Wednesday, March 4, 2015

THYME Magazine: Morality Without G-d?

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume IX,Issue IX

'Moral Atheism', A Conundrum

Suppose I should stumble upon a beautiful house in the woods. Is the architect merely a device I conjure to explain how post and beam arranged themselves over billions of years?" Such an argument would seem foolish to most, yet that is essentially the argument that occurred as NPR interviewed Phil Zuckerman, professor of sociology and secular studies at Pitzer College. The titles of his books tell you where he is coming from; “Living the Secular Life: New Answers to Old Questions,”  “Faith No More” and “Society Without God.” The argument is essentially this: As more and more Americans seem to be turning away from G-d, the fact that most of us still believe in the Golden Rule... is some morality simply built into us as a species? [1.]

Barbara J. King writes: "In a book called The Bonobo and the Atheist, primatologist Frans de Waal argues that morality is built into our species. Rather than coming to us top-down from God, or any other external source, morality for de Waal springs bottom-up from our emotions and our day-to-day social interactions, which themselves evolved from foundations in animal societies.

For 30 years, de Waal has authored books about apes and monkey that open our eyes to the bottom-up origins of our human behaviors, ranging from politics to empathy. In this, his 10th volume, he extends that perspective by writing, "It wasn't G-d who introduced us to morality; rather, it was the other way around. G-d was put into place to help us live the way we felt we ought to." [2.]

And so, is this some great new revelation. Is Faith now rendered obsolete because morality is indeed visible outside of its boundaries? If 'evolution' gave us our morality programmed in, who's the PROGRAMMER? Much like the idea life on earth seeded by space aliens, one must simply ask: "How did THAT life come to be?

But is the house of Faith caught speechless? Centuries ago the Apostle Paul wrote these lines, which squarely address the matter:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of G-d unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. For the wrath of G-d is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of G-d is manifest in them; for G-d hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and G-dhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew G-d, they glorified him not as G-d, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible G-d into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

Wherefore G-d also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of G-d into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause G-d gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 

And even as they did not like to retain G-d in their knowledge, G-d gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of G-d, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of G-d, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them." -- Romans‬ ‭1‬:‭16-32‬ KJV

Evident in the "new" morality apart from G-d there is indeed at least a surface compassion, yet the push to marginalize Divine texts as a source for moral instruction has led to a 'civil morality' that must redefine marriage and personhood to incorporate non-traditional marriage and consequence-free sexual expression (through the employment of abortion). Those who would ask that we consider the rights of the unborn or the rights of conscience of those who adhere to traditional definitions are indeed excoriated as the 'heretics' of the new moral state.

Nowhere is this more evident than the academy. Lutheran college student Bethany Woelmer writes: "As college students, we swim in a sea of worldly lies and deceptions, whose roaring waves bring fear and doubt upon our consciences and whose subtle currents attempt to carry us farther from the truth. We swim in a culture that redefines marriage, misinterprets G-d’s Word and promotes intolerance against the fundamental reality of family and its blessing to society and the Church. Yet there is a wave of truth, that is, G-d’s Word, that transcends the wisdom of man, and it brought hundreds of college students to the Taboo conference in St. Louis, Jan. 5-7, to answer questions that many of us encounter today." [3.] The campus ministry conference addressed, as its name suggests, many topics the new atheists wish Christians would not. Woelmer's Report [click to read] on the conference is worth reading.

Ironically, Woelmer points out a great problem. While atheists may insist that 'family values' are 'programmed in,' so to speak; their philosophies actually are at odds with the preservation of family. Intellectuals like Sam Harris say things like: "If I could wave a magic wand and get rid of either rape or religion, I would not hesitate to get rid of religion." Thinkers like Harris and Richard Dawkins see religion as a greater evil than truly defined evils. Citing the 'reasonableness' of science (it always invites free inquiry, right)?, they engage in an all-out attack on Faith as they seek to create a 'reasonable' society.

But is science really dogma-free? Consider the matter of "Global Warming." Even as the East Anglia emails [4.] showed climate scientists were forming the data to fit their desired narrative, the 'scientific community' continued to brand skeptics of the theory as 'heretics.' Popular culture fanned the flames through spokespersons such as Leo DiCaprio, who's passion for the narrative verges on fanaticism. Removing Divine Revelation from the discussion of morality has not resulted in a world without dogma. In fact, it has resulted in a new dogma, based on the sketchy evidence of computer models. Humans are "destroying the planet." "Zero Population Growth" and carbon credits are the new law to be delivered from the mount, not of Sinai, but of 'science.'

Casting aside the wonder of Imago Dei, the wonderful concept found in Genesis that man is created in the image of G-d, we are now seen by 'reasonable' men as nothing special. The theological implications are staggering. Man is just another species with no special place and if his presence unsettles the planet, reduce the population. In a profound irony, Self Actualization, as described by Abraham Maslow, becomes all-important in this new G-dless world.

Therefore, in the muddy new world of G-dless 'morality,' if I love the unborn I may be branded as a hater for denying someone the 'right' to kill her unborn child. Yet it is the Inspired Writings that tell us to love our enemies and bless those who persecute us. It is the Christians who rescued unwanted babies who were cast into the Tiber River. There is a level of sacrifice that is unnatural, that goes far beyond sacrificial protection of our young. Consider the actions of the 'Righteous Gentiles' during the Holocaust. Consider the great stories, the stories of heroism and sacrifice. I do not feel you can dismiss them as simply 'programmed in.' [5.]

Lee Strobel offers More Evidence [click to read] of the work of the Divine.

Remembering Leonard Nimoy


Leonard Nimoy has died at the age of 83. The man most of us know as Mister Spock served his country in the Army. Besides being an actor, he was also a film director, poet, singer and photographer. In the following interview gives us insight into a little known inspiration in his life:

Leonard Nimoy explains the inspiration for the Vulcan hand sign for greeting.

Why Purim Matters Today

We’re an ancient people. In our nearly 4,000 years of history, many have tried repeatedly to destroy the Jewish people. Tomorrow night, on the Jewish holiday of Purim, we’ll read the Book of Esther. We’ll read of a powerful Persian viceroy named Haman, who plotted to destroy the Jewish people some 2,500 years ago. But a courageous Jewish woman, Queen Esther, exposed the plot and gave for the Jewish people the right to defend themselves against their enemies.

The plot was foiled. Our people were saved."-- Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu

Hear and Read His Speech to Congress [click to read]

Hamantaschen, or 'Haman's Hat' cookies celebrate the heroism of Esther.

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