Why Has the USA Today Never Won a Pulitzer? April 16, 2007

Why Has the USA Today Never Won a Pulitzer?

Because it publishes stuff like this op-ed piece on the recent surge in atheism, by Don Feder.

Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., has become the first member of Congress to announce that he doesn’t believe in God. He’s probably just looking for a book deal.

Of course he is. And so is Keith Ellison, the first Muslim man in Congress. In fact, everyone who claims to not be a Christian is doing it just for the attention. Or maybe it’s the fact that there are many people in the government who do not believe in God but cannot come out and say so because they fear the political and personal repercussions.

Feder goes on:

What would a world without God look like? Well, for one, morality becomes, if not impossible, exceedingly difficult. “Thou shalt not kill” loses much of its force when reduced from commandment to a suggestion. How inspiring can it be to wake in the morning, look in the mirror, and see an accident of evolutionary history — the end product of the random collision of molecules?

A universe that isn’t God-centered becomes ego-centered. People come to see choices through the prism of self: what promotes the individual’s well-being and happiness. Such a worldview does not naturally lead to benevolence or self-sacrifice.

An affirmation of God can lead to the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount and the Declaration of Independence. In terms of morality, a denial of God leads nowhere.

Actually, it is quite awe-inspiring to see the “end product of the random collision of molecules” when you understand how evolution works. But most people never get this knowledge. As Richard Dawkins writes in Unweaving the Rainbow:

We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.

But back to Feder, who seems to think the Ten Commandments is why I’m not killing others:

There is no irrefutable evidence for God’s existence or non-existence.

Everyone say it together now! “The person making a claim has the burden of proof.” Just because I can’t prove an invisible pink unicorn doesn’t exist doesn’t mean one is actually there.

There was one sentence in the piece I did appreciate:

A bit of humility might make [atheists’] case more convincing.

I agree we’d be better off making our case if we didn’t look down upon all religious people as if they had never put an ounce of thought into the subject of religion. It doesn’t mean we back down from our beliefs, or scientific truths, or say that religion is correct. But it does mean we have to make our points in a way so that others will want to hear them. That doesn’t always happen.

Of course, Feder ruined my one point of praise by closing the piece with this line:

Then again, humility is itself a religious concept.

*sigh* Feder clearly demonstrates humility with that sentence.

By the way, that column allows for comments. Feel free to make them.

(Via NoGodBlog. Daniel Morgan also has some good responses to this piece.)

[tags]atheist, atheism, Don Feder, Pete Stark, Congress, God, Keith Ellison. Christian, Muslim, Ten Commandments, Sermon on the Mount, Declaration of Independence, Richard Dawkins, Unweaving the Rainbow, DNA[/tags]

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • I always appreciate your understanding towards religious people. I’m glad you included that “humility” quote and your comments. You are quite unique in the online atheist crow for that, and I appreciate it.

  • -From the land of Ellison

    Keep the respect going. It’s amazing how many enemies you can make by being nice.

  • HappyNat

    I agree we’d be better off making our case if we didn’t look down upon all religious people as if they had never put an ounce of thought into the subject of religion

    Hemant, I agree, but it is difficult to not look down at religious people who write the clpatrap he did in this “article”. There are only so many times I can be told I can’t have morals without god or that our country was based on the 10 commandments before I come across as an “angry atheist”. Maybe I need to pray to Odin for more patience . . . 🙂

  • A universe that isn’t God-centered becomes ego-centered.

    So, thinking that you are one of the pet favorites of the universe’s freaking Creator isn’t ego-centered? Just how does that work, exactly?

  • Logos
  • Ugh, I browsed through the comments, but it gets quite old having people tell me what I believe. “No, really…you think you believe X, but really, you believe Y.” Or then there’s this, “Well, you’re just one of the exceptions — a moral atheist. It must be because of your Christian upbringing.”


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