03 November 2009

Moral Authority

In a written debate between Christopher Hitchens and Douglas Wilson on "Is Christianity Good for the World?" which led to a book
of the same name, and a movie COLLISION: Christopher Hitchens vs. Douglas Wilson, they discussed a range of issues. I like to focus on the moral authority in this post.

Wilson asked Hitchens to clarify the source of authority for atheists' moral. Let me put it this way. Moral standard is a moving goal, as human civilisation progresses, the moral standards, as reasonably expected should improve. Take for instance the case of human slavery. While the old testament supported such actions, in today's society, it is generally considered immoral to own slave, let along the practice of slave trafficking.

While Wilson claims the bible provides an absolute standard and authority for human moral, I disagree. Chinese, with a 5000+ years of written history, has been guided morally by the teaching of Confucius in the last 2500+ years. Arguing that it takes christianity to establish moral for a society is an insult to 1/5 of the world's population. Many of the practices from the bible is considered barbaric today. How can we, with consistency, ever expect a rational being to seek moral guidance from a collection of books written almost two thousand years ago (by authors who were not from the leading civilisation at that time) with no knowledge of today's social situation?

The moral code established in the bible is barbaric and out of date. The current moral code in most countries today is much more advanced than the limited christian moral. Hitchens has pointed out in his book the biggest mis-teaching in the new testament is vicarious redemption.

My stance is clear. There is no absolute moral standard. Moral is established socially, driven by our survival innate ability to care, empathise and be passionate.

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