When an Atheist claims a set of moral principles, those principles are always those which the Atheist either creates for himself, or which the Atheist has co-opted from somewhere because those principles are compatible and congenial to himself. The Atheist is not stressed in any manner to meet his own specifications for his own behaviors. Whatever principles he adopts for himself are congruent with his existing behaviors, and further, the principles can be amended immediately when a different behavior is desired. What the Atheist does consider to be fixed and rigid are his principles for the behaviors of others who are not himself or his tribe. These are not to be violated or invalidated, and to do so will be met with righteous indignation suitable to the Atheist’s presumed moral superiority.
The rejection which characterizes Atheism extends to all worldview principles, including the principles of Truth. For the Atheist, any declaration of truth is subjective, regardless of its substance and validation, unless it is a truth uttered by the Atheist himself. This leads to the de facto declaration that “it is true that there is no truth”, which under traditional, Aristotelian and Enlightenment thought is a self-refuting, paradoxical fallacy. But for the Atheist, for whom truth is not so determined, it is easily accepted as a First Principle.
There being no truth, hence there are no lies; and there is also neither good nor evil, except that which is so designated by the Atheist. There is nothing new about this; it was fully explored by Friedrich Nietzsche well over a century ago, and is fully explained in his book, “Beyond Good and Evil”. It is not an arbitrary declaration which he makes; it is an inevitable condition of Atheism.
”But if he does really think that there is no distinction between virtue and vice, why, Sir, when he leaves our houses let us count our spoons.
Samuel Johnson; Boswell’s “Life of Samuel Johnson” 1791.
Atheism is more than a mere rejection of the culture and norms of western civilization. It is also a simultaneous rejection of logic and morality, neither of which the Atheist wants applied to himself. Because the Atheist sees onerous restriction on himself by such logic and morality, he must reject everything which attaches to either. So logic and morality, having been rejected, must be inverted in order to avoid them in their standard forms. That is the genesis of Leftism, the rejection of Enlightenment principles.
“When I was a young man, being anxious to distinguish myself, I was perpetually starting new propositions. But I soon gave this over; for, I found that generally what was new was false”.
Samuel Johnson, quoting Goldsmith; “Boswell’s ‘Life of Samuel Johnson’”, 1791.
To be sure not all Atheists are Leftists, although most of them are. Christopher Hitchens was the standard bearer for non-Leftist Atheism. But what we see in common between them is the strident illogic with which both sides are afflicted due to their basic, same rejectionism of all prior normative standards.
Atheists usually respond, “You don’t know anything about Atheism”, and that right after (or before) having claimed that “Atheism is nothing but a lack of belief”, which itself is a claim of several facets: first, notice that there is no claim of morality attached to the “lack of belief”. Next, notice that they will not admit to having rejected any contrary arguments or evidence, which is because they don’t want to defend their own lack of arguments and evidence as well as find themselves required to use actual logic and/or science in their own defense of their rejections. In fact, the “lack of belief” concept is perfectly extensible to all “onerous” forms of “repressive” institutions which are rejected without rational cause.
Rejectionism extends to Free Thought, as well. Free Thought is anything but free; it is the Hegelian antithesis of free. Free Thought is just a name for a particular dogma. Free thinkers do not accept much thought at all, certainly not if it does not conform to their self-derived principles. The dogmatism of Free Thought is obvious and palpable. Normative cultural principles are not even acceptable topics for Free Thinkers except as objects of ridicule and hatred.
Which brings us to normative cultural principles and their treatment by Atheists, Leftists and Free Thinkers.
The primary normative cultural principle under attack today is the principle of “tolerance”, originally the Voltairian principle of defending the right to disagree, no matter to what degree. As they commonly do, the Atheist, Leftist, Free Thinkers use the word in an inverted fashion. What tolerance means to them is that all of their antics, regardless of the extent of purposeful insanity and provocation, must be tolerated to the point that those antics are the New Norm, fully accepted by everyone without exception. This naturally morphs into a moral position, and the contrary of that moral position (dissent) becomes the only evil known to the Atheist, Leftist, Free Thought self-designated moral policing juggernaut. Dissent must be eradicated by the defenders of the New Morality. These view themselves as Messiahs who are morally obligated to produce salvation through purges. And all prior normative institutions and their subscribers qualify is being purgeable as opportunity presents. Tolerance, the Votairian version, is swamped by self-righteous assertion of censorship.
Which brings us to the concept of “Free exercise of religion”, a phrase so potent and incorruptible that has had to be changed – to “freedom of worship”, the new Leftist term which conceptually is far different. Those afflicted with allegiance to the prior normative institutions and their meanings are now confronted with having to worship only as they are allowed, under “positive liberties” to worship, namely where such worship does not make the Atheists and Leftists physically ill and cause lawsuits such as the dozens of “cross” lawsuits filed by the FFRF, in the attempt to destroy by bankruptcy those who dissent from the all new cultural progress.
Thus the corruption of the language of moral principles, starting with corruption of the concept of tolerance into intolerance, and moving into the corruption of any other principle at the whim of the Atheist/Leftist, becomes the driving provocation of culture war, the war to eliminate all prior notions of morality and logic and to obtain total assent to the new inversions.
The second response to this revelation is always, “that’s not true”, “you are deluded”, and other useless denials. Notice that the response is never one of accommodation in the form of actual tolerance. Nor is there any logic, grounded and testable argument presented, nor are there any empirical experimental results presented. That is because they have none, and they know they have none.
If Atheists could refute all of this using science and logic, they would. But they can’t and they don’t, because their faith in science is a fallacy – ideological Scientism – and their use of logic is inverted into self-refutations. So what they resort to, again, is merely intellectual intransigence: the avoidance by redefining who they are, into who they are not: holders of non-beliefs.
Boswell: “He is totally unfixed in his principles, and wants to puzzle other people. I said his principles had been poisoned by an infidel writer, but that he was, nevertheless, a benevolent, good man.
Johnson: ”We can have no dependence upon that instinctive, that constitutional goodness which is not founded on principle. I grant you that such a man may be a very amiable member of society. I can conceive him placed in such a situation that he is not much tempted to deviate from what is right; and as every man prefers virtue, when there is not some strong incitement to transgress its precepts, I can conceive of him doing nothing wrong. But if such a man stood in need of money, I should not like to trust him; and I should certainly not trust him with young ladies, for there is always temptation. Hume and other skeptical innovators, are vain men, and will gratify themselves at any expence. Truth will not afford sufficient food for their vanity; so they have betaken themselves to errour. Truth, Sir, is a cow which will yield such people no more milk, and so they are gone to milk the bull. ”
Samuel Johnson; Boswell’s “Life of Samuel Johnson”