Duty. Honor. Lost concepts. During WWII, suicide was not an uncommon solution to a man who was not allowed to join the war effort. Duty to one’s family and country were held in such high esteem.

This degree of duty is unheard of in our society today. Something changed. In the space of 20 years, suicide was replaced by draft card burning. Society’s moral bearings shifted due to the widespread belief of natural selection and other atheistic teachings.

Duty to whom or duty to what cannot be answered satisfactorily if the starting point is natural selection. Of course many have tried to squeeze duty into their theories: utilitarianism and egoism amongst others. Amid these theories is autonomy—the law to one’s self. These concepts have been slowly integrated into the public school system and what we see now is a fully loaded freight train going down a hill with no brakes and going around a bend. Trying to sever the link between God and morality has turned into catastrophe.

Examining the philosophical masters, we need to look no further. A slogan from Jean-Paul Sartre, one of the most well-known existential philosophers of the last century, said, “It is forbidden to forbid.” In current jargon, that has turned into, “Don’t judge.” A glaring contradiction within Sartre’s convictions is his critical judgment on the Vietnam war as immoral. This comes from the man who doesn’t believe in morals and calls others to not forbid anything.

“There are no bounds to horrors of natural selection played out.”

At the heart of natural selection is the theory that the strong dominates the weak. Hitler took these theories and led them to their logical conclusions: Auschwitz. The death of God and the abolition of morals came to surface at the German concentration camps. At Auschwitz, 12,000 people were killed every day because they were ‘inferior’ to the Germanic people. At the Nuremberg Trials, German leaders were being tried for war crimes against humanity. These leaders defended themselves by saying that they operated in accordance to the law of the land and there was no law above that law. This is natural selection at its finest. If there is no ultimate moral authority, there cannot be any answer to who, when, or why.  According to natural selection, the NAZI’s actions were not only okay, but were intrinsic to the reigning world view.

We have come to an age where ethics are a thing of the past. Values have replaced morality. Interestingly, the word values, with its present connotations, can be traced directly back to Nietzsche himself.

“Only a moral system that is logical, meaningful, and practical has answers for any society. In hard terms, the morality that atheism teaches, implies, or espouses is unlivable.” -Ravi Zacharias

Duty. A word with a definition, but without meaning for today. In a world where it is forbidden to forbid and where autonomy is championed, duty is a thing of the past. There are atheists out there who have morals, but it is not consistent with the atheistic world view and cannot be justified within their set of presuppositions. What happened to duty? Like morals, it has slowly been stripped from society.


For Further Discussion:

Ravi Zacharias gives examples of intolerance from the ‘tolerant’ atheist: Click Here