The God Argument: The Case Against Religion and for Humanism is a new book by atheist philosopher & professor A.C. Grayling.
I had occasion to hear Dr. Grayling pitch his new book in a bookstore in Madison Connecticut last week.
I ran across his new book a week earlier at the Yale B&N bookstore and browsed around in it for a time, and thus was anxious to see and hear him in person.
As the subtitle indicates, Dr. Grayling advocates Humanism as superior to religion in the governance of human affairs, and I went to hear him in hopes that I may ask one question of him”
“Can you name the nations or civilizations that have been successful and prosperous over a long period of time with humanistic governance such as you advocate?”
I asked this of him because in my knowledge of history there are none, and yet this philosopher is asking us to place our faith in his teachings.
There is however, a recent experience in governance under a state sponsored extreme form of humanism, and that experience has turned out to be an unmitigated disaster for tens of millions of souls. That experience of course is the world wide Communist movement of the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia, Cuba and elsewhere. It was preceded in centuries past by the French Revolution which based its foundational philosophies on the faith that man is the measure of all things, with God banished from the public square. This glorious experience in humanistic governance resulted in rampant bloodshed throughout France and the rest of Europe throughout the 19th century.
Getting back to Dr. Grayling, his answer to my question was “China” at which point I asked, which China, ancient China or modern China, which caused the deaths of millions of Chinese? Ancient China was his qualifying answer where supposedly they had no gods. He then went on with a discussion as to how Communism was structured in much the same way as the Catholic Church in Russia, and thus Communism could be considered a religion (I agree, it is a religion.) There was more but I was having trouble hearing all he had to say. I don’t believe he answered my question in an honest way.
So Dr. Grayling, given the models of the Biblical (i.e. religious) foundational philosophy of the founders of the Untied States of America Vs. the humanistic foundational philosophies of the French Revolution and Communism, I think I’ll stay with Locke, Montesquieu, Madison, Hamilton and Washington.
Don Johnson – April 2013