Today is the first Sunday of Advent and we start to celebrate the coming of the Christ child.  I’ve been musing of late what must it be like to reject the Christ child and the teachings of Christ?  What must it be like to reject God entirely and the ten commandments?   What must it be like to reject that staple of all religions – the Golden Rule?  What must it be like to think there is nothing at all out there beyond the material world  – that everything just happened – that we are all accidents —  that we have no purpose – that we just appeared here on earth and there is no game plan at all?

So I’ve been browsing various atheist sites to find out what they believe.   Or don’t believe.  When they get up in the morning how do they decide what to do?  Do they have a code of ethics?  From whence?

Atheism, of course, denies the existence of a God or gods.  So, of course, there’s nothing out there.  Why am I dismayed to find such a vast emptiness?  It seems atheists are  expected to devise their own code of ethics.   They can choose what they like from the surrounding culture, whatever helps them to get by, to fit in.    They have no maker, their life has no meaning, they are here today and gone tomorrow.   Into oblivion.

One site said: “In general, a personal code of ethics would not cause harm to others, would be anchored in truth and would strive to make society a better place.”

Another writer thinks:   “Morality is, at bottom, a matter of logic. If we are fair in our dealings with other people, help them when necessary and avoid harming them if we can, then it is likely they will be fair in their dealings with us. Atheists are quite capable of working this out without reference to anyone else’s myth system or imaginary friend.”

It would seem then that atheists have some sort of inherent penchant for truth and fairness and they would consider lying and hurting others wrong?  Have they fallen back here on the Golden Rule – to treat others as we would have them treat us?  If they could just move another step further to “love one another” they would be proclaiming the basic tenet of most religions.  After all, the other name of the Christian God is Love.

But no.  Atheists talk with difficulty about love.   For the atheist Love is not a person apart – a spiritual being, goodness personified.  For the atheist  love is but a hormonal event, an atomic movement, a brain happening, not something chosen and willed by their spiritual part.   They have no spiritual part.

In her blog,  Conversion Diary, Jennifer, a former atheist, writes about the moral rectitude of her atheist father.  And why it was not enough for her.

When I contemplate a Godless universe I feel a desolation akin to that of Macbeth.

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

On the other hand,  here is a comment on the Conversion Diary blog that resonated with me:

Besides, the whole gig is pretty short.  Less than a hundred    years.
I know it is tough. Boy, I know it.
But it is also indescribably beautiful.
That is another proof of Him.

I think if I were an atheist I would be loathe to discount the testimonies of innumerable otherwise trustworthy people.   I would cry out, “Hello, God?  If you’re really there, I want to know you.”

~~~

When Gentiles who do not have the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law.  They show what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.  – Romans 2:14-16