Can Science Replace Religion In Our Lives?

12 07 2013

How can we establish the authority of a decent public morality in a plural society?

Comte identified morality with altruism

To answer this question, some post-Christian secularists turn to evolutionary biology and game theory.  They identify morality with altruism and then seek to conjure altruism out of genetic selfishness.  In his recent article in Standpoint Magazine, Professor Nigel Biggar outlines the problems associated with this approach and argues how the Christian moral vision tells a better story.

Thomas Aquinas and Joseph Butler tell a better story than Hobbes. They can account for the various data of the springs of human motivation without having to force them onto a procrustean bed of materialism. What is more, their story gladly embraces the notions of human dignity and rights that most materialists strive to retain in schizophrenic defiance of all their premises. This is why Jürgen Habermas, the eminent (and atheist) German public intellectual, was moved to confess to Le Monde some years ago that religious traditions — not least the Christian one — “have the distinction of a superior capacity for articulating our [liberal, humanist] moral sensibility”.

2010-2011 McDonald Lecturer

31 10 2009

HaldaneThe McDonald Centre is pleased to announce that 2010-2011 McDonald Lectures will be delivered by John Haldane, Professor of Philosophy at the University of St Andrew’s. Professor Haldane holds a Ph.D. from London University and has taught at the University of Notre Dame, Georgetown University, and elsewhere. He delivered the 2003 Gifford Lectures at the University of Aberdeen and has also contributed to a number of television and radio programmes. He has published nearly 200 articles on wide-ranging topics, from aethestics and art to ethics, religion, and philosophy of mind. Atheism and Theism, now in its second edition, is a fascinating debate between Haldane and philosopher J.J.C. Smart on the existence of God. Following the 2008 U.S. presidential election, Haldane, who is British, wrote a now widely-read Letter to America about the promises and pitfalls of Obama’s election.


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