I hope everyone enjoyed the Memorial Day Weekend as much as I did. Now that I’m back, I’d like to continue in my series comparing my made up religion against Christianity. Before I get started, I would like to reiterate my policy on posting. There are only two ways to get a post deleted: either make absolutely no sense whatsoever or make a threat of violence. So far, only one post has ever been deleted. I don’t agree with MJD, The Listener, or Bible Student that often, but I’m glad that they are here otherwise there would be no worthwhile discussion.
I have seen many theists state that we need a higher authority in order to have morality. I’d like to share a personal story. About three years ago on the day before Thanksgiving, I was running late to a meeting. I pulled into the parking lot a few minutes before 10AM. I looked forever and finally saw a spot. It was tight, but I thought I could fit in it. It turns out that I couldn’t and I scraped up a beautiful new Lexus in the process.
The lot was unmonitored, no one was coming into work, and no one was leaving for lunch. Absolutely no one saw me do it. I backed out, found another spot, and then looked at the damage I caused. I had hit a parked car! There was no one to blame but myself. What was an atheist to do?
I grabbed a piece of scratch paper and hastily scribbled out a brief apology, my name, and my phone number. I invited the owner of the Lexus to contact me and left a promise to take care of the damage that I caused. I placed the note under the windshield wiper and left for my meeting.
I’m not nominating myself for a morality medal here. I’d like to think that anyone – atheist, Jew, Christian, or Muslim would have done the exact same thing. The point of this story is that I don’t believe in heaven or hell and there was absolutely no reason for me to do it from a reward/punishment perspective. I have heard over and over again that there can be no morality without God. I am an atheist, a heathen, a heretic, and an infidel. There is no Holy Ghost which guides my actions, yet I still know right from wrong. In this case, leaving the note was morally right.
Lest anyone think I was following Jesus’ teachings of “do unto others as you would have done unto you” (which, by the way, existed before Jesus and does not depend on “Judeo-Christian” values) I dare you to slap me in the face. I assure you, I would not “turn the other cheek” but respond with a swift kick to the gonads followed by a quotation from Clausewitz, “Violence tends to escalate.”
Back to the story… I was expecting a mild rebuking from the owner of the vehicle as well as to pay a few hundred dollars in restitution. Later that afternoon, I received a call from the owner – thanking me! The owner stated that her faith in humanity was restored by my note. Funny that she would thank me considering this country is 90% Christian. That is not to say that a Christian would not have done the same thing. I’d like to think that they would. What surprised me was that the owner believed that most people wouldn’t have left the note.
I didn’t feel that I had a choice since I answer to myself. I am able to tell right from wrong and I would have to live with the knowledge that I had caused harm to someone else. A Christian, however, would have another option available to them. It would be possible for a Christian to hit the car and not leave a note. They could then go ahead and feel bad about it, pray to their imaginary friend named Jesus, and receive forgiveness. This option would be a heck of lot cheaper. Again, I’m not saying that all Christians would chose this option, but it was an option that Wagerism doesn’t offer. Not believing in heaven and hell actually thinks help my sense of morality. Morality is about doing the right thing when no one is watching.