The first conclusion that springs from an atheistic mind-set Is that human existence, laws and Institutions are meaningless. This approach to life Is called nihilism—a conviction that, since God does not exist, the universe and anything In It has no goal or purpose. We are merely the product of matter, time and chance. There Is no life beyond our temporary existence. We are the sole masters of our earthly life within the limits that natural forces allow.
This worldvlew denies that values exist. It denies the existence of any objective basis for the establishment of ethics, morals or truth. It claims you are free to adopt any set of likes or dislikes since there are no moral absolutes. Your standards and choices are determined by what seems best for you, by what gives you personal satisfaction or pleasure.
The nihilistic approach provides no rational justification for living a moral life. It may be to your advantage to conform to the moral values of society If that Is In your best Interests, but you have no obligation to be a moral person If doing so would go against your personal Interests. In this sense an atheist may have morals and be a moral person, but we should understand that an atheist appeals to no authority for those morals.
Nihilism led to the pronouncement In the 1960s that "God Is dead." That slogan Implied that the biblical God and His laws are Irrelevant and should not be used to Influence man to a higher moral standard. It Implied that you can do whatever you please.
This philosophy led to a generation that did whatever It wanted. It ushered In a time of rebellion against long-held values. Drug use, violence and promiscuity skyrocketed. Moral standards and the number of stable marriages and families plummeted.
Although we rarely see such open displays of rebellion and anarchy In our streets and universities as we saw then, the damage has been done. Whole societies were—and remain— permanently corrupted by this rejection of biblically based standards and values. It has exacted a terrible toll. Ideas have consequences. People who promulgated this philosophy didn't realize the extent of those consequences.
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