the season for the atheist/humanist crowd to make fools of
themselves. As millions of Americans celebrate Christmas, the
American Humanist Association is in the midst of their annual
membership drive punctuated by smart-aleck billboards and city bus
placards that mock the existence of moral authority and belittle
faith in Christ.
Three years ago, their motto was “Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness’ sake!” Then they became more direct: “No god? No problem!” But this year, as they feebly attempt to detract from the celebration of Christ’s incarnation once again, perhaps it is a fruitful exercise for our civilization to consider their overtures and weigh the merit of their message.
As far as I can tell, the mantra “No
god? No problem!” has but one minor flaw — the entire record of
human history. It is no coincidence that as German atheist
philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche boasted, “God is dead … we have
killed him … must we not ourselves become gods” (which, by the
way, is the entire basis of humanism dating back to the Garden of
Eden), he simultaneously predicted that the twentieth century
would be the most murderous in human history.
That he was right is actually of
secondary importance. Most significant is the apparent recognition
Nietzsche had that man, left with no moral authority beyond his
own impulses and passions, would devolve into self-destruction.
Indeed the banner slogan of “No god? No
problem!” hangs poignantly over the ovens of Auschwitz, the
killing fields of Cambodia, and the trash bins of Planned
Though it might be more difficult to
squeeze onto a billboard, the American Humanist Association needs
to correct their jingle to convey the more accurate message: “No
God? No problem … except the one that even the greatest atheist
thinkers have recognized: when a belief in God dies, man dies.”
Moreover, the phrase “be good for
goodness’ sake” is meaningless unless we can define what
“goodness” is. For the believer, that is a relatively easy
question to answer. Goodness is measured by the extent to which
man’s behavior conforms to the character and the will of his
Creator. That is why the Christian believes the Bible is an
irreplaceable component of human existence — its revelation serves
to guide us towards that divine will.
But atheist/humanists have no such
moral center — no fixed point of reference. They may talk at
length about the need to be “good,” but in the final analysis,
their presuppositions fundamentally reject any concrete basis for
That is not to say that anyone who is
an atheist or humanist is a murderous butcher ready to pounce.
Certainly there is a great number of nonbelievers who are
benevolent, caring, and kind. But while the atheist points to
these upstanding godless citizens as proof of their theory that
you can be good simply for goodness sake, they conveniently ignore
the cultural foundations that taught those individuals good from
As columnist Jeff Jacoby (The Boston Globe, November
14. 2011) observed, “In our culture, even the most passionate
atheist cannot help having been influenced by the Judeo-Christian
worldview that shaped Western civilization.” Put another way, the
American atheist who boldly touts his morality and decency is
humorously doing so only by appealing to the very Christian ethic
he seeks to denounce.
Though this conclusion is inescapable,
the pride inherent in humanist thought forbids them from admitting
it. Consequently, we are persistently treated to their vapid
musings that one must choose between religion and reason.
But suggesting that reason alone is
sufficient to direct behavior is intellectually dishonest. Human
reason will always be guided by presuppositions. That is why
civilizations like ancient Rome found it reasonable to murder
handicapped children while we in the Western world find that to be
Jacoby noted that Roman philosopher
Seneca the Younger wrote, “We drown even children who at birth are
weakly and abnormal,”stressing that “it is not anger but reason”
that provides justification for such an act. This horrific
practice is the result of reason built upon a godless foundation.
In contrast, American civilization bears the fruits of reason
based on a Christian ethic that teaches submission and obedience
to a transcendent Moral Authority.
That fact alone should cause the
atheist to pause as he jeeringly taunts believers with signs
proclaiming, “Merry X-mas.” Creating a Christ-less holiday season
may seem like a worthy cause until you realize where it leads.
Civilizations torn free from the moorings of Moral Authority are
not the kind anyone — even a fervent atheist — would want to live
Note: Peter is a public high school history teacher and radio talk
show host in central Indiana. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or
visit www.peterheck.com. This column was first published at The American Thinker, and is
used with permission.
Pictures in this article: Art
Explosion by Nova Development Corporation, © 1997– 2001
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