Episode 8 - Can We Be Good Without God? Part 1
January 14, 2013
In tribute to Center for Inquiry founder Paul Kurtz, who died on October 20, 2012, Center Stage reprises a classic presentation by Dr. Kurtz from the archives. “Can We Be Good Without God?” was originally recorded in 2005. It aired as CenterStage’s ninth and tenth episodes on December 21st and 28th, 2009.
Part One of a two-part lecture on humanist ethics by Center for Inquiry founder Paul Kurtz. In 2005, Dr. Kurtz gave a lecture entitled “Can We Be Good without God?” to an audience of adult learners at the Center for Inquiry / Transnational in Amherst, New York. For adherents of traditional Christianity, moral knowledge comes to human beings from outside—from above—from the hand of God. For many who hold that belief it is difficult to conceive how people who hold a non-supernaturalistic worldview could come to form a valid system of ethics. Yet secular humanists maintain that human beings can use nothing but reason, compassion, and common sense to reach reliable moral insights.
Paul Kurtz is founder and chair emeritus of the Center for Inquiry, the Council for Secular Humanism, and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He is professor of philosophy emeritus at the State University of New York at Buffalo and Editor-in-Chief of Free Inquiry magazine. Sometimes called the “father of secular humanism,” he is the author of essential books in the field including Forbidden Fruit: The Ethics of Secularism, Living without Religion: Eupraxsophy, The Courage to Become, The Transcendental Temptation, and many others.