Questions for Atheists on Morality Being Based on Reducing Harm

by Matt Slick

  1. VALIDATE THE NO-HARM STANDARD If you, as an atheist, say that what is morally good is that which reduces over-all harm, then on what basis do you validate that assertion as being a proper moral standard?
  2. WHAT PEOPLE WANT AS NO-HARM STANDARD If you say that reducing harm is a valid standard because that is what people want, then how are you not committing the logical fallacy of begging the question by saying that what people want is what makes something morally right?
  3. WHAT PEOPLE WANT AS NO-HARM STANDARD If you say that reducing harm is a valid standard of morality because that is what people want, then how are you not promoting an arbitrary standard since it is based on peoples’ feelings and desires which change?
  4. SELF-PROTECTION If reducing overall harm is the standard of morality, then should a nation that is being attacked by another nation not practice self-defense since by defending itself it would increase overall harm to both nations?
  5. SELF-PROTECTION If you say such a nation has the right of self-protection which overrides the principle of reducing harm, then how are you not saying that there is a greater standard of morality to which the moral standard of reducing harm must be subject?
  6. SELF-PROTECTION If there is a greater standard of morality than reducing overall harm, then why do you affirm that what-is-good-is-what-reduces-harm as the standard of morality and not this greater standard as the one by which right and wrong are judged?
  7. SELF-PROTECTION If you say that the nation being attacked should not defend itself lest it increases overall harm to both societies, then how are you not advocating the systematic takeover of nations by those nations that don’t hold to your moral standard?
  8. NO-HARM STANDARD IN PRACTICE If reducing harm is the standard of morality, then is it okay to sexually assault a comatose person if no physical or emotional harm is suffered, and the person is never aware of it?
  9. NO-HARM STANDARD IN PRACTICE If reducing harm is the standard of morality, then is it okay for people to lie and commit adultery as long as others don’t find out about it, and there is no physical or emotional harm incurred by anyone?
  10. NO-HARM STANDARD IN PRACTICE If you answered yes to one or both of the two previous questions about rape and adultery, then aren’t you approving of these acts as long as no one is harmed?
  11. NO-HARM STANDARD IN PRACTICE If you answered no to one or both of the questions on rape and adultery, then how is your position consistent with the what-is-good-is-what-reduces-harm standard since no harm was suffered by anyone?
  12. NO-HARM STANDARD IN PRACTICE If reducing suffering is what is morally good, then if a society decides to incarcerate Christians because it deems them harmful to that society, would that then be the morally right thing to do?
  13. NO-HARM STANDARD IN PRACTICE Likewise, if reducing suffering is what is morally good and a society decides to incarcerate atheists because it deems them harmful to that society, would that be the morally right thing to do?
  14. NO-HARM STANDARD IN PRACTICE If incarcerating Christians and/or atheists because society says it reduces overall harm is really not the morally right thing to do, then why is it not right since it would be that society’s attempt at reducing overall harm?
  15. NO-HARM STANDARD IN PRACTICE If incarcerating Christians and/or atheists becomes the morally right thing to do because society decides it will reduce overall harm, then can you legitimately complain against the actions of the Nazis and the Jews of the Old Testament since both societies also wanted to reduce overall harm to themselves and preserve their societies?
  16. SELF-HARM If reducing harm is the standard of morality, then what do you do with those people who are perfectly normal, productive members of society who also just happen to like harming themselves?
  17. SELF-HARM Are those who like to harm themselves excluded from your moral standard about reducing harm since they like to suffer harm?
  18. SELF-HARM If they are excluded, then how is your standard that what-is-good-is-what-reduces-harm really a valid standard?
  19. SELF-HARM However, if people are wrong for wanting to harm themselves, then why are they wrong?
  20. SELF-HARM However, if people are wrong for wanting to harm themselves, then should you judge them as being mentally unhealthy?
  21. SELF-HARM If you don’t judge them as being mentally unhealthy, how is your standard that what-is-good-is-what-reduces-harm really valid?
  22. SELF-HARM If you do judge that those who like to suffer harm are being mentally unhealthy, do you have the moral obligation to force your standard of reducing harm upon them and stop them from harming themselves?
  23. SELF-HARM If you do not force your standard of reducing harm on them, then how is your standard a proper standard of morality?
  24. SELF-HARM But if you do force your standard on those who like to suffer harm, then aren’t you doing the same thing that you complain about regarding God in the Old Testament who also forced his morals on people?
  25. SELF-HARM AND CONSENT If you say that reducing harm is good only when the consent of an individual is not violated, why is that a standard that must be used?
  26. SELF-HARM AND CONSENT If you say that reducing harm is good only when the consent of an individual is not violated, how is this not committing the logical fallacy of begging the question by saying that what people want is what makes something morally right?
  27. SELF-HARM AND CONSENT If you say that reducing harm is good only when the consent of an individual is not violated, then is it good for people to suffer harm when they consent to being harmed?
  28. SELF-HARM AND CONSENT If you say that reducing harm is good only when the consent of an individual is not violated, then is it okay to forcibly stop someone from attempting suicide or taking harmful drugs when neither gives you consent to intervene?
  29. SELF-HARM AND CONSENT If you do intervene against a person’s will and stop him from harming himself, then how is your action not contradictory to your standard about not violating a person’s consent when reducing harm?
  30. SELF-HARM AND CONSENT If you do not intervene against a person’s will and stop him from harming himself lest you violate his consent, then how is your standard of reducing harm really good?
  31. STANDARD OF MORALITY If you say that the standard of morality you use is neither good or bad but just something that people agree to, then how can it be a standard of morality since morality deals with what is good and bad?
  32. STANDARD OF MORALITY If you say that the standard of morality you use is not a standard of what is good and bad but just something that people agree to, then how can you legitimately complain against any society that does something you don’t agree with--such as the Jews of the Old Testament?
  33. SELF-HARM If what-is-good-is-what-reduces-harm, then shouldn’t you, as an atheist, just ignore all of these questions since they might harm your worldview on morality?

 

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CARM ison