Atheism and morality 16

The soundly conservative but dogmatically religious Dennis Prager writes here about atheism and morality.

We quote:

If moral standards are not rooted in God, they do not objectively exist. Good and evil are no more real than “yummy” and “yucky.” They are simply a matter of personal preference. One of the foremost liberal philosophers, Richard Rorty, an atheist, acknowledged that for the secular liberal, “There is no answer to the question, ‘Why not be cruel?'”

Richard Rorty must be a dumb sort of atheist, and that’s almost a paradox. Most atheists are atheists because they can think and do think. But then this one is also a liberal, which means he is on the side of the emotions, not of reason.

Why can’t these god-botherers get it through their superstition-stuffed heads that all moral rules, codes, precepts  – ALL are the product of human beings. No god ever said a word to anyone.

Human beings don’t want to live in a world where there is more suffering than there has to be, so they repudiate cruelty. On the whole. There are those who don’t. They are cruel whether or not they believe in divine instruction. The Catholic Church has a history of extreme cruelty stretching over hundreds of years, and the Protestant Christians were no better. Christianity is a cult of suffering. And Islam is a system of relentless sadism.

All gods are cruel. Believers use the phrase “act of God” for events such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, avalanches, tsunamis, which inflict anguish on every kind of living body that is threaded with nerves. If, as they believe, their God made everything, he made bacteria and viruses, all the diseases, all deformities, all the torments of the flesh.

The Left – which is to say the liberals in America – have been preaching for half a century at least that no one should be “judgmental”. Generations have been raised to believe that they should not make moral judgments. As if it is possible to live without doing so. Even to decide to be “non-judgmental” is to make a judgment. Not to judge between right and wrong is to permit wrong.

Prager ends by asking rhetorically:

Without God and Judeo-Christian religions, what else is there?

Everything, Mr Prager, everything.

And if religions were utterly abandoned, a major cause of human suffering would be gone. Moral values would stay exactly the same.

  • Anonymous

    THANK YOU for this site!, which I never would have found without a link from the original Prager piece!

    Oh, please, sign me up sign me up SIGN ME UP!!!!!!!!!

    • George

      Welcome Spikeygrrl     !!!!    Come on in —the water’s fine .  When I first came upon this website— I said what a breath of fresh air.  I am so grateful  to Jillian  Becker for providing it for us.  We look forward to hearing from you .

  • Geoff

    Whenever I hear about foolishness like this Prager post, I like to advertise something that should be more widely known.  Around 2500 years ago, Plato wrote a dialogue called “Euthyphro” (means something like “orthodox mind” in Greek).  In it he explained why God,  or, rather in his context,  the Gods have nothing to do with morality and how it is nonsense to think they do.  Unlike just about every other philosophical claim or argument made  over the centuries, this is one that nobody who has ever looked into ethics has disagreed with.  Seriously, NOBODY.  It’s about as close as a philosophical claim can be to our knowledge of something like that the earth is not flat and the sun doesn’t go around it.   And yet, there is an amazingly widespread belief of the exact opposite — to the extent that the average educated person seems to think it’s just obvious that “God is the basis of morality”, “atheists can’t be moral”  or  some equally ridiculous thing.  It’s just another example of  how the religious are able to produce a whole world filled up with ignorance and craziness.

    • George

      I agree Geoff    totally.

  • Anonymous

    The Christian Right makes a big hullabaloo about where our rights would derive from without God. Most of them answer with the only obvious answer their narrow world presents: the government! Just look at those cults of personality forced onto the citizens of evil Socialist and Communist empires, some of which still exist today and others which may be coming into foul fruition. And because these hoodlums were (gasp!) atheists, the Secular Humanists are trying to make us worship government all over again.

    The only government worshippers are, well, the Christian Right. They would do well to consider the words of James Madison, who in his Memorial against Remonstrance against Religious Assessment (1785) wrote that “before any man can be considered as a member of civil society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the universe.” Yes, of course – the universe obeys a constant set of laws applied indiscriminately over every inch of time. But this is not a person, and it is despicable to worship (let alone anthropomorphize) these laws which, despite sustaining us, also cause us great harm through earthquakes and epidemics, then drastically limit our capabilities by enforcing a ultimate speed limit of a little under 300 million m/s – and you’ll be lucky to reach a thousandth of that.

    Man receives his freedoms from whatever these laws allow him to do. However, these laws also allow these freedoms to conflict, clash, and trample over each other, rendering a true anarchy nothing more than mob rule waiting to happen. A mutually consensual government stabilizes these immense freedoms, limited though they are by the vagaries of nature, by forcing everyone to give up that very small part of them which impedes the freedoms of all others who consent. This is so that this body of individuals, now called a citizenry may be safe to execute all of their other freedoms as opposed to each other.

    The crisis of morality this country faces is how our government is defining that small concession. The result? An absurdly bloated and wasteful government demanding greater taxes from its citizens, all while overextending their credit lines, and high school science curricula across the nation eking closer to teaching arcane fairy tales (to give just two examples). This deprives the economy and the individual of his livelihood and the strength of his reason.

    Also, this ends now.

    • George

      I’ve  said the same thing for a long time now  Andrew ( especially how the secular hmanists are trying to make  us worship government all over again ) and that’s why I left the secular humanist groups  .  When you or I say this we are accused of   “demonizing”   fellow atheists. You’re right !

  • TyS

    Evidence suggests “morals” & “ethics” are genetically hardwired, beneficial evolutionary behaviors.

    Furthermore, demographic statistics of the social behaviors of “believers” compared to “non-believers” completely debunk any notion that “believers” have a  “moral” and “ethical” highground – they are just as likely to get divorced, be alcoholics, commit domestic abuse, engage in “deviant” behaviors…and on and on and on.

    If these people practiced what they preached, I would consider giving them the benefit of the doubt…alas.

    • George

      In addition to your statement Tys , I would say that “believers” are not just LIKELY to get divorced, be alcoholics, commit domestic abuse  and engage in deviant behavior but statistics have shown that they have a track record of engaging in such behavior MORE  so than atheists  a  “zillion”  times more so.  They (believers) claim that it’s because there are more christians in population than atheists but the statistics still hold true and come out the same on a per capita ratio within the respective groups themselves when one studies the comparative demographics in a side-by-side social evaluation ANALYSIS .     

  • Liz

    I think it was George Smith in his book “Atheism: the Case Against God” who pointed out that we use reason to judge everything – even the teachings contained in the Bible – to be right or wrong.  They aren’t good just because “God said so”.  We already have a standard of right and wrong that we judge them by, which is why many of the Bibles teachings have faded into obscurity – they have failed the test of reason and have been discarded (stoning, slavery, etc, etc.).  And thats why many of the Bible’s teachings were around before the Bible, too, and can be found in the writings of the Egyptians, Babylonians, etc. – because people already knew them.  They didn’t have to wait for God to appear on Mt. Sinai to suddenly know right from wrong!
    How lame for Prager to pick a liberal for his “token atheist”, so he can bash atheism.     

    • George

      I believe the same thing Liz ( in my opinion ) that Prager chose a liberal atheist intentionally to make a [negative] impression intentionally against atheism .  I’m sure this was no accident that the person he chose was liberal  ( no coincidence here ) .   Doing right or wrong has nothing to do with any belief  in some imaginary invisible Cosmic Santa Claus. The problem is that people around the world are so widely indoctrinated with this widespread global superstition and are mentally incapable of using logic,  reason,  rational thinking,   common sense,  scientific analysis,  and individual skeptical inquiry & questioning the established status quo.   

  • George

    I got into a “soft” debate with a friend of mine who is a conservative atheist and he loves Dennis Prager and claims that Prager is so logical etc. I told him about Prager’s pro-Christian stance and he (my friend) wouldn’t accept it because he likes Prager’s politics.      If there is a god that judges all , then who judges the god ? Who indicts god for  all the natural disatsers ( Acts Of God )  or other Holy Horrors ?  Why does a supposedly good and beneficent deity allow people to be slaughtered, suffer in misery  , be enslaved, be deprived of human right’s  and NOT intervene as an autonomic response to help the needy without requiring humans to pray ( grovel , beg, plead and humiliate themselves ) for the assistance or help  of god ?  If people believe in a god without any proof and then tell atheists that atheists can’t prove their isn’t a god, what difference is this than believing in the Tooth Fairy since we  can also  say to the religionists —–“You can’t prove there is no  Tooth Fairy either”  ?   It all comes down to indoctrination and people have had these religious beliefs indoctrinated into their psyche since little children all the way through adulthood.
                    A christian friend of mine said that people who believe in god don’t believe in anything.  I said —– ” Wrong !   The person who believes in some imaginary, make-believe , invisible, formless, and indescribable Daddy In The Sky (ghost being )  is the person who actually doesn’t believe in anything because  THEY are the ones who believe in something that doesn’t even exist ( or has never been proven to exist ) “.    Even if a proof of such a being should ever come about , what good is such a being who allows genocide, terror, sickness, birth defects, suffereing, etc ?  God belief  is in reality mass brainwashing.  Religion is mass mind control.  Theology is in actuality [ mental slavery ]  !!  So much for morality.

    • George

      Correction– The last paragraph  /first line should read– ” A christian friend of mine said that people who  [  DON’T ]  believe in god don’t believe in anything “.     The result of the conversation ended in total silence by my christian friend .   I pointed this out also in a letter to the editor with NO response rebuttal.  

    • Hochuli’s Biceps

      I’ve never been impressed with Prager, never gotten what made him so appealing to the logic-driven types on the Right who claim him as so unassailable. I think he’s a smart guy, but his overt religiosity keeps me from tapping into so much of what he spouts, even when it’s on socio-political topics about which we agree. But too many of the conservatives I know like to refer to Prager as espousing some brilliance that I just don’t perceive.

      If you want inspiration from a topical (conservative) radio host, I recommend instead KOA Denver’s Mike Rosen far and above the Prager types; he’s not a social/religious conservative, instead being economically driven, and knows how to take the Lefties apart. Probably the smartest radio guy out there. IMO.

      • George

        He’s not on the radio in my area , and I would like to check him out .  Thanks for the info.

      • George

        He’s not on the radio in my area , and I would like to check him out .  Thanks for the info.