Last year it was the idiocy of "Be good for goodness sake" that adorned city buses and billboards as the American Humanist Association attempted to prove to everyone that one needn't believe in God to be good.
Working against them: the entirety of the record of human history.
Yet, undeterred by the very reason they proudly proclaim to be espousing, the Association has settled on a new theme this year:
It is spending $200,000 to "directly challenge biblical morality'' in advertisements appearing on network and cable TV, as well as in newspapers, magazines, and on public transit. The ads juxtapose violent or otherwise unpleasant passages from the Bible (or the Koran) with "humanist'' quotations from prominent atheists. For example, a dreadful prophecy from the Hebrew prophet Hosea ? "The people of Samaria . . . have rebelled against their God. They will fall by the sword; their little ones will be dashed to the ground, their pregnant women ripped open'' ? is contrasted with Albert Einstein's comment that he "cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation.''
You know, cherry picking quotations to prove your consciously held dogma just never gets old. Jeff Jacoby injects some reason into the entire discussion:
Can people be decent and moral without believing in a God who commands us to be good? Sure. There have always been kind and ethical nonbelievers. But how many of them reason their way to kindness and ethics, and how many simply reflect the moral expectations of the society in which they were raised?
In our culture, even the most passionate atheist cannot help having been influenced by the Judeo-Christian worldview that shaped Western civilization. "We know that you can be good without God,'' Speckhardt tells CNN.
He can be confident of that only because he lives in a society so steeped in Judeo-Christian values that he takes those values for granted. But a society bereft of that religious heritage is one not even Speckhardt would want to live in.
This is the same argument I tried having with then President of American Atheists, Ellen Johnson, back in 2007. Atheism/humanism lacks any standard of moral authority by which you can declare what "goodness" or "badness" is. Consequently, a society built upon that basis lacks any right or wrong. That hasn't worked out so well in the past...as Jacoby went on to illuminate:
It may seem obvious to us today that human life is precious and that the weakest among us deserve special protection. Would we think so absent a moral tradition stretching back to Sinai? It seemed obvious in classical antiquity that sickly babies should be killed. "We drown even children who at birth are weakly and abnormal,'' wrote the Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger 2,000 years ago, stressing that "it is not anger but reason'' that justifies the murder of handicapped children.
Reason is not enough. Only if there is a God who forbids murder is murder definitively evil. Otherwise its wrongfulness is a matter of opinion. Mao and Seneca approved of murder; we disapprove. What makes us think we're right?
The God who created us created us to be good. Atheists may believe ? and spend a small fortune advertising ? that we can all be "good without God.'' History tells a very different story.
Well said. It's just a shame that it will have to continue to be said over and over again as the most self-described "reason" crowd persists in being totally unreasonable.