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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Case For Secular Morality...

It is simply taking me too long to finish "The God Delusion," but I believe that in the final pages of the book is where the most thought provoking ideas come into play. Now the book has received quite a deal of criticism from religious people. Perhaps the reason why it has taken me so long to finish this book is the fact that I have gone out my way to read much of that criticism posted on different websites (not all of them religious). Dawkins aims to answer the question: "Is a secular morality enough to live a productive and well-driven life?" His answer of course is "yes." He expurgate holy books (especially the Ten Commandments) and "unmasks" where the holy books go wrong when dealing with those who break the moral code. And part of this is true--Dawkins is not making this up. Adultery, homosexuality, blasphemy, and others are/were causes for death in most holy books. Now, religious moderates point out that we don't read the scriptures literally anymore, and that is by far a fair enough claim. But what about the fundamentalists? Dawkins clearly aims his criticism at them, not so much the moderates. He writes of the Christian Fundamentalist movement in America being a sort of American Taliban. And this is where things go a bit lop-sided for me. Richard Dawkins claims that the reason why so much of his criticism is aimed at Christianity is because that is the religion that he feels most comfortable criticizing. Fair enough claim, but how can we really know for sure. Perhaps he is afraid of tackling the Muslim Fundamentalists for fear of enraging them and finding himself in a fatwa just like Salman Rushdie did after publishing "The Satanic Verses." For this reason, I think Dawkins' book is not entirely credible. I would have liked to see more criticism leveled at Islam and Judaism.

But back to the question, "Can we live a good life based on a secular, non-religious morality?" Dawkins an alternative atheist commandments list to rival that of the Old Testament:
* Do not do to other what you would not want them to do you.
* In all things, strive to cause no harm.
etc. etc.
When looking at it from an objective perspective it is absolutely probable that we could live a good life without the religious moral code. We can't, however, deny the fact that humanity's moral code has been shaped vastly by the religious traditions, and this is what Dawkins tries to refute.

I can't wait to go back to fiction... hopefully by Friday I will be reading "Amsterdam" by Ian McEwan.

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1 Comments:

At 10:44 AM, Blogger Susan Abraham said...

Frankly, I do have a personal love for Christ, JCR. But it's purely personal but I am also very much the liberal thinker.
I think its a case of to each his own. Some may view life differently from different experiences. :-)

 

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