Tag Archives: Good Without God

New study: frequent Bible reading leads to charity and openness to science

From the leftist Huffington Post.

Excerpt:

Franzen speculates the reason so little research has been done on the effects of reading Scripture may be because “the ubiquity of references to the Bible promotes the idea that we all know what it says and, consequently, reading it is simply a habitual and ultimately meaningless activity.”

But that is not true, according to his study using data from Christian respondents to the 2007 wave of the Baylor Religion Survey.

In many cases, Franzen found frequency of Bible reading was one of the most powerful predictors of attitudes on moral and political issues. Consider some of the findings:

  • The likelihood of Christians saying it is important to actively seek social and economic justice to be a good person increased 39 percent with each jump up the ladder of the frequency of reading Scripture, from reading the Bible less than once a year to no more than once a month to about weekly to several times a week or more.
  • Christian respondents overall were 27 percent more likely to say it is important to consume or use fewer goods to be a good person as they became more frequent Bible readers.
  • Reading the Bible more often also was linked to improved attitudes toward science. Respondents were 22 percent less likely to view religion and science as incompatible at each step toward more frequent Bible reading.
  • The issues seemed to matter more than conservative-liberal tags. In the case of another major public policy debate, same-sex unions, nearly half of respondents who read the Bible less than once a year said homosexuals should be allowed to marry, while only 6 percent of people who read the Bible several times a week or more approved of such marriages.

Among other issues, more frequent Bible readers also were more likely to oppose legalized abortion, the death penalty, harsher punishment of criminals and expanding the federal government’s authority to fight terrorism.

[…]But the results are consistent with some past research.

In a 1998 article in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, sociologists Mark Regnerus, Christian Smith and David Sikkink found that data from the 1996 Religious Identity and Influence Survey suggested that, contrary to “conventional wisdom,” conservative Protestants were among the most generous Christians in giving to the poor.

Surprise, surprise – reading the Bible makes people more moral.

I think we need to be open to letting our ideas about goodness, God and science be determined by what research shows, instead of what our feelings are. If science shows that atheists are generally more irrational and more amoral than believers, then we have to go where science leads. Not every atheist is irrational and immoral, but we have to believe what science tells us about atheism.

This study showing how authentic Christians get divorced less often than average is also interesting.

Was Nazi torturer Josef Mengele influenced by Christianity or Darwinism?

Story here from Evolution News.

Here is some of the evidence collected in the article.

In Mengele: The Complete Story, Gerald L. Posner and John Ware write:

Precisely what corrupted Mengele’s eager young mind is hard to pin down. Probably it was a combination of the political climate and that his real interest in genetics and evolution happened to coincide with the developing concept that some human beings afflicted by disorders were unfit to reproduce, even to live. Perhaps the real catalyst in this lethal brew was that Mengele, first at Munich and later at Frankfurt, studied under the leading exponents of this “unworthy life” theory. His consummate ambition was to succeed in this fashionable new field of evolutionary research.

[…]Medicine at German universities was in any case more complementary to Mengele’s real interest in evolution, since it was taught in accordance with the guidelines of the social Darwinist theory that Hitler and a growing number of German academics found so attractive.

[…]One of the earliest influence on the student doctor was Dr. Ernst Rudin, whose lectures Mengele regularly attended….Rudin was a leading proponent of the theory that doctors should destroy “life devoid of value.” Rudin himself was one of the architects of Hitler’s compulsory sterilization laws, which were enacted in July 1933.

Compulsory sterilization? That sounds like Obama’s science czar!

In Children of the Flames: Dr. Josef Mengele and the Untold Story of the Twins of Auschwitz, Lucette Matalon Lagnado and Sheila Cohn Dekel write:

The messianic quality of social Darwinism seems to have appealed to the young Mengele. His writings suggest that he was especially struck by their use of the phrase “the fate of mankind.” From his youthful encounter with their distorted ideals, to his old age, a weary and broken exile, Mengele would continue to feel a personal allegiance to the social Darwinists. At the university, the question of the “biological quality of mankind” may have been esoteric to most of Mengele’s classmates. But for him, it was apparently a clarion call.

Is it any wonder that the secular left is so interested in embryonic stem cell research, and cloning? They like scientific progress, and their worldview has no foundation for the right to life, or any objective human rights. They are thus rational in sacrificing the weak to make their own lives better.

Are all worldviews equal when it comes to morality?

Notice the difference between people influenced by Christianity, like William Wilberforce, and people influenced by Darwinism, like Josef Mengele. On the one worldview, you have man made in the image of God, for the purpose of having a relationship with God. And our job is to help them to have that relationship while respecting their free will (part of being made in the image of God means you have free will). And on the other worldview, you have survival of the fittest, the strong exterminating the weak to keep them from reproducing and wasting precious resources, so that the strong can pursue pleasure without being encumbered by the needs of others.

Here’s my previous post contrasting Wilberforce and Hitler, and another where I examine who is more responsible for the mass murders of the 20th century, and the millions of deaths caused by abortion, and environmentalist bans on DDT. My series of posts explaining why morality is not rational on atheism is here. Atheists may act better than their worldview allows, but that’s only because we are still living on the fumes of a dying Christian culture. If you want real atheist morality, unencumbered by Christianity, then just look at North Korea.

I’m going to be strict with comments again – please post your evidence along with your assertions. I cited evidence for my assertions.

Can a meaningful standard of good and evil exist without a Designer?

Check out this post over at Tough Questions Answered.

Excerpt:

If you truly believe that there is evil in the world, then you must believe that there is good in the world as well.  We can’t know what is wrong unless we know what is right.  We can’t know a crooked line unless we know a straight line.  We can’t know injustice unless we know justice.

But if there is real good and real evil in the world, then there must be an ultimate standard, a measuring stick by which to judge goodness and badness.  This measuring stick must be perfect, so that all moral activity can be compared to it, just like determining the straightness of any line requires a perfectly straight line by which to compare.

My previous post on this issue is here. The best post I’ve ever done on the problems of evil and suffering is here.

Moral judgments make no sense if the universe is an accident – there is no way we ought to be. The best that atheists can do is personal preferences or cultural conventions. But that’s just taste and fashion, not right and wrong. Atheism is an amoral worldview.

Atheists: please comment in one of my posts that I linked above, and read the post first. I’m not going to debate the TQA post here.