Voices of Reason — Sam Harris: The Moral Landscape
I have only recently heard the argument that without religion there is no basis for morality, though I think the idea originates in the doctrine of Total Depravity. Total Depravity started as Augustine’s doctrine of Original Sin , or Ancestral Sin; the idea that every human is sinful from birth thanks to the fall of Adam. Calvin took this idea of man’s natural sinfulness to mean that man cannot come to God of his own will, no matter how hard he may try. Indeed, even without God’s calling a person to himself a person will not even try.
As far as I know, Calvin’s ideas on Total Depravity don’t mean that without God all men would revert to some state of total evil where all the want to do is murder, rape, and steal. But I think this must be where the seed of the idea that without Christianity all morality would be null and we would go out and murder, rape, and steal. As far as I can tell. I know that I, renouncing Christianity as I have, do not feel the need to go out and commit terrible crimes to make myself happy and I suspect that no one reading this blog would do so, either. I hope not, anyway.
Sam Harris‘ new book “The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values” addresses this issue, and he gave a very good lecture last week at the New York Society for Ethical Culture. Check out the video. Then, you should probably check out the book, as well (it will be on hold for me at the library as soon as seven other people finish reading it).
(thanks to DoctorE for posting this video)