Atheism and the Death of Morality
“God is dead”; the contract has expired: but what does this mean for morality? Nietzsche proposed this question, and thereafter regarded growing secularism was effectively “killing off the bible”; that which has promised eternal afterlife, and forsaken those who “cheat, steal, and murder”. In retrospect many think Nietzsche’s philosophy right, and so well in post-dictating characters like Hitler and Stalin. However, the fact is that atheism has no role in Western mankind’s “death of morality”, being that this is the 22nd Century and there’s a different set of rules.
The fact of the matter is The Bible hasn’t been a “gold standard” for moral behavior for a while; it is other, more complex frameworks that hold mankind to a necessary handful of morals. In this net of morality there exists two foundations, intrinsic and extrinsic, and both are dynamic but separate. Examples of external frameworks are tradition, government, and law. For certain, as Homo sapiens are animals of nature, we are all subject in some sense to the same observations Charles Darwin may have applied to chickens and tree frogs; these from which can the intrinsic factors be derived. In any sense, we should not rule that since “god is dead”, there have been no causal relations to the time’s morality, but understand that the effect is minimal.
I would like to elaborate that we all say “yes to life” (Nietzsche), however we might have answered “The Eternal Recurrence”. It’s primal instinct to answer “yes” to such a question, regardless the mistakes or regrets one has, I speak of the same primal instinct a squirrel or mountain lion also carries. Furthermore, when looking at the question with a finer pick, I raise my own question, if one were to answer “no” in their deepest sincerity, would they not prefer to kill themselves? I think this is the case, for the fundamental question at hand is: do you prefer to live. These hypothetical scenarios are in disregard of the supposed eternal afterlife, one would and I hope for obvious reasons, choose to live in Heaven than on Earth; for those with faith “no” would seem an appropriate answer.
Similarly, taking the idea that we all say “yes to life”, wouldn’t most of us disagree with “murdering thy neighbor” on a subjective basis? I think this is the case, and the reason being that if one were to murder another, he who had been murdered would not share that same right.
Existentialism has strong arguments for the extrinsic network that protects our morals. Many of these Existentialist philosophers have exclaimed that freedom comes with great fear and anxiety, and this is proven true. In our lives we share a common government written in law, and we see the power of this law everyday. Maybe you are the person who finds seat belts uncomfortable and choose not to wear them, but when passing a highway patrolman, would you consider buckling up? Similarly, we see others being locked in jail for crimes, and in our freedom, fear the responsibility of such crimes. This anxiety we carry upholds a shared moral standard.
Moreover, the essence vs. existence problem is deeply invested in this discussion. In any case of which comes first, both can be recognized, where essence is tradition, government, law, etc, and existence is in our DNA, our primal instincts. I believe that the standards of The Bible were strongly influential over essence in the past. These new safeties I’ve discussed are more effective because in the sense of the Bible, one could be forgiven his sins for an exchange of words. All things considered, atheism has no part in the “Death of Morality”, and I do plan to elaborate on these ideas in later papers.