Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Dilemma of Unbelievers

Here is the dilemma of unbelievers: Since they cannot prove by reason that society ought to be preserved, they must choose between two alternatives: They must either accept the idea as an absolute (see Blog #10, Absolutely) or reject it as an outrageous demand in a godless universe where self is on its own.

If they accept it as an absolute, they lose their rationale for being unbelievers, because such a counterintuitive moral concept can have force only if it has roots in an absolute God to whom we are responsible. But if unbelievers reject God as the authority behind morality, they must dismiss the tug of their hearts toward duty to others as an illusion. Of course, even if they dismiss it, they may still choose to give in to it merely because doing good to others makes them feel good.

If the preservation of society is an absolute truth from God, then the laws we pass to curb the impulses of individuals for the benefit of the whole have force. But if the preservation of society is merely a human concept, there is nothing absolute about these laws, and they are unfair because they contradict the rights of the individual.

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