I found myself boggled today.
Here it was that, after link-hopping through a series of blogs about God, I happened upon a recent article by noted atheist Sam Harris. In this article, he interviewed former United Methodist pastor (of 20 years!) Tim Prowse about his journey out of faith and into disbelief. As a United Methodist minister myself, I found myself drawn with a breaking heart into this man’s story. For the most part, it was a fairly predictable progression – the lack of empirical scientific evidence for a deity makes God seem less and less likely, until belief has finally eroded entirely. I expected that. What I did not expect, however, was to find myself staring at the page in befuddlement as Tim attempted to discuss morality without God.
Since God is nothing more than our creation and projection, any talk of God is our reflection looking back at us. Hence, our morality begins with us anyway. My morality hasn’t changed for the worse since I left the faith. If anything, it is much more honest because I am forced to consider what is really going on in ethical decisions. Family, culture, beliefs and values, genetic tendencies, all play a role in shaping morality, but I’m not arguing an extreme relativism. While I do give credence to certain cultural influences on determining right and wrong, I believe that some issues are universal.
Some issues are universal? Morality, while “begin[ning] with us anyway,” is not subject to our own relativism? How do we reject anything transcendent, yet identify that moral obligation exists beyond ourselves? The dots simply don’t connect for me.
I am not alone in this, either. Atheist philosophers throughout history have long contended that the rejection of God allows humanity to create their own moral structures. It is only in relatively recent history that the evangelists of atheism have attempted to reclaim a moral foundation. Unflichingly, however, they arrive back at the problem that moral certitude rests on the individual, and individuals disagree, thereby making morality relative. To attempt to claim a universal implication for morality is to imply transcendence, and you simply cannot have transcendence in a world without God.
What do you think? Did our innate moral compass originate with our creator? Is morality inherently transcendent, or can it exist in an absolute sense within a worldview construct devoid of God?
- Weird Science: Is Religion The Antithesis Of Reason? (ofdustandkings.com)
- Does Higher Education Innoculate Against Religion? (ofdustandkings.com)
- Podcast: Where Is God When The Church Goes Bad? (ofdustandkings.com)