Does Atheism Entail Nihilism?

I take it that most (though not all) non-theists assume that atheism does not entail nihilism.  More specifically, most non-theists don’t believe that denying the existence of God or the immortality of the soul entails that truth, love, beauty, goodness, and justice are empty words.

But as we’ve seen in numerous discussions, the anti-materialist holds that this commitment is not one to which we are rationally entitled.  Rather, the anti-materialist seems to contend, someone who denies that there is any transcendent reality beyond this life cannot be committed to anything other than affirmation of power (or maximizing individual reproductive success) for its own sake.

The question is, why is the anti-materialist mistaken about what non-theists are rationally entitled to?   (Anti-materialists are also welcome to clarify their position if I’ve mischaracterized it.)

305 Replies to “Does Atheism Entail Nihilism?”

  1. Blas
    Ignored
    says:

    petrushka: Give an example of something that is good or bad without reference to whether it helps or hurts someone else.

    Just a moment ago I have got this:

    http://edition.cnn.com/2014/03/05/us/massachusetts-upskirt-photography/

    I think is a good example of legality and morality and also good or bad without reference of if it hurts or not someone else.

  2. Mike Elzinga
    Ignored
    says:

    Here is a video that could easily be a metaphor for human behavior; except with penguins, it looks funny.

    Consider the poor bloke working hard and following the rules; and then get ripped off for his naïveté

    As for the thief, as the narrator says, “It takes one to know one.”

    What if penguins believed they had an all-seeing penguin deity?

    The question comes down to how educated and enlightened does a society have to be in order to be able to dispense with deities; and can that ever be achieved in reality?

  3. Alan Fox Alan Fox
    Ignored
    says:

    Moved a post to guano. Please try to keep within the rules.

  4. petrushka
    Ignored
    says:

    Blas: Just a moment ago I have got this:
    http://edition.cnn.com/2014/03/05/us/massachusetts-upskirt-photography/
    I think is a good example of legality and morality and also good or bad without reference of if it hurts or not someone else.

    Does it not hurt someone? If not, why is there a complaint?

  5. Kantian Naturalist Kantian Naturalist
    Ignored
    says:

    A link to one of my recent posts at After the Bar Closes about The Morality Debate at Uncommon Descent is here.

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