In responding to what he perceives to be the Christian claim that “atheists have no morals because they have no moral guide,” Pat Condell says in his video that not even Christians use the Bible as a moral guide:
You defy the Bible. You sift out the bad and discard it for the ignorant, primitive barbarism it is. In short, you edit the Bible to suit your own sensibilities. So where do you get the moral guidance to impose your authority on the word of the Bible? It has to come from a higher source, doesn’t it? These things usually do. And it does, of course. It comes from you. You are a higher source than the Bible….
The evidence is clear. You sifted the good from the bad in the Bible without the Bible’s help, you did it against the Bible’s will, and you did it all on your own, because whether you like it or not, you have a conscience, which means that you are capable of distinguishing good from evil without the help of Scripture, and you have just proven it beyond any shadow of doubt.
So in fact, the Bible is not your moral guide, you are. It doesn’t provide you with a moral compass, you do. And the only faith you need is faith in yourself.
There are a few different directions in which you could take this one. Is that the claim Christians make? What does the Bible really say? Are we sifting things out? What is morality? Why do we know morality? Does the atheist’s knowledge of morality contradict Christianity? Are there questions you could ask to draw out his inconsistencies?
It’s generally best to try to pick the most important point, and then keep the conversation focused. So how would you answer this? We’ll hear Alan’s response on Thursday.