Seriously? From your posts I just don't believe this to be the case. If it is the case, please forgive me for offending you, past present and in the future, just in case we meet in person someday.
I was thinking more along the lines of the unborn, infants, elderly, the poor, etc. If God didn't exist (and let's take this hypothetical to the impossible, believing that we somehow exist when God doesn't), what obligation would I have to those who get in my way and society's way? Think of the person who is perpetually on welfare, sucking away tax dollars. Such a person has no utility to society, so wouldn't it be better for society to kill such a person or simply let such a person die?
Remember, we have to remove our human nature from the equation. Because even atheists were made by God, most are going to look upon such a person and simply feel an obligation and then attempt to rationalize their innate feeling. But sans God, why not shave off a few people from our numbers?
When you say the most utility, what does that mean? Again I see CHRISTIANS do this sort of thing all the time. They steal, cheat, lie, commit adultery, get divorced, beat their wives and kids, a fear of hell hasn't done a thing to make these people moral. Those who just defraud people do so to "streamline" their lives or to make things "more productive" in business ventures etc. Do atheists do this? Sure. But so do members of all religions. (well except maybe Amish...lol!)
I should make it clear that I'm not talking about what is
, but rather about ought
. So yes, Christians behave in unethical ways, but we have a standard provided to say that action x is wrong and is especially wrong for a Christian. Without God, however, the standard for evaluating x goes away.
So will atheists live moral lives? Yes, but such moral lives are typically contrary to their meta-ethical views and contradictory to their atheism; instead, they act ethical because they're made in the image of God, not because they have a reason to be ethical. And they (along with Christians) act unethically because our wills aren't aligned with God's - we humans are contradictions.
While I once said the same things you just did, "yeah if there were no God I would do anything, including killing that man I'm ticked off at", I didn't "really" mean it. If there is no afterlife or no God, I would NOT all of a sudden begin to live a horrible life, stealing candy from babies, and cheating lil ole' ladies out of their bingo money. I just could NOT do such a thing. I know that atheists also do not do these things, despite the common assumption by Theists that Atheists are all immoral freaks. I just don't see evidence of that at all, in history or in my own personal experience.
But that's not what I'm saying. I'm not referring to people who get in my way or killing someone for a promotion at work - if God didn't exist then such anarchical actions wouldn't be productive for the survival of our species. However, if God didn't exist - of if I didn't believe God existed - then what obligation would I have to the severely crippled?
For instance, as a Christian when you look at a child who is severely handicapped, to the point that he's in a wheelchair and must have 24/7 care, but is still alive (that is, not vegetative and not dying), you view him as a glorious creation of God and therefore worthy of life, even if it's a life we don't understand. But someone who consistently lives the atheist worldview sees someone we should put to death out of compassion for the type of life the person lives and for the utility of the State (and I reference you to Peter Singer, a respected "Philosopher" at Princeton who teaches this very thing, and he's not really in the minority in such a view). This is not some extremist view I'm taking or a strawman I'm building up, but an actual argument that comes from atheist ethicists I've read and some I know.
So would we kill someone for cutting us off in traffic? No. Would we kill the invalid who can't offer anything to society, or the one who will always take more from society than he can give? Yes.
Actually I think we were talking about an afterlife and not the existence of God, one is not necessarily a by product of the other.
Yes and no. I happen to believe that the logical conclusion of God existing and us existing because of Him is that there is an afterlife.
Regardless, we are moral ultimately because of our belief in God, not necessarily an afterlife. We're moral because we're afraid of what God will do to us once we're dead.
But let's be honest, if there isn't an afterlife then there is no justice. In fact, I would argue that being moral because there is an afterlife is perfectly legitimate and that such an argument comes from the Bible. Paul argued that if there is no resurrection (that is, afterlife), then we should eat and drink, for ultimately it wouldn't matter. He says even further that living a good life means nothing without the resurrection.
So while we should ultimately be good because we love God, we should also recognize that what we do on earth has impacts elsewhere, which is a reason for being moral.
Certainly you knew when I used the phrase "perfectly moral" I did not mean they were morally perfect, or perfect in their morality. Just a common expression "he's a perfectly nice person" does not mean he is 100% perfect in his "niceness".
Fair enough, but I would argue that while an atheist can be moral without God, he cannot be "good" in the sense of "holy." That goes for anyone actually, Christians included. Only until we submit to Christ and place Him as the head of our lives and begin to become like Him can we become more than moral, which is holy.
But Christ is the foundation of all ethics and all virtue comes from Him because He is virtue, He is goodness, so if we deny Him, we have denied the virtues. We might live virtuous lives, even lives better than some Christians, but ultimately we aren't "good."
Yes, I agree that it is, but should it be? I'm not so sure. However we'll never agree so I'll agree to disagree at the outset and live the fun debates to you all!
No, we actually agree.
I wasn't saying it should
be that way, merely that it is that way sometimes. It should be out of love, but for some it's not. Each grows according to how each is called.