Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Atheist Politicians

Hube is reporting that politically inclined atheists have a tough road ahead of them. I've been mulling this over in my head for a while. I'm obviously biased towards theists, but why?

Honestly, I think it has to do with understanding how people think. There are plenty of atheists that I could get behind. Kim and Connie du Toit are atheists, but they're good folks who "get it." Their values are closer to my own than those of a typical theological or political liberal. And they strongly believe in keeping the government out of my business. That goes a long way towards easing any concerns I have about the effect of atheism on public policy. But I read Kim and Connie's stuff every day so I know how they think and is a lot like how I think. While it works for them, it wouldn't work for me.

I realize that if I were to put God on my own mental chopping block, it would have wide ranging effects on everything else I believe. For instance, how do you believe in transcendent absolute truths (like freedom, morality, good, evil, etc.) without a diety. Why should random universe have fundamental moral truths? I know it can be done, but it is still a serious philosophical question for me. If there is no God, what meaningful metric determines right or wrong. Anything you choose will pale in comparison. Why should there even be fundamental transcendent truths without a transcendent diety to bring them about? Are they just philosophical abstractions then? If so why the hell should I live my life according to a philosophical abstraction? How far do you let the skepticism run?

These are big questions and I don't have good answers to them without God in the picture. In my experience many atheists either ignore or are ignorant of these sorts of things. Or they simply solve them by establishing important fundamental principles axiomatically. Neither works for me, so that explains why I'm a theist.

Like Hube, I wouldn't vote against someone just because they were an atheist. I'm not a one issue voter. But given a choice between an atheist and a theist with similar qualifications and policy stances, I'll probably vote for the theist. In most major primaries, I bet I'll have that choice.

UPDATE: Paul Smith chimes in over at his blog. He brings concepts like Natural Law to the table as a good Catholic should.

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