Posted by Ginkgo100 Labels: apologetics, catholic belief, catholic life, ethics, explanations, faith
To me, it's scary to think I live in the world with people who believe this way. To think only your belief in God is what keeps you from being a bad person? You have no human decency? You have no compassion? You only have your belief in a man in the sky to keep you from doing wrong?This quote illustrates the great conceptual divide that believers and atheists face. I could have written almost the same thing:
That's scary to the rest of us who live on secular humanism and empathy, based in something much stronger and much more sound.
To think only your belief in secular humanism is what keeps you from being a bad person? You have no human decency? You have no compassion? You only have your belief in some abstract bit of sophism to keep you from doing wrong?If I were to say that, I would just be talking past Annie, the same way she is just talking past me. The real truth is that both of us try to do good because they are internalized values.
That's scary to the rest of us who live in service to God and our faith, based on something much stronger and much more sound.
The handy-dandy behavioral template
When I make one of my dozens of mundane moral decisions, I don't stop to think consciously, "What would be the best way to serve God? What does the man in the sky want me to do?" Anybody who did this would be paralyzed in pondering, unable to make decisions when they need to.
Instead, like everybody else, when I make a decision I just consult my conscience (as I discussed in this post). That's my internal set of moral values, and it provides quick answers. When Annie makes a moral decision, I daresay she also just consults her conscience.
That's what the conscience is there for — making quick moral decisions.
My faith is not going anywhere, but if it were to falter, I would not suddenly begin operating amorally, because my faith is not directly the source of my decisions. It's what shaped and formed that behavioral template, my conscience, and the conscience does not change shape as easily or quickly as mere belief can. Likewise, were Anna to abandon secular humanism, she would likely not suddenly begin acting like Machiavelli. Her philosophy formed her conscience.
Based on her blog, I suspect that Annie, like most of us, has met Christians who do not behave as Christians are "supposed" to behave. This contradiction does not happen because the bad actors do not "really" believe in God. It's because they have not shaped their "motivators," their consciences, according to their belief in God.
Probably a great number of them have done little to shape their consciences at all. A conscience is like a computer — you have to make sure you feed it well. Garbage in? Garbage out.
Your conscience: Garbage in, garbage out
apologetics|catholic belief|catholic life|ethics|explanations|faith|