Are theists nihilists?

I’ve just engaged with someone on Twitter and the last thing I said was ‘if we are made in god’s image then his image is annihilation, making theists nihilists’, and this got me thinking about the amount of times theists have claimed that atheism is built around nihilism, and thus deem everything worthless as the universe appeared randomly. The first question that I’d ask here is how does anyone know for sure that the birth of the universe was random. How does anyone known that there wasn’t a natural chain of events that led to the primeval atom? Scientists can go back in time and roughly assert when the universe began, but whilst there are strong theories of why it happened, no one knows how and what led to it. We could get really deep into theories but instead I’m going to focus on creationism and how belief in that can allegedly give life purpose.

Theists who believe that their gods created everything from nothing centre around the Abrahamic faiths, and insist the universe and all life is created by an all-powerful, all-knowing supreme being that created us so that we can serve him. If you can find someone who’s suffered a life of slavery, ask if they felt their like had purpose or meaning by having to fear and obey their master, or upon judgement they’d be treated accordingly to their behaviour. This obviously leads to sin and temptation, and in the mind of the religious to lead a virtuous, sin-free life, then you must obey the rules set out, and resist temptation. Only by following these rules does it give you the illusion of morality as obeying the will of your master potentially leads to reward in the next life, or afterlife. Theists often see this life as a rehearsal for the next, and they don’t care about the state the planet is left in, as this life is just to seek salvation from Christ, or whoever they believe in so they have promise of fulfilment after death. Many theists don’t accept climate change, or many of the other ecological problems we face as they believe god has a purpose and as mere humans we are to serve not to question.

Theists are always saying that atheists believe the universe started randomly and everything we see came from random events. This means that if everything is without purpose, then it’s meaningless. What a miserable point of view to project onto people who aren’t willing to accept god created us. Even if life is random, which there’s clearly no doubt as evolution is only influenced by survival, what makes the birth of life, and the trillions of objects of life on the Earth without meaning? We still don’t know, however likely it is, that we might be the only planet that’s in the right location to harbour life. Just imagine we are alone in the universe, this makes the randomness of Earth building life have meaning, as it’s said that life is precious.

Regarding the title of this article, do I think theists are nihilists? Well, the evidence speaks for itself. We are all allegedly built in the image of god. God is vengeful. He brutal. He’s unforgiving. He’s jealous. He wants everything his own way and be the only god his flock worship. He’s destroyed the planet bar everything that lived on the ARK, yet theists are convinced that what he did in the Great Flood was justified as his perfect creation had gone rogue and he no longer had control over us as he allegedly gave us free will to be whatever we desired. This all-powerful god allows death and destruction spread throughout this world and never prevents any of it. We are in the midst of a pandemic that god could have prevented, but he clearly enjoys watching destruction and his servants lap it up and claim that wearing masks during COVID-19 is an infringement on their rights. If that isn’t a case for theistic nihilism I don’t know what is.

A few musings on the absurdity of religious objective morality

I’ve been thinking about the objective morality conundrum and as it stands it seems to be the non-theistic who accept that morality’s subjective and you always do, when possible, the right thing as that’s what we are meant to do as a social species who thrives to survive. Humans have intrinsically developed emotions through evolutionary processes like natural selection, which is the ability to survive and prosper within their society, ecosystem and environment. Empathy, humility and compassion have come into play, as to live a virtuous life there has to be standards of behaviour and boundaries that shouldn’t ever be crossed: ie murder or rape as they inflict harm against and violate basic human rights.

If you try and adopt a variation of the golden rule where do unto others as you wish done to you, then as long as you make decisions that are within your control that amount to the greater good then virtuosity can be achieved. Religions like Buddhism, Taoism and Jainism are all based on philosophies that attempt to reach spiritual enlightenment where they can be the most virtuous person possible. What’s to be noted is each is a religion, or arguably a philosophy, that has no faith in gods or deities, and their main focuses are to eliminate suffering. Buddhism uses the Noble Eightfold Path as a basis for their outlook on life, and through their idea of moral virtues one should do three things to live a moral life. Say the right thing, do the right thing and live a life without greed, envy, hatred or amoral activities.

So taking all of that into account, there’s no need for the ridiculous notion that only through a spiritual law giver can objective morality be achieved. Objective means fact, that’s presented without bias, opinion or influence. I’m going to use Christianity as a prime example. Many schisms have broken away from Christianity and have gone on to form other sects, like Catholicism, Protestantism, Eastern Orthodox, Jehovah’s witnesses and Baptists. Each interpret their religious scripture differently, and adhere, if they are truly faithful, to the tenets and doctrines that their religion has implemented for them to be righteous under their particular faith in their god.

Despite Judaism having the mitzvahs, and Christianity having the Decalogue (Ten Commandments), there are still grey areas that their alleged moral compass doesn’t cover, as society has changed in the last few thousand years and we’ve developed dramatically, and the world is a radically different place than it was when Jesus allegedly walked the Earth and presented the people of Israel with the gospels. Areas like slavery, animal cruelty, racial equality, religious freedom, freedom from religion, secularism, liberalism, same sex and LBGTQ rights, gender equality are all areas that religious teachings don’t even brush the surface about, so how can any religion claim to have objective moral standards?

So not only do different sects of faiths have different ideologies, rituals, dogmas, tenets, doctrines, traditions, worship, beliefs and expectations, people still attempt to claim that religions that are following the Christian god observe objective morality. Put so simple a child could understand, if two religions have different viewpoints about an ideology then it’s opinion based, or influence based, and it’s subjective. This isn’t even taking in to account that for a law giver’s moral code to be valid, there must be evidence of their law giver’s existence and this isn’t universally accepted. If something isn’t universally accepted then it can’t be objective.

Emanuel Kant came up with the Kantian Ideology which briefly summed up means so that a person could do the right thing because it’s their duty, and as soon as the motivation of reward comes into play, the action cannot be considered moral as it’s fuelled by agenda. The idea of Kant’s ‘Good Will’ is a rational basis for trying to lead a moral, ethical and virtuous life. Doing something that you think is good doesn’t make it good, it’s the intent behind your decision to take action that determines if it’s an act of good will. If there’s incentive to follow a code as it’s expected of you because your Holy book says so, and if you don’t obey, you could upset your god and upon judgement you could be punished, that’s not even remotely a basis of morality.

The Primordial Soup theory

The primordial soup theory, or the prebiotic broth theory was initially suggested by Russian biologist Aleksandr Oparin in 1924, and English geneticist J.B.S Haldane, in 1929 as an explanation for the origin of life on Earth. The theory involves an atmosphere of chemicals reacting to an application of external energy to create amino acids, which are the building blocks or proteins which create life. The genetic code found within DNA is responsible for creating proteins, and over billions of years they’ve evolved from simple structures to incredibly complicated life forms we are surrounded with today.

“The primordial soup is a generic term that describes the aqueous solution of organic compounds that accumulated in primitive water bodies of the early Earth as a result of endogenous abiotic syntheses and the extraterrestrial delivery by cometary and meteoritic collisions, and from which some have assumed that the first living systems evolved.” – Source

“Researchers have produced data supporting the idea that 10 amino acids believed to exist on Earth around 4 billion years ago were capable of forming foldable proteins in a high-salt (halophile) environment. Such proteins would have been capable of providing metabolic activity for the first living organisms to emerge on the planet between 3.5 and 3.9 billion years ago.” – Source

The experiment created by Miller-Urey was found to have contained possibly double the amino acids needed for life. Theists argue against the idea of life coming from non-life as they rarely understand evolution as they can’t comprehend the length of time it took to move from microorganisms to complex organism that have billions of cells in their make up.

Another hypothesis that some scientists claim is more feasible is the panspermia theory, which is the idea that the universe is full of life, and at the time of Earth’s early years the solar system was littered with meteors and comets and that they were carrying microorganisms (extremophiles) that are able to survive the harshest conditions hit the Earth and created life. Extremophiles are considered the most abundant life forms on Earth and are found in the harshest climates like Antarctica which is obviously extremely cold temperatures and high UV radiation. Astrobiologists claim that the conditions of Antarctica are comparable to the surface of Mars, and if there’s life below the ice of Antarctica, then life can also exist below the surface of Mars.