19 February 2008

Fear and loathing

Amoral Man – Post Script III

My anonymous reader would like to know what made me so afraid that I “started to need the crutch of religion to be able to face the world.”

Well, the simple fact is I just can’t think of any fear I ever had before becoming a theist, and then a Christian (after contemplating Judaism and Islam), the object of which simply disappeared when I picked up that crutch. I, quite frankly, cannot recall entertaining the thought, “I’m so terrified of such-and-such. Let me take up this crutch and all will be well.”

No fear motivated by commitment to Christ. What motivated me was a conviction that Christianity is true.

My anonymous reader next complains that I “clearly feel that atheists are a lesser sort of man”. Apparently, the only motivation one can possibly have for thinking that atheists are amoral is some conviction that they are of less value than theists.

The simple fact of the matter is I don’t think atheists are a lesser sort of man. I think atheists are amoral, which – as I’ve said previously – is not the same as thinking they are immoral. I’ve also said that atheists do things which I think are moral, but that my judgment that this is so rests upon the Christian worldview, which the atheist believes is false. And if my judgment that an atheist’s behavior is ethical rests upon the premises of a false worldview, then my judgment may also be false. So what possible difference can it make what I think about whether an atheist is acting ethically in a given situation? I’m talking about the only sort of morality their naturalistic assumptions admit of. And what is quite interesting is that some atheists themselves also will say this. It must be wrong only when a theist says that atheism has no ultimate foundation for ethics. All men, even atheists, still bear God’s image; that doesn’t change because a particular man, or group of them, denies God. However, that fact does not entail the notion that there is something objectionable about asserting that someone’s worldview leaves no ultimate foundation for ethics – or, in other words, that the worldview is ultimately amoral.

This man (I’m assuming the reader is male) must be a profiler. In the course of an exchange in the comments to the original posting, I asked certain rhetorical questions. He claims to know that the “way” I asked these rhetorical questions in the comments to the original posting, indicates that “[I] have a chip on [my] shoulder concerning atheists.” Now, so far as I know, to have a chip on one’s shoulder is to be in a state of mind in which one dares another, inviting a fist fight, or some other kind of fight. According to The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy (Third Edition, 2002), “In the past, a young boy would place a wood chip on his shoulder and dare anyone to knock it off as a way of showing how tough he was.” I think the context will demonstrate that my rhetorical questions indicate I was taken aback by my opponent’s seeming suggestion that certain American purveyors of pornography produced pornography as a direct consequence of their active pursuit of a life in accordance with Judeo-Christian ethics. The purpose of my rhetorical questions was to communicate doubt about this apparent assertion. I still maintain that doubt.

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James Frank Solís
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
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