|Proportion of atheists by country. Eurobarometer poll, 2005.|
"New atheists” always want to make the point that religion is not necessary to lead a moral life—that atheists can be just as moral as Christians.
This is a straw man argument: religion does not claim that morality comes from religion. Morality is equally binding on everyone, religious or non-religious. Whether or not you are Catholic, it is still wrong to murder someone.
Methinks they do protest too much.
|To atheists, by their own admission, God is a reason for worry.|
This, not incidentally, is why it is false to claim that those who oppose abortion, for example, are “trying to impose their own religion on others.”
Religion, rather than being the source of morality, offers a reliable moral guide. In the end, it is always up to your own conscience; but committing yourself to some established moral code, be it Confucian or Catholic, is an important check against rationalizing. Otherwise, you may, by casuistry, manage to justify almost anything, and sashay down the primrose path until return becomes quite painful.
The existence of God, moreover, is our guarantee that moral values are real and absolute. Without God, how do we know that our morality is correct, or whether it is all just a matter of some arbitrary “social construct”? If the latter, there is no real morality in the end: we merely do what we are accustomed to do, or programmed to do, no more. There is no moral value in that.
|Cover to a Soviet atheist journal of the 1930s.|
And then there is a further consideration. Sorry to say it, but if someone declares himself an atheist, especially if he does so publicly and aggressively, this is reason to believe he is not a moral person.
I do not believe it is possible to sincerely disbelieve in the existence of God. There are too many solid rational proofs out there, for anyone who takes the care to look. Even for anyone who does not, the evidence from design is too obvious and in all of our faces. The experienced universe is regular and patterned; it follows a design. Even atheists always assume it, and tend to personify “Nature” or “Evolution” or “Earth” or “Science.” They still have a god—it is just that they do not want to accept his moral nature. It is expressly this that they are rejecting. The rest of the concept, in one way or another, they keep.
Accordingly, when someone says they do not believe in God, I think they usually mean either one of two things: 1) they are angry at God; or 2) they are afraid of God. And of these two, the second is far more likely. Being angry is not a common reason to claim something does not exist. Being afraid is. It is the familiar human reaction of “whistling past the graveyard.” If you are afraid of something, it is natural to not want to talk or to think about it—to tell yourself it is not really happening.
This pretty plainly indicates someone who has a guilty conscience.
The worse one/s conscience, the more aggressive one is likely to become in one’s atheism.
Bad enough, and you are going to lash out at religion and the religious. Their very existence becomes a problem for you. It makes you feel guilty.
This is what we are seeing now in Western Europe and North America. A growing proportion of the population has done evil, knows they have done evil, suffer from a guilty conscience, and so are turning away from religion.
|How is one militant about not knowing something?|
The same factor explains as well why we in the “West” have stopped having children; this is a clear sign of self-hate. It explains why so many of us have started hating our own “Western” heritage in general—like hose Dalhousie students who now refuse to celebrate Canada Day. It is all a projection of our own guilt. Rather than admit the sin, we blame the messenger who says it is a sin: the church, the culture, tradition, civilization. And so we come to want to tear it all down, “by whatever means necessary.”
The bottom line is, I think, the “sexual revolution.” This die was cast in the 1950s. The abortion issue is the most critical, and what made it only too obviously wrong, but the whole concept was wrong and brutal.
I have hopes. There may be something finally happening, at this Harvey Weinstein moment. There are rumours that the dam is about to burst, and worse is about to come out about Hollywood pedophilia. The culture may wake up and turn. It has happened before. Pendulums swing.
It almost has to happen; because people have a conscience, and conscience cannot be denied indefinitely. The real question is whether what we see will be a restoration of “Western civ” more or less as it was, as happened after the English Restoration, or so often in the Chinese or Korean changes of dynasty; or something new, as when the Roman Empire went from paganism to Christianity.
And how bloody things are still going to get before the page is turned. The forces of evil are getting more violent all the time, as they are backed by their consciences further into a corner.