Determiner of Value

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been in a debate with some atheists on the VTech shootings. The debate is actually over whether we can really say the shooter did anything wrong. I find this simply amazing. We can say we don’t like it. We can say we wish it wouldn’t have happened, but call it evil? Certainly not!

One thing I keep seeing is that the atheist accepts that they are the one that determines if anything has value. Nothing is valuable in and of itself. It only has value insofar as it’s valuable to them. Meaning? It doesn’t exist either. Something is only meaningful if it brings meaning to the person. All non-physical properties then are arbitrary.

But friends, if nothing is valuable in and of itself, why should I treat it as such? If human life is not valuable, why should I treat it as valuable? If life truly has no meaning, why should I live as if it does? It seems that the reason for conferring value and meaning on things is to avoid the conclusion of atheism. Everything is meaningless.

This was what the Supreme Court indicated in the Casey decision. It said that one of our fundamental rights was to define life as we know it. Apparently though, that isn’t too fundamental. The shooter was defining life and we all saw how that turned out. He defined those lives and his own as unvaluable.

If the atheist is right, then I really do see no way we can condemn the VTech shootings. We can merely say “I didn’t like them” or “They seem evil to me.” One wonders why they shouldn’t be liked or why they seemed evil, especially if terms like good and evil are really meaningless terms.

However, this is a dangerous position. It turns each of us into a god, and we all know what can happen when man sees himself as God. What is to stop us from acting on this belief? If I believe all life is meaningless and there is no absolute right and wrong and there’s no judgment to come, then why shouldn’t I live the way I want to here?

Someone might say that it’s for the good of society. Why should I care? Someone might say “You could get caught and punished.” Let’s suppose I couldn’t and I knew that. Why shouldn’t I then? The action should be seen as wrong not because of what can happen to you, but because of what happens in the action itself.

My ultimate problem is that deep down, we really can’t live this way. Deep down, we do know there is such a thing as evil. We may not be philosophers who can define it, but we know what it is. It seems that if the only way to live in atheism is to construct meaning and value where they do not exist, then I will stick to theism, where I do have meaning and value and a basis for such. I choose to avoid a view that contradicts reality and the only way I can live with it is to deny the logical conclusions of it.

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