Atheists Set Up ‘Religion-Free’ Fund for Haiti Relief
Dawkins has joined 13 other groups to create the Non-Believers Giving Aid. Donors are told that when they give they are « helping to counter the scandalous myth that only the religious care about their fellow-humans. »
« [W]e do not hide behind the notion that earthly suffering will be rewarded in a heavenly paradise, nor do we expect a heavenly reward for our generosity: the understanding that this is the only life any of us have makes the need to alleviate suffering even more urgent, » the atheist and freethought groups say.
The Non-Believers Giving Aid was set up in response to the devastation from Tuesday’s 7.0-magnitude quake that left more than three million people in need of aid. Current estimates place the death toll between 50,000 to 100,000 people.
The atheists’ appeal comes amid an increasing number of ad campaigns, books and debates touting morality or goodness without God.
The New Atheists, who are more outspoken than previous humanists and non-theists and endeavor to make belief in God socially unacceptable, have widely put out writings and oral arguments making the case that one can live a good moral life and know right from wrong without God.
Creating a fund for Haiti victims is just one several ways they are demonstrating their point.
« Non-Believers Giving Aid is not a church (that’s putting it mildly) but it does provide an easy conduit for the non-religious to help those in desperate need, whilst simultaneously giving the lie to the canard that you need God to be good, » the groups behind the fund maintain.
Though adamant in their argument, New Atheists have provided no objective foundation for their belief, says Chad Meister, director of philosophy at Bethel College and contributor to God is Great, God is Good: Why Believing in God is Reasonable and Responsible.
« No one is arguing that atheists cannot utter ethical statements or live good, moral lives. Of course they can, » Meister writes in God is Great. « Believing that something is right or wrong and justifying one’s belief that something is right or wrong are two very different matters. »
He argues that the New Atheists confuse an epistemic (knowledge) issue with an ontological (foundational existence) one, or in other words, they believe in morality without justifying morality.
- I get your point here—the Dostoevsky argument. But you are still misled. First of all, you mistakenly thought that ontological justification is still attainable by reason. Secondly, you need to address the issue concerning if moral goodness is attainable without ontological foundation. Thirdly, in case that an ontological foundation is needed, how you would argue against the one proposed by Dawkins, namely, a biological one, has to be laid out.
Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, has argued that moral action is rooted in biological evolution.
« On Dawkins’s schema, one is kind to his neighbor because he’s been preprogrammed by his genes to do so (at least some individuals have been so preprogrammed; others perhaps not), and he’s been so programmed because acting this way confers evolutionary advantage, » Meister summarizes. « It’s not that it is a universally binding moral value to be kind. We simply call it ‘morally good’ because our genes have, through eons of evolutionary struggle, gotten us to believe that it is so. »
Meister goes on to note that he has several friends who adopted children and he doesn’t suspect they would agree with Dawkins’s explanation for why they did so.
« In order to have a consistent and reasonable objective moral stand – a moral view in which you can substantiate a claim that this is right and that is wrong, this is good and that is evil – you need to have an objective moral basis, » Meister argues. « I don’t see how one can have an objective lawgiver with anything other than a transcendent God. Surely from the physical perturbations of the big bang, moral values didn’t spew forth.
- 恕我直言，你這裡完全在跳針。This is totally irrelevant. Dawkins was talking about socio-biological evolution, and you [Meister] responded by pouring ridicule on the cosmological big bang. Dawkins was talking about the pragmatic law of survival (natural selection) and human’s self-perpetuating impulse, but you twisted the topic by wheeling out an objective transcendent lawgiving God. This is an absolute no-match against Dawkins.
So let’s stop here and have our two orthodox alternatives to go:
1) From a [Calvinistic] dogmatic perspective, you can argue that they (the nonreligious) practice morally commendable things with wrong motifs—namely, any intention apart from honoring God and carrying out our Lord‘s commandments. Thus, it is still evil in the sense of moral imperfection and does not fulfill God’s Law as prescribed through Moses’ Torah, which is only a shadow for true salvation according to Paul.
2) From a postliberal perspective, we attempt to re-appeal to the moral exemplar in the person of historical Jesus—the utter embodiment of human sacrificial love— as the sheer goal of our Christian life. This ultimate altruism shall humble all of us as we know there is no justification by faith apart from the ongoing transformative lives lived out by our ecclesial communities and individuals as a whole. In other words, true signs of justification [as well as faith] can only either be the realization of a messianic morality (which, as I believe, extremely few in history are qualified into this category) or the unceasing verging onto/the unceasing struggle in realizing such perfection/sanctification in our Christian lives (which I believe a great number of our fellow believers belong to this category and can testify to it; c.f., 2 Cor 8, 13; Gal 5-6, and the whole book of James— to list but a few Scriptural validations). I reckon that the secularists and atheists will never have their morality rooted in history or anything similar to our apostolic witness. Therefore they would inevitably mistake the progress made in human civilization as a purely bio-evolutionary contribution to the negligence of a) the divine Providence of the Holy Spirit at places within human history/civilization and of b) the spontaneous [moral] degeneration of human beings (e.g., tyranny, massacre [n.b., the Holocaust], prurience, promiscuity, egocentrism…) apart from the sustaining work of the Holy Spirit at places within human history/civilization. In brief, in light of postliberal [public] theology Christian faith outstands other worldviews in its ability to perpetuate a moral ideal that advances a civil world that is otherwise self-degenerating, whereas secularism and other religions are either lacking such ability, without [historic and systemic] consistency, or [are] just promoting a flawed morality (which from my view, at its best is still lesser than even the Pharisaic Halakha that Jesus repudiates)– they may be a luring option en prima facie, but they ain’t leading us anywhere furthur.
Be a disciple: Pray and do something that is love for your neighbors.