Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Believer's Bleak Default Option

Because of the general lack of English literature available in Japan, I've started reading newspapers again. My paper of choice at the moment is the International Herald Tribune, partly because it's generally thicker than the other English newspapers, and also it has a more world wide focus so I get to hear some things that are going on back in Australia.

I was somewhat outraged by one of the editorials that appeared in it a few days ago. It was titled Atheist's Bleak Alternative, and you can read it yourself here. Written by Jeff Jacoby, it laments the lack of religiosity in modern society, as reflected in the lack of religious iconography and verbiage on this years run of Christmas cards. A large number of cards don't even have non religious Christmas images like Santa Claus. An interesting phenomena to note, but nothing to get to riled up about.

Mr Jacoby takes it a step further, and complains that this lack of religion, specifically Christianity is a major problem, resulting in moral relativity and an inability to install positive values into society.

The part that really got me annoyed was the following quote:
That is because without God, the difference between good and evil becomes purely subjective. What makes murder inherently wrong is not that it feels wrong, but that a transcendent creator to whom we are answerable commands: "Thou shalt not murder." What makes kindness to others inherently right is not that human reason says so, but that God does: "Love thy neighbor as thyself; I am the Lord."

I'm sorry Jeff Jacoby, but murder is not inherently wrong just because God says so. It's wrong because it harms others by depriving them of life. If God had said "Thou shalt murder", would it be our moral duty to whack everyone we could? That would be a religion I hope no one would follow. Similarly, kindness to others is good because it makes life better for others and ourselves.

Additionally, the suggestion that without the fear of God people would do bad things with no remorse is quite frankly insulting. I don't go around killing people because I know that it hurts them and is an act of violence. I don't need to be told by some man in the sky. I can work that out for myself. If the only reason you don't go around killing people is because God says not to, then you sir, are a very scary person. I treat others well because I respect them, not because I hope to avoid eternal punishment by doing so.

End Post
Writing time: 71 minutes (I stopped to watch the latest BSG)
Time since last post: 1 day
Current media: Battlestar Galactica 3x11


Hewhoblogs said...

I believe you already know how I feel about God. Allow me to state my support your correct opinion.

Hewhoblogs said...

Also we invented a new, awesome song last night: Stariway to Kevin.

It is up to you to write the lyrics.

David Barry said...

When I read the extract you quoted, I thought it was parody....

Esonlinji said...

Don't tempt me to put up the lyrics to up Sto'vo'qor ghoStaH He

Hewhoblogs said...

I should not have tempted you.