Stephen Miller, the Chief Policy Advisor to Donald Trump, is the latest member of Trump’s inner circle to make the news for spreading lies and being a real-life meme waiting to be mocked. Over the weekend, he repeated the myth that massive voter fraud contributed to Trump’s popular vote loss in the election, a lie that Trump praised him for saying.
One of those articles, written when Miller was a student at Duke, criticized atheists as having no moral compass:
I’ll let the facts speak for themselves: New polling data shows religious Americans donate four times more than secular Americans, and those who attend church are a staggering 23 times more likely to volunteer.
Atheists may talk about humanism and justice, but when you don’t believe in a soul or the ultimate truth of goodness and morality, then why live your life except in whatever fashion most plainly and immediately benefits you?
No just society can survive which abandons God.
That came from an article in which Miller, a self-described “practicing Jew,” argued that there should be a “Christmas tree on the quad and a Nativity scene in the Bryan Center.”
He doesn’t cite his sources — surprise! — but it’s hardly an argument in favor of religion that people of faith are more likely to donate and volunteer (even when you exclude giving time or money to their churches). It’s not because they’re religious. It’s because church provides a wonderful vehicle for giving and volunteering. That’s not sarcasm — it’s one of the things churches do remarkably well.
When you gather with a group of people every week, volunteering becomes easier to do. And when there’s a natural disaster, to give one example, you’re more likely to give in a place like church where everyone else is doing the same thing. Atheists don’t always have the same opportunity to give, and that’s something groups have tried to address. But that’s hardly an indictment of our beliefs.
Miller’s also wrong to suggest atheists are purely materialistic or concerned with themselves. Many atheists have made the argument that if you believe there’s no afterlife, it’s even more motivation to help people enjoy this life. That means fighting for social justice, against income inequality, for quality education, against discrimination, etc. Christians, especially, are making those problems worse by defending politicians who don’t give a damn about any of that.
And as for that last line, about how societies can’t survive without God, it’s just another lie. As sociologist Phil Zuckerman wrote in Society without God, some of the least religious countries in the world are among the happiest, healthiest, least violent, and least corrupt. Their education systems are the envy of the world and their economies do very well.
Meanwhile, Miller and the rest of the Trump administration is what you get when Christians have too much power.
Miller, again, is Trump’s Chief Policy Advisor. He’s the ideas guy for this administration. And you’re never going to get good ideas from bad information, which is what seems to fuel the entire White House these days.
(Screenshot via YouTube. Thanks to Brian for the link)