16th September 2011

“Christians need to remind themselves that those who do not profess the Christian faith are still capable of adopting an ethical and moral framework which assists in public policy decision-making for the common good.”

Archbishop Roger Herft

15 Responses to “16th September 2011”

  1. R J Says:

    oh THANK you archbishop roger for that condesending,

    yet pithy obsevation.

    such BALONEY !!

    the faithful might SAY THEY’LL REMIND THEMSELVES,

    but in their little love-filled hearts, they will NEVER,

    REPEAT NEVER believe it.

    talk about covering yer ass.

  2. R J Says:

    i could drive a truck thru the holes in that quote .

  3. captainzero Says:

    Well. Thank you Mr. Herft for admitting non-christians (but presumably NOT atheists, I’m sure) are CAPABLE of good ethics and morals. I will return the favor, you condescending defender of child rapists.

    ÔÇťAtheists need to remind themselves that some of those who profess religious faith are still capable of adopting an ethical and moral framework which assists in public policy decision making for the common good, rare though that might be.”

  4. captainzero Says:

    Damn. Always look up the context.

    “Any statement which portrays the Christian faith as having some type of exclusivity to be the sole arbiter on matters of moral integrity and just policy-making are unhelpful and untrue,” Archbishop Herft told The Weekend Australian. “Christians need to remind themselves that those who do not profess the Christian faith are still capable of adopting an ethical and moral framework which assists in public policy decision-making for the common good.” – Mr. Herft

    If this statement, Mr. Herft was defending Australia’s atheist PM from the attacks of other Bishops. It still comes off as condescending to my ears but he had the right of it after all and I would have been more temperate if I’d looked first.


  5. Atheist MC Says:

    I don’t know Cap’n. It still comes over as damning us all with faint praise. Religiosity is no guide whatsoever to moral integrity and while I wouldn’t expect an archbishop to acknowledge that, his statement still comes over as patronising.

  6. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Given the inconsistencies in moral teaching that varies not only from religion to religion, but even within the vareity of religious sect, it would hardly seem prudent to entrust any one relgion with guidance in moral matters.

    Morality is something best understood from the scientific perspective where we measure human flourishing on a psychological, philosophical, and sociological basis.

  7. CaptainZero Says:

    You’ve been spending some time with Sam Harris, haven’t you Sinjin? I agree. The religious like to use the pejorative “moral relativist” as an attack against secular people. What’s ironic is that the religious are often the true relativists because their moral framework often depends entirely on which cult they are a member of whereas Harris’ position is that there really are concrete ways to rank the ‘goodness’ of moral positions. We can all agree that forcing a woman to marry her rapist (for example) is bad. But religion hasn’t always been able to agree. So religious morality, if there is such a thing, is relative always to the moral development of the society as a whole.

  8. Jeff Says:

    I say, “Amen, Brother Sinjin”.

    I would add that a moral construct that relies upon external control of human behavior cannot result in maximum benefit in any of the areas that you named.

  9. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Of course Captain you are correct, I’ve read Harris and I respect his position wihtin the context of defining morality scientifically. I’m also on the Dawkins, Hitchens, and Dennett bandwagon too.

    If I can suggest a fifth horseman I’d suggest a horsewoman, She is Jennifer Michael Hecht whose writing is far more than informative, she write with beauty of expression that warrnts attention on its own. Doubt: A History http://amzn.com/0060097957 is brilliant.

    I am fascinated with defining morality scientifically, and really every subject that has up to now been difficult to bring into the scientific realm because it is hard to quantify. Sam Harris does a wonderful job of setting the science of morality up for this.

  10. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Jeff you have defined the barometer “a moral construct that relies upon external control of human behavior cannot result in maximum benefit” or even close to the maximum.

    The diehards here will remember the story of my Philosophy class where I presented the imaginary Pandora’s box with proof beyond any shadow of doubt that god didn’t exist. About the Irish man who upon learning there was no god “would sure be coveting his neighbor’s wife” and the Muslim man who would “have to kill people at random”.

    That these people claimed without their “external control”, the bibles teaching, they’d be wild crazy savages.

    In agreement with Jeff I’d have to say this represents, not a maximum, but a horrible minimum.

    Dependance upon the external control of religion seems more a mask for sociopaths to hide behind within society. Maybe we ought to be shining the light upon these people, addressing their illness, and maybe as Jeff has suggested the light is “external control”.

  11. R j Says:


    thanks for the tip on the jennifer hecht book. i’m

    putting it on order………..i wish everybody here would

    (( when appropriate )) mention books they have found

    interesting, useful, etc. i love books,,,,,and love to learn

    and speaking of that,,,,,lots of good thinking going on

    in the posts today. this really IS a great site.

  12. Edmond Says:

    Christians need to remind themselves that their ethical and moral frameworks DO NOT originate from their religious texts. The laws which govern civilized society are NOT representative of the tenets and commandments of scripture. Even Christianity’s most beloved and lauded set of laws, the 10 Commandments, are barely present in civil law. They make an appearance in only 2 social directives, those against killing and stealing, and even these existed in societies that predated the Commandments.

    If Christian moral behavior flowed from their religion, we should expect to see far more capital punishments for the most trivial of crimes, like wearing the wrong clothes, eating the wrong foods, cultivating crops improperly, working on the wrong day of the week, etc etc. Even those Christians who pretend that these rules have been rescinded do not follow the ones that have replaced them, such as rejecting all claim to property and possession, and refusal to plan for the future. The typical Christian of today can barely be expected to love their neighbor, supposedly the highest priority of Christian law.

  13. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Freedom From Religion Foundation

    This is an interesting site

  14. Dan Says:

    I’d just like to echo Sinjin’s recommendation for Doubt: A History by Jennifer Michael Hecht. I’ve ready lots of Dawkins, some Dennett, and sadly that’s it for the the “four horsemen,” but Hecht blew me away. The depth of her scholarship in that work is impressive, and I learned a lot about the ancient schools of philosophy and the flow of irreligious thought over the past 2,600 years.

  15. CaptainZero Says:

    Admin – Echoing RJ, this IS a great site and I always enjoy the back and forth. Do you happen to have any way to tell the volume of visitors you get? I’m sure there are many more readers than just us frequent posters.