Beyond Christian ethics: a list spun off from Onfray’s Atheist Manifesto

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by Neil Godfrey

Have just completed Michel Onfray’s Atheist Manifesto and can’t go past the review of the book you can find at that link — so won’t bother with my own. (The original French title could more literally be translated “Tract on Atheology” which would do more justice to the contents of the book, it being less a rationale for atheism per se than a polemical essay against the respected status and functions theology has long held among inheritors of the Judea-Christian and Moslem worlds.)

It is refreshing to see in print ideas that one has arrived at on ones own and only hitherto shared with trusted audiences. I imagine many who have rationally worked their way from faith to atheism have similarly found themselves afterwards thrilled to find such luminaries as Nietzsche having long before paved a way in the direction are now treading. Although as Onfray rightly reminds us, to learn from Nietzsche is to pave one’s own path, not to walk in his same steps.

Anyway, Onfray’s book reminded me of a list of ethical values that to my mind would be one huge advance on the current values that dominate our species. Most are not even hinted at in his essay, so this is really my own list of some of the changes — rooted in science and humanism as opposed to archaic mythical views of what makes us human — that I would think would make for a far more humane society: Continue reading “Beyond Christian ethics: a list spun off from Onfray’s Atheist Manifesto”