Jerry Coyne, a professor in the department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago, contributed an article to USATODAY.COM called, “As atheists know, you can be good without God.” In the article, Coyne makes egregious claims and even mocks people of faith. He blames religion for genocide, the mistreating of homosexuals, ignoring the facts of science, and most criminally argues that ethics do not need God. What Coyne fails to remember even from his own childhood is that when we first enter this world, we are extremely dependent on others. As babies, we need parents or other providers to feed and clean up after ourselves. Even as small children, we sense our need for parental care and protection. As we get older, it is common to believe that we no longer need anyone or anything. It starts in adolescence, where many think they no longer need their parents and often continuing through adulthood, where many think they can take care of themselves. Mankind is not as self-sufficient as many would like to believe. The truth is that humans are extremely dependent on many things despite our denials. Society and ethics need God. When you remove the absolute; when you remove God from the public square, the consequences are profound. The death of truth and decline of culture is the result. And there to lead the way in this carefully orchestrated deconstruction is America’s own mass media and academic institutions.
First, it must be known that it does not necessarily take a religious person to understand the pragmatic utility of religion or God in society. Benjamin Franklin and George Washington both gave speeches on the importance of religion (Fea). In his 1796 farewell speech Washington warns that “let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion” (Washington’s Farewell Address). Second, when I speak of the death of truth and the decline of culture, this claim does not need to be substantiated, we are immersed in it in our daily lives. Truth takes a back seat for an agenda set to deconstruct America and it’s values. Nobody blinks an eye when innocent babies are slaughtered at the hands of an abortionist. The deconstruction agenda has taken priority over the sanctity of life itself. In the 1970s Malcolm Muggeridge said this:
It is difficult to resist the conclusion that twentieth century man has decided to abolish himself. Tired of the struggle to be himself, he has created boredom out of his own affluence, impotence out of his own erotomania, and vulnerability out of his own strength. He himself blows the trumpet that brings the walls of his own cities crashing down, until at last, having educated himself into imbecility, having drugged and polluted himself into stupefaction, he keels over, a weary, battered old brontosaurus, and becomes extinct (Muggeridge).
Forty years ago, Muggeridge made these astounding claims. Because the fact is that there is nothing so vulgar left in our human experience that for which you cannot find some professor from somewhere to justify it because we, as a nation, at least the media, the academic scholars and so on have moved in the direction of trying to lead this nation apart from any transcendent framework.
Our belief in God, the 77% of Americans who practice religion (Pew Research Center), is gradually being eroded and our beliefs in values are going at the same time. America is living in the “golden-age” of cut-flower ethics. Ethics without God are cut flower ethics. What does this mean? If one were to cut flowers from the soil that nurtured them and place them in a pot for all to see, those looking upon those flowers could conclude that, “hey they don’t need soil. They could live on their own”. But we all know that flowers cut from their soil, will wither and die and so ethics cut from their religious soil, wither and die. But the problem is that it doesn’t happen overnight or a week like it does to a flower. It takes generations. But within one or two generations that exactly what happens: ethics cut from their religious soil. When you look at the statistics of Americans, in 2007 83% of the population claimed to practice some sort of religion. In 2014, that number has dropped to 77% of people who affiliate with a religion (Pew Research Center). Consequently, anyone who turns on the news or uses social media, more often than ever ask, “What is wrong with people?” You can see a direct correlation; as we move further from the belief in religions or God, ideologies that were once deemed immoral are now suddenly okay and justified.
Coyne states that countries such as Sweden and Denmark are filled with atheists and non-believers. He says that he can personally vouch for that these countries are full of well-behaved and well-meaning citizens. But why are they so moral? Because they are atheists? Or because nearly all of the laws here in America or the countries Coyne speaks of are based on ethics derived from providence? He is never able to answer that even though these countries are largely secular, where did their ethics come from? How do they really know what is right and wrong? He assumes that these countries are so much more ethical, just because they appear to take “better” care of its citizens. But they could not have always been so ethical on their own. There absolutely has to be some kind of preconceived notion of what is right and what is wrong.
When we do away with God, when we don’t know where to park it; and of all the places ought not to park it, we have parked it precisely there. Now, right and wrong is defined as being politically correct. If you ask the average person which is the one institution they distrust the most, they would probably say it’s the political institution. And now our right and wrong is defined on either being politically correct or politically incorrect. And how do we solve it? We now call it tolerance. Which is a fluid term at best. It is used when it is convenient to justify an action. Coyne states that secular morality is superior to religious morality because it is flexible. Flexible and tolerance are one in the same, in this context. Our media, universities, and society have made practicing your religion a pejorative. They condemn religion calling it obsolete and argue reason is the only
Coyne argues that religion is the source of genocides and prejudices against certain groups. He, and others, argue that “if we did not have religion, we would not have wars or genocide”. Though this argument may have some viable truth, Coyne is not being entirely truthful. And it sparks my curiosity and I always ask when I hear this: what was the most genocidal century which we have any record? The 20th century, correct? Where we have 100 million (Hamilton) at least. Civilians! Not soldiers! Just 65 million civilians in China that nobody bothers to talk about. Every single one committed by a secular state. You will never learn that at the University of Southern California, or the University of Minnesota, or Harvard you will never be told that truth; that secular governments have slaughtered and enslaved more than any religion. This is one of many great lies that are being told, but this is high and chief among those lies.
Of these egregious statements made by Coyne, he says that morality comes from “two places: evolution and secular reasoning.” He believes that traits such as sympathy, altruism, and moral disapproval are credited to evolution. Here is the problem with his statement. “Oh, we don’t need God for ethics. Look at all the ethical atheists.” Well, where did they come from? The Germanic tribes of Europe? No, let me tell you something about the Germanic tribes. I was listening to the Learning Company, and a Professor was giving a history of the Catholic Church (Cook) and he made a point that the toughest group to convert to Christianity was the Germanic Tribes. And he gave the reason: He said, “Because the Germanic tribes thought it was ridiculous that the church said ‘thou shall not murder’ is a commandment.” The strong kill the weak, that’s the way it works. What kind of stupid idea is that that you don’t kill people that are weaker than you? And what is the answer to that? There isn’t one! There is no secular answer to it. Of course there are secularly descent people and even religious bastards. But philosophically, there is no secular answer to why not murder. Someone might argue and say, “Well, I know I don’t want to be killed!” You think the Germanic tribesman wanted to be killed? No! The notion, “I don’t want to be killed, therefore I don’t kill” makes no sense, whatsoever. With this logic, nobody would steal. There would be no thievery. What says murder is wrong, DNA? Where is the gene for morality? Where can I see it in a test tube? It doesn’t exist! Its just taste. I like yellow, you like blue, I like murder, you like non-murder. That is all it is.
Professor Coyne, though I do not doubt his expertise in the subject of evolution or ecology, is another professor who claims to use reason to remove God from our society. Instead of leaving the remote possibility of God in any equation he quickly denounces God and religion by incriminating it and claiming that religion’s “biggest impediment” is accepting evolution, especially as it pertains to ethics. Winston Churchill said that “truth is the most valuable thing in the world. It is so valuable that it is often hidden in by a bodyguard of lies.” Lies within our society, especially about religion and God, are not good. Lies built Auschwitz. Without lies about Jews there could not have been a Holocaust. Without lies about blacks there could not have been the slave trade. Lies are the root of all evil. Everything in today’s society is contributing to the deconstruction of God. The rise of controversy is rampant because of the forgotten absolute. Our nation is becoming a breeding ground of lies. Terminology and ethics such as abortion, marriage, love, bullying, and tolerance are being re-defined to fuel and support the rhetoric. A fear of condemnation has risen for speaking about your religious beliefs and values. A nation of proud heritage with a strong foundation built on the beliefs of God, and God-given rights is being dismantled by lies about that God and his supposed intolerance. America is headed for dark times in which religious groups will be condemned and persecuted while immoral behavior will be considered the norm. Now more than ever, our faith should be placed into the hands of God. Remove God and our freedom, as we know it, is in jeopardy.
“America’s Changing Religious Landscape.” Pew Research Center. N.p., 11 May 2015. Web.
Chesterton, G. K. The Everlasting Man. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1925. Print.
Cook, William R. “The Catholic Church: A History.” The Great Courses. The Teaching Company, n.d. Web.
Coyne, Jerry. “As Atheists Know, You Can Be Good without God – USATODAY.com.” USATODAY. N.p., 01 Aug. 2011. Web
Durant, Will. On The Meaning of Life. New York: R. Long & R.R. Smith, 1932. Print.
Fea, John. “History.” Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. N.p., Nov. 2011. Web.
Hamilton, Rebecca. “Atheist Governments of the 20th Century: The Death Toll of Godless Goodness.” Public Catholic. Patheos, 09 Mar. 2013. Web.
Muggeridge, Malcolm, and Cecil C. Kuhne. Seeing through the Eye: Malcolm Muggeridge on Faith. San Francisco: Ignatius, 2005. Print.
“Washington’s Farewell Address 1796.” Avalon Project. Yale Law School, 2008. Web.