From Christianity Today: Staring into the Abyss by Dinesh D’Souza. The subtitle for the article is, “Why Peter Singer makes the New Atheists nervous.”
Atheists like Richard Dawkins argue that we can have morality without God. And I acknowledge that many atheists are very moral people. But is their morality based on their atheism, or is it a relic of the Christian-influenced culture in which they were raised?
Peter Singer is a bioethics professor at Princeton University, an atheist, and a promoter of utilitarian ethics. He has attempted to build an ethical system based completely on his atheist world view, and it includes the following values.
- Humans have no more value than animals; sometimes they have less value
- Abortion allowed in all nine months of pregnancy
- Euthanasia of unproductive members of society: the elderly and disabled
These values are frightening.
Here are some exerpts from the CT article:
Singer argues that even pigs, chickens, and fish have more signs of consciousness and rationality—and, consequently, a greater claim to rights—than do fetuses, newborn infants, and people with mental disabilities.
To understand Singer, it’s helpful to contrast him with “New Atheists” like Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, and Richard Dawkins. The New Atheists say we can get rid of God but preserve morality. They insist that no one needs God in order to be good; atheists can act no less virtuously than Christians. (And indeed, some atheists do put Christians to shame.) Even while repudiating the Christian God, Dawkins has publicly called himself a “cultural Christian.”
Why haven’t the atheists embraced Peter Singer? I suspect it is because they fear that his unpalatable views will discredit the cause of atheism. What they haven’t considered, however, is whether Singer, virtually alone among their numbers, is uncompromisingly working out the implications of living in a truly secular society, one completely purged of Christian and transcendental foundations. In Singer, we may be witnessing someone both horrifying and yet somehow refreshing: an intellectually honest atheist.
Here are my questions:
- Are Singer’s views the only natural outcome of an atheistic world view?
- Can Hawkins Dawkins and the New Atheists really construct an ethical system apart from a Christian foundation without it looking something like Nazism?
Grace and Peace