Monday, 1 August 2011

Good without God, from USA Today

Nice to see this calm and well argued article in USA Today, by Jerry Coyne titled "As atheists know, you can be good without God"

He gives examples of immoral teachings in the Old and New Testaments and points out how believers choose to ignore and not act upon these immoral guidelines.

Having shown that we don't get our moral guidelines from the Bible, where have they come from?
So where does morality come from, if not from God? Two places: evolution and secular reasoning.

Should we be afraid that a morality based on our genes and our brains is somehow inferior to one handed down from above? Not at all. In fact, it's far better, because secular morality has a flexibility and responsiveness to social change that no God-given morality could ever have. Secular morality is what pushes religion to improve its own dogma on issues such as slavery and the treatment of women. Secular morality is what prevents ethically irrelevant matters — what we eat, read or wear, when we work, or whom we have sex with — from being grouped with matters of genuine moral concern — rape and child abuse. And really, isn't it better to be moral because you've worked out for yourself — in conjunction with your group — the right thing to do, rather than because you want to propitiate a god or avoid punishment in the hereafter?

Nor should we worry that a society based on secular morality will degenerate into lawlessness. That experiment has already been done — in countries such as Sweden and Denmark that are largely filled with non-believers and atheists. I can vouch from experience that secular European nations are full of well-behaved and well-meaning citizens, not criminals and sociopaths running amok. In fact, you can make a good case that those countries, with their liberal social views and extensive aid for the sick, old and disadvantaged, are even more moral than America.

Clearly, you can be good without God.


vin check said...

There no end of learning, so why we do waste our time by learning? ;)

Ilene said...

This is gorgeous!