Mr Stanley has a daft Telegraph article – In response I’d argue that secular morality is superior


Tim Stanley writes in the UK’s Telegraph a rather strange religious blog posting entitled “Christianity is neither Left nor Right, but radical and daunting“. I guess this is perhaps the time of year when the religious go into overdrive … here are a few extracts with my thoughts (in red) …

I’ve always found Easter difficult. This is the moment when you have to confront the sublime awfulness of the Christian message: that someone else was prepared to die for you. Jesus underwent beating, scourging, humiliation and crucifixion all to set you free. Is this lumpy, lazy, lascivious historian worth it? I have my doubts.

Really! … Tim as a historian thinks this actually happened and that it was a real historical event, that a God died because an ancestor of his was tricked by a talking snake into eating some fruit? I too also have some serious doubts … I doubt his ability as a historian to sift fact from fiction.

When I was an atheist, the crucifixion caused me great offence. I loathed the idea that someone should suffer on my behalf without my consent. How could one historical event determine the moral value of everyone who lived thereafter? How could the Fall damn all men for all time, and how could Good Friday save them? 

This makes no sense  … he claims he was an atheist, yet the foundation for him finding it offensive appears to be a belief that it was real

Mr Stanley then goes on to build up towards a crescendo in which he does the usual religious thing of beating himself up with “I am not worthy“, and concludes that if we are to live in a better world, then it is up to individuals to be better people … to use his own words … “if I am to deserve redemption, the change has got to start with me“. What he fails to appreciate is that the Christian message completely undermines this stance, it is a message that says you can never ever do anything to earn your way in; it is a message that claims we are all born with a fatal flaw. (Yes, I’m back to the talking snake again). In fact, what is truly scary about this belief system is that it is almost a license to do whatever you want because whatever you do, it will not be your fault, but just the way you are, and so regardless of what you do, you can just confess it and ask Jesus to forgive you. Taken to an extreme this avoids you taking any responsibility for your own actions, and removes the motivation for you to strive to do what is right.

The reality is that of course people do not behave like that, most people with or without belief are decent honourable people who do indeed strive to do what is right, and not simply because of a religious belief.

To help inoculate you against the religious BS, here is George Carlin (the famous  stand-up comedian, social critic and satirist) …

Here is Richard Dawkin’s answering the question, “If you don’t have a God, how can you have absolute morality?” …

And to help you get to grips with the concept of Secular Morality being superior, here is Matt Dillahunty (He used to be a fundamentalist Christian) … [Sorry, this one is not a great recording, but still well worth checking out] …

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