Wednesday, May 09, 2007

You Are Already Deciding For Yourself

Everytime I read or hear about a debate between (usually) Sam Harris and some "moderate" "person of faith," the latter always shapes the debate to be about whether atheists or religious folk have done the worst stuff in history.

Hitler was atheist! No he wasn't! Einstein was religious! Not so!

But to me, Sam's most powerful argument is this:

The greatest objection to atheists that Christians tend to have is "But where is your moral rock, your moral compass? If there is no moral absolute, how do you justify your choices?" Christians fear that atheists just "make it up as they go along," and that internal choice seems oddly unsatisfying to them.

However, Sam simply points out that the sense that "religious" people base their ethics on something outside of themselves - say, the Bible - is already erroenous. That may have been true at some time in the past, but for many of those that call themselves "moderates," they are ALREADY picking and choosing from the notions in the Bible they like and those that they don't. These selections are based on nothing other than their personal convictions and internal understanding.

These people are already shaping their moral view of the universe based on their own personal viewpoint. If you pick and choose what absolutes work for you, then you are not following absolutes.

You are doing what atheists claim is our only option as living, thoughtful, moral beings. Morality can and does exist as a continuous personal choice.

(note: this position has nothing to do with fundamentalists. Fundamentalists are lost to me as humans that could ever communicate outside of their world. If you have relatives like this, just love them and enjoy your occasional dinners with them, and make sure your presidents and your doctors are not of their pursuasion)

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