I suppose a lot of you have already heard about this new advertising campaign? The purpose of the campaign is to “to plant a seed of rational thought and critical thinking and questioning in people’s minds.” If they succeed, they will initiate a wave of conversions to Christianity. Why? Check out the slogan:
Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness sake!
Any rational person will immediately ask himself just how one knows what ‘good’ is, anyway. Atheists, true to form, are unaware the question even needs to be asked. Everyone has an intuitive sense that there is a ‘good’ and the only thing that atheists get their undies in a bundle about is the idea that this sense may be related to God. That the ‘intuitive sense’ requires explanation barely crosses their mind.
This ‘misunderstanding’ forms the basis for challenges by ‘elite’ ‘thinkers’ like Richard Dawkins and Michael Shermer, who snipe that if people need ‘God’ to be ‘good’ then that admits that people are pretty wicked. They point out that you don’t need God to be good… the slogan above basically references the same idea… but utterly and completely fails to grasp the point. The slogan from the atheist’s London campaign captures the same disconnect from the real issue: “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”
The idea in their head is that God is ‘needed’ in the sense that if you don’t toe the line, he’s going to smoke you, and it is only this fear that drives people to be good. This is not what defenders of theism are saying when they say that God is ‘needed.’ What apologists mean when they say God is ‘needed’ is that his existence is the necessary explanation for the observation that we can talk about ‘good’ in the first place.
For example, let’s pretend that I am going to take these two slogans to heart. First, I decide there is no God. Free from worry about being held accountable for my actions, I decide to start enjoying my life. Well, I enjoy a lot of things. One of the things I enjoy is sex. It seems that I am not the only one, judging by society, so surely no one will object if I go on a serial raping spree? I’m just spreading my genes, see. Survival of the fittest. Who are atheists to object? I’m just ‘enjoying myself.’ All I’m doing is pulling a Nietzsche and rising above notions of ‘good and evil.’ I am being ‘good for goodness sake’ and my idea of ‘good’ is raping the wives of atheists. If they had the courage of their convictions, atheists would join me…
Yuck. What nasty words. Raping spree? Isn’t that over the line? It is intentionally disgusting language in order to get these secular humanists who are slapping their slogans all over the place to admit, “Hey, that’s not what we meant by good! No, ‘good’ is…. Enjoying yourself can’t come at the expense of others… it must be consensual…. etc”
Why? Why can’t it come at the expense of others? Why should it be consensual? Why do we recognize these principles as virtually self-evident?
The minute you ask these questions you know that asking people to be ‘good for goodness sake’ is asking them to wonder about how we decide what is good and why any of us care about being good in the first place. That will be the first rational thought rational people have. This is the sure sign that hard core atheists are simply out of touch with reality and pose no intellectual threat to theism or religion in general: just how ‘good’ is defined will be anyone’s first thought, but it never even occurs to them.
I know I’m being redundant but this post is going to be read by dozens of atheists and even here at the end they’re going to still think I’m saying we need to fear God in order to be goo, so let me point out that I have not explained why it is that God is the best explanation for the existence of goodness, but that wasn’t my point. My point is that we need an explanation at all.
So, kudos to the atheists in DC for promoting theism!