In “The Roots of Morality: Why Are We Good?”, Richard Dawkins attempts to look at morality as being possible without religion. He starts off with examples of hate letters by “Christians.” What is the point of this? Everyone knows Christians can be jerks. It comes with being human. However, Dawkins seems to introduce the conversation with this so as to suggest religious people tend toward immorality.
Then Dawkins attempts to find a Darwinian answer to the origin of morality. Darwinian theory is Dawkins answer for everything. I am not convinced that morality does find its origin in Darwinism. If Darwinism is about the survival of the fittest, it is not clear why there would be a genetic predisposition to care for the weak.
Dawkins questions religious people who live moral lives only out of fear of God. I would question them as well. I don’t know of any Christian who would gladly murder or rape if they discovered there was no God. Even as Christians, we live moral lives not out of fear of God. Dawkins misunderstands Christianity if he thinks it is about God punishing bad people and rewarding good people. It is really about God saving people (who deep down are all bad to begin with, just at different levels) through the sacrifice of his Son.
To Dawkins’ credit, he clearly states the challenge of Christian apologetics that morality must be grounded in God or it is just a matter of our preferences. Dawkins presents some humanist theories that are alternatives to religious absolute morality. However, it seems that Dawkins acknowledges that with out God all morality is subjective. Yet Dawkins does not seem to internalize this. He keeps giving examples of religious immorality and suggestions of humanist morality without explaining who is providing the definition of morality. One note on the level of morality being the same between theists and atheists. I would suggest that Christianity has shaped our culture so much that even atheists are heavily influenced by Christian morality. It is no wonder there are no major differences.