Waiting for my flight in the St. Petersburg airport, I looked at some of the comments on my USA Today piece on the secular origin of morality. Here are a few of the more interesting ones. I noticed that when Richard Dawkins’s site republished my piece, the first two comments were that my rehashing these arguments was completely unnecessary.
I suspect these folks don’t live in the USA, and maybe they’ll rethink the utility of emphasizing the secular basis of morality when they look at comments like these:
GolanTreviz. Anyway, militant fundamentalists and militant atheists are essentially psychologically the same. They both stick to misinterpretations of their own dogma and believe not only that all important questions in life have been answered, but that they themselves have all those answers. Me, I’m a well educated Christian and I accept that we know far less than we think as a species.
jeffreyamo It takes more faith to believe there is NO higher power than it takes to believe there is one.
Its jobs stupid What is “good” without God? Atheists simply change the laws and make their evil legal and call it good. But look at the facts…Mao, Stalin, Lenin, the French Revolutionists, etc. murdered a combined total in the hundreds of millions. And they all did it in the name of their secular humanists beliefs. Even in America, leftists have murdered 53 million unborn since 1973…all you have to do is call it a “right” and because they have no moral compass they think that makes it right. “Legal” and “good” are two totally different concepts…and without God, good simply becomes what is legal.
JimF. Does anyone notice that at the same time athiests/evolutionists are pointing their long, “evolved,” bony fingers at Christians, they talk in hushed tones about evolution as if were their religion…which in reality, it is?
Dan Hochberg. This article has too many errors to deal with in a short post. Coyne knows his subject on evolution but has not thought much about religious issues. I only want to take time to respond to his chief assertion, that we can be good without God. When atheists do something good (and not for hidden self-serving motives), it is not “without God”, it is because they are still created in the image of God, having his moral nature.
am123 Morality does not come from evolution. We get morality from within (we are all made in the image of God) and we get morality from the Bible. Jesus changed history by telling us to care for the least among us. No such altruistic behavior was to be pursued according to Darwin, who thought it was foolish to care for the least among us. The idea that morality comes from evolution can be shown to be folly by this: if morality did come from evolution, then evolutionists and atheists like Jerry Coyne would have to admit that believers in God are more evolved than atheists because when it comes to hospitals and good will organizations, those founded by Christians are vast in number and those founded by atheists are virtually zilch.
I’ve also received about two dozen private emails, most of them incredibly hostile and pitying me for my lack of faith in Jesus. I’m always amazed at such a hostile response to an article that is, after all, pretty calm and reasoned. Such is the reaction when one’s faith is criticized. But really, how can people believe that their morality comes from God’s dictates? That notion defies even a few moments of rational thought.
And yet I’m immensely heartened by the many supportive comments, and by the many who criticized the arguments of the faithful. I doubt that we would have seen such pushback twenty years ago. And, in honor of those rational folks, I’m putting up Sam Cooke’s wonderful song “A Change is Gonna Come” (along with “Blowing in the Wind,” I consider this one of the two best songs about civil rights). We can think of it as applying to rationality as well, but regardless, this song always makes me tear up.