Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Good Writer

No, this is not a creative writing post. I wish it were. Maybe I'll write something over the holiday break. This is back to politics, the root of this blog.

This is about Jeff Jacoby, a columnist for the Boston Globe. I don't remember how I came across his stuff, probably over at Real Clear Politics, but he's a really great writer. His pieces are clear and to the point, and never more than a few minutes worth of reading. And, what's more, he's as solid as they come when it comes to morality and decency, which it turns out, I really love in my columnists.

He's written a few articles recently on "Islamophobia" (the quotes are very much on purpose) and the American disinterest in genocide. One that I really thought was good was this one you can find by clicking here about Atheism and its aggression against religion. Here's an excerpt:
For in a world without God, there is no obvious difference between good and evil. There is no way to prove that even murder is wrong if there is no Creator who decrees "Thou shalt not murder." It certainly cannot be proved wrong by reason alone. One might reason instead -- as Lenin and Stalin and Mao reasoned -- that there is nothing wrong with murdering human beings by the millions if doing so advances the Marxist cause. Or one might reason from observing nature that the way of the world is for the strong to devour the weak -- and that natural selection favors the survival of the fittest by any means necessary, including the killing of the less fit.

To us today, believers and nonbelievers alike, it may seem obvious that human life is precious and that the weakest among us deserve special protection. But would we think so absent a moral tradition stretching back to Sinai? It seemed obvious in classical antiquity that sickly babies should be killed. "We drown even children who at birth are weakly and abnormal," wrote the Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger 2,000 years ago, stressing that "it is not anger but reason" that justifies the murder of handicapped babies.

The God who created us, created us to be good. No, reason alone is not enough to keep human beings humane. Only if there is a God who forbids murder is murder definitively evil. Otherwise its wrongfulness is no more than a matter of opinion. Mao and Seneca approved of murder; we disapprove. Who are we to say they were wrong?

The God who created us, created us to be good. Atheists may believe -- and spend a small fortune advertising -- that we can all be "good without God." Human history tells a very different story.
And here is the article. Anyway, he's just really good. You can subscribe to his column via his website (here) and he sends out an email about once or twice a week that are really, really good reading.

Incidentally, atheism is the oddest thing, isn't it? One of my friends, her dad used to say "if you've decided to leave the Church, why can't you just leave it alone?" Anyone who spurs any religion tends to harbor a great amount of resentment and automatically become pugnacious preachers against the cause they used to so readily believe in. Atheists are just as guilty of this as anybody.

In any case, if you're looking for your local atheists in the Provo area, they meet up at the Coffee Pod off of Bulldog Tuesdays at 8pm.

Which reminds me of this dialogue:

H: Are you an anarchist?
A: You mean, am I a member of...
H: An anarchist group, yes.
A: Anarchists have a group?
H: I believe so, sure.
A: They assemble?
H: I don't know.
A: Wouldn't that completely defeat the purpose?

I just love that. Anyway, if you have a minute, check him out.

1 comment:

Dave said...

That is a really great excerpt from Jeff Jacoby. I've often thought the same exact thing.

On another note, I was once a member of a procrastination group but we never ended up really getting it going. Maybe next year.