Wednesday, March 26, 2008

We Ought To

In spite of what makes sense, all of us—believers and unbelievers alike—are saddled with the notion that there are certain things all humans ought to do. We ought to give aid to those in need. We ought to defend innocent children against abuse. We ought to be honest and truthful. No one, not even unbelievers, can break free from the tug of such “oughts.” They grip us like gravity.

When we look beneath these oughts, we find the assumed absolute: Society ought to be preserved. That idea should mean nothing to unbelievers, yet they can’t get rid of it. It’s like trying to throw away a boomerang—it keeps coming back. The concept is firmly entrenched in the mind of every sane human being, yet human reason did not produce it and cannot defend it.

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