Morality is most important when it comes to religion
A CU event entitled “Atheists Can Do Whatever the Hell They Want” addressed the problems with fundamental Christianity existing in America and questioned the idea that one must be a Christian to have morals.
The panel, part of the 59th annual Conference on World Affairs, was held in a crowded Hellems 252. Both the panelists and audience members were surprised at the turnout.
Panelist Terry McNally said it is due to a growing national interest in atheism.
“There has been an upsurge in interest and expression in atheism. People have seen the dark side of religion. From 9/11 they saw how far extremists like radical infidels go, attacks on the teaching of evolution and the attack on distribution of condoms and (sex) information,” McNally said.
Books like Richard Dawkins’ “The God Delusion” and Sam Harris’ “Letter to a Christian Nation” have been on best-seller lists over the past year. McNally, a movie writer, producer and actor shared his experiences of interviewing Dawkins at the panel.
Dawkins is constantly asked how he cannot believe in God when in awe of the beauty of the universe. Dawkins and McNally discussed believing in a personal versus a divine God.
“Just because you don’t believe in a personal God, doesn’t mean that you don’t believe that something animates the universe. But you don’t have a God as a director in everyday life,” McNally said.
Panel member Anthony Hamilton is a firm believer in a God who dislikes the way religion functions in today’s society.
“I look at it all in the same way now; the scientists, the Catholics, the politicians, the Episcopalians, the atheists. They are all in conflict over control, over who is going to control people’s minds. All denominations are pushing their point, and they all want you to believe like they believe,” Hamilton said.
Panelist David Jacobs was unsure of his Jewish upbringing. He said he felt people around him never truly believed. Jacobs said the same is true for many people today, and took it upon himself to do research on the religions of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin.
“If you study the religions of some of our nation’s great leaders, you will see that they were all deists, but they knew of a moral truth,” Jacobs said.
Deism is the rejection of scripture and supernatural events such as prophecy and miracles. Instead, deists agree that religious beliefs must be founded on reason and features of the natural world reveal the existence of God.
Although he studied history and religion, as an atheist it is hard for Jacobs to be viewed as a moral person in today’s society.
“It makes me angry. I want to stop being patronized by religious people. Being made to feel like I’ve missed out on something important and that belief in God is necessary for morality,” Jacobs said.
Contact Campus Press staff writer Amanda Pehrson at email@example.com
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