Summit Lecture Series: Can We Be Moral Without God? With Frank Beckwith, part 2

Summit Lecture Series: Can We Be Moral Without God? With Frank Beckwith, part 2 May 6, 2015

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If you think about it, today’s New Atheists must believe in some kind of objective Moral Law. It is almost impossible for anyone to reject.

For instance, here’s something that happened to me a while back:

While I was teaching philosophy at UNLV, I was invited to be on a panel discussion called “Sex, Laws and Videotapes”. It was actually a discussion about morality and the media, and they had invited a very eclectic group for the panel, including myself, several lawyers, some radio “shock-jocks”, and the wife of one of my colleagues who happened to homeschool her kids, among other panelists. It was a real hodge-podge of people who typically wouldn’t hang out together voluntarily.

Nevertheless, it was a compelling discussion where each of us had the opportunity to share our thoughts about morality and the media.

But when Beth, the homeschool mom, shared her thoughts and criticisms about he media, and explained why she chose to homeschool her kids, she was lambasted. One particular girl in the audience objected and accused her of not doing her children justice by secluding them and robbing them of the social and educational benefits of public education.

Then, I had my turn to express my objections to contemporary media, and that same young lady shot her hand up and asked, “Who are you to judge?”

Now, for someone in my line of work, this was almost too good to be true. On one hand, she had just issued a very strong judgment against Beth, and then soon after, she issued a denial to me that one could make judgments.

So, the first thing I did was answer her rhetorical question.

“Who are you to judge?”, she asked.

I replied, “Who are you to ask this question? Several minutes ago, you asserted that Beth had somehow violated some moral rule by homeschooling her children; and then you didn’t hesitate to issue a judgment against me and my criticism of modern culture and media. So, how is it that your head doesn’t explode from maintaining both belief systems simultaneously?

She began to cry at that point.

The point of this story is that people will often suggest that we shouldn’t judge others, and then they turn right around and make judgments themselves. The truth is that making judgments is inevitable. Culture, like nature, abhors a vacuum.

This type of thinking has even made its way to political issues. Even when you get away from God and philosophy and move toward politics and philosophy, you see that many people believe that within the public square, the government can be neutral on moral questions in the same way that we should all be neutral in regards to morality.

The truth is that it simply can’t be done.

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