So I was listening to NPR on my way to work today, and they had an interview with Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum (http://santorum.senate.gov/public/).
At one point he says that Intelligent Design SHOULD be taught in schools (*Nurk!*) but…not in the arena of the science classroom. (*Gasp!*)
Wow, OK, I can support that. Very surprising comment from a very outspoken conservative Christian politician. But then he goes on to expose why he’s a politician and not a scientist by saying the holes in the Theory of Evolution must also be examined. Well, duh! That’s the point of the scientific method: to find and identify the problems, errors, mistakes, fallacies in what we know about the natural world and the hypotheses we come up with to explain and predict them and then solve and correct those holes. That’s science.
I can tell you this, though: The theory of evolution is so well verified that what little bits and pieces we don’t have fully grokked yet, their examination and understanding will not in the least erode the validity of evolution as an established scientific theory any less than say the Theory of Gravity. (I don’t know any fundies that try to shout down gravity as non-existant and invalid simply because it too is labeled a â€œtheory.â€)
OK, that bit of over-Wikipediaed statement aside, I’m beside my point of this blog. And that’s this: Santorum also stated that if it IS true that there is no God or Plan and we’re all here as accidents of nature and evolution, then there is no foundation for morality.
What?! Wha…I mean, what??!! GAH! I HATE that argument and get hives every time I hear it! It makes no sense. No sense. No sense no sense no sense. It Makes. No. Sense.
Why? I mean…WHY?! does it follow that if there is no God there’s no need to be moral?! I read on a Christian blog just yesterday a quip of â€œeat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we dieâ€ as a satirical statement.
OK, fundamental Christians, let me ask you this: (There’s a LOT of colons in this blog today…) If there was suddenly incontrovertible, irrefutable, absolute proof of no God and no Plan for us, would you suddenly no longer love your loved ones? Your family, friends, and neighbors? Would you suddenly decide lying and cheating would be OK ways to live your life? If â€œyesâ€, then I pity and fear for you. Afraid OF you as well. And I’ll bet you, if there IS a Heaven, you’re not going there anyway because you’re obviously being â€œmoralâ€ for the wrong reasons. Oh sure most Christians I’d ask would SAY they live moral lives because it simply makes God happy or keeps baby Jesus from crying or something, but there are only a VERY few people I would believe it of. Most religious people are moral because of fear of hell/greed for treasures of paradise. (To digress, exactly how merciful and fatherly and loving is a God that would send someone to eternal torment for a smattering of unholy living for a few/several decades, unholy living which God himself gave us the capacity of living and then blames and punishes us for, literally, an infinite times worse punishment than the crime? Seems pretty petty and cruel and mean and evil in my book. Anyway….)
Despite my debating here and on the NewSojourn blog, I actually do believe in some absolute truths of sort (to digress again, I find that debating vehemently for a point-of-view different from my own not only helps raise important questions and awareness and examinations for the people I’m debating with or those unlucky enough to observe, but for myself as well. I’ve often times come to believe in something different from what I was arguing for BECAUSE of what I came to understand about what I was arguing for. I would like to challenge all staunch believers in something to study and argue deeply FOR the opposing belief for one month. Fundies should study and defend the atheist belief and atheists should study and argue, sincerely, for fundamental Christianity. I think both would learn a lot about themselves and each other…and everyone would become Deists!! glee!)
Anyway…one of the absolutes I believe in is the value of certain morality and treating others as you would want to be treated. Of loving your fellow man and doing what you can to help and not harm others either physically or mentally or emotionally or spiritually even. You yourself as well as that other person as well as humanity as a whole all benefit from The Golden Rule and doing no harm, and valuing love â€œabove all elseâ€. Regardless of any deities.
And the idea that no God = no need for morality is horrible and fundamentally flawed not just because of the above, but also the evidence! I know several atheists, agnostics, â€œpagansâ€, and other people who do not believe in God, Heaven, or divinely given morality. And, at least outwardly, they do not live amoral lives. Most every one lives in observable moderation and with care toward other people. They (I feel like I’m discussing some lab experiment animals here) feel guilt and grief and shame for mistakes and when they wrong someone, and feel compassion and strive to aid people. I would even hazard to say that half of the people I can count as friends of mine who are exceptionally generous and helpful and concerned about others, do not believe in the Christian God. On average, I know more self-proclaimed Christians who behave un-Christianly than I do non-Christians. Most of the non-Christians and non-theists I know tend to have a much more socially liberal outlook, in that they are involved in social organizations like Habitat for Humanity and Walk-a-Thons and Amnesty International.
So, how exactly can this be explained in the context of morality must come from the God of Christ? People who care about other people, who show generosity and kindness and live in moderation, who do that not because it’s simply the right way to live in a society and world of other humans but because God told them to, are sad and pathetic people, I believe. They have no contemplation of the actual value and worth of love and kindness and care more about their own â€œsoulâ€ and what they’ll get as an afterlife than the real effects of what living a â€œmoralâ€ life can have on them and those around them in the here and now.