I have had various people approach me, generally Christians, whom think the idea of doubting god or god’s existence is unethical. Obviously I think the idea is ridiculous, but I would like to give my take on it. We aren’t really talking about morality here, that has been handled in depth more times than I care to count on this blog…what I am referring to is the actual ethical nature of the individual whom doubts. My contention is that a person skeptical of the existence of god is ethical in a more altruistic sense than the individual whom accepts god and dogma without question.
Before I go into my reasoning I would like to point out that this isn’t intended at an accusation against the believer…I contest that believers (those that believe in god) can just as well be skeptics and doubters not exposed to the same information or unable to get past the religious programming they may have endured. I for one know very well that overcoming all that fear, nervousness, and denying my devotion to god is incredibly difficult. I suggest that the more devoted to your god you are the more likely you are to challenge him, at least that was my own experience. This most certainly qualifies one as a doubter in my book and therefore somewhat more ethical than ones sheepish counterparts.
My standard of ethics is that an ethical person will fight and seek truth no matter what he finds to be true. Despite what I may find to be true I will still attempt to validate that truth and fight for it’s survival, hence you have this blog in front of your face. In my view, both the pursuit of reality (truth) and the propagation of it meet the very definition of ethical behavior. Proliferating one’s faith is altruistic as it generally tends to attempt to save wayward souls, but it is only pure when an individual is willing to endure the struggles of his faith….some Atheists lack the experience of faith and therefore an understanding of the difficulty that a person of faith can face in daily life. The doubter loves his non-existent god, his god is real to him, he fights everything natural to him to keep that god happy – my own faith kept me teetering on the border of sanity and insanity almost constantly and it was incredibly difficult- far more than the scapegoat that some Atheists may believe it to be.
For the Atheist or skeptic to promote the idea of doubt in a world full of believers is risky, Atheists are hated almost the world around because we do not bow the notion of god and his authority. Some believers will even risk the promotion of questioning their deity because they understand the benefit of rethinking faith, in their view challenging god will inevitably lead to an improved relationship with him if that god doesn’t fall completely apart under scrutiny. This, on both sides of the spectrum is altruistically ethical because it intends to benefit humanity in the best way that one may know. Those ethics for the unbelieving skeptic are perpetuated via encouraging a search for truth, this search often leads to innovations in the fields of science and psychology (among others) that benefit generations, giving the unbelieving doubter the edge on ethics as salvation from a hell or a depravity that does not exist holds no value outside of good intentions.