- Published on Saturday, 09 January 2010 12:00
- Written by John Draper
- Hits: 6581
Christians often say that without god we would be immoral - that our ethics system comes from god. This is one of the major debates about religion yet even some theologians do not accept this idea. FORA TV of the City University of New York (CUNY) sponsors discussions open to the public and publishes them on the Internet. An earlier discussion on "What is religion" featured atheist philosopher Dan Dennett and can be seen here. The most recent discussion was on December 7, 2009 on the subject of "Varieties of non-belief". In keeping with an objective of this site to keep articles and videos short, shown below is an excerpt from that event where philosopher Colin McGinn, and theologian Denys Turner talk about Does Morality need god? or as is more commonly asked, Does morality come from god?
Colin McGinn says that this argument was proved to be absurd by Socrates 2500 years ago and his argument is still valid today (see video for details).
Theologian Denys Turner says it's the other way round - you need morality to be sure to worship the one true god!
So for different reasons, both atheist Colin McGinn and theologian Denys Turner agree that morality does not come from god.
Although I think the excerpt is the highlight of the whole event, the full discussion also features journalist Susan Jacoby, CUNY representative William P. Kelly and journalist and Professor of religion, Gustav Niebuhr and covers additional questions such as:
- Is humanism another kind of religion?
- Secularism vs Religion in the U.S.
- Is it religion's evolutionary future, rather than just one of several alternatives?
- What light does the recent scientific study of religion throw on these possibilities?
- How do the new humanists compare to the new atheists?
- Can an atheist identity be shaped by a positive ethic, or must it be primarily an anti-religious sentiment?
- How will the persistence of belief and disbelief, as well as the tension between them, shape thought and culture in the 21st century?