So what’s the matter with racism?
In the aftermath of the election to the presidency of a racist, nonconformist, misogynistic, freedom fighting, buffoonish champion of the working man, it seems no one is safe from shaming and acrimonious accusations. Those who support Donald Trump are chastened like children for being blind or apathetic to racism, and those who don’t for supporting violent protests by democracy-denying sore losers. And as the angry condemnations and retorts fly, I’m wondering where God is and what he has to do with all this.
What DOES he have to do with it? some will rhetorically respond. To which I reply, everything really. Those who believe in him know he expects us to always act out of love for our neighbor, so should not be engaging in gloating, shaming, or self-righteous put-downs. Those who don’t believe are godless, wicked sore losers and deserve to be humiliated and depressed because we don’t just take the high road, we live there and they don’t and they just need to shut up. (Whoops…my bad.)
Seriously though, many on the left shaming those of us on the right for voting for a man they believe is racist and a host of other “-ists” are an “-ist” themselves….atheist…and as atheists have nothing with which to ground their moral indignation. So all their accusations of wrong attitudes, wrong beliefs, and wrongdoings just float away like an untethered balloon or vaporize on impact. They can’t get them to land and stick because without God there simply is no right or wrong, much less an obligation to choose one and reject the other.
If there is no God and the natural world is all that has ever existed, why is racism and being apathetic to it objectively wrong? If creatures persist and multiply according to the survival of the fittest, on what grounds are those of one race condemned for asserting their superior fitness over those of another race? It has been well-documented that Adolf Hitler found inspiration and support from Darwinism for his plan and efforts to engineer the perpetuation of a superior Aryan race by exterminating the Jews and other ethnic peoples. If he was simply acting according to the dictates of his genetic disposition to survive and propagate, on what basis do we charge him with evil?
Did you hear about the ruthless lioness who was arrested, tried, and convicted of mauling to death a defenseless baby zebra? Of course not…it never happened. And never will happen because we recognize that carnivorous animals are just acting out of their nature and have no moral awareness nor obligations to adhere to a moral code. And such are we apart from the existence of God…mere animals struggling to survive and propagate.
Of course most of us, believers and non-, recognize the Holocaust, the 9/11 attacks on America, the slave trade, and racism as objectively evil. But recognition of evil does not equate to justification for condemnation.
The next time an atheist in your circle says something like, “Trump supporters are okay with racism and the objectification of women,” respond with, “So what’s the matter with that?” Then, after he’s recovered enough from the initial shock to make some sort of judgment call declaring such attitudes as wrong, gently follow up with, “Says who?” and see what happens.
All this contentious, post-election moralizing is unlikely to change attitudes nor prompt anyone to repentance and reformation. What may bring real change, however, is some serious, personal introspection. If we discover thoughts and attitudes inconsistent with our professed allegiance to a loving, compassionate, merciful God, we can and should choose to reject them and he will help us with that. But if we have no allegiance and are willing to admit the logical conclusion of an argument for morality which posits the absence of a moral lawgiver, perhaps we’ll think twice before judging others according to an imaginary moral law.