Either Nihilism or Theism – You Can’t Choose Both

It astounds me how many people are walking around the earth, going about their everyday lives, thinking their existence has meaning, thinking that objective moral values exist while clinging onto the belief that human beings are ultimately worthless accidents.

This is the worldview of the average atheist: we are merely intelligent animals, the product of a random explosion billions of years ago that then gave birth to a random life-giving planet in which we are random products of a biological process known as evolution.  Our lives end at the grave, and all humanity is doomed once the sun burns up and wipes out all life on earth – or, if we manage to escape via space travel, then we still have the matter of the universe expanding constantly until eventually space goes devastatingly cold and empty around us.

“But anyway, Christianity is evil.  War, rape, and abuse are all evil.  We have to strive to create utopia on earth!”

Whoa – hold up.  You just explained to me that we humans are just accidents, and that rather than being transcendent, our morality is intertwined with biology – that morals are simply social conventions and the result of evolutionary processes to further the survival of our species which is anyway ultimately futile since humanity is doomed to destruction and all.

If atheism is true, there is no ultimate cosmic justice.  There is no immortality of the soul, no reason for why we were even created.  Heck, there isn’t even any love that isn’t just chemical reactions in your brain.  It doesn’t matter if you live like Hitler or if you live like Jesus – all paths lead to the grave, anyway, so humans might as well live selfishly as long as they can, right?

But of course, no one can accept this fact.  And this is where most atheists and even self-proclaimed nihilists detour from science into something that transcends all human beings.  Atheists want to have their cake and eat it too – to believe in objective morality and the worth of humanity as something that transcends human rational while also clinging to the idea that both those things do not exist because there is no God.  But to pretend that your life has worth while believing it doesn’t is to live in miserable cognitive dissonance, and living in make-believe is the opposite of living as a rational person.

Science never has and I believe it never will provide a strong case for the meaning of human life and morality without proving the existence of God and spirituality.

So one has to confront this fact: if you are an atheist, you can only believe in objective moral values if you accept that such values have a source beyond biology and the human consciousness.  If you believe in moral values but do not believe in a Higher Authority from Whom such values come from, then I can safely call you an irrational person.  You can no longer make any arguments for equality, the greater good, and love because you are making such arguments out of thin air from no tangible, empirical source, and you are arguing from outside the realm of science, the field which you hold dear.

So you can go ahead and hold onto your values and try to be a good person as an atheist – I don’t doubt you can do that, although you won’t do it perfectly (to be sure, no human can be perfectly moral).  But you cannot reconcile your values with your worldview.

Me, whether this life ends at the grave or not, I choose to make the leap of faith to Theism and Christianity.  I choose to believe in objective love from its rightful Source.  I choose Jesus Christ, for He is the only Person to have given my life meaning and keep me fighting for good in this world, to keep me fulfilled with more love than I ever could have imagined without Him.

So I encourage you to make your choice as well: atheism which logically leads to nihilism, or the dive into spirituality and faith in a loving God.

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41 thoughts on “Either Nihilism or Theism – You Can’t Choose Both

  1. I used to be an atheist for a few years in high school. I was really miserable during those years.

    I am very grateful that Christ is in my life. My life has meaning and I have a completely different world view than when I was dead in my trespasses and sins.

    Here is a little more on evolution:

    “Why do Evolutionists Believe in the Religion of Evolution?”
    http://hitchhikeamerica.wordpress.com/2013/12/07/why-do-evolutionists-believe-in-the-religion-of-evolution/

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    • I somehow recall a little boy witnessing to me when I was 8 years old in third grade. He asked me, “Do you want to go to Heaven?” I said yes, and how? He told me, “Ask Jesus into your heart.” I still remember closing my eyes and thinking, ‘Jesus, I ask you into my heart right now.’

      Looking back, even though I drifted into agnosticism (never atheism – I could never accept that there wasn’t even a possibility of God existing) up until my second year of high school, I can see how Jesus protected me from drifting too far from Him. I’ll have to write a post someday on how Christ didn’t let the enemy uproot the seeds of truth in my heart.

      Coming back to Christ has only had the most positive impact on my life. My identity is intertwined with Him.

      Thanks for that link, Tim. Atheism certainly is tempting for those who don’t want to be held accountable for their transgressions.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. See, your first misconception is in your statement, “If atheism is true, there is no ultimate cosmic justice..” Atheism isn’t something that is either true or false. Atheism is merely a believe that some superhuman deity does not exist. Just like Christianity is a belief that some superhuman deity does exist. That’s it. It has nothing to do with morality, with being a decent human being, in knowing right from wrong or good from bad. This is such a huge misconception that people have about atheism.

    It’s also a misconception when you write, “to pretend that your life has worth while believing it doesn’t is to live in miserable cognitive dissonance, and living in make-believe is the opposite of living as a rational person.” I believe my life has worth and I’m an atheist. Hmm. Go figure. I believe every life has worth and that life’s worth manifests itself in how people live their lives. And I find it interesting that a person who believes in some sort of supernatural deity should talk about those who don’t as “living in make-believe” and being the opposite of a rational person.

    You also wrote, “You can no longer make any arguments for equality, the greater good, and love because you are making such arguments out of thin air from no tangible, empirical source, and you are arguing from outside the realm of science, the field which you hold dear.” Oh, you mean like the arguments Christians make for this supernatural deity, for a divinity — human? — born of a virgin, and for all of the incredible bible stories as being tangible and empirical and from within the realm of science? Seriously?

    If you’re interested in my take on atheism and morality, please read this: http://mindfuldigressions.com/2014/02/21/atheism-and-morality/

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  3. Au contraire, Doobster. Atheism IS either true or false. Either God exists, or He doesn’t. It doesn’t matter what you believe if He doesn’t exist – He just doesn’t exist. Likewise, it doesn’t matter what you believe if He DOES exist, which I am most assured He doe, because He exists. You cannot create God if He doesn’t exist, and you cannot tear down God’s existence if He does exist.

    And it has everything to do with morality. I never said atheists can’t have morals, but being a decent human means you are drawing morality from outside of yourself – for a grander purpose, as it were.

    You may think that your life has meaning, but you don’t have any place to draw that conclusion from. You believe that the universe was an accident, and an accident is defined as something indeliberate, without any cause or intention. If human beings are biological accidents, then we cannot just “create meanings for our lives” because we were not created with meaning – we were created with chance. If you were a scientist dedicating your life to learning about the universe, well, after you die, you can no longer enjoy learning what you do. You cannot reach the end of all your hypotheses, and you will never know how science progressed in your absence. And even while science progresses after your death, when all of humanity dies, the science we learned is ultimately useless. All that hard work doesn’t mean anything.

    And anyway, a temporary purpose to life like what you are suggesting is meaningless to me and meaningless to anyone. Whether I die in two hours or forty years – what ultimate difference does it make?

    And it’s interesting – some of your fellow atheists would actually disagree with your conclusions about morality:

    Kai Nielsen, an atheist philosopher who attempts to defend the viability of ethics without God, in the end admits,

    “We have not been able to show that reason requires the moral point of view, or that all really rational persons, unhoodwinked by myth or ideology, need not be individual egoists or classical amoralists. Reason doesn’t decide here. The picture I have painted for you is not a pleasant one. Reflection on it depresses me . . . . Pure practical reason, even with a good knowledge of the facts, will not take you to morality.” – Kai Nielsen, “Why Should I Be Moral?” American Philosophical Quarterly 21 (1984): 90.

    As another contemporary atheistic ethicist points out, “to say that something is wrong because . . . it is forbidden by God, is . . . perfectly understandable to anyone who believes in a law-giving God. But to say that something is wrong . . . even though no God exists to forbid it, is not understandable. . . .” “The concept of moral obligation [is] unintelligible apart from the idea of God. The words remain but their meaning is gone.” – Richard Taylor, Ethics, Faith, and Reason (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1985), 90, 84.

    Someone rich and powerful, for example, living luxuriously in indulgence, doesn’t necessarily have any moral obligation if there is no ultimate higher authority that states that such moral obligation is necessary.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You are spot on Ada, if there is no Creator, then life is an ‘afterthought,’ an ‘accident’ as u say, and thus with no rhyme nor reason.

    At what point does the human brain kick in and say: Hmmmmm, wonder how an entity decides to ‘fly’ having no concept of flying? such a s a bird; or HOW something magically adapts to life underwater, having never lived underwater?

    There are NO answers apart from intelligence, and again I agree, morality comes from ‘higher’ place; they who admit to morals and aspire to living ‘better’ inadvertantly are confessing to One greater.

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    • You’re quite right, Colorstorm. Two atheists can go on and on about morality, but – where are they getting their ideas of morality from? From what source?

      Indeed, as another atheist put it:

      “The position of the modern evolutionist . . . is that humans have an awareness of morality . . . because such an awareness is of biological worth. Morality is a biological adaptation no less than are hands and feet and teeth . . . . Considered as a rationally justifiable set of claims about an objective something, ethics is illusory. I appreciate that when somebody says ‘Love they neighbor as thyself,’ they think they are referring above and beyond themselves . . . . Nevertheless, . . . such reference is truly without foundation. Morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction, . . . and any deeper meaning is illusory . . .” – Michael Ruse, “Evolutionary Theory and Christian Ethics,” in The Darwinian Paradigm (London: Routledge, 1989), pp. 262, 268-9.

      Richard Taylor, an atheistic ethicist that I quoted above, also said something that I found quite eloquently states what atheists are doing when they try to make a moral case without the idea of a moral Law Giver:

      “Contemporary writers in ethics, who blithely discourse upon moral right and wrong and moral obligation without any reference to religion, are really just weaving intellectual webs from thin air; which amounts to saying that they discourse without meaning.” – Richard Taylor, Ethics, Faith, and Reason (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1985), p .7.

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  5. Okay, I really don’t want to get into a great debate here, as it serves no purpose, since you believe God exists and I don’t believe that God exists, and neither of us is going to have a change of heart. So further debate is kind of pointless. Let’s just leave it at this. You have every right and privilege to belief whatever you want to believe, as do I. You believe that God exists and without God, life can have no meaning. I do not believe that God exists, but I do believe that I’m a moral person and I believe that my life, as well as everyone else’s, has meaning. There’s room for both of us on this planet.

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    • Of course there’s room for both of us on the planet, Doobster! And there’s room for healthy debate now and then. I extend my full apologies if I came across as hostile to you; I will try not to do so again if we ever engage in any other debate at some point in the future. I simply don’t see how any meaning for our lives can be anything more than temporary and subjective if God does not exist; I’ve given the matter a great deal of thought, and it just doesn’t make sense to me.

      But if you don’t want a debate, then I won’t try to bait you for one. God bless and all the best.

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      • I don’t mind a good debate…in fact, I kind of enjoy them. But when the person you’re debating with answers everything with “because God” or “because the Bible,” it gets tiring. Couple that with the unusual heat we’re having in San Francisco and the fact that my place is not air conditioned (who needs air conditioning in San Francisco?), I’m not in the cheeriest of moods. So I think I’ll pass up the debate…at least for today.

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    • Hey Doob-
      Nice to meetcha-

      Strangely I will tell you something that you may have to read twice. I have known atheists that had higher morals than christians I have known. Hang on ADA…………………lol

      HOWEVER, probably like you, they did not attribute their ‘goodness’ to any thing outside of themselves, and could not logically track the ORIGIN of the divine blueprint for right and wrong.

      Bottom line, morality is NOT spirituality, but true spirituality includes morality. A man with excellent morals is STILL dead in tresspasses and sins, while a justified sinner has simply been made alive.

      A dead man neither needs a new suit of clothes or better morals; he needs LIFE. And a christian ALIVE, may need help in developing a better moral base, but the two are at polar opposites.

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      • I never claimed that m “goodness” was purely internal. There have been a lot of things that influenced my moral convictions, from my parent to my teachers to my family to the society in which I live. So to say that atheists lack morality because they don’t believe in God and morality can only be granted by God, is not something I accept. Especially when I don’t believe that God exists, so I don’t think my “goodness” can be a gift given to me by something that does not exist.

        But thanks, Colorstorm, for recognizing that some atheists can have a higher moral standard that some Christians.

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      • I never said atheists cannot have morals. If I did, I’m sorry. What I am saying is that they cannot properly identify where those morals come from within their worldview. I am saying that objective morals themselves cannot exist if God does not exist; not that people who simply don’t believe in God cannot be moral.

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      • If you read the post I referred you to, “Atheism and morality,” I refuted the argument that objective morals cannot exist if God does not exist. I wrote that if objective moral values cannot exist without God, then are we moral because we believe that God exists, or do we believe that God exists because we are moral?

        You may not buy my argument, but I don’t buy yours, either, that objective moral values cannot exist in the absence of God.

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      • So really, you didn’t refute the argument, you just side-stepped it.

        It’s neither of those things. We are moral if God exists because He gives us a conscience and with that, free will to turn to Him or not turn to Him, or to turn to morality or not turn to morality. Since a perfect God would have created us perfectly, and then allowed us to choose whether to continue perfectly or reject Him, all humans have, to some degree, a conscience. The conscience is the bread crumbs, as Colorstorm noted, to a Higher Authority of goodness.

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      • Doobster- you said

        —So to say that atheists lack morality because they don’t believe in God—–

        We are not saying that. Just follow the bread crumbs to the loaf; follow the seeds to the gardener; follow the morals to WHO said what is moral.

        Adam the first gardener!!
        God the giver of right and wrong, and the Creator of food.,

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      • @Colorstorm Certainly atheists can have higher morals than some Christians (which points a lot to the bad shape our Churches are in, but that is another topic).

        Colorstorm, you’ve actually quite neatly stated what I wrote in my own comment, so perhaps I should not have written to much. You can be moral even if you don’t believe in God, but you cannot logically and consistently state where you get those morals from – where ANYONE gets their morals from, really – within your worldview.

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      • Nice work Ada-

        You inspired me to confirm your word. 😉
        Truth has many angles, but all true.

        Just look at the 4 gospels, 4 distinct points of view, but one truth.

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  6. “Since a perfect God would have created us perfectly, and then allowed us to choose whether to continue perfectly or reject Him, all humans have, to some degree, a conscience. The conscience is the bread crumbs, as Colorstorm noted, to a Higher Authority of goodness.”

    So once again, the answer is “because God.” This is why it’s really pointless for me to debate someone who believes that everything was created by and everything is due to God, since the answer to any and every question turns out to be “because God.”

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    • On behalf of Ada, myself, and countless others, EVERY question turns out to be ‘because God.’ This is true. I would add ‘and answers too’

      He is the end of ALL controversy. It’s that simple

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      • Which makes healthy, meaningful debate impossible. And this is why many non-Christians (atheist or otherwise) find Christians to be the most arrogant people around. You think you are right and everyone else is wrong and that’s all there is to it…because God.

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    • To be fair, we’re arguing about the existence of God in light of human morality, so, yes, I am going to bring God up quite frequently, no? 😉

      I don’t mean to be arrogant, Doob. Since I’m frequently scoffed at by “educated people,” it’s hard for me to be very prideful. It’s something that I believe has humbled me more than anything.

      I’m not as great a debater as many other people, so it would be better if you would rather read into Christian apologetics sometime, to better understand my stance. People who write apologetics are a lot more knowledgeable than I am.

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  7. Doob-

    That’s not a fair statement. Confidence in a position is not arrogance. There is information in this thread alone that proves ‘debate’ is not only possible, it is encouraged.

    I admit to One greater. You can call that arrogance, I do not. The Word of God explains things humans could not know. Is it arrogance for me to believe and repeat them? C’mon you are better than that.

    My last post to you has not one drop of arrogance. It is a statement, that I happily stand by.

    ‘The wages of sin is death.’ That’s God talking. Do you have a truer reason why people die?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Seriously, Colorstorm? You write that tje answer to every question is “because God” and that “He is the end of ALL controversy. It’s that simple,” and you don’t think you’re arrogant? “Not one drop of arrogance”?

    People die because their organs and bodies fail. It has nothing to do with “the wages of sin,” whatever the hell that is supposed to mean.

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  9. “People die because their organs and bodies fail”

    That is actually something quite fascinating. No, we don’t die because our bodies fail, in fact science is starting to ask if perhaps we weren’t designed to die at all. There is great debate over when life begins, but the other debate, how do we define death, is one that intrigues me even more. Here we are in the year 2014 and we still really don’t know.

    The “wages of sin” usually is not a reference to personal sin, we don’t die because we’re “bad,” we die because of something that happened in the Garden of Eden long ago.

    I like what you wrote, Ada. Well done.

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    • Thank you!

      That’s actually really interesting, because it really does tie in with the creation story where humanity was meant to live eternally with God, but then sin got in the way and we (temporarily) lost our ability to live forever. And another interesting thing is how, throughout the Old Testament, the amount of years that humans were able to survive steadily decreased, from 900 years, to 500, to 300, to around 150, to 120…

      The reason I say it’s interesting is because, if you graph the life-span of the people in the Old Testament, from Adam to Noah to Abraham to Jacob to Joseph, it resembles a graph of biological decay! Biological decay is already at work in the current natural world, so it makes sense if we then apply it to human beings.

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  10. As an atheist I would respectfully disagree with your position that atheists cannot hold or adopt objective moral values. Such a concept is not in cognitive dissonance with a lack of belief in any deity. Additionally, I think your position rests more on a specific meaning of “objective moral values.” Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I think you would define them as “moral values which are true for all human beings, supplied by a divine creator.”

    The word “objective” simply means that it applies to a population irrespective of whether it is true, desirable, good, lovely, wonderful, or even nice. I think your bone of contention lies in whether atheists can effectively argue for secular based objective moral values, independent of some divine law-giver. Your quotes from atheist writers notwithstanding, all one needs for a secular argument is evidence and a rule. The evidence must be scientifically testable or otherwise valid.

    However, even supposing for a moment that atheists somehow must accept that there is no morality, it still does not follow that atheism excuses people behaving wantonly. This is a false dichotomy, and rightly so. Because, even if one says no morality exists, laws exist, social conventions exist, and economic forces exist. Therefore regardless of morality people still are not allowed to be hedonists.

    From here, the burden would be on you to show that atheists must do everything they can to tear down all social conventions, legal structures, and methods of distributing goods to reflect this so-called amoral logical necessity. Doing so would be counter to a person’s self preservation, because we do have these institutions for a reason (and no, not because a deity put them there). And doing things against one’s better judgment is antithetical to an atheist position of basing one’s actions on reason and good sense.

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    • Aaaaand you completely missed the point of what I said! 🙂

      I’m not at all trying to make the case that atheists are incapable of being moral. As I’ve stated in the comments above, “Certainly some atheists can have higher morals than some Christians (which points a lot to the bad shape our Churches are in, but that is another topic).” I’m actually trying to say that the source of where all human beings get their feelings of objective morality cannot come from anywhere within science, but rather points to a transcendent Source (ie. God).

      What I am saying, basically, is that atheists believe in objective morality, but they cannot reconcile their beliefs with their world view (ie. there is no God and humans are biological accidents).

      http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-indispensability-of-theological-meta-ethical-foundations-for-morality

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      • “I think your bone of contention lies in whether atheists can effectively argue for secular based objective moral values, independent of some divine law-giver. Your quotes from atheist writers notwithstanding, all one needs for a secular argument is evidence and a rule. The evidence must be scientifically testable or otherwise valid.”

        To be fair, I think that quote from my comment does mean I attempted to address your point. My position is that atheists can have objective moral values that are reconciled with their beliefs. These objective moral values do not have to rely on the existence of any deity.

        The latter half of my comment did address a point that digressed from the overall thrust of your post, and for that I would apologize.

        Also, I did not make the full link between the implications of your argument and my point in the previous paragraph, which is admittedly on me. In essence, to use your paraphrased point in the response above, “atheists believe in objective morality, but they cannot reconcile their beliefs with their world view (ie. there is no God and humans are biological accidents).” From my understanding, your point relies upon a connection between objective morality and God.

        Assuming, for the moment, that you are correct and that there is a God out there who has made morality for us human beings, and that this God has definitively linked Himself with this morality. This makes an atheistic position untenable. By extension, then, atheists must either: (1) recognize God is the source of morality, thus becoming theists; or (2) adopt a position that they know to be intellectually dishonest, effectively lying to everyone.

        From there, one could conclude that atheists, in order to remain atheists, shall have to accept option 2 and base a sense of morality on a lie. Because it is a lie, the moral principle is untrue, and therefore atheists cannot have proper morals.

        Granted, I know you are not wanting to make that point, and I do commend your efforts at trying to distinguish your objective morality argument for God from saying atheists lack morals. However, it is not a far step for others to try to take this argument in that direction.

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      • But that’s the thing – science cannot make a claim for the source of morality using the scientific method. Objective morality is something that everyone generally agrees to be higher than one’s self – transcendent, if you will.

        Consider this: can you connect the existence of objective morality to anything within the realm of testable science?

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      • Objective morality is an idea, and currently I know of no field of science that has conclusively established where even ideas come from.

        That being said, simply because I do not know how ideas formulate in the mind does not inherently require a deity to put them there. Additional evidence would be necessary to reach that conclusion.

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      • Objective morality is not necessarily an idea. The man who says child abuse is okay is just as wrong as the man who says 2+2=5, as Michael Ruse pointed out.

        And since the existence and origin of objective morality is currently unexplainable by science, that means, at this point, that our debate sort of ends here, no?

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      • Hi Sirius-
        Hi Ada-

        Apologies for jumping in, but a question for SB that truly is related to the issue on the table.

        How are humans different than animals as far as morals, and WHAT external created/implemented this difference, and WHY would there even be a need for this distinction?

        Does a coyote know the difference between right and wrong, and why or why not? These answers are germane to the origin of morals,

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      • Hello Colorstorm!

        Allow me to break up your questions into separate parts so I can answer them better.

        (1) How are humans different from animals as far as morals? The difference is that humans have demonstrated the capacity to think, reason, and share ideas in the abstract rather than simply act based on instinctual stimuli.

        (2) WHAT external created/implemented this difference? This question assumes that some sort of external force created the human capacity to think in the abstract. Evolutionary theory currently has hypotheses out there, but they are not conclusive. As to answering the question as best I can, I would have to say that I do not know.

        (3) WHY would there even be a need for this distinction? Since I do not know why humans have this capacity other than theory, I do not have enough information to answer this question.

        (4) Does a coyote know the difference between right and wrong, and why or why not? To venture a guess based on documented coyote behavior, I would say that a coyote does not know what “right” or “wrong” means, much less the difference between them. But because I have no evidence as to why, I would also have to say that I do not know.

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      • SB

        Tkx for your attention and candid answer.

        The sources that neglect to give you answers, are not absent from my source.

        God created man with a spirit, unlike the animals. When Cain slew his brother, there was no law that said ‘thou shalt not kill,’ as he instinctively knew he committed an egregious error.

        Cain knew morally it was wrong, apart from any book or written code. No amount of college learning or degrees were necessary; he murdered his brother. His conscience indicted him..

        Fast forward to your comment re. ‘evolutional theory’ not having answers. Agreed, they have answers, but answers that neither satisfy, nor can stand when scrutinized against time and practice. Morality cannot be dissected in a lab.

        If it is not ‘in the beginning God,’ then what else can satisfy, completely, and finally?

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      • Well, Colorstorm, I’m a de-converted Christian, so I am very familiar with what the Bible has to offer. In the end, “I do not know” is a perfectly satisfactory, complete, and sufficient answer for me.

        The answers that evolutionary theory has to offer, while not complete, are still expanding. They may not be satisfactory for everyone now, but to foreclose on the possibility that it can be in the future would be to deny science’s ability to add to the body of human understanding.

        Liked by 1 person

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