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New Ideal - Reason | Individualism | Capitalism
Abraham about to murder his son Isaac because God told him to.

Finding Morality and Happiness Without God

American popular culture is filled with pieces that gently mock, satirize and ridicule religion, especially Judeo-Christian beliefs. To cite but three instances, Stephen Colbert’s periodic Late Show conversations with God, the character of Ned Flanders on The Simpsons, and the musical The Book of Mormon. At the same time, religion remains a highly respected force in American society, often regarded as an integral thread of American exceptionalism. This respect was on full display in the nation’s response to the attacks of September 11, 2001. Here were trained fighters who flew airliners into New York City’s Twin Towers and the Pentagon in Virginia, and who declared they were doing so in the name of their faith. Yet few American leaders could even entertain the idea that these may have been religiously inspired attacks. The basic reason religion remains such an esteemed aspect of American society is that it is considered important, even indispensable, to morality. The strongest form this idea takes is that morality depends on religion — that without God, the distinction between good and evil loses meaning, and anything goes. In this episode, we read aloud Onkar Ghate’s article, “Finding Morality and Happiness Without God.” In that essay, Ghate argues that because reason is how we understand and deal with reality, a proper approach to morality will teach us how to follow reason on principle, without any concession to unexamined feelings or to faith. Ghate’s article was originally published in New Ideal on May 4, 2018.


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The senior editors of New Ideal are Onkar Ghate, Elan Journo and Keith Lockitch.

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