HOME   People do good because they are human, not because they are religious! 

Do not give God any credit for the good they do, they did it!

 

Utilitarianism and Atheism
 
Utilitarianism claims that in ethics, what matters is not rules so much as doing whatever makes the most people the happiest: the greatest happiness of the greatest number.
 
The action does not matter, only the results matter.
 
The nice thing about Utilitarianism is that it tells us that there is no God or that he does not matter. If all are meant to be happy like it says, then God does not exist for we suffer. It is useful for sowing prejudice against the God hypothesis. It paves the way for the great light of unholy atheistic science to arrive and take over.

 

You may object, "What if it is God who tells us to put the biggest happiness of the biggest number first?"  But then do we care about the greatest happiness of most or do we just care about God commanding it?  If being commanded is all that matters then it is contradictory to say that greatest happiness matters at all never mind most of all.

 

Utilitarianism has its dangers.  What morality doesn't?  It makes it too easy to command something dreadful while claiming you have personal and secret - maybe even psychic - knowledge of why it is for the best.  It is best then to try and stick with situations where you can see the reasons on the table.  Listening to Gods or prophets or people who claim to know what you do not know defeats the purpose of Utilitarianism.  How?  Because if the greatest happiness of most is what matters then they cannot really matter or be enjoyed much if the reasons for what is done are not known.  A Utilitarian God will not lay out his reasons but just give commands and that means you could kill babies at his behest and realise you have made things worse and the babies died for nothing.  It opens the door for unscrupulous people who pretend to know what God wants.
 
Another nice thing about it is that it opposes Jesus who plainly indicated that Utilitarianism is wrong. In Mark 14 he objected when people said that a woman who put expensive ointment on his feet should have sold it for the poor. And that was in the earliest gospel too!
 
The predominant moral view in the world is utilitarianism. This is a hard philosophy to apply in life. It is made impossible if you introduce the idea that the greatest good is giving people the opportunity to find God and have their hearts changed by him.

The notion of God goes hand in hand with the notion that he has the right to let us suffer and die so horribly. Utilitarianism tends to be atheistic because it says we should all be happy and that is a direct attack on God.
 
Utilitarianism says we should not have to make sacrifices for others but because the world is so imperfect we have to. This leaves it open to the attack, “If there is no God then how can persons or their happiness be important when they are the products of chance?” But what has that got to do with anything? It is a kind of racism to say that a person who was made by chance would not be as important as one who was made by God. This is really saying that the person who was made by God is not important at all for it is only God having made him that makes him important so it is really God that is important and not the person. Yet the attack is voiced in Runaway World (page 52). Also, religion does not seem to think that the existence of God means that the existence of chance is ruled out. They think he can step back and let things take care of themselves.

The greatest happiness of the greatest number rule that the Utilitarian system espouses is undeniably right. The Church says it is unworkable. But that is not the reason it rejects it. The unworkability is not the problem it has with it. If there is a God it ought to be very workable for he can maximise happiness by changing our programming so that we are more easily satisfied. He hasn’t done so. If God runs the universe, he can ensure that our deeds will produce the happiest results. But God makes it hard to be a good person or a person who finds happiness. Some people are made so that if they find a dream wonderful person who loves them they are still not happy. To say that Utilitarianism is true, is to say there is no God. All you have to do is look around you to see it.
 
So God can reward our Utilitarian attempts to bring about the best by making sure our efforts work with his supernatural help as long as our intentions are good. He can make Utilitarianism workable or more workable. The Church cannot accept the Utilitarian philosophy for the Bible and Jesus laid down laws that cannot be broken whatever the cost. So if you believe in the Bible or in Jesus you are deadening your heart to human suffering. You are diminishing your compassion by approving of the mess God has left. You are saying that human welfare has nothing to do with morality. The Church cannot tolerate the possibility that there will be times it serves the Utilitarian end to abandon God and religion. It is God’s happiness not man’s that religion cares about though it is supposed to make man happy as if it were a side-effect. Overall, the point I want to make is that Utilitarianism even if unworkable but it is still a good principle and so belief in God or deities is bad for it denies the validity and the goodness of the principle. God is anti-human.
 
It seems terrible to say that only happiness matters as if people don't. People benefiting from Utilitarianism would be a mere side effect for its about benefiting happiness. But if we say that God matters and people don't in comparison are we any better? No - we are worse.
 
BOOKS CONSULTED
 
A HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY, VOL 6, PART II, KANT, Frederick Copleston SJ, Doubleday/Image, New York, 1964
CHRISTIANITY FOR THE TOUGH-MINDED, Ed John Warwick Montgomery, Bethany Fellowship Inc, Minneapolis, 1973
ETHICS, A C Ewing, Teach Yourself Books, English Universities Press Ltd, London, 1964
ETHICS IN A PERMISSIVE SOCIETY, William Barclay, Collins and Fontana, Glasgow, 1971
FREE TO DO RIGHT, David Field, IVP, London, 1973
MORAL PHILOSOPHY, Joseph Rickaby SJ, Stonyhurst Philosophy Series, Longmans, Green and Co, London, 1912
MORALITY, Bernard Williams, Pelican/Penguin, Middlesex, 1972
MORTAL QUESTIONS Thomas Nagel, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, London, 1979
NEW CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA, The Catholic University of America and the McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., Washington, District of Columbia, 1967
PRACTICAL ETHICS, Peter Singer, Cambridge University Press, England, 1994
RUNAWAY WORLD, Michael Green, IVP, London, 1974
SITUATION ETHICS, Joseph Fletcher, SCM Press, London, 1966
SUMMA THEOLOGICA OF ST THOMAS AQUINAS, Part II, Second Number, Thomas Baker, London, 1918
THE PROBLEM OF RIGHT CONDUCT, Peter Green MA, Longmans Green and Co, London, 1957

The WEB

Roman Catholic Ethics: Three Approaches by Brian Berry
www.mcgill.pvt.k12.al.us/jerryd/ligouri/berry.htm