Friday, July 11, 2008

Interview with Martha Nussbaum on liberty, conscience and faith

BILL MOYERS: But you'll find many conservative Christians especially, saying that, you know, without a belief in a supreme being, a person, an atheist, can't be a moral agent. They just believe that it's impossible unless you have an absolute source of morality, that you can't reason your way to a moral society.

MARTHA NUSSBAUM: I know they think that. But I think they really should look more closely at the ethical reasoning of people who are agnostics and atheists. And I think it's obvious that lots and lots of people in this country are-- are deeply ethical, do have a sense of the ethically obligatory and of the depth and real requirement of ethical norms, while not connecting that to a divine source. And of course, that's true of some religious people, too, like Buddhists and Taoists, and in many cases, Reform Jews, who may be rather agnostic, or may not have a particular kind of theological conception.

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