Saturday, May 21, 2005

On Religion and Morality

This post is in response to a debate that I encountered on this website (ht: Christina).

I don't think that moral beliefs are religions beliefs, although I do believe that morality descended from religion. I also think that respect for the rights of others is the single greatest contribution to Western Civilization, and it came from our Judeo-Christian heritage.

In order to believe in morality, you have to believe in right and wrong. In a state of nature there is no morality, only self-interest, the rule of claw and fang. The big lions eat as much meat as they want from a kill and if there's not anything left for the cubs... oh, well. They'll even eat the cubs when hard times occur, not to mention when a new lion takes over the pride he eats the cubs so all of the lionesses will go into heat.

If there is no absolute right and wrong, then there effectively is no morality. This is the great "contribution" that Marxism and Nihilism has brought to our culture over the past 150 years. Was Hitler a monster, or was he just exercising the Will to Power and removing the weaker beings? Was Stalin a monster, or was he just following a scientifically-determined path to utopia? Relativists say, "You be the judge!" Or, worse yet, "Who are you to judge?" I say, "Phooey!" Everyone has the right to judge, and denying us that is denying us freedom of thought.

Our system of laws are derived from, and dependent on, morality which is a result of our Judeo-Christian heritage. The Founding Fathers would not have written our Constitution if they had been Muslims, or if they had been atheists raised in a culture of relativism. Our constitutional republic only works when the vast majority of its citizens are willing to restrain themselves because they believe in, and adhere to, a system of morals. And, I know this will upset some Europeans (and Europhiles) but in my opinion the US is the ultimate culmination of 2,500 years of Western Civilization, while Europe has been sidetracked onto a dead-end path. That's why I have a problem with the Blue State philosophy; these people want us to be more like Europe, and they don't understand that America was founded to escape the morass of Europe. I wish these people would ask themselves one simple question: if European political thought is so advanced, why has it led to two of the worst wars in world history and the imprisonment and slaughter of hundreds of millions of people? Should that be our future?

Now, in respect to pharmacists being required to dispense drugs with which they have a moral problem, I am in favor of letting them refuse to do so. If a pharmacist is against abortion then he has every right to not sell RU-485. Go to another pharmacy.

Similarly, I am in favor of letting non-governmental hospitals decide which procedures they will perform and which they won't. Catholic hospitals should not be forced to provide elective abortions, or any other procedures which violate their beliefs. Go to another hospital.

Note that in each of these cases, the medical treatment desired is elective. Forcing pharmacists, and hospitals, to act against their moral or religious beliefs, is tantamount to forcing them to follow your moral or religious beliefs. That is against the spirit and the letter of the Constitution regardless of what nine old fogies in black robes might decide on the matter. Secularism is a religion.

I would describe myself as a conservative libertarian. I believe in live and let live, but I also believe in not disregarding tradition for the sake of "progress" or modernity. There's a reason that human society has evolved the way it has... because what is tried and true works. There's a reason we condemn adultery; jealous spouses and lovers often commit acts of violence including murder. There's a reason we promote committed monogamous heterosexual relationships (marriage) over all others; this is the best way to ensure the future of our species and our culture, and the stability of our community. Don't believe me? Look at Europe, where falling marriage rates have led to a population implosion. Europeans will be an endangered species in 50 years. We don't even have to look at Europe, just at our own inner cities where the Great Society effectively discouraged people from forming strong families, and look at the results: continual poverty, and large numbers of children who grow up without parental oversite resulting in criminal behavior. The prisons aren't filled with people who grew up in stable two-parent households.

In short, what made Jesus' legacy truly great was that he finalized a philosophy of living (that started with the Jews) that allowed for humanity to peacefully thrive. He did the hard work. All that is required of us is to live the good life, to live by the tenets of Christianity even if we don't believe in God.

Would that be a bad thing?

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