Update: Sep 1 2011
I just realized that I never included a disclaimer on this post before I put it live. That would explain some of the nasty comments that were provided on this blog.
This essay was originally submitted as an undergrad paper when I was at the University of Toronto. It was a thought experiment and I was asked to answer the question, “Should Athiests have children?” This was my response. That being said, I would never consider imposing this on anyone in real life. It was a thought experiment. Nothing more.
I do still stand by my original logic on this topic, but I would never impose this on others or expect it to be applied in society.
In fact, out of all of the comments to this story, I am disappointed that nobody highlighted the main logic flaw with my argument (one that I knew when I wrote it, but realized that it could not be avoided). The flaw was that this same argument (of a purposeless existence) could easily be applied from the athiestic’s perspective towards a religious observer. The problem with this debate is that objective proof cannot be provided either way, which means that this debate will continue, with neither side able to completely substantiate their claims.
Regardless, for those that I have offended… relax. I’m not taking your babies away from you.
And, just an FYI that my creative juices are flowing again. I should have some new and original content on this site shortly.
In the next few posts, I will be asking the following question: Is it morally or ethically responsible for an atheist to bring children into the world, since that atheist subscribes to a worldview that is negative.
I will argue that the atheist is being morally and ethically irresponsible by bringing a child into the world since that same atheist subscribes to a worldview that lacks meaning, which I will argue is a terrible form of punishment. Thus, an atheist, by having children, is acting inappropriately by exposing children to not only the dangers of the world in which we live, but also with inadequate responses in the form of healthy worldviews that can be used to cope with these worldly dangers.
First, I will outline what it means to be an atheist, providing examples from Bertrand Russell and Friedrich Nietzsche. Next I will discuss the negative aspects of the atheistic worldview, thus pointing out the reasons that atheists are being reckless in bringing children into this reality in spite of their negative worldview. Third, I will explain what moral and ethical obligations an atheist has in the world. Finally, I will highlight the contradiction posed by the question of creating life in a meaningless existence. My paper will hinge upon adequately addressing the question of whether or not a life described by atheism is worth living.
Both Bertrand Russell and C.S. Lewis subscribed to similar definitions of atheism:
- “An atheist, like a Christian, holds that we can know whether or not there is a God. The Christian holds that we can know there is a God; the atheist, that we can know there is not.” – Bertrand Russell, What Is An Agnostic? pg 577
- “Some people believe that nothing exists except Nature; I call these people Naturalists. Others think that, besides Nature, there exists something else: I call them Supernaturalists.” – C.S. Lewis, Miracles, New York, New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 1947, restored 1996, pg 5-6
Atheism claims that God, as divine creator, is a myth and that the natural world can be completely explained through natural means. Whether or not we, as humans, can comprehend the science behind those natural means is debatable, but regardless, atheists claim that God is not required in our existence.Russell, as an atheist, suggests that the world is generally bad. Russell argues that since, in his opinion, the world is lacking in justice, God must not exist.
- “Supposing you got a crate of oranges that you opened, and you found all the top layer of oranges bad, you would not argue: ‘The underneath ones must be good, so as to redress the balance,’ You would say: ‘Probably the whole lot is a bad consignment’; and that is really what a scientific person would argue about the universe. He would say: ‘Here we find in this world a great deal of injustice and so far as that goes that is a reason for supposing that justice does not rule in the world; and therefore so far as it goes it affords a moral argument against a deity and not in favour of one.’” – Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not A Christian, pg 591.
To Russell, God is an invention created by those that need God as a safety net: “Then I think that the next most powerful reason is the wish for safety, a sort of feeling that there is a big brother who will look after you. That plays a very profound part in influencing people’s desire for a belief in God.” [Russell, Christian, pg 591] As with other social critiques of religion, God exists solely to placate the practitioner into feeling comfort that justice will be served in a future life for perceived injustices that are experienced in this life. Using the concept of God, argues the atheist, is too convenience, especially considering the lack of scientific evidence to explain the existence of God. I counter that the scientific evidence is all around us to explain the existence of God.