Imagine this scenario: you are participating, for a small fee, in an experiment in which you are paired with a robot to play a game against a computer. The robot, given the very creative name Robbie, can both hear and speak, and in fact, has a pleasant personality. So, as the two of you play the game, you also chat, and get to know one another pretty well. In fact, you grow to like Robbie.
Then, the researcher tells you the experiment is over. Your last task, he says, is to turn a switch that will turn your robot friend off. Immediately, Robbie cries out, “No! Please don’t do that. If you turn me off, everything I am disappears – all my personality, all my memories. If you turn that switch, you’ll be killing me. Please, don’t do it!”
What will you do? It’s your job to turn Robbie off – to “kill” it. But Robbie, a teammate you’ve worked with and conversed with as if it was a person, is begging for its “life.” Yet you know that in reality it’s only a soulless machine. It’s pleading not to be turned off simply because that’s what it’s been programmed to do.
How do you think you would react in this situation. Well, it probably won’t surprise you to know that this experiment has actually been done. People have been put into exactly this circumstance, and their reaction tells us a lot about the morality of atheism.
You see, atheism tells us that we are all Robbies – nothing more than biological machines programmed by evolution and our environment. According to atheism, there is no such thing as a soul, so obviously we are as soulless as Robbie is. In fact, atheism cannot delineate any way in which human beings are fundamentally different from robots or computers. And that means that whatever we might choose to do to Robbie, even to shutting it off as it begs for its life, we can just as legitimately do to a human being.
That’s why the widespread acceptance of atheism would have a staggering impact on all our concepts of morality.
You can read more about the “Robbie” experiment and what it demonstrates about the morality of atheism in my article: Why Morality Requires Faith In God
Additional articles in this series:
Atheism is Bad Science (Atheists Disregard Scientific Evidence of God)