Can You Be Moral Without Heaven and Hell?
By Bjorn Watland
Do people behave better the older they get, because they fear “Judgement Day?” Are the problems of our economy due to actions made by people who believe there is no heaven or hell? David Lebedoff seems to think so in his opinion piece at the Star Tribune.
The reaction from Minnesota Atheists should not be surprising. Of course I think that people can and do behave well, regardless of whether they fear a punishment prescribed by theology. In fact, I think it is more noble to act irregardless of such demands and to make choices based on principle rather than dogma.
I reject the claim that most of the decisions which have been made about our economy have been made by people who do not believe in a heaven or hell based on polling which indicate that atheists and people who do not believe in heaven or hell are in a minority status in this country. Our government is a secular government, but we are a diverse nation, full of decision makers who are believers and non believers.
Our current economic situation needs level headed, rational thinking, and not attempts to associate George Orwellian thinking to blame those who choose to reason in the natural world with all of its problems without regard to a supernatural concept of eternal punishment or reward.
As an atheist, I am offended by Mr. Lebedoff’s claim and could counter that, using his reasoning, we should fear any attempts to accelerate tensions in Israel in order to bring about the Apocalypse. Apocalyptic thinking could be blamed for ignoring the current economic crisis, as well as impending environmental problems for our planet, because it is all a part of the End Times.
If you find Mr. Lebedoff’s claim compelling, consider what doors his theory opens. What a waste of resources to sling mud over each other’s views on theology when what is called for is cool headed reasoning. Minnesota Atheists and those who do not believe in eternal punishment or reward will not stand to be discriminated against so broadly for the world’s troubles.