It was an interesting conversation that I did not start. The other day I was working at my desk when a coworker– a contractor from natively from Canada– probed to see what I believed in and then offered a short dissertation on the impact of Christianity in his hometown.
Basically, he recounted that in Quebec at one time the Roman Catholic Bishop (or whatever head was there) more or less ruled so far as ethics were concerned. Even public officials would go for this man’s blessing. But during the 50s and 60s when both ours and his country started to reject religion, the people of Quebec stopped listening to this man’s guidance, and now the city is rampant with crime and this man attributes this to the wane of religious authority in the town.
He is a self labeled agnostic who claims not to have set foot in a church in over 20 years after rejecting it as a child1 .
Though I’m not presenting hard data (anecdotal at best) it follows along with another statement I was reading just the other day:
We imagine we can ditch Christianity and yet the good things we have inherited in our way of life will continue. They will not. Christianity formed Western civilisation and is so consubstantial with it that if Christianity goes, the lot goes with it. Let TS Eliot, writing in 1934, give us a text to think about this Easter: “Do you need to be told that even such modest attainments as you can boast in the way of polite society will hardly survive the Faith to which they owe their significance?”2
You see, one of the main arguments that Atheists advance is that humans have evolved (they have to link their believe in Evolution here) to a point where they’ve moved beyond the need of religion, that they’ve learned enough to “not need the crutch.” However, history does not bear out this assertion.
You see, everywhere that religion has been supplanted for non-religion, it has lead to an eroding of moral values, not an increase of them. America, as it becomes more secular is also becoming more violent. When you ask Muslims what they like and dislike about America, they point at the moral decay this society has. And it’s true. Our society is in decay and just like many great empires before it, it is headed for a fall.
And I addressed the core of a problem in a meeting I had just the other day.
We were trying to decide the best security for sending applications that we build as software developers to the production system which is live on the Internet. Basically, we’re pretty undisciplined at the moment (not unsecure, mind you, we just don’t follow procedures) and we were looking to gain more discipline– more structure.
My response to how to do this was to put into place some software that would force us to follow the process. And my reason why was simple. We, as humans, are pretty good at taking shortcuts and coming up with justifications. Without something keeping us from doing the wrong things, we will tend to go faster than the speed limit, try to take advantage of rules, and seek to do the most we can without going over the line.
Simply put, we’re sinners. Now, in a society derived from God (endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights…) we know that it is not the government by which my rights are given and should be secured, but by God. That means that the Supreme Court is not above God’s law– they can’t take away my freedom of life, liberty and property because it’s not given to us by them. Same thing with the President and Congress.
It is exactly at these times when the government believes that it does have that right, and that rights derive from them that secularism sweeps in and so does situational ethics and we start having debates over the obvious. (i.e. Why is slavery a moral wrong worthy of being banned but not abortion? Who is the moral arbiter? The majority? But the majority does not make right!)
All this to say, atheism is not some utopia, but the exact opposite. It leads to the very “everyone doing that which was right in his own eyes” that got the world judged by the flood, and will get it judged by fire this next time.
- A point which he changes after I probe him about weddings and funerals.
- Hat Tip: Vox Day