The article “Why Did Dan Barker Leave Christianity For Atheism” at the Wintery Knight blog has attracted the attention of Atheist Bob Seidensticker, who I’ve written about before. This time Mr. Seidensticker has made an interesting reply to the author’s comment:
Wintery Knight: “Immorality requires that you not believe in God.”
Bob Seidensticker: “Nope. This may shock you, but many Christians are immoral.”
Let’s examine these claims.
The definition of belief is to accept something as true. If one believes in God they accept the existence of God and his morality as true. What happens when someone who accepts the truth of God’s morality engages in immorality? They fail to act in accordance with their beliefs. They are, by their actions, denying their belief in God. When an atheist engages in immorality, they are acting in accordance with their beliefs.
The Christian claims that objective morality exists. The atheist does not. Indeed the atheist, in his mind, cannot be said to act morally or immorally because morality does not truly (objectively) exist. Thus the atheist is ‘correct’ to engage in immorality and the theist is not.
One cannot be (that is, live as) a Christian if one lives in immorality because the beliefs and the actions do not match. When someone chooses a life of immorality, they are choosing a life against belief in God.
This is not to say that a Christian cannot commit immoral acts or that an atheist cannot commit moral acts. Sin is temporal. It is an act of rejection of God. This is what Christianity teaches. Repentance is thus fundamental: acknowledging that immoral actions are against God and turning away from those actions. A Christian who fails to repent cannot be considered a practicing Christian.
If one were, for example, to perform a scientific study to tell whether or not someone was an atheist or a Christian, what could be the criteria? What would be more important, their stated words or their actions performed? Obviously the latter. In nearly every sphere of life, words are almost completely meaningless if they contradict actions.
Immoral behavior requires you not to believe in God because belief in God requires morality.