Doing the Sharpton Shuffle
For those interested here is a debate between Al Sharpton and Christopher Hitchens on religion and god. I watched bits and pieces while working on other things. But each time I saw parts Rev. Sharpton seemed to be doing what I call the Sharpton Shuffle. And in the parts I saw Hitchens didn’t really call him on it.
Here is the Sharpton Shuffle in a nutshell. Sharpton argues that without a deity there is no right and wrong. We need a god to tell us what is moral or immoral. Hitchens would discuss various scriptures and the sort of immoral acts advocated in them. And now the Sharpton Shuffle is used. Rev. Al would then say that is dogma not god, that is scripture not the deity and he is not there to argue about dogma and scripture but about the deity.
Now in a sense he has a point but in another sense he has shuffled away from the issue although rather skilfully. The issue for Rev. Al is then where does this morality get revealed to man. If there is no right or wrong without a god how do we know what this deity says is right and wrong? Outside of religious scriptures what other source do we have?
Sharpton might argue that it is the heart of each man where right and wrong is revealed. But isn’t that just another version of the scriptural problem of each man “doing what was right in his own heart”? Thus we still have no definable right or wrong merely the opinions of billions of people. If god is the only source of morality then he must reveal that morality somehow.
If Sharpton dismisses scripture for the evil deeds then how can he appeal to it for the “good” morality? And if we don’t use a scripture then what is the source for this revelation?
Any other source doesn’t prove a deity. In the hearts of men for morality is precisely what we would expect in a natural world without a deity. If the source is found in nature the answer is still what you would expect in a godless world. What source exists which is inherently divine and not natural? I didn’t hear Mr. Sharpton discuss that. Perhaps I missed it and if so I would appreciate anyone having time to watch the full video to point out my error. But in the parts I saw Mr. Sharpton never once explained how the “right and wrong” of god is communicated to man if, as he did, he throws scripture out of the mix.