My opinion of the rabbinical mind is plummeting downwards, thanks to the determined efforts of one man, Moshe Averick. We’ve encountered him before, and he was most unimpressive. Now he’s got a new line of criticism of atheists: we’re on a slippery slope. You know what comes next? What horrible abominable practice we’ll be endorsing?
Yeah, because without god’s laws to guide us, we will start running around raping little children willy-nilly. Never mind that atheists haven’t shown, as a whole, any such pattern or predilection, it’s just inevitable that we’ll want to abuse children. I think it’s a bizarre case of projection, again: really, I have no desire to have sex with small children, to rob banks, to rape dogs, or even to set churches on fire. You might as well suggest that without god I’ll become a NASCAR fan, start chewing tobacco, or vote Republican, all things I have no desire to do and which are not a product of theism or atheism.
I’m always baffled by this argument. What, there’s something about church or synagogue that suppresses your natural urge to rape, murder, and rob? But I feel no such urge without church!
And then, of course, he’s picked the very worst example. Nowadays, mention the word “pedophilia”, and nobody thinks of atheists — you know, even though pedophiles are a minority in their ranks, everyone considers “Catholic priest” virtually synonymous with “child-raper”. So much for religion suppressing those urges — it’s more like it attracts and enables monsters.
And then, having gnawed on one foot, Averick sticks the other one in.
A wise man once observed that while belief in God after the Holocaust may be difficult, belief in man after the Holocaust is impossible. The choices before us are clear: we will either seek a transcendent moral law to which we will all submit, or we will seek our own personal and societal indulgence. If we turn to God in our quest to create a moral and just world, we have a fighting chance; if not, we are doomed to spiral into the man-made hell of the human jungle.
Germany at the time of the Holocaust was a predominantly Catholic and Lutheran country. Hitler claimed to have a transcendant moral law, as well — that his people were the Chosen People, the best and greatest Volk, who by their intrinsic physical and moral and intellectual superiority were compelled to maintain their purity and exterminate the lesser races. That’s where you end up when you decree a source of absolute morality, a morality that isn’t based on equality and empathy and fairness, but on authority, especially the intangible untestable authority of an invisible magic ghost.
All moral laws are manmade. Do we recognize that reality and struggle to make them better as a community of reasonable human beings, or do we pretend that a few of us have special privileges and insight into the desires of a cosmic tyrant, and let them tell us how to live? Given that anyone claiming such authority is mad and delusional, I say no.