Friday, June 20, 2003

Yet Another Religious Zealot
A letter to the Editor (4th) in Today's Enquirer got my dander up:
"Humanist ethics are subjective"

The letter ("Ten Commandments defenders don't get it," June 12) is part of the reason the United States faces a moral dilemma today. When the letter writer rejects the biblical foundation of morality that was used by our founding fathers to frame much of our government, he instead lays the foundation of subjectivity. He is only partially right when he says that "...Similar values and morals (found in the Ten Commandments) can be praised and taught in the secular humanist arena."

People should realize some of the things that humanism is offering as a replacement to what had been taught in American schools for over 200 years: Institutions with authority, such as governments, the United Nations, and the American Humanist Association can pick and choose what values should be taught. If that doesn't sound a little arbitrary, they can also modify, discard or acquire new ones whenever they like. That is the nature of situational ethics.

To make this system of morality more acceptable to the man who doesn't happen to like the 10 suggestions that some authority has forced upon him, he is free to make up his own commandments to live by. One is perfectly within the letter writer's humanist rights to do this, especially if they break with old traditions. But, if they are recognizably religious or old-fashioned, then you'd best keep them to yourself.

Paul McDorman, Mason
I hate to break some news to Mr. McDorman but morality and morals are subjective. How do I know this? Simple, I do not share Mr. McDorman's morals. His morals or belief system includes conformity, blind obedience, and well just plain old ignorance. I fall back into those states, but I try like hell to get out of them. I prefer not to conform because my religion tells me to for no reason I find valid. I do not trust a 2000+ year old books as anything more than fiction akin to Aesop's Fables or Le Morte d'Arthur. I sure try to reduce my ignorance at nearly every chance I get. Mr. McDorman on the other hand is missing a few things. Christianity is not the basis of our government. There is no democracy in the Bible. There are monarchies, kingdoms, lords, and masters, but no democracies, unless you want to count the Romans, but in the Bible they are the bad guys. The United Nations was created not by secular humanists, but mostly by Christians (USA, UK, and France). Life is made up of situations. They all differ. How I look at them and how Mr. McDorman looks at them differ. I would guess Mr. McDorman would handle a robber in his house differently than I would. He might shoot him, where I would try and stop him without killing him or seriously injuring him, using deadly force only if attacked. If I differ from you Mr. McDorman, how can you deny that ethics are subjective? We have laws to try and keep order in this society. Not everyone agrees with every law. Does that mean we should not have laws? Of course not. Should we have religious laws? Of course not. If you want to practice your religion Mr. McDorman, go right ahead, no one will stop you, as long as you don't force it on others. Teaching religious morality in schools is forcing it. I also remember something else that was subjective. For over 200 years people in this county own slaves. Because that happened for a long time, and worked well (for the slave owners) should we bring it back? Of course not.

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