Apologetics for the Masses - Issue #14

Bible Christian Society

General Comments

This issue was going to be the 2nd half of what I started in last week’s issue, but several of you responded to me with questions and comments regarding last week’s issue, so I thought I would address those responses before moving on to the 2nd half of "Was Hitler Right (Or: Why Atheists Have No Rights).

By the way, in the last issue, I mentioned stem cell research a couple of times. Once I specifically said “fetal” stem cell research and once I did not use that particular qualifier. Just so there is no doubt in any one’s mind, stem cell research which involves the destruction of a human embryo (fetal or embryonic stem cell research) is always morally wrong. Stem cell research which does not involve the destruction of a human embryo (adult stem cell research) is morally acceptable. So, if I ever write about stem cell research being morally unacceptable, I am always referring to embryonic stem cell research.


These responses were from readers who had questions about, or a problem with, what I said in Issue #13. They all said basically the same thing, but the wording was slightly different.

I thought I would list each one and respond to them so that you can see the response is pretty much the same no matter how someone words their objection to the arguments I presented in the last issue. My replies are essentially saying the same thing, just a slightly different emphasis in each.

As always, the question/challenge is in italics.


Hey John,

You may be going to address this in part II, but what comes to my mind when I try to justify treating others civilly even though there is no God is this: Because I want to be treated civilly. We have this society and its rules so that we can ensure that we ourselves are treated civilly. We all just sort of agree not to bop someone else over the head for the fun of it, because we don’t want someone else bopping us over the head for the fun of it.

Therefore, when a person can’t protest, can’t vote, can’t even scream, that makes it ok to violate their rights without repercussions (abortion, euthanasia).

How would you handle this atheistic, humanist reasoning?


Dear Jeff,

If an atheist/humanist hits you with that kind of argument, it doesn’t negate any of what I said in my arguments. They are actually making my argument that, without God, might makes right. You could point out to them that they believe what Hitler did was essentially moral – to kill those he considered without value – but that they simply disagree with him on where to draw the line for whose life has value and whose doesn’t.

And, you could further argue that if its okay to take a person’s life as long as they “can’t protest, can’t vote, or can’t even scream,” then all you have to do is get a law passed saying atheists have no right to protest nor do they have a right to vote. They can scream if they want to, but we’ll lock them up in a prison camp where no one can hear their screams. Ask them if doing that would be morally wrong. If they say, yes, ask them how so?

Theirs is not an argument that human life has inherent value, theirs is merely an argument as to whose life has value in their eyes…in other words, it is a purely subjective valuation based on individual opinion. There is no objective moral standard involved here.

And this thing about I’ll treat you civilly so that you’ll treat me civilly is, again, merely a subjective social construct, which will work only if you can get rid of greed, envy, lust, jealousy, the love of power, and so on. In other words, it would never work. But, regardless of that, there is nothing there about human life having inherent value. Or about killing others being morally wrong. You need to make it clear that if the door is open for some individuals to place a value on some other individuals’ lives, then the door is actually open for all individuals to place a value on all other individuals’ lives. You, having this right to place a value on others’ lives, therefore place a value of zero on the life of every atheist and believe they should all be summarily executed. How can they tell you you’re morally wrong to do that? They can’t.

Mr Martignoni,

I want to pose an answer to the question about the source of human rights that an atheist might give and I wonder about your response. What if they answered your question: Human “rights” are simply an implementation of the principle of “live and let live”. In other words the reason I want to insure you have “rights” are because I want to have those same “rights” for myself. If I am allowed to deprive you of your life and property , then there is nothing stopping others from depriving me of my life and property.

You Christians say “love your neighbor as yourself”. I say “love your neighbor if you want to be loved” and conversely “hate and kill your neighbor if you want to be hated and killed”. So God has nothing to do with it. Human “rights” derive from the animal instinct to survive and preserve one’s own existence. Thanks for considering .

Yours in Christ,


Dear Paul,

Basically the same question I answered above about wanting to be treated civilly, so you treat others civilly. I would give your argument pretty much the same answer.

My argument was that without God, one cannot make an objective assessment about the value of human life and one cannot say that Hitler was wrong to do what he did. The argument you have presented in no way negates what I said. And, in fact, the argument you present actually reinforces what I said.

You stated: “Human ‘rights’ derive from the animal instinct to survive and preserve one’s own existence.” If that is the case, then worm “rights” derive from the exact same instinct in worms. Do worm rights have the same moral equivalent as human rights? They do if there is no God. Without God, one cannot say that he objectively has more value than a worm, or than a slug, or than a bacteria, or any other living creature. You can only give your subjective opinion in this matter. And, if it’s okay to put a worm on a hook to catch a trout, then it’s okay to put an atheist on a hook to catch a great white shark.

Again, this particular argument which you think an atheist might give says nothing about the value of human life or about why Hitler was morally wrong to do what he did. It is merely a utilitarian argument for not killing someone else so that your hide will hopefully be spared.

Hi [John],

In your argument for value coming from God, what if the atheist says that God is just your opinion- as it was the signers of the Declaration. Then what do say?


Dear Fred,

First, I say that it is not my “opinion” that our system of law is based on the belief in God. It may be my “opinion” (and that of the signers of the Declaration) that there is a God, but it is not anyone’s “opinion” that our system of law – our system of believing that each individual has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – is based on a belief in a God Who endows individuals with these rights – it is a fact. That can be clearly seen by reading the Declaration. So, if there is no God, then atheists have no rights under our system of law.

Then, I say that while the existence of God may be my opinion, it is also my opinion that atheists should be shot on sight and can they give me one good reason, other than their opinion, as to why that would be wrong to do so.

The following was my favorite:

I just finished reading Apologetics for the masses, volume 13 and have a complant. While i agree with most of what you said, you can believe that all humans have a right to life without believing in God. While i am a firm believer in God and in the Catholic churh, what you said struck me as wrong. I actually wondered if this was the same man who spoke on the tapes or wrote the other newletters. [Ed. comment: Ouch!] You dont need a belief in a higher being or any religious values to believe in life. The simple fact that we are self aware gives us the right to live.


Dear Alex,

Says who? Why does the simple fact that we are self-aware give us the right to live? That’s merely your opinion. What if someone disagrees with your opinion? What do you fall back on? Without God, you have nothing to fall back on but your own subjective opinion.

Why was Hitler wrong? Well, in your opinion, he was wrong because everyone he killed was self-aware. Why does human life have value? Well, in your opinion, human life has value because we are self-aware. So, does that mean it’s morally okay to kill an unborn child? They’re not self-aware. In fact, children aren’t really self-aware until several months after their birth. So, can we say it is morally acceptable to kill a 2-month old because he is not self-aware? Well, it is if your opinion holds sway. What about someone in a coma? They’re not self-aware, so it’s okay to kill them? What about someone who has been knocked unconscious, they’re not self-aware…does their life not have value while they’re unconscious and therefore it’s morally acceptable to kill them?

You are right in that one does not have to believe in the existence of God to believe that all human life has value, but the point is, that without the existence of God, your belief that all human life has value is merely a subjective opinion…it is not an objective moral standard. And, the danger is, that someone can disagree with your opinion and not be morally wrong, since there is no moral standard other than someone’s opinion.

As I said in the last newsletter, without God, you can’t make the case that the Holocaust was wrong. In fact, without God, you can’t make the case that any killing is wrong. Without God, you can’t make the case that the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were wrong. After all, without God, we are just animals, and no one says that one animal killing another animal is morally wrong. To say otherwise, without God, is merely one’s opinion.

In Conclusion

You cannot come up with an objective argument for saying that killing another human being is morally wrong without the belief in a God Who gives value to all human life and Who endows all human life with unalienable (aka inalienable) human rights. Without God, it is merely one’s subjective opinion that killing another is wrong. Which inevitably leads to the position of might makes right. Whoever is the strongest…well, his opinion carries the day.

Atheists, secular humanists, social liberals (those who see no problem with abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, etc.) cannot make a consistent moral argument for their positions because they leave God out of the equation. They leave God out because I believe they know that to allow God into the equation means they would have to recognize their positions on those above-mentioned moral issues as being “immoral.” And, they simply can’t admit to that.

As always, your comments are welcomed and all will be read.

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Apologetics for the Masses