Kenan Malik did this talk at the Global Humanist Conference a couple of weeks ago that I’ve been meaning to read.
Right at the beginning we run into a funny (odd and haha both) idea.
Every year I give a lecture to a group of theology students – would-be Anglican priests, as it happens – on ‘Why I am an atheist’. Part of the talk is about values. And every year I get the same response: that without God, one can simply pick and choose about which values one accepts and which one doesn’t.
Of course one can pick and choose about which values one accepts and which one doesn’t, and one had damn well better do exactly that, because the alternative is simply unconditional obedience and the perils of that ought to be blindingly obvious.
Yes, clerical friends, that’s exactly what one can and should do. Yes, you do actually have to think about what values to accept and what values to reject. There are plenty of values that ought to be rejected – aversion to other races for instance, or to same-sex pairing, or to women in public life.
Kenan of course says the same thing.