No monopoly on virtue

Responding to Roger Kartchner's Reader's Forum comments (5 April), once again an individual has attacked the humanistic desire to live ethically without god(s) or religion.

Religion does not have a monopoly on virtue. Religion, historically, instead of being a buttress to virtue, has been an impediment. Referring to Christianity as an example, let me quote Arthur Schopenhauer: The fruits of Christianity were religious wars, butcheries, crusades, inquisitions, extermination of the natives of America, and the introduction of African slaves in their place.

Contrary to impunity, the humanist finds him or herself responsible for his or her own actions. We have deviated from correct principles because we (the legislatures of the varying states, as well as the nation) are cramming God down the nation's throat. Religion is a private matter, not a matter of state. This includes state laws funding the public posting of the Ten Commandments, allowing religious functions in schools (including prayer or [LDS] seminary), or pushing the fundamentalist Christian agenda in the guise of science (Intelligent Design).

Ironically, as Roger started his anti-humanistic missive, evaluation of the consequences of natural law is a humanistic concept, not a theistic or supernatural one. If it is requisite that national sins be punished in this life, does it not make sense that our national laws should be requisite to this life as well, and not the next?

[Author's Note]: Looking back on this LTE years later, I don't think that religion is an impediment to virtue, so much as forgetting what inspired us in religion. We stop thinking, if not let religion (others) do the thinking for us. See my change of mind in regards to hope and faith.

©2002 David Egan Evans.
Published in the 16 April 2002 Deseret News.