The viability of atheism is one of the questions atheists like to avoid. Most of the time they feel very optimistic about their choice and they never question method that brought us modern medicine, internet and general all around prosperity. What’s not to like?
Occasionally they puzzle themselves with the question of morals and ethics because religionists accuse them of not having any but somehow they answered it to themselves already. I say to themselves because I haven’t seen them giving it away in an easily understood form yet. There are books about atheism based morals, they say, it’s all in there, all done, solved, and shelved, no more questions.
This is another example of their favorite cop out method – when they can’t answer something they give you a lot of homework and shame you in not reading and not knowing enough. It is kind of understandable because they might be lazy to go through ABCs of atheism over and over again but this “go read a book, then you will understand” answer is never going to work.
The root of our disagreement is not in reading too little, it’s in interpreting what we read in a different way. Christians understand it and that’s why they generally don’t tell atheists “go read the Bible, it’s all explained there”, they know that atheists will twist the meaning of Biblical verses and stories in their own way. They know that most of their opposition to religion comes from misreading the Bible and from being very critical about it. That’s why Christians would rather go out of their way to explain Biblical answers correctly themselves.
Atheists, OTOH, haven’t matured to this stage yet, they think that all we ever need is to read some book they themselves got very excited about and we’ll embrace atheism with all our hearts and minds. This attitude manifests in different ways – very often they assume that we have never ever heard any of their arguments about evolution, for example. It doesn’t occur to them that we went to same schools and universities and that we’ve seen all their arguments many many years ago. They didn’t work on us then and they won’t work now, been there, done that.
So, they mask their own lack of understanding of their own atheism by referring us to books written by allegedly smart people, which is fine, if only they admitted that they don’t get it themselves. Usually, however, the suggestion to seek answers elsewhere is accompanied with a heavy doze of self-righteousness and grand display of superiority, as if we are the only ones who need to be schooled.
Anyway, atheist morals and ethics is a complex issue. They have inherited them from Christian societies, which, in turn have corrupted them under the influence of Kali Yuga, and that, in turn, caused the rise of atheism because religions started to suck. So now we have no clear basis for comparison between moral and ethical values because we never know who contributed what and when. Even if atheists manage to preserve Christian values better than Christians themselves, can these values be considered as atheists? Or should we look for some new values they build from ground up?
And what about questions about values themselves? Who says that social injustice, for example, is bad? Maybe human herd needs thinning for the better future, maybe it’s a necessary step from evolutionist POV.
There’s, however, a much simpler and hard to disagree argument against viability of atheism as a social model – demographics.
Hard numbers are there for all to see and interpretations are uniform. Secular societies with high percentage of atheists do not reproduce enough to sustain their population and so it’s only a matter of time before they become extinct. None of the countries which pride themselves on being secular and atheistic have fertility rates that replenish the population.
So far their only answer to aging society has been immigration, and these immigrants are usually fast breeding Muslims who prop up overall population numbers and lull atheists in a false sense of security.
France has the highest percentage of atheists in whole of Europe, 40%, and France also has the highest birth rates in whole of Europe, so the problem is not obvious, but the truth is that fertility rates among white, native French women who supposedly make the bulk of their atheist population are 15% lower than their national average. To put it in perspective – drop in 15% fertility translates into 50 places drop in world fertility rankings and suddenly white, secular France looks destined for extinction, just as the rest of atheist world.
There’s a theory of demographic transition from high birth rates, high mortality to low fertility, high longevity we observe in developed countries today. It’s a theory in a sense that it supposed to happen to every society but its observational part is just hard numbers, nothing to interpret there. It ends up with shrinking population everywhere it works, and so far it works in countries where atheism is on the rise.
We can argue about correlation and causation if we want to but the fact remains – there isn’t a single atheist society that manages to maintain its population.
There are only a couple of exceptions – China and USSR. China is nominally atheist but their society is so filled with superstitions and cultural hang ups that no self-respecting atheist would count Chinese among their ranks. Besides, demographic transition theory in developed parts of China works just fine.
USSR was an example of sustainable atheist society until it wasn’t. Without enforced state propaganda the number of atheists in Russia shrank to some 13%, which is an argument against viability of atheism on its own, without even touching on demographics.
AFAIK, our local atheists are still not aware of this threat to their very existence and if we come across them we should mention it. I said “local” because atheism is not restricted to the Earth and we don’t know how asuras live on their dedicated planets. I don’t think we need to mention it at all but it’s an interesting question nevertheless, just not from the preaching point of view.