Post Author: Bill Pratt
Nowhere, as far as I can tell. Consider this scenario. A young man grows up and forms radical political beliefs. Upon reaching his 30’s, he seizes political power in his country. He remains in power throughout his entire life. During his reign, he routinely lies, cheats, steals, murders, and rapes. Since he is in total command of law enforcement and the military in his country, nothing can be done to punish him for his crimes. At the age of 93, he dies a peaceful death in his palace.
In what sense, on atheism, has justice been given to our dictator? After all, he led a morally corrupt life and was never punished or held accountable for anything he ever did wrong.
Let’s look at another example. This time a young woman feels a calling to feed the poor in a distant country. At the age of 25, she travels to this impoverished land and begins to selflessly aid the people living there. Because of her ethnicity, the government begins to persecute her. She is jailed, beaten, raped, and then murdered by corrupt government authorities and dies at the age of 35.
In what sense, on atheism, has justice been given to the young woman? After all, she led a morally virtuous life, selflessly helping others, and for her efforts was persecuted, tortured, and murdered.
Since, on atheism, there is no afterlife, then there is no chance for justice to be given anyone after they die. Death ends any chance for justice to be properly administered. There isn’t anyone who isn’t angry at how the dictator died peacefully at a ripe old age while never paying for any of his numerous crimes. There isn’t anyone who isn’t also angry that the young woman died violently, never being rewarded properly for her selfless acts.
On atheism, all we can say is, “Oh well. That’s life.” But it’s even worse than that, because I cannot see how the atheist can rationally tell anyone to be selfless and help the poor and not become a ruthless dictator. It seems that the dictator led a life filled with pleasure, that he flourished, that he accomplished many of his personal goals, and that he suffered very little. The young woman led a life filled with suffering, was not able to accomplish all of her goals, and lacked many of the pleasures that life can offer.
If there is nothing beyond this life, then how can the atheist tell anyone not to be a dictator, if the opportunity arises?