The word atheist means “non-God;” when applied to a person, one does not believe in God. Atheism is a faith, an ideology that has swept through societies and corrupted the thinking of man with regard to his moral foundation. In a recent “twitter” discussion an atheist did not much like that which I wrote concerning atheism and its connection to hedonism. He failed to see and accept that each ideology has a consequence. In this case, a consequence to one’s moral behavior.
I don’t blame him. Hedonism has a connotation that is quite unpleasant to a practical person’s way of thinking.
When I asked him of his moral foundation and why he accepted it he replied that his moral compunction is associated with empathy. I do not remember that he gave me a reason why except to say that what is disagreeable to him is likely disagreeable to others. A rock-solid foundation, wouldn’t you say!
Hedonism is defined as the person who lives life seeking that which is pleasurable. The dictionary defines it as the doctrine that pleasure or happiness is the sole or chief good in life (Webster’s, p. 849). The word “pleasure” and “happiness” can have selfishness associated with it, but not necessarily so. In The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, there are two types of hedonism discussed, ethical hedonism and psychological hedonism. Ethical hedonism affirms that only pleasure is intrinsically desirable and only displeasure is intrinsically undesirable.
This definition in the philosophical dictionary is mighty vague, and the discussion to follow illustrates this. The word “pleasure” confuses what hedonism is. The word can have application in any area of life – to that which is totally selfish to that which is totally giving. Wherever (or in whatever area) one falls in the spectrum of understanding and applying the word “pleasure” to the life lived, the atheistic philosophy has as only the source man’s wisdom in determining what is right and wrong.
Great chaos that has produced!
Of course, with any moral foundation one has to choose to live in accordance with its tenets. For the atheist, the only tenet is that which he likes or dislikes, since his is the highest source of authority by which to measure anything. For the Christian, he also must make a choice, but his choice comes from a source greater than himself.
The Christian might have a similar pleasure to the atheist in giving to his fellowman, or he might be as selfish as the atheist is other matters. With regard to the Christian’s choice, he is measured by a higher authority of ethics. For the atheist, he is not. The Christian gives because of who the Lord is (the very essence and standard of what is good), while the atheist gives for some reason related to self. For the Christian, the rock-solid foundation of morality is in place, but for the atheist the only foundation in place is a fluid one. RT