From Ethical System
From: Margarita Costa
To: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>
Subject: The October, 1998 Column
Date: Friday, November 06, 1998 6:53 PM
Dear Positive Atheism,
I agree that Atheism is the foundation of a personal an ethical belief system that can be explained, disputed, proven and modified if need be. However, I also believe that it is not the cause but the effect of such a system.
Atheism is the negation, if not denial, of a belief that has been ingrained in the majority of social members from an age in which minds are utterly defenseless. To break with such a strong and stamped belief must be fueled by a desire to find an alternate truth, a personal truth separate from the one known throughout a lifetime. It is an act of will and strength, for to be an atheist one must plunge into the unknown, perhaps one of the most fearsome things there exist.
Therefore, atheism is the result
of such a plunge, not necessarily the cause because it is something that
must be arrived at through logical dialogue. Logical dialogue, therefore,
not atheism, is the cause of a personal ethical system. However,
atheism is the most prevalent symptom as it is necessary to have a clean
sheet of paper before one can write legibly anything, let alone something
as complex as an ethical system that is applicable to a single individual.
As long as I'm writing this, I will make a case for atheism to prove my point on the logical dialogue. This is the dialogue that I myself used to arrive at the decision of atheism. It begins where the above paragraph and explanation ends:
This ethical system, applicable to an individual instead of a mass of individuals, is necessary to each human being, as the theist ethical systems assume that its followers all have an identical set of ethical needs. This statement is incorrect as no two people experience the exact same experiences and because the theist system cannot provide for all experiences. Someone, by law of probability, is bound to experience something outside the bounds of theist ethics.
A decision must always be made because even a lack of action is a decision. Therefore, avoiding the decision is impossible. An addition and or ammendment to the existing ethical system must then be made to rise to the occassion. Unfortunately, theism prohibits such a system because ethics are not dictated by humans but God. If God is unavailable as a reference at the moment a decision must be made, then His rules must be broken in one of two ways: They must be slightly or not so slightly changed and thus something that previously existed will be ignored; or something will be added. The latter presents a problem because God is the source of ethics. If a human pretends to add something then he is assuming God's job. The human is not God by the definition of the theist religions.
Therefore, the human would be violating the rules for the establishment of ethical rules. Either way, the theist cannot consistently and logically solve his dilemma, a dilemma which is bound to arise by law of probability. This proves that it is inconsistent, at the very least to maintain the entire unammended set of theist ethics and remain consistent. As a result, a system which does not accept the theist ethics must be established for an individual human being if that human being is to maintain a system that can realistically be followed and perhaps provide for the possible experiences of that human beings life.
Material by Cliff Walker (including unsigned editorial commentary) is copyright ©1995-2006 by Cliff Walker. Each submission is copyrighted by its writer, who retains control of the work except that by submitting it to Positive Atheism, permission has been granted to use the material or an edited version: (1) on the Positive Atheism web site; (2) in Positive Atheism Magazine; (3) in subsequent works controlled by Cliff Walker or Positive Atheism Magazine (including published or posted compilations). Excerpts not exceeding 500 words are allowed provided the proper copyright notice is affixed. Other use requires permission; Positive Atheism will work to protect the rights of all who submit their writings to us.