Human beings are inherently selfish. We are born knowing to protect ourselves and that we are important. We are not born knowing why. At birth, there is no immediate understanding of right or wrong, of immoral and moral.
Until a child is told not to hit someone, or told not to take something that isn’t theirs, they don’t know not to do it. But how do their parents know it is wrong? How did their grandparents know it was wrong? People are not born with a one-size-fits-all understanding of morality—so where does it come from?
Because of these questions, a controversial argument has taken place among conservatives for a long time. The simple question of if a conservative can also be an atheist has split the right into multiple sides:
Does morality come from religion?
I need a simple yes or no.
— danii???? (@DaniiMarie_13) August 13, 2018
eh I think there are some overarching moral principles that you can reason your way into as a human but I don't like the New Atheists' tendency to say that all morality can be a derivative of reason.
— OligarchFishBlues (@RedFishBlues) August 13, 2018
Daily Wire writer Andrew Klavan, in particular, has continuously made the argument that though a conservative can be an atheist, the very principles and morals they stand for stem from religion. In a video Klavan did with Bill Whittle, he goes in-depth with his reasoning. He argues that there are no truly free countries that were not founded on Judeo-Christian values—which makes perfect sense.
Conservatives strongly believe in protecting the Constitution and the founding documents. These documents express the principle that the individual has the right to personal property, life, and opportunity. Yet where do these ideas come from?
The framers strongly believed in the Bible, which inspired the founding documents directly. The laws that govern America and the right and wrong that we have decided to abide by are based on religion. We are given freedom to make our own decisions and as long as we do not impose on others, we remain free.
Other countries do not have that luxury. In certain countries in the Middle East, where Judaism and Christianity are shunned, so too is freedom. Their morals do not align with conservatism at all. Women do not have personal property, they are personal property. People are murdered every day for not falling in line with Sharia Law or “ta’zir” in places like Saudi Arabia.
But if our sense of morality does not stem from God, why is this happening? If we are just born with our understanding and Judeo-Christian values had no influence in our government and culture, why are some countries in the Middle East not free? Why is the United States one of the only countries that truly understands the importance of free will and the individual?
Bill Whittle, in the video with Klavan, explains that as Christians, we believe that our conscious governs our actions. What we are told is right and moral is to be reflected in our lives, and we do not need a state to tell us what to do for us to act according with our values. However, Whittle explains that these values are widely accepted and they have been baked into society. Therefore, people who do not believe in the word of God, can still look at these values and see the benefits of following them without necessarily following the religion. To deny that America follows this logic, is to ignore our foundation and to ignore other countries’ foundations.
You can be an atheist and still acknowledge that our morals are based on Judeo-Christian values. Atheist conservatives should be willing to acknowledge that the Bible has good qualities that directly helped in the founding of America, without believing in the God who inspired it. There are many conservative arguments that can be proven with science, and you can easily agree with positions within the movement without following God. However, the reason we are able to see the value in our positions is thanks to our moral code, that we only understand through our relationship with God.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.