From the beginning of time, people have questioned whether there is a god or not. This might be the question on which mankind has dwelt more than any other. Some people say we don’t know, some people claim that this question is unclear and unanswerable. Anyway, there are many philosophical views in the world. Some people think these views might be able to reach to the truth. Deism, fundamentalism, positivism, and agnosticism are some examples. Especially, atheism and theism are the most popular perspectives. But atheism and theism have a very different perspective about the origin of the universe and ethics/morals.
While atheists claim that the universe was not created and it exists eternally, theists claim the universe has a beginning and was created by God. Actually, this issue has been debated for a long time. But there are some cosmological pieces of evidences that show there is a beginning of the universe. The Big Bang theory and laws of thermodynamics prove the universe started from a pattern. According to The Big Bang theory, this universe started to exist 13.8 billion years ago from a very hot and intensive point and it is expanding continuously. Theists use this actual information to prove to atheists their belief because atheists believe a very different thesis. Also, theists use the anthropic principle to show God’s creation. According to this principle, the universe was created perfectly by remarkable mathematical rates. As the important scientist Paul Davies says, “The big bang was not evidently, any old bang, but an explosion of exquisitely arranged magnitude” (Dives, 1984, p. 184).
In contrast, atheists claim that the universe doesn’t have a beginning. According to atheists, it is utterly absurd to talk about the beginning of time or the creation of matter. The universe has always existed by constantly changing, moving, and evolving matter and energy. As the famous atheist philosopher George Politzer reported, “The universe was not a created object, if it were, then it would have to be created instantaneously by God and brought into existence from nothing. To admit creation, one has to admit, in the first place, the existence of a moment when the universe did not exist, and that something came out of nothingness” (Politzer, 1954, p. 84). According to him, this is something to which science can not accede. As we see, atheists don’t accept the beginning of the universe. They do believe that the whole universe is the infinite movement of matter or energy. This inexhaustible movement has no beginning or end.
Atheists and theists disagree about where morals/ethics comes from. According to atheists, morals/ethics are a social agreement for people to live together. Also, morality has been created to reduce crime. If morals/ethics don’t exist, everyone might do what they want. Additionally, atheists use a kind of evolution theory to explain the origin of morals/ethics. For example, our behavior evolved in many million years like other creatures. That changing was cumulative and slow. They claim that commitment, affinity, cooperation, empathy, altruism, conflict resolution, caring about the community, being aware of social rules, and responding to them are seen in humans like they are seen in animals, especially in ape species, dolphins, whales, and many other mammals. Therefore, humans tend to be moral, and this tendency has been passed on to them in the evolutionary process.
On the other hand, theists accept that God put this feature in us and we have this property since our birth. They believe morals come from God, not by evolution. For theists, evolution cannot be an explanation for morals or ethics because evolution represents continuous changing. Therefore, we cannot determine universal morals for everyone in every time. In other words, we cannot say something is good or evil because good and evil change according to geography and society. For example, the Ottoman Empire eliminated their 1 million civilian Armenian citizens in 1915 just like the Nazis killed the Jews in the 1940s. People always say that systematic extermination is a crime against humanity and civilization. However, theists say that if morals/ethics change for people or time, we cannot define good and evil, so atheists cannot say the Armenian or Jewish Genocide was not good for some people or for a specific time. But all people always define genocide as evil or bad. For another example, if evolution is the origin of morals, people cannot judge raping or incest. Because somebody can go to court and say to a judge: “You cannot punish me for raping because animals do the same in nature. We come from animals and this is in my nature. You don’t judge animals. Why are you judging me?” For that reason, theists say that evolution cannot be an explanation for the origin of morals/ethics.
Atheists and theists think so differently from each other about the origin of the universe and morals/ethics. For example, theists don’t accept the beginning of the universe. According to them, matter or the universe is eternal and God is not eternal. There is not a beginning. Also, they believe morals/ethics come from nature and were created by evolution. On the other hand, theists believe in God and accept the beginning of the universe. Also, theists believe God put morals in humans. Evolution cannot be an explanation for them. Atheism and theism are totally different from each other. People should ponder about both ideas. We have skills that we use to think about God. We must consider atheist and theist arguments and pieces of evidence. Then, we will be able to learn the truth about God.
George Politzer, Principes Fondamentaux de Philosophie, Editions Sociales, Paris 1954, p. 84.
Paul Davies, Superforce: The Search for a Grand Unified Theory of Nature, 1984, p. 184.
Alan Woods and Ted Grant, Reason in Revolt: Marxist Philosophy and Modern Science
E. J. Lerner, The Big Bang Never Happened, p.152.
Engels, Anti-Dühring, p.64-5. [Anti-Dühring, p.115-116]
Welcome fellow Agnostics, Atheists, Humanists and other Freethinkers!
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Atheism is the antithesis of Theism. It exists because Theism exists. The phrase "some differences" in the title may also suggests that there are some similarities between two. However the only similarity I see is that both sides are 100% certain of their thoughts. Choosing not to believe something is also a belief. In order to become a true unbeliever, you should either know the truth, or know that you know nothing, and say "I don't know" as agnostics do.
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