In his new book No God No Civilization, Amb. Alberto Martinez Piedra, Ph.D., a respected scholar, former U.S. ambassador, and IWP Professor Emeritus, discusses the historical context of the New Atheist movement and defends the achievements of Judeo-Christian traditions.
For centuries, explains Amb. Piedra, an aggressive secularist ethos has been sweeping across the Western world, fighting to occupy the territory once held by religion in society. The intellectual leaders of this movement are well prepared and ambitious, with a clear goal in mind: to remove God from the public discourse, and then from memory, effectively eliminating thought about the divine. Such a godlessness, they claim, would usher in an unprecedented era of peace. Yet Amb. Piedra argues that, in reality, atheist worldviews have led to some of history’s bloodiest centuries.
Those who oppose the Judeo-Christian worldview, says Amb. Piedra, instead offer the ideas of perpetual progress or the unstoppable power of human ingenuity and reason, as answers to some of life’s questions. While their ideas may predate historical periods like the Enlightenment, these thinkers hold that times of scientific revolution created a clean split between science and religion. They claim that Christianity, or God of any kind, stands in the way of progress. Whether that is in the scientific, cultural, or social sphere, faith interrupts the track of humanity and hinders the development of people.
Amb. Piedra instead argues the opposite: that the source of genuine human development, the scientific revolution, and Enlightenment all stem from the Judeo-Christian worldview. God is the source of morality, and he loves humankind. It is the atheistic thinkers who have done away with the prospect of human dignity, and that perhaps unknowingly, their ideas have seeped into the political realm, and stand at the core of ideologies like communism, National Socialism, liberation theologies, and many other faiths-based crusades. Godless materialism and moral relativism are at the heart of these ideologies. Thus, it is the those who remove God that generate suffering in the material world, by removing the spiritual one.
Pan-European civilization itself is not based on a limited set of geographical definitions on a world map, nor by physical borders created by countries, treaties, and wars. Rather, the values and principles of Judeo-Christian tradition, which predate Western society as we know it, serve as the basis of this civilization. A coherent, yet diverse Judeo-Christian culture has been forged over millennia. However, Dr. Piedra writes that an unreflective stubbornness has plagued humanity, and threatens the existence of such a culture. If this continues, a legacy of knowledge, customs, and principles would be lost, with no chance of recovery through logic or random chance.
Sir Winston Churchill said in 1948: “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” The book aims to help the opinion leaders and policymakers of today avoid the tragic mistakes of the past. With his previous experience as an Ambassador, Dr. Piedra is no stranger to the habits and thoughts behind policymaking. As civic institutions founded on these Judeo-Christian principles have begun to crumble, common notions of the past like responsibility, rights, and dignity have vanished once their divine origins were denied in the common discourse.