Choosing between two options is only rational if you think the choice you make is better than the alternative. But one option can be better than another only if good and bad exist, and good and bad can exist only if God exists. Secularism, by denying God, destroys the basis for rationality in choices.
This became clear to me after a conversation I had with someone close to me earlier today. We were discussing birth control and I said that I think it is bad. He said he thinks it is good because it stops overpopulation, which I don’t even believe in.
The discussion turned to the value of people, which, if I understood him right, he seemed to base on their material value. I think he brought up the example of stupid people in poverty. He argued that stupid people in poverty, or people who only try to game the welfare system, shouldn’t be allowed to breed – at least that’s what I understood him to say. I hope he doesn’t really think that.
I told him that I thought that was horrifying and that it reflected something that I think is common and awful among secularists: a tendency to value people based on their economic usefulness. He didn’t seem to think there was anything wrong with that.
I told him that it sounded to me like what Hitler did, except that, if I understood my conversation partner correctly, he thought he could more correctly identify undesirables than Hitler did. And I asked him whether he thought it would be okay to put stupid poor people in genocide camps.
He said, if I remember correctly, that he didn’t think that was okay, but they could be prevented from having more than two children, because all they do is put a drain on resources. I told him that, in my view, if you see those people as having intrinsic value, you can offer to help them out of poverty or offer to educate them to stop their being stupid, and it is worth the effort.
His response, if I remember correctly, was that you won’t save enough of them, and so it is not worth it from an economic perspective. I told him that I thought it was evil to view people that way, and he responded, if I remember correctly, that he thought it was realistic.
When thinking back on our conversation, I think there is a very powerful way to show that his view is not realistic, and I think I began to point it out at this point in our conversation.
I said that if you view people that way, it does not motivate you to help them, or do anything morally good for them. Instead, if it benefits you, you can just treat them as trash or mere means to get ahead. And his response, the words of which I can’t remember, suggested to me that he thought that was true.
I gave three examples: robbing, lying, or killing would, on his view, seem to be no problem, so long as you were careful. And his answer, if I remember right, was that he wouldn’t do that because he likes people.
Now, there are two routes I could have gone for here. I could have asked him if, not liking a person, and thinking he could benefit from killing him or stealing from him, and if he had confidence that he wouldn’t be caught, would he kill him? Steal from him? If he said no, then I could have used that to show him that even he doesn’t believe people are mere resources.
But instead I asked him if his “liking people” was just a personal preference, like chocolate or vanilla. And he said that it was a personal preference. So I brought up Hitler again and asked him if he thought Hitler was really bad or was just someone who preferred chocolate (not liking people) to vanilla (liking people).
He said, if I understood him correctly, and I hope I didn’t, that he thought the difference between himself and Hitler was really just personal preference: my conversation partner likes people too much to hurt them, and Hitler didn’t.
This is where I think I can prove that secularism destroys reason and truth. If secularism is true, my conversation partner’s preference to act as if people are more than mere resources does not seem to be rational at all, because, if secularism is true, then people, realistically, are not more than resources.
But, more than that, if secularism is true, there is no reason to follow your own preferences, whether they are for killing or against killing, because, if secularism is true, then neither of those is good or bad. If I was having this conversation with him right now, I think I would tell him that choosing between two options only makes sense if one option is better than the other. If I am right, rational choices presuppose the existence of good and bad.
[cont’d next post]