Faith and Virtue

A letter I sent while away over Christmas.

Editor, Washington Post:

Michael Gerson’s attempt to reconcile evolution and belief in God is laudable (“Divine Evolution,” Dec. 21, A35). But his implication that theism is a requirement for virtue is unnecessary.

Gerson writes of religious skepticism’s “disturbing moral and political implications,” and asserts that “those who believe that men are meat are more likely to treat men as meat.”

In other words, only religiosity ensures human decency. Not so.

Those who do not believe in the hereafter have all the more incentive to ensure that this life is one well lived. After all, it is the only one we get. Virtue is crucial for making this life the best we can.

It means less weight on one’s conscience. It means earning the love of family and friends, and returning it in kind. In our careers, honesty, integrity, and reputation are good for business.

Faith can help some people be more virtuous; it is good that they have that recourse. But to say that virtue crumbles without faith is wrong. There are good, honest people throughout the world who live without Gerson’s faith. I try every day to be one of them.

Ryan Young
Arlington, VA

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