One cannot have standards without the ability to judge and one cannot judge without having standards. Such is the necessary mutuality for ordered, civil, free societies to exist.
I read Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery” in the 5th grade.
I’ve been thinking about this for long time and have always been perplexed by people who will clamor for imprisonment when people treat animals with cruelty and yet see killing a human fetus as an acceptable facet of “women’s healthcare”.
Immanuel Kant, one of several prominent historical empiricist philosophers wrote:
“All the preparations of reason, therefore, in what may be called pure philosophy, are in reality directed to those three problems only [God, the soul, and freedom]. However, these three elements in themselves still hold independent, proportional, objective weight individually. Moreover, in a collective relational context; namely, to know what ought to be done: if the will is free, if there is a God, and if there is a future world. As this concerns our actions with reference to the highest aims of life, we see that the ultimate intention of nature in her wise provision was really, in the constitution of our reason, directed to moral interests only.”
Essentially, Kant is asserting that, due to the limitations of argumentation in the absence of irrefutable evidence, no one could really know whether there is a God and an afterlife or not – but for the sake of morality and as a ground for reason, Kant asserted, people are justified in believing in God, even though they could never know God’s presence empirically.
Religion has an important role in society. Like it or not, believe in God or not, religion has set the common boundaries of societies for centuries and non-believer and believer alike have benefited from it. Perhaps Kant would say, “Even if you do not believe in God, you should abide by the rules of Christianity because you (and society) will benefit from doing so.”
While many condemn Christianity for its faults (all of which are the fault of men, not God), it is (was?) the basis for almost every aspect of American governence, jurisprudence and societal rules/mores and the farther we stray from its controls, the less we are able to recognize and judge according to the common standards necessary for self-governence and the closer we come to living in a society governed by The Lottery.