I think Allen's films (Crimes and Misdemeanors and Match Point) provide a forceful rebuttal to sanguine claims that are made on behalf of "Ethics Without God." It seems to me that, if we take Allen's message seriously, atheism, even if it is true (and Allen thinks it is true), atheism is ethically damaging in a significant range of cases, in that people can get involved in "everything is permitted" reasoning and never be held accountable by anyone, including themselves.
It isn't that he thinks that ethics can come only from God. It is just that on an atheistic view it is perfectly possible for them to "get away with murder" and avoid punishment, even the internally imposed punishment of guilt feelings, which, it seems, can be overcome.
Particularly interesting is the difference between the outcome of Allen's movies and Crime and Punishment, which can only be explained in terms of the difference between Allen's atheism and Dostoyevsky's Russian Orthodox Christianity.
There is an ugly side to all of this, in that Allen has been accused of his own crimes and misdemeanors. Not murder, of course, but being a pedophile.
Of course, Allen has not been proven guilty, but then, neither were his protagonists in the two movies. Did he fall into "everything is permitted" reasoning in his own life?
Surely, a belief in ultimate moral accountability is hardly the only motive for being moral. More often than we realize, it does deter the evil in the hearts of men (and women).
Papalinton likes this quote: "If religion cannot restrain evil. it cannot claim effective power for good." M Cohen, American professor of Philosophy and Law.
But I think that in many many, many instances, it does restrain evil. Of course, when it does restrain evil, it doesn't make it onto the evening news.
See also this discussion. .