8. If there is no immortality, why shouldn’t all things be permitted? (Dostoyevsky)
This is another false premise, like question 5. The relation between moral obligation and lifespan, if there must be one, is opposite. Morality itself exists precisely because we are limited beings possessing limited information and power, and thus we need to figure out which actions fulfill our values best, and which don’t, both as an individual and as part of society. Mortality is obviously one of those limitations, and removing it (through “immortality,” an absurd concept) means that more things are “permitted.” The logic is inescapable.
9. If morality is only a relative social construct, on what basis could or should anyone ever move to interfere with cultures that practice apartheid, female circumcision, cannibalism, or ethnic cleansing?
If morality was not inherent and accessible to all, and merely a product of the culture of whatever society one lives in, then the question is correct: we could not complain against apartheid, female circumcision, cannibalism, or genocide.
But morality is not a social construct. Indeed, the principle of universality, a basic principle of Market Anarchy, tells us that in order to be a moral principle, a proposition must apply to all people at all times and in all places, otherwise it is a mere opinion or power grab. If you say that genocide is moral, then it must be moral for everyone regardless of location, otherwise it is either mere opinion or a desire to inflict genocide without being condemned for it.
Therefore we can definitely speak against such attacks against individual rights and freedoms, including the numerous instances of genocide that are written in the Bible. Indeed, the people who are most guilty of relativism are Christians themselves. When you argue that the Bible supports genocide, you get the answer back that “those rules were given to those people at that time, it does not apply to us now.” This debating tactic is used against any Biblical rule one does not like. Because of this, it is hard to see how the Christian can justify interfering with other cultures that routinely attack people’s freedom or lives, especially since they themselves are in favour of these attacks when people of their own religion do them.
10. If there is no God, on what basis is there any meaning or hope for fairness, comfort, or better times?
And so as to not to break their streak of false premises, we now have what is perhaps the most blatant attempt at belittling materialism. No in-between argument is used this time: we go right from “If there is no God” to “your life is meaningless.” This is arrogance at its most naive and starry-eyed.
11. Without a personal Creator-God, how are you anything other than the coincidental, purposeless miscarriage of nature, spinning round and round on a lonely planet in the blackness of space for just a little while before you and all memory of your futile, pointless, meaningless life finally blinks out forever in the endless darkness?
This pap reminds me of something I read recently in an economic analysis, and although it is mostly relevant against syndicalism and not religion, I think the points here are very similar:
I would be the last one to dispute that it “sucks”—life “sucks”. It “sucks” even for those “noble savages” the hunter-gather bands that Prince Charles goes to see and praises to the skies (before heading back to his Palace). It even “sucks” for Prince Charles and other people of great inherited wealth—they still age (in body and mind) and go through all the pain and humiliation that this means. And if they live long enough they get to see all their closest friends (as well as their parents and other relatives—sometimes even there own children) die…
There is no hope in life and, if the atheists are correct no hope after it either. This is true (but yet again) in no way relevant. So life is shit—so what?…
If Mr Carson wants a life that “sucks” less, well he could think of a way to earn a lot of money, or marry a rich person (or whatever). Or, of course, he could kill himself. (The great way out for those who do not wish to tolerate the shitness of life anymore —as long as they can find the courage for the misnamed “cowards way out”.)
The point I am making by bringing up this quote is that the fact that life sucks is in no way dependent on your religion, or lack thereof (although being strongly religious can make your life a lot harder). And the afterlife of the Christians seems similarly bleak, at least if we trust the Bible on that topic. The fact that life as a concept sucks is not a valid argument against materialism, because it does not depend on materialism: it’s just a fact.
The only difference is that there are people who promote hatred and self-sacrifice, and make life much harder both for themselves and for the rest of us. Whatever the religion, Christian, Islamist, Hindu, Buddhist, Judaism, we have to speak against those people, in the name of a healthier and freer society. And we should welcome anyone who has separated himself from organized religion and the trappings of religious authority, anyone who seeks freedom in his own way, as our friend.