Friday, April 17, 2009

Do Atheists Care About Others?

Answers in Genesis, a young-earth creationist organization, has a disturbing campaign arguing that you matter to God. The campaign has a signature video depicting a boy walking up to the camera, looking the viewer in the eye, then pointing a gun at the camera and firing it. The caption reads, "If God doesn't matter to him, do you?" The implication is that if you don't believe in God, you have no reason not to walk up and shoot people in the face. After all, what do you care, right?

AIG has received much press for their campaign, many of it negative, something that I think they were hoping for. They have a page up explaining their rationale, and it only fuels the stereotypes and hateful thinking that the video expresses.

Every day we are inundated with evolution-based messages intended to remove the Creator from the fabric of our society, our lives, our thoughts. But if we evolved from lower life forms, then the Bible can’t be trusted and life’s supposed billion-year history is one of continual death and struggle.3 If the Bible isn’t true, then why should we be fair and kind and love our fellow human beings, as the Bible teaches?4 After all, evolution relies on survival of the fittest—no matter who gets in the way.

The theory of evolution was intended to explain the rich diversity of the biosphere on planet Earth. It was NOT intended to remove a belief for a specific creator-deity, no more than studying North Pole climate is intended to remove belief of Santa Claus from society. Granted, an acceptance of the theory of evolution does make it difficult to also accept a literal interpretation of Genesis which was written based on sixth-century B.C. scientific knowledge. In twenty-six hundred years since the era of ancient Babylonia, humans--Christian and non-Christian--have learned a few things about the world, such as its true shape, its position with regard to the sun, and the framework of the wide variety of life. What AIG can't seem to understand is that most Christians accept evolution just fine--they simply feel that it was God's primary tool for creating the life that Genesis said he did.

Those who feel that neither they nor their actions matter to God lose their motivation to care for the lives of others or for their own life.

This is at best an unproved assertion and at worst an outright lie. Atheists, agnostics, and non-believers around the world all care for their families, their friends, and their communities. If this were not the case, then the sociological results would be clearly obvious: atheists would not be married or have children; agnostics would crowd our prisons; non-believers would all be anarchists bent on destruction. The fact that these social behaviors are certainly not true demonstrates that AIG may claim that atheists don't care about others, but in reality, AIG doesn't care about the truth.

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