Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Materialist's justification for morality

I read this excellent blog post on Jimmy Akin's blog (though SDG wrote it) on materialism and moral argument. It's going to be a series, or as I'd call it, a blob. This first part talks about how one atheist ("Archie") justified being moral in spite of being a materialist by using the following classic words "the thing that stops me bullying weaker people is that I'd feel like a louse afterwards." Yep, he wants to be moral because otherwise he'd feel bad. Great justification there, Archie!

But seriously, this is one trend I'm seeing in many kinds of materialist pseudo-intellectual rhetoric: a lot of their arguments boil down merely to doing things or not doing things based on how they feel. They're sentimentalists, that's what they are. They brag about being enlightened, scientific, and objective, that they have surpassed the "superstitious" "uneducated" Christian's supposed attraction for warm and fuzzy ideas...when in fact they rely on "feel good" reasoning more than most good Christians.

A Christian believes in sacrifice, in foregoing pleasurable things, things like vice and immorality, for the sake of what is good. A Christian believes in sacrifice because his God sacrificed Himself to save the world, left His Throne for the Good. Thus the Christian, right or wrong, has a solid, concrete model for doing what is good: our Father in Heaven, our Creator, who has commanded us to love each other.

The Materialist, having no such basis for morality, relies on his own rationalizations for it, like Archie's Louse Argument, or the Humanist/Evolutionist's moral argument, which states that morality is justified because it prevents people from killing each other to extinction. Yet these reasons are all based on shallow, flawed principles. A sadistic, immoral human being named Jughead might ask "Who cares about how Archie feels?", and Archie's argument falls to the ground, since Archie has no moral authority over Jughead. Sadistic, immoral extraterrestrials might say "Why should we care if fragile primitive defenseless humans kill themselves to extinction? Our species is evolutionarily successful enough to survive even with constant immorality!", and the humanist's argument turns to dust.

Man is capable of making reasonable moral judgments on his own, but in the face of unreasonable immorality, reasonable morality is not enough. We need perfect morality, a morality that is objectively true and applicable to all sentient beings, defeating even the most clever arguments for immorality. Atheists would find this extremely difficult, and so they call this impossible. Me, I just smile as I recall G.K. Chesterton's words:

"The Christian Ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult, and left untried."

***

Another interesting tidbit from the article: it does seem like there is a trend among the "orthodoxically-challenged" (give me a better euphemism) of high-jacking a positive word and branding themselves with it. The homosexuals used "gay", conjuring up the image of fornicators happily living their lives supposedly celebrating "what they really are" (whatever that means) despite how other people see them. And now we have atheists calling themselves "Bright". Then again, we call ourselves "Catholic", another positive word meaning "all-embracing", so I guess I can't complain. :D Still, come on now, "Bright"?!