A group called The Atheist Agenda, out of the University of Texas at San Antonio, has gotten national media attention for its “Smut for Smut” program, in which they set up a table and offered to give pornography to anyone who traded in a Bible or another religious tome. It’s a stunt, clearly, but meant to demonstrate that there’s a lot of dirty business in the Bible, which makes it a questionable basis for morality.
The group’s president, Thomas Jackson, was recently interviewed by Tucker Carlson on MSNBC’s The Situation, and it turns out (no surprise) that Jackson has thought through his position more carefully than Carlson. Said Jackson:
Morality is not derived from religious texts. Religious texts actually contradict each other. If you read the Bible, it contradicts itself on nearly every page. And the fact that people can decide which one to go with shows that they are getting their morality from somewhere else ….
[Morality is] based off of things that are good for society. If citizens murder each other, this is bad for society. And you see this across the board in many nations.
Several religions have stumbled upon this, but it’s not the religious text that’s bringing this to people. They are finding this on their own, and societies that don’t find this don’t survive.
Brilliant. This is a very clear summation of an argument that I’ve often had with religious people who believe that morality is only possible if you believe in God. Indeed, this is so obvious that Talmudic rabbis differentiated between those laws between man and man whose purposes could be rationally understood, and those between man and God, which may or may not lend themselves to human understanding.