Where does morality come from? Apologists—people who offer a formal defense of their religion—point to God as the answer. By inspiring scriptures that people can read, study, and teach, God supposedly gave humanity a guidebook for how to live.
Award-winning scholar of religion and politics Mark Alan Smith shows the errors in this chain of assumptions. Apologists find themselves forced to accept a book that condemns same-sex love and authorizes slavery, genocide, capital punishment for minor offenses, and many other practices widely recognized today as immoral. Apologists try to protect their worldview by ignoring the offending passages, constructing strained reinterpretations, rationalizing the indefensible, or appealing to God’s mysterious ways.
Is there a non-religious method for discovering the elements of an objective morality? Yes, Smith argues—the worldview of humanism. Humanists apply reason, logic, and, evidence to all subjects. Smith’s humanist approach to morality relies on discussion and debate among diverse participants as the best means to attain a moral code stripped of the biases of each individual, group, and society. The result is a hopeful portrait of how to build on the moral progress humans have achieved since the writing of religious scriptures