not the only book

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Tommy’s “Where My Values Come From” at An Exercise in Futility (h/t: Stardust at God Is for Suckers!) says a number of things that need to be said about the value of multicultural morality. In contrast to the simplistic “the-bible-is-all-I-need” mentality, we atheists get our moral values from the best that our world has to offer:

I derive my values from the wisdom and knowledge accumulated by the human race from thousands of years of experience. You see, what Karen Hunter, Jesse Peterson and countless others fail to realize is while they focus on the comings and goings of a collection of semi-nomadic tribes between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, complex and sophisticated civilizations thrived in Egypt, Crete, Greece, Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, along the banks of the Indus River and in China. The Israelites and their collection of tales that would eventually comprise the Old Testament had no impact on the development of these civilizations.

[…]

It is only very recently in human affairs, say the last two or three centuries, that it has become possible for an educated person to have access to the moral and ethical traditions of cultures outside of his own. Nowadays, anyone can go to a local library or Barnes & Noble bookstore to find books about the Greek philosophers, 'The Analects' of Confucius, the texts of Hinduism and Buddhism, along with the Bible and virtually every great work that has been written and published up to the present day. Because we live in a predominantly Christian country, it is to be expected that the Bible will have a greater hold on the imaginations of most Americans. But as the Clarence Darrow character in "Inherit the Wind" says of the Bible, "It is a good book, but it is not the only book." When considering the collective wisdom of humanity, the Bible is but one of many pillars of human civilization. So, when Jesse Peterson boasts that he gets his values from the Bible, I would tell him that the source of his values is much poorer and limited than mine.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on February 25, 2007 2:47 PM.

emulating the enemy was the previous entry in this blog.

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