Altruistic Atheism

Now that’s a nosebleed. Simply put, it is the belief that people who deny there’s a God can still be do-gooders.

Such is the conviction of the famous physicist Stephen Hawking. (Though the degenerative Lou Gehrig’s disease has paralyzed him and he could only speak through an electronic speech synthesizer, Hawking holds a top Cambridge research post, which Isaac Newton held before.) In an ABC News interview with Diane Sawyer a year ago, Hawking boldly claimed, “[People] made a human-like being with whom one can have a personal relationship. When you look at the vast size of the universe and how insignificant an accidental human life is in it, that [belief in a God] seems most impossible.” (Source: Yahoo! News) Recently, in an interview with “The Guardian” newspaper, he also attacked the belief in the afterlife. “I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.” (Ibid) And, when asked what do we do before our “components fail,” Hawking replied, “We should seek the greatest value of our action.” Of course, we are not to stereotype atheists as evil people just as we don’t want others to caricature Christians as hypocrites. Atheists could and have done great deeds. They just sought to be good only “for goodness sake.”

But, when I read Hawking’s reply, I thought, “What’s the point of being good when, granting for argument’s sake, there’s no God? Why try to be good at all when I could live anyway I want since there’s no God to Whom I could be ultimately accountable?” Though Hawking and other altruistic atheists may disagree with me, that “do-gooder” mindset actually contradicted their stance. The desire to do good or even leave a legacy proves that there is a God. The Bible teaches us that we are“created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:24, ESV) Though sin marred that image, we can still see it in our lives even if it’s like, as somewhat wrote, “viewing a face through a broken mirror.” Desiring and doing good actually show God’s likeness in us. Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us that “[God] has put eternity into man’s heart”. A clock may be broken but it still reminds us about time. In fact, it’s even right twice a day. Our conscience, darkened as it is by sin, still stings us to do what is right and to shun what is wrong.

Brethren, we do good for God’s sake.


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