Can Atheists Be Good Without God?

Certainly, atheists can be good without God. But the question is: How do they determine the basis for moral values and duties? Pastor Kerry explores this question in this video.

Can atheists be good people without God?

Yes. Some atheists might behave better than Christians. That’s not the question.

Here’s a better one. Do atheists have a good basis for moral values and duties?

Some think they do.

They say that people should aim to promote “human flourishing”.

Oops. There’s a little sleight-of-hand going on here. But before we reveal that, let’s talk about some other problems with this “human flourishing” point-of-view.

First, there’s the “what” problem.

What promotes human flourishing? It’s a little harder to decide than you might think, especially considering the law of unintended consequences. Chairman Mao found this out the hard way.

In 1958, he launched the “Great Leap Forward” to promote the flourishing of China. During that initiative, he mobilized the population to embrace the “Four Pests Campaign” to eliminate critters that promote pestilence and disease, including flies, mosquitoes, rats and sparrows. Seems reasonable. So, the people went to work. By the time they were done, the sparrows were wiped out but not without catastrophic results.

Yes, those pesky sparrows did eat the farmers’ seed, but they also mostly ate insects. And with the sparrows gone, China was overrun with locusts resulting in one of history’s greatest famines in which 20-45 million people died.

When it comes to promoting human flourishing, humans are notoriously bad at getting it right.

Besides the “what” problem, there’s the “who” problem.

Who gets to decide what promotes human flourishing?

Take this little quiz. What did all these men have in common: Mao, Hitler, Stalin, Castro, and Pol Pot? They all thought they knew for sure how to build a better world. They were all guided by their version of human flourishing, but they were horribly misguided.

Somebody’s going to decide what course to take to promote human flourishing. Somebody’s going to drive the bus. And history has proven that “human flourishing” bus drivers often veer off the cliff.

Okay, the “what” and the “who” are big problems for the doctrine of atheistic “human flourishing,” but that’s not where the sleight-of-hand comes in.

Here it is: Human flourishing is already a good. So, how can it be the basis of all good? The argument goes in a circle.

Do you want a stronger foundation for doing good? Look to God. He’s the basis of moral values and duties that promotes true human flourishing.

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Compass Church (Elks Lodge Chapel)

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