• The Moral Arc of The Universe

    Martin Luther King Jr. once said that, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Here is the thing about moral arcs, prayers don’t bend them – people do!

    Not long ago, I read the book of another liberal Christian pastor, Rob Bell. In his book, What We Talk About When We Talk About God, Bell argues that God is a force that is pushing humanity forward – sometimes in very small almost imperceptible ways. I obviously disagree with that since the Bible and the large majority of Christians often hold humanity back in large, very perceptible ways. But here is the thing, if we allow ourselves to believe that the moral arc of the universe is guided toward justice without us, we become complacent and the opposite result will occur.

    The reality is that the reason the arc of the moral universe bends toward justice is because human being are continually learning and evolving. We are the instrument that bends the moral arc! On an evolutionary level, humans have developed empathy and compassion for our tribe. This has allowed us to work together much like dog packs. As time has gone by, we have started to expand our “tribe” to encompass more and more people and even some animals. We feel empathy and that leads us to feel compassion. This in turn compels us to bend the moral arc in favor of those we might have previously viewed as outsiders.

    It is easy to fight for our own interests, but it is much hard to fight for the interests of others to which we have no direct interest. The indirect interest however, is what has made humanity thrive. This is the power of humanism at work.

    Yes, the moral arc is long, but we can make it much shorter if we reject superstition and stop praying for change and start actually being the change – to paraphrase Gandhi. That is my dream.

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    Category: HumanismMoralityReligion


    Article by: Staks Rosch

    Staks Rosch is a writer for the Skeptic Ink Network & Huffington Post, and is also a freelance writer for Publishers Weekly. Currently he serves as the head of the Philadelphia Coalition of Reason and is a stay-at-home dad.