Atheism and the Morality of Murder

Written by | Featured, God, World Religions

Atheists often claim that they not only refuse but condemn beliefs without scientific backing and confirmation. But in their criticisms of what they call “blind belief,” they stand on thin ice when they hold their own inescapably “blind beliefs,” often without even realizing it.

Take the example of murder. Atheists do not need an archaic, ancient text to tell them murder is wrong; they can figure out something this obvious for themselves.

Let’s apply this practically.

When do you believe the concept of murder started applying to us as a species? Did it apply when we were still like monkeys? Tribes of chimpanzees go to war with one another in the wild. They brutally kill members of other tribes and mutilate their bodies. Sometimes the ones they kill are individuals they were very familiar with and even grew up with (1). Is it morally wrong for animals to behave in this way? Would it have been morally wrong for our ancestors to behave in this way? What about Neanderthals? Would the concept of murder have applied to them? What scientific evidence do you have that a point exists in our evolution where life became special?

Maybe you believe the concept of murder came into existence when we began large game hunting, and altruism became more important to us. However, other primates also show altruism, empathy, awareness of social rules, deception, etc. Maybe you believe the concept of murder came into existence at the stage where we began showing signs of behavioral modernity. However, abstract art and complex tools were also found in Neanderthals, who at times buried their dead. What empirical evidence do you have to prove that a point in our evolution exists when killing within our species was henceforth murder?

If the concept of murder has a basis in reality and is not a blind belief you hold, then you should have some falsifiable evidence for its existence. After all, that is the claim that atheists gave to believers for their view that the universe had a Conscious Cause. The reality is that without believing in God as a moral point of reference for what is good and evil, your subjective opinion can never be more than an opinion; it is based on a blind belief you hold that human life is special.

It is a blind belief that you apply in daily life so arbitrarily that you don’t know why you eat some forms of life and refuse to eat others. The moral outrage with which you view the eating of some animals is an expression of your conviction in that blind belief.

Maybe you are outraged by the killing and eating of dogs, but you have no problem eating pigs and cows. Perhaps you are more civilized and choose to be a vegetarian or a vegan. It would help if you had a scientific basis for a belief that you hold so firmly, you consider it immoral to kill animals. Is it consciousness that makes you believe animal life is extraordinary? What falsifiable evidence do you have for your belief that the cognition found in plants is not enough to make their life memorable? All you have done is to extend your blind faith in some forms of life being unique to another random category of living creatures. Your concept of murder is not based on science; your beliefs on this subject are found on blind faith; there is no way around it.

Islam teaches a consistent and logical principle: the concept of the sanctity of life originates not in the physical sciences but the spiritual sciences; it originates from God, the cause of all causes. Without a moral point of reference, there is no objective right or wrong; there is only what we want to call good and what we label as evil. To try and claim any other authority for it is, by definition, blind belief.

The Holy Qur’an teaches: 

‘And that you kill not the life which Allah has made sacred, save by right. That is what He has enjoined upon you, that you may understand’ (2). 

An atheist may think they do not need God to tell them murder is wrong, but their attempts to provide evidence of any factual basis for this belief end only in empty justifications and blind faith.

I don’t mind atheists denying the validity of blind belief, as long as they are consistent about it. But how do they manage this while passionately holding a set of blind ideas themselves?


​​1. Rami Tzabar, “Do chimpanzee wars prove that violence is innate?”, BBC, (Accessed November 30, 2021)

2. The Holy Qur’an (6:152)

Last modified: January 2022

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