Ligon Duncan on the Non-Negotiables of the Gospel

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  • Thursday, April 05, 2007

    Atheism & the Energizer Bunny

    I'll come to the Energizer bunny in a bit, but in getting to know the Atheist mind and studying what’s popularly being expressed by Atheists, I read "Dying an Atheist in America" by Christ Morton on the American Atheists webswite (

    In the article, Chris writes “Dying is a process, death is the end. It is during dying that the first problems begin. An Atheist is a member of Homo sapiens. He or she is a biological machine whose function is to expand and develop its species and to protect all other species dependent on it in this lifetime. There is no "afterlife." Therefore, life itself is very valuable. To me (and this may not hold for all Atheists) if my life ceases to be valuable to me and to others, it can and should be ended - to use another machine-term, I can be powered down, or as Timothy Leary puts it, "deanimated." If I am still functioning, somewhat, this choice is a hard idea for most people (particularly Atheists because of their love of this life) to accept. So let me take a small part of it for elaboration and leave the rest to your own choice.”

    While Chris raises a legitimate issue in his article in suggesting that Atheists’ thinking and planning in regard to dying and death should be consistent with their beliefs; it’s his definition of life, it’s purposes, and care that I find most interesting (and degrading when compared both with the intuitive knowledge of man as well as the revealed knowledge of Scripture.

    For Chris, humans are no more than a biological machine. In defining humans this way, Chris denies or detracts not only from man’s uniqueness but that which defines his nature and greatest attribute: his personhood. By “machine”, he not only denies the immaterial, but denies ultimate thought, will, morality, worth, value, distinction and accountability. By “biological”, Chris fails to give due consideration to the many other facets of man’s makeup and relationships. It’s no wonder that with such a degraded and omitted view of humanity that Chris goes on to speak of the deteriorated body as nothing more than “bacteriological slime” to be “deposed”, that he speaks somewhat lightly of even his own life being ended, and that he claims personal authority to control and end life which he neither brought into existence nor did anything to rightfully obtain or control.

    Regarding the function of life, Chris says of humanity that it is “to expand and develop its species and to protect all other species dependent on it in this lifetime.” Besides the obvious question of the source and authority from which Chris arrives at this answer, and the question that goes beyond his stated function to ask “to what end” is man to do these things, he suggests that those who fail carry out these tasks fail to function as humanity. To attempt to avoid this dilemma by suggesting that this is only humanity’s “intended” function only raises the question of whose intentions.

    Regarding life’s value, one should note that in Chris’ view, while on the one hand life is “very valuable” (when compared with “no afterlife”, in his view), that at the same time life has “no value” of it’s own but is only serves to be valuable when subjectively considered, since his life can cease to be valuable “to him and others”. Such contradictions are inherent and common among worldviews in conflict with Christianity.

    It’s sad, but in the Atheist worldview, humanity is considered of less dignity, worth, and usefulness than even the energizer bunny, of which may be said that while animated, still “keeps going and going and going”. If you’ve held to or even considered Atheist thoughts or positions, isn’t it time for such unenlightened and misguided thinking to be gone?


    jazzycat said...

    When it comes to world-view, I have never encountered a conservative atheist in blogging. Serious question for this group:
    Have you ever encountered a conservative atheist?

    Puritan Lad said...

    I have heard of some "conservative" atheists on some call-in radio shows, though the term "conservative" can be misleading at times.

    Most are liberal for a simple reason. Having rejected God as the sole sources of all authority, reason, and morality, they have to replace it with something, and that something is usually the state. We worship God, they worship Caesar.

    jazzycat said...

    Puritan lad,
    Yes that makes sense.

    funinspace said...

    Well, Rev. Muse since your PRing the site on an atheist web site; you have to expect an evil atheist to visit (HI Rev. and JD :wave: ). Could someone define "conservative" and "liberal"? These words are used very loosely these days. I liked much of Pres. Reagan, but have no use for the warmongering Bush II. I believe in limited Fed. Govt, maximizing individual freedom within limits. I believe the Fed should stick to more national issues. I think the Govt. debt and spending levels supported by both main Parties to be horrible. I find abortion to be a sad solution, but would not criminalize it. I would work towards medically supportable restrictions once brain wave activity could be determined. There are many non-theistic libertarian minded folks out there, but not too many GOPers or Neocons.

    funinspace atheist@large

    Swordbearer said...

    Hi Funinspace & Welcome!

    As far as conservative and liberal, others may be able to define it better than me, but it seems to me that the most important thing is to define it (or at least know how the individual(s) or group using it is defining it)(Are you refering to politics, or to Christians, or to worship, etc. Conservative and Liberal in each of these contexts means something different.) In addtion, applying these "labels" to an individual can be difficult as well in the sense that individuals may be "conservative" on some issues but not on others, or "liberal" on some issues but not on others. For these reasons, I think it will be hard for someone to provide you with a concrete defintion for all time, but I've found this information and guidance helpful in understanding both systems and environments of such fluidity work and being able to functionally operate to some degree of effectiveness in them.


    Swordbearer said...

    In reviewing my comment, let me say that in this particular context, I'll refer to jazzycat to explain his use of the word.

    (I have taken what he said to refer to the finding that unbelief leads to (and is often associated with) non-biblical thoughts and practices.

    Knowing jazzycat, he is probably referring to something similar to what most refer to as Traditional Values, though he also may include elements of political conservatism as well. I can't speak for him.

    Regarding both his and your questions, while I have encountered atheists who hold to "some" conservative values, or better put hold to conservative values in some areas or to some degree, most, if not all, are soon found to stray not too far into examination on what "conservative" Christians (tradtional values)consider some of the bigger issues.

    For example, most conservative Christians (of the type I am referring to go further than seeing abortion as just a sad solution, to considering it a violation of the sixth commandment, even murder, and murder of some of the most helpless.

    At the same time, there are many things you've stated that many conservatives could relate to or agree with, but at points such as when you describe "limits", it makes a big difference in where those "limits" are drawn, and the grounds for drawing them there.

    I'm glad to see when non-theists concur with and support values and positions held by conservative Christians. I also don't doubt that depending on the issue there are many out there, but jazzy is right in that it would be unusual to find atheists who agree on most of the major issues. (Note: while it is recognized that differences may be found among conservative Christians on some of these issues, the difference in divergence of data would not be comparable.)