|The philosopher Kant did not try to show the reasonableness of belief in God from a cosmological or teleological argument. Rather, he turned to the experience of goodness and the sense of right that is common to all decent individuals. For example, if an elderly woman is being victimized in the parking lot of the local supermarket, most people who see this would feel the duty to help. This universal sense of justice does not prove the existence of God. Rather, it implies it. It leads one to accept as reasonable a God who is good and instills in us a sense of goodness.
Kant once said, “Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe...the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.” Therefore, when atheists advertise that “Millions of Americans are good without God,” they are paradoxically admitting that there is a God who determines what is good and what is not. True rational ethical judgment leads us to do good and avoid evil. It is a gift given us by the Creator who is himself all-good.
In a pluralistic society, a healthy secularism can provide a climate of tolerance and respect. Church and State are not the same. Religion and politics have their own special competency. Religion should never be forced on any one. But moral values that the great religions teach are discernible by reason and imperative on all. A society that marginalizes religion and turns God into a private hypothesis is ultimately removing the very foundation for the common good.
In our present day society, the media does give religion much attention. Often it is negative. The reporting of scandals and sins, past and present - repeated, rehearsed and headlined - serve only to muffle the voice of religion. Some even wonder whether this is deliberate. Is there an agenda to influence the average person’s view of faith and religion? When religion becomes a negative, lawmakers can comfortably pass laws that single out church and religious institutions and harm them in an adverse way without applying the same standard to all. Ostensibly, proponents of such laws may act for good reasons, but ultimately their actions cripple religion’s voice to speak on moral issues.
The dignity of the human person. The just distribution of this world’s goods. Care for the environment. The respect due immigrants. The sanctity of life from conception to natural death. The need for sound, universal health care. The family. In the coming new year, we must face these and other serious issues. Our stance will determine whether we continue as a great civilization or are confined to the dustpan of history. Religion teaches that there is more to this world than matter. Religion upholds the spiritual values of self-sacrifice, charity, justice, tolerance and non-violence. But ridicule faith, demean religion and, in the end, morality vanishes.