List of Atheists’ Quotes Proposing Amorality

Wayne Jackson responded to “atheists” who may ask “How atheism is amoral?” and so he wrote “Atheism: The ‘Church’ of Amorality.” Jackson also presented a list of atheists’ quotes on morality:

  1. Atheist philosopher Jean Paul Sartre wrote: “Everything is indeed permitted if God does not exist” (Marsak 1961, 484).
  2. Britain’s celebrated atheist, the late Bertrand Russell, declared:
    “Outside human desires there is no moral standard” (1957, 62).
  3. The late George G. Simpson of Harvard, affectionally known as “Mr. Evolution,” declared that man’s discovery [allegedly] that the universe lacks “any purpose or plan has the inevitable corollary that the workings of the universe cannot provide any automatic, universal, eternal, or absolute ethical criteria of right and wrong” (1949, 345). Where, then, does that leave us?
  4. Atheist historian William Provine has declared: “Except for the laws of probability and cause and effect, there is no organizing principle in the world and no purpose. Thus, there are no moral or ethical laws that belong to the nature of things, no absolute guiding principles for human society” (Schaeffer 1982, 104-105). Add to this the fact that Provine denies that human beings even have “freewill,” and you really have a mess. No one is accountable for anything he does!
  5. Or consider the standard of Dan Barker, a former Pentecostal preacher who fancies himself as the “Einstein” of atheism. Barker contends that “morality is a simple matter of kindness, respect, and reason.” He continues: “[R]elativism is all we’ve got [sic]” (1992, 323). But what if one does not care about “kindness” or “respect”? What if he chooses to trample over others with rape, robbery, and murder? Has he done anything “wrong”? Should he be tried and imprisoned for following what is “reasonable” to him? Whose “reason” is the standard? Dan Barker’s or Adolf Hitler’s? When one argues that “man” or “nature” is the measure of morality, he leaves the door open for every imaginable atrocity in the lexicon of human brutality.
  6. The Humanist Manifestos I and II states: “Ethics is autonomous [meaning ‘self-law’] and situational” (1977, 17). If man is his own law, he never can be wrong in anything he does!”

About Scott J Shifferd

Minister, church of Christ in Jacksonville, FL. Husband and father of four. Email: ScottJon82[at]
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6 Responses to List of Atheists’ Quotes Proposing Amorality

  1. Scott says:

    Mr. Skinner,

    Yes, you’re right. The belief that Jesus is the Christ is a common ideology just like atheism. You’re also right that most believers in Christ follow a few commands of the Old and the New Testament, which ever way they want without any reason to it. I don’t. I follow the only commands of the New, which may include some from Old (Heb. 8:13) and I follow the principles of the Old as we are commanded (Rom. 15:4).

    Are computers what separate us from the 1st century standard of living? I know you don’t think this is the only thing and for this again I agree. I think you’d be surprised at their standard of living in Israel in the 1st century is not much different from 200 years ago. We do have many different toys today.

    Where in the Bible did Jesus tell all of His disciples to sell all things? Why was Jesus wearing clothes? Why did He have a house in Capernaum?

    Now, given my logic from God, yeah you’re right, I am condemned, but not because I own a computer. We all are self-condemned (John 3:17-20). We’ve earned it (Rom. 6:23). We’ve all sinned (Rom. 3:23). our consciences testify to this. We’ve separated ourselves from God and may go into eternity that way if we do not repent (Acts 17:30, 2 Thes. 1:7-9). That’s the whole point of Jesus. He died to satisfy our separation from God, our spiritual death and conquer it.

    You say morality is learned while other atheists say that it isn’t. If you want to insist on not having a conscience, then go ahead. Why do you not feel guilt?


  2. Samuel Skinner says:

    Because Christians have a common doctrine and creed. You do sort of half the New and Old Testament available for everyone to read.

    So, it is a common ideology.

    You are using a computer. You have a standard of living that would make the rich in Jesus’s day look like poverty stricken beggars. Jesus asked all his followers to give away their possessions. You have not. Given your own logic you are destined for damnation.

    Um… morality doesn’t work that way. For starters, it also covers the biggest and the strongest.

    It is a learned behavior. Take psychology 101. You know- id, ego, superego?


  3. Scott says:

    Why do the comments above agree with quotes #3-6?

    I guess it unfair for a number of atheists to speak for the rest, but it is alright for “atheists” to address Christians generally all together.

    Anyone familiar with simple and pure Biblical Christianity knows that for one to be forgiven, then they cannot continue living in sin, ask for forgiveness, and expect to be forgiven. It is a sad thing when Catholics abused the faith that they claim.

    Nonetheless, the point is simple and clear. Atheists’ only standard for morality is that which is established and enforced by the strongest beasts in the strongest society of hairless apes. Also it must be believed by an atheists that their conscience evolved over time, so that these animalic standards became gradually implanted unto all societies of such apes. Then, these moral implants became known as the conscience by which they feel guilt, sorrow for wrong doing even when their actions are secret and not known by the society of apes.

    Why does an atheist feel guilt when only him or herself know their sins for which society does not know nor doesn’t hurt them? Why do non-believers with healthy minds feel guilt when they slander someone in their thoughts? Why do they feel sorrow when they tell lies that no one will find out? Why do they feel guilt for desiring and imaging how to deceive others? Why do their hearts ache for hating others? Why do they feel guilty for their flesh craving and fantasizing about those who are not their spouse? Why does the secret sin bother the individual conscience? Where does the individual’s conscience come from? It certainly does not come from their current society or supposedly their inherited social conscience.


  4. Jens says:

    He is conflating athiest morality with self centered anarchy. As he mentions atheists tend to believe that society determines morality, and enforces it. Religoinists believe that God determines morality, and society enforces it in this world. Teh problem with his logic is that he assumes that just because god didn’t make moral laws people would then look only to themselves, this is untrue.

    Humans succeed as a species based on our intelligence and ability to communicate. Our intelligence is wasted when we are on our own, nobody builds a computer or skyscraper without help. People know this conciously but evolution also shows that altruism in social animals can be beneficial to advancing an individuals genes. Thus, people self regulate and punish those who transgress in ways that harm the greater social good. This self regulation serves to allow us to best use our intelligence.

    Second, what if one does not care about his own survival (he is utterly reckless in his abandon), or that of others? Shall his conduct then be characterized as “moral”? How senseless are those who so reason!

    This statement shows where he has gone wrong. He is assuming that someone who doesn’t care for his own survival would fall within teh definition of atheist morality. In reality both Atheist and Religious morality would shun such a person and punish them. Why? Because antisocial people threaten the social structure and our ability to cooperate. No atheist would consider antisocial behavior moral.

    First, it is wholly contrary to what evolutionists have been saying for the past couple of centuries, namely that species progress and evolve when the strong eliminate the weak. According to the theory, it is not cooperation, but elimination that advances living groups!

    This statement is completely devoid of scientific understanding. Evolution is not direct competion between individuals of the same species. Selective pressure from outside sources is what eliminates the “weak”.

    Think of predation of fish by barracuda for example:
    Since both weak and strong are subject to being eaten it is in the best interest of the species to band together somewhat to keep these selective pressures at a minimum. Alone a free swimming fish is a meal, even if it is stronger than others. In a group it lowers it chances of being eaten. The barracuda still gets his meals, but in a well organized group the stronger members still do slightly better at reproducing while more of the “weak” fish are eaten and don’t reproduce. Thus, it is in the best interest of the fish to cooperate. This is true in many species including our own.

    If evolution occured based on individuals eliminating each other we would see every animal would be a cannibal. By and large this is not the case. The reason is that cooperation is evolutionarily advantageous for a species. This guy has it all inside out. Never ask a preacher about science, they aren’t trained for it.

    So…please do ask me why?


  5. Samuel Skinner says:

    You do realize atheist just means someone doesn’t believe in God? No atheist speaks for the rest.

    Ironically enough atheists have a lower rate of incarceration.


  6. Aspentroll says:

    Atheists do have moral ethics. They have the same restrictions on them that religious people have. These restrictions are in included in the country’s Criminal code. The 10 commandments
    really only have about 2 or 3 rules that are the same. Don’t murder anyone or steal from anyone.
    The rest are mostly biblically oriented around the thoughts you may have.
    Atheists don’t have to go to a church to be reminded about what is right and wrong and be told that they are sinners who will be hellbound if they stray. Common sense dictates that if they don’t do the right thing they will be prosecuted for
    a crime or ostracized by friends and family if they commit ethical misdemeanors.
    Religious people break just as many laws as atheists but they believe that if they ask forgiveness and accept Jesus, all will be forgiven, regardless of the enormity of the crime.
    I ask this: who is most likely to re-offend, an atheist who will be prosecuted and do his time for the offense or a religious person who does the same crime and believes he is off the hook because he prays to Jesus to make himself feel better about what he has done?
    The bible tells these people that they will be forgiven if they seek Jesus and that may seem to be a license to offend. Catholics come to mind
    when a mere admission of wrong doing to a priest is all that is needed for absolution.
    I believe that there would have been rules and restrictions even if there had been no religion.
    People would still have been offended by inappropriate action by others.


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