Atheism’s problem of truth.

It is no surprise that Atheists have values. Many are very upstanding people, not the baby-murdering, puppy-kicking deviants some might expect them to be. Most, especially the more out-spoken of their kind value truth. They believe that truth is important, it is valuable and worth pursuing. That is the very reason they preach that their view is superior to that of religion, because they have truth on their side and it is better to know the truth than not. They say that religion preaches lies and deceives people, and that should be avoided because that is not true.

Implicit in all this, though, is that truth is good, not-truth is bad.

Let me know if any Atheists reading this disagree with anything I’ve said so far. I think it’s safe to say that atheists think truth is good, otherwise they wouldn’t be so vocal about the issue.

Here’s the thing though: this is inconsistent with their own worldview.

To say that truth is good and not-truth is bad is to assign an inherent moral value to truth and non-truth. This is more than saying it is nice to pursue or know truth, or that you personally prefer to do so. This is to say that even if everyone on the planet unquestionably believed non-truth, this would be bad and it would still be better to believe what is true.

If perhaps you think an atheist might disagree with that statement, I would simply pose this scenario. Let’s say that everyone on earth unquestionably believed that the earth was only 6,000 years old, and God created every life form in six days fully formed (and for clarification, I am not a Young-Earth Creationist.). Would this be bad, good, or neither?

The thing about valuing truth, to insisting that other people believe it, to say it is the better way to go, to assign a moral value to truth, implies morality. It is to imply an objective morality by which we judge truth to be good and assign it that value.

Simply put:

1. If truth is morally good, then there is an objective morality

2. Truth is morally good

3. Therefore, there is an objective morality (from 1 & 2).

If we bypass the problems materialistic/naturalistic atheists would have with the existence of abstract things such as an objective morality, we can focus on the big problem this poses for atheism  as a whole.

Simply put: if objective morality exists, then God must exist.

Now, others have written extensively on the moral argument for God’s existence (see point 3 here, for instance) But, let’s summarize the argument here:

  1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.

  2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.

  3. Therefore, God exists.

Let’s then insert my argument from above:

Simply put:

1. If truth is morally good, then there is an objective morality

2. Truth is morally good

3. Therefore, there is an objective morality

And combine the two into:

1. If God does not exist, then moral values and duties do not exist.

2. If truth is morally good, then moral values and duties do exist.

3. Truth is morally good.

4. Therefore, objective moral values and duties do exist (from 2 & 3).

5. Therefore, God exists (from 1 & 4).

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2 thoughts on “Atheism’s problem of truth.

  1. In reference to your first paragraph I would disagree that Atheists say that ‘religion preaches lies and deceives people’. Many who disdain organized religion see it as a corrupted, politically motivated institution that has forgotten or in the least set aside the positive tenets on which it was originally based.

    • Differences of personal experience. Pretty much every Atheist I’ve personally known has said exactly that. Also those that adhere to the “New Atheism”, and the outspoken proponents of that view hold to that. Obviously my blog post was addressed to those that do indeed hold that view.

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