Consider these words from the famous agnostic philosopher, Bertrand Russell:
All the labors of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and the whole temple of man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins. All these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.
Russell, Why I am Not a Christian ( 1957), p. 107
Christian philosopher Dr. William Lane Craig totally agrees with Russell’s assessment of reality when it is considered through the lens of an atheistic worldview:
Scientists tell us that the universe is expanding, and the galaxies are growing farther and farther apart. As it does so, it grows colder and colder as its energy is used up. Eventually, all the stars will burn out, all all matter will collapse into dead stars and black holes. There will be no light; there will be no heat; there will be no life; only the corpses of dead stars and galaxies, ever expanding into the endless darkness and the cold recesses of space–a universe in ruins…Not only is the life of each individual person doomed; the entire human race and the whole edifice and accomplishment of human civilization is doomed…There is no escape. There is no hope.
Craig, On Guard (2010), p. 31
So, in a consistent atheistic paradigm, there is no ultimate value in ANYTHING. One day, it will all be gone without a trace, and mankind may as well have never existed. All of man’s intellectual, artistic, and philanthropic achievements will have been for naught Great efforts to save the planet, conserve natural resources, and make life better for future generations will have been futile, at best. . Social justice and individual liberties don’t even matter if everything is destined for obliteration, anyway.
According to atheism, everything we know and experience came from stardust, and will, in time, return to stardust. Our lives are those of briefly animated cosmic dust bunnies.
Now, the curious thing is, proponents of atheism rarely behave like they actually believe their own philosophy. They fight court cases to have religious insignia removed from public property, to prevent students from saying a prayer aloud at highschool sporting events and graduation ceremonies. They form organizations such as the Humanist Association of America to recruit others into atheism and fight for atheist “rights.” They create websites dedicated to bashing religious faith and they post words of hatred and mockery on religious websites and in online reviews of religious books. You can’t even read a science or faith-related article on any given news website without atheists spewing their crude, demeaning comments towards people of faith in the comments section.
The defenders of Darwinism are the most interesting of the lot, in my opinion. Take Richard Dawkins, P.Z. Myers, and Eugenie Scott, for example. They’ve dedicated their lives to the cause of promoting evolutionary theory, participating in court battles, writing books and articles, and fighting in the textbook wars, trying to prevent the scientific weaknesses of Darwinian theory from being mentioned in public school classrooms. They tear down advocates of intelligent design at every available opportunity. Now, whether nor not evolutionary theory is true, there is simply no logic in Myers’, Dawkins’, and Scott’s passionate tirades against dissenters from Darwinism. Because, in the atheistic belief system, why on earth does it matter what anyone believes about the origin and diversification of life? Seriously, I just don’t get it. A consistent atheist wouldn’t care what anyone else believes about biological history, because in the grand scheme of the universe, one which is running down to an inevitable demise, it will not have mattered one way or the other what anyone believed about anything. Why aren’t these guys off living lives of hedonism, simply not caring about anyone besides themselves?
It is a pragmatic denial of the logical conclusion of atheism. In one breath, Dawkins will wax eloquent about the meaninglessness of life, and in the next breath he’s attacking those who disagree with his scientific views. He, and others like him, fail to live and behave consistently.
But, wonder of wonders, there are some who eventually own up to the true implications of atheism. Case in point: My dear friend Dr. Holly Ordway, former atheist and the author of Not God’s Type: A Rational Academic Finds a Radical Faith, has shared the story of her personal reaction to the atrocities of September 11th, 2001 and her subsequent attempt to resolve the inconsistency:
On 9/11 I was at first genuinely shocked by that vicious destruction of innocent life, until I began to rationalize myself out of my emotional reaction. What did these people matter to me? Why should I grieve for strangers? (p. 27)
Exactly. The beautiful thing about the rest of Holly’s story is that her realizations spurred her on to a lengthy intellectual scrutiny of the claims of Christianity, and her life was radically changed.
Rarely does an atheist live consistently within their worldview. If they try to be consistent, they find that they can’t maintain such a life for very long. (I mean, what would they do with themselves if they didn’t dedicate so much time to criticizing theists and simply “live and let live”?) What is it to one cosmic dust bunny what another cosmic dust bunny believes while roaming this finite planet? Beats me.