1. In a recent thread, one of my usual opponents took the opportunity to explain how common sense is a far better guide to life than the Bible, as there are so many outdated ideas therein. Here, he explains: there are a whole bunch of Bible Rules you don't follow... You don't own slaves, stone your neighbors for working on the Sabbath, kill your gay neighbor, ask the town to help you stone your kids when they talk back, chop off body parts as punishment for crimes .I have a simpler approach. Does my action hurt someone? If not, there's nothing immoral about it. Does what you are doing effect me in any way? If not, it's none of my business. No sky pixies, no goofy verses about slaughtering animals to appease sky pixies, and so on. 2. The first thing that occurs to me, is that many with his views subscribe to views far more inimical to society. The Left says of the Right, You fools, it is demonstrable that dinosaurs lived one hundred million years ago, I can prove it to you, how can you say the earth was created in 4000BCE? But this supposed intransigence on the part of the Religious Right is far less detrimental to the health of the body politic than the Lefts love affair with Marxism, Socialism, Racialism, the Command Economy, all of which have been proven via one hundred years of evidence shows only shortages, despotism and murder. David Mamet, The Secret Knowledge. a. So much for the idea that more intelligent folks oppose religion. 3.Now for the idea that the rational, the common sense method is better than religious morality. Can a human being be good without reference to God? Sure. As the saying goes, Standing in a church doesnt make you a good Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car. Sure .there could be good pagans .or bad religious folks. While it is true that one can be moral and good and not religious, the idea does not work for all or even most. 4. Why? Because there is no force behind reason. Take slavery as an example. There is no rational way to convince the slaveholder that he shouldnt own and sell his fellow man: it makes a great profit, makes his life easier. He can even claim that his slaves live longer and better than many free men. Having been created as a free society, the concepts required to support slavery required ideological justifications that other slave societies had not found necessary. The most essential justification was the assertion that the enslaved were so different that the principles and ideals of the country didnt apply to them. Imagine the contortions that had to go into the idea that the slaves lacked the feelings that would cause them suffering from degradation, hard work, or the destruction of family ties. Thomas Sowell, Ethnic America, chapter eight. a. Take as an example, a sadist who gets satisfaction from murdering children. If there is no God who declares that such an act is wrong, then my arguing such is simply my opinion versus that of the murderer. Without God, good and evil are a matter of taste. Cheat on a test? Lots of rational reasons, including the ubiquitous "everyone does it." b. Maybe humanity really doesn't need to hold that there's a transcendent source for right and wrong. Maybe we're so wonderful a species that we can do it without any reference to something above us." But after the Holocaust and Gulag, I find that to be very, very unrealistic. (Dennis Prager radio show.) 5. But wait! The law imposes morality! Now, you are making my argument. Where does the law come from? The Bible is the wisdom of the West. It is from the precepts of the Bible that the legal systems of the West have been developed- systems, worked out over millennia, for dealing with inequality, with injustice, with greed, reducible t that which Christians call the Golden Rule, and the Jews had propounded as That which is hateful to you, don not do to your neighbor. It is these rules and laws which form a framework which allows the individual foreknowledge of that which is permitted and that which is forbidden. Mamet, Op.Cit. a. What atheists who speak in terms of good and evil have done is appropriated religious dialogue for themselves. They have kidnapped our way of speaking and said what was rooted in God doesn't need God any longer. Can We Be Good without God 6. If there's no God - making ourselves the source of ethics for everybody, or declaring that nobody can be the source of ethics for anybody, and therefore morality is, again, purely subjective. Abortion may be legal, and a womans right .but this doesnt it is ethically right. The Greeks believed in a version of same in which they placed deformed babies on the hillside. The reason I use the Greek example of ugly children is not because we do it today, but because they had reason on their side. Reason supports a lot of things, as for example, a very liberal position on abortion. If there is no God, "Love your neighbor as yourself" is just a good idea. That's why it is written, incidentally, in Leviticus, "Love your neighbor as yourself, I am God." I, God, tell you to be decent to other people. Dennis Prager, a lecture.