I am a theist. I've been living with the view that atheism ultimately leads to nihilism, since there is no objective standard for ethics. However I have heard of an atheist ethical system that is not arbitrary. A system that is actually sound. It goes as follows:
If there is an objective standard for morality, or if there is an objective meaning to life, then that meaning has a higher probability of being discovered in a more technologically advanced society. So we ought to strive for societal progress. If there is a meaning then it will be easier found if we live in an advanced society. And if there is no meaning then it doesn't matter that we wasted our time.
Also another part of this is that it's okay to guess that the basic ethical standards we have (wrong to kill, steal, torture etc.) are probably close to what a potentially objective ethical standard may be.
I don't know why more atheists aren't adopting this ethical system. Most atheists seem to insist on using ethical systems that are arbitrary and subjective (which leads to nihilism) when this clearly superior option exists.
Do you see flaws? What do you think of this? Is it sound?
Some examples of this system in practice:
>Should we genocide le undesirable groups?
No. States that do that are often unsuccsesful and not progressive.
>Should we murder?
No. Killing someone takes away their potential to benefit humanity.
>Should we do forced human experiments?
Yes if necessary and efficient.
>Should we torture?
No. Because that is probably wrong in a hypothetical objective morality.