There's been a terrific comment thread on my post
noting that God and morality didn't play a part in Bob Herbert's column bemoaning the destruction of the black family in America*. The comments included this link showing that African-Americans are markedly more religious
on a variety of measures than the U.S. population as a whole and a scholarly submission
by Bradley Wright
whose abstract included the following tidbit.
However, other factors, such as increased religiosity, strong family ties, and lowered alcohol consumption, decrease crime.
I've not had the time to process it all as work and family events have taken me away from the blog, but let me continue the conversation here with two examples and a question.
A long time ago, I was talking to some non-religious (white) high school chums on the phone. One of them had received a used Pontiac Trans Am as a gift from his grandmother. The car was a total lemon and he hated it. Rather than sell it for what it was worth, which was practically nothing, he gave it to some friends and claimed it was stolen to his insurance company. He pocketed the cash from the insurance company and, I presume, his friends parted out the car. The story shocked me. When I objected that this was insurance fraud, he replied, "So what? The insurance company makes lots of money. They can afford it. It's no big deal. I'm just one tiny claim to a huge company." I had no reply that could convince him what he did was wrong. We stopped being friends after that.
My second example is this: The following video is from a popular song. The YouTube page shows more than 815,000 hits. Is its message wrong? If so, how could you convince its fans that it is wrong without referencing God or objective morality? Can you use objective morality without referencing God? If so, from what do you derive your first principles? How do you avoid this
Why not claim the Trans Am as stolen? Why not gratify yourself on the body of a girl? Why not choose hedonism and selfishness?
We've been trying to answer these questions for quite a while now and have seen nothing but failure. St. Augustine asked the question
over 1600 years ago.
(W)hy did those gods (in our secular world, the government fills the role of the Roman gods), from whose worship ungrateful men are now complaining that they are prohibited, issue no laws which might have guided their devotees to a virtuous life?
Why the endless failure without God?
* - Note that the wages of sin are colorblind. In England, it is the white family that has been blown to hell and gone and the Pakistani and Indian families that are more intact.