Reason and compassion rank above ‘God’s absolute moral law’ (letter)
I had to laugh when John Bartholomew started off a letter impugning the morals of atheists by citing Richard Carnes’ assessment of Kim Jong Un (“Atheism is the reason Kim Jong Un can’t be trusted,” Tuesday, May 1). Carnes, not known for being religious, had based his assessment of the North Korean leader on (of all things) his track record.
Bartholomew thinks you ought to predict people’s likely behavior based on their religious beliefs, instead of on how they have actually behaved in the past. I guess this is the same reasoning the Catholic Church used when it allowed priests who had molested children to continue to work with children.
Bartholomew’s point is that you can’t trust Kim Jong Un because he is an atheist, and you can’t trust atheists because their morality is not based on “God’s absolute moral law.” Since “God’s absolute moral law” has been used to justify everything from slavery to genocide, I think I’ll take my chances with plain reason and compassion.
From my perspective, people whose morals are based on the fear of God’s punishment have no morals at all, just fear.
P.S. To anyone who wants to read this as a defense of Kim Jong Un or any other badly behaved atheist, it is not.