolved. It is also quite reasonable to hypothesize that just as some primates have evolved to higher levels of sophistication and intelligence than others, some races of human beings may have evolved to higher levels of sophistication and intelligence than others. After all, Darwinian Evolution and natural selection do not stand still for political correctness. It goes much further than that.
The teacher mentioned in Warren’s response was absolutely correct when he/she said that, “Sex is a natural, innate drive, and any attempt to limit it to one, single partner is a man-made construct.” In fact, every urge and impulse we have is innate and natural. If there is no reality other than the physical, what else could they possibly be? There is nothing that is not innate and natural. This, of course, includes our natural urges and impulses to violence, cruelty, war, rape, pillage, and murder (even in movie theaters). Lest I be misunderstood, our feelings of empathy and compassion and our altruistic impulses are also innate and natural. What is self-apparently true is that, absent the divine, any system devised to regulate our behavior or emphasize one mode of human behavior over another is a man-made construct. The utilitarian/pragmatic value of any particular man-made construct over another is purely in the eyes of the beholder. There are no exceptions. “Morality” itself is nothing more than a man-made artificial construct. In the words of Dr. Joel Marks, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of New Haven:
“I have given up morality all together! [I] have been laboring under an unexamined assumption, namely that there is such a thing as right and wrong. I now believe there isn’t…I experienced my shocking epiphany that the religious fundamentalists are correct; without God there is no morality…Hence I believe there is no morality…The long and short of it is that I became convinced that atheism implies amorality; and since I am an atheist, I must therefore embrace amorality…even though words like “sinful” and “evil” come naturally to the tongue as a description of, say, child-molesting, they do not describe any actual properties of anything…there are no literal sins in the world because there is no literal God…I now maintain nothing is literally right or wrong because there is no morality…”
To be honest, I’m not really worried that Dr. Marks is going to start molesting children. Although as an honest atheistic philosopher he clearly understands there is nothing inherently immoral in such an act, it would be nearly impossible for him to overcome the social/psychological conditioning to which he was subjected growing up in the Judeo/Christian culture of the United States. Even more to the point: If he does not have the physical desires of a pedophile, what reason would he have for even attempting to overcome that conditioning? What worries me is a whole generation of children growing up who were never exposed to Judeo/Christian God-based values. What frightens me is a whole generation of children who are conditioned from childhood with the atheistic truth according to Dr. Joel Marks (and confirmed by nearly all atheistic philosophers), that “without God there is no morality.” That “atheism implies amorality” and I must therefore “embrace amorality.” These truths that I – and Dr. Marks – have stated are self-evident. I leave the reader with a chilling, matter-of-fact statement from a man who could have been one of Dr. Mark’s – or perhaps one of Charles Darwin’s – most devoted disciples:
“I always believed the theory of evolution as truth, that we all just came from the slime…if a person doesn’t think there is a God to be accountable to then what’s the point of trying to modify your behavior to keep it within acceptable ranges?” – Jeffrey Dahmer
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified ‘Friendly Atheist’ Hemant Mehta as Herman Mehta.
Rabbi Moshe Averick is an orthodox rabbi, a regular columnist for the Algemeiner Journal, and author of Nonsense of a High Order: The Confused and Illusory World of the Atheist. It is available on Amazon.com and Kindle. Rabbi Averick can be reached via his website. If you wish to be informed when new articles appear, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the email address and the word “Subscribe” in the subject line.