Porkopolis makes some overly broad generalizations about religion in general:
- Religion is a man-made institution [Before arguing this point, first take on in your mind a belief in a ‘God’ you currently don’t believe in – like Amun, Akua, Centeotl, Zeus or The Flying Spaghetti Monster and make your best argument against that entity. Then use that same argument against any belief in ‘God’ you may have];
- Logic leads us to the Golden Rule without having to resort to religious doctrine;
- Religion is used to justify acts of inhumanity;
Humanity should move beyond religion.
Let’s not be so quick to sing the praises of cold-eyed, godless evolutionary worldviews.
Some religious zealots have killed lots of people, and Islamic fascists certainly max out the crapulence meter in that department. However, religious murderers are mere pikers compared to the paragons of atheistic society: the communists and secular socialists. Militant atheists Mao Tse-Tung, Josef Stalin, Pol Pot, Ho Chi Minh, Kim Il-Sung, Kim Jong-Il, and Adolf Hitler all hated believers (especially Christians). In the Twentieth Century alone, they and their governments racked up a body count somewhere in the range of 100 million to 120 million people.
And what about the claim that morality can be explained as an evolutionary survival strategy? Sorry, that doesn’t explain morality at all, as Greg Koukl illustrates:
There is one question that can never be answered by any evolutionary assessment of ethics. The question is this: Why ought I be moral tomorrow?
The evolutionary answer might be that when we’re selfish, we hurt the group. That answer, though, presumes another moral value: We ought to be concerned about the welfare of the group. Why should that concern us? Answer: If the group doesn’t survive, then the species doesn’t survive. But why should I care about the survival of the species?
Here’s the problem. All of these responses meant to explain morality ultimately depend on some prior moral notion to hold them together. It’s going to be hard to explain, on an evolutionary view of things why I should not be selfish, or steal, or rape, or even kill tomorrow without smuggling morality into the answer.
Evolution may be an explanation for the existence of conduct we choose to call moral, but it gives no explanation why I should obey any moral rules in the future. If one countered that we have a moral obligation to evolve, then the game would be up, because if we have moral obligations prior to evolution, then evolution itself can’t be their source.
There’s no way anybody can tell me “you ought to _________” … that is, if there’s no such thing as objective moral standards imposed by a transcendent moral Lawgiver.
P.S. — Before my pork-busting colleague cries “foul!” at the mention of God, I would encourage him to consider the Kalam Cosmological Argument.