Book excerpt: reason and compassion

It occurs to me that I’ve not given you guys an excerpt from the book in a while.  I cranked this out last night and thought it was halfway decent.

The sum of the battle between reason and faith can be reduced to this: both compassion and reason can be terrible without the other.

Reason without compassion gives us nuclear bombs instead of nuclear energy.

Compassion without reason produces loving parents who watch their children die of easily curable diseases, because the parents think prayer is a better tonic than medicine.

The conclusion is almost irreducibly simple: any person who undervalues compassion or reason is a danger to a healthy, happy society.

Now atheists, on the whole, have shown their ability to swiftly disown those who lack compassion and reason.  Look no further than our rejection of Joseph Stalin to confirm this.  We may not always be correct about who is being unreasonable, but that is a result of imperfections in the human brain, not because we do not give reason its due reverence.

However, while most Christians, like most atheists, are filled with compassion, I don’t think it can be argued that a group valuing faith as a reliable means to truth gives appropriate esteem to reason.

Therein lies the concern for the vocal atheist who values a healthy, happy society.

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About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.