Atheism and Rape
Dr. Michael Ruse has an excellent piece called, “Is Rape Wrong on Andromeda: An Introduction to Extraterrestrial Evolution, Science, and Morality.” He goes through a thought experiment utilizing his own point of view.
Let’s say that we start human evolution over again. Rewind it to the beginning and start out anew. Through randomization, a very different creature might evolve with different values and duties. Perhaps they act like bees, and sexual morality, rape, etc., simply aren’t considerations for them.
Now image this: intelligent, alien life comes to Earth with a significantly different set of moral values. Who’s right? Us? Them? There isn’t any objective way to decide.
Dr. Ruse argues that there is no guarantee that a race of intelligent beings from the galaxy Andromeda might not look favorably upon rape. In that race, rape would be regarded as perfectly moral and all right, maybe even kinda sexy.
Now what would you say if these beings came to the Earth and decided to go throughout the Earth raping and killing? Maybe they are more advanced than us, as we are to cattle, and they begin to farm the Earth and use us for food and kinky sex (doubt I’d make the cut on either fronts).
What would we say as to why this would be wrong? This is wrong for us? Well, the aliens would say, “That’s simply an outcome of your evolutionary conditioning. There is no reason we should think that it is wrong to eat you or to rape throughout the Earth, and our own outcome has led us to this very wonderful end. We are very pleased to have arrived.”
So on morality in a universe without God, the question is not,
“Must we believe in God to live moral lives?”
Nor is the question,
“Can we recognize objective moral values without believing in God?”
Nor is the question,
“Can we formulate a coherent system of ethics without reference to God?”
Rather, the question is,
“Do objective moral values exist if God does not exist?”
As Dr. Ruse notes, “Morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction and…any deeper meaning is illusory.” The answer to the last question is a resounding “no.”
With love, always,