Scott Tibbs
blog post
March 21st, 2005

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Saturday's H-T editorial page

There were a couple interesting items on Saturday's Herald-Times editorial page.

The first interesting item was a letter to the editor. In that letter, Harlan Lewis says, "It is philosophically obtuse to think that morality cannot exist without religion."

This is partially true. In the absence of a primary source for morality (a God) individual human beings can find, create, or subscribe to a moral code. Groups of human beings can agree on a moral code and even enforce that moral code by setting up a government.

However, if there is no God, there can be no absolute moral values. Instead, there are only competing human values. We cannot declare that the Adolf Hitler's morality is superior or inferior to Mother Teresa's morality unless we have an objective standard to compare it to. One poster on the old forums recognized this when he said that the Holocaust was not fundamentally evil because there is no absolute right and wrong.

I am a Christian, and therefore I believe there is a universal standard for right and wrong: the Bible. I can declare that the Holocaust was fundamentally immoral. An atheist cannot do that. An atheist can say he personally despises the killing of innocents, and he or she may even argue that killing innocents goes against established human morality. An atheist cannot argue, though, that the Holocaust was fundamentally immoral.

The second interesting item was H-T editor Bob Zaltzberg offering a justification for the series on spring break. (As you recall, I objected to the "beer bong" picture last week.) One picture that drew the ire of a few H-T readers was a front-page photo of a "wet t-shirt" contest that featured a young (unattractive) woman in her underwear getting sprayed down by a hose. One reader called it "soft porn", which is accurate.

Zaltzberg claims that the Herald-Times is simply being "honest" about what happens on Spring Break. This is fine. Reporting is a newspaper's job, and considering this is a university town it is reasonable for the H-T to run a series of articles on the annual week-long party many students travel to. The H-T is doing, though, is more than simply being "honest". The H-T, though front page photographs, is glorifying the hard-partying atmosphere of spring break. That is what was irresponsible about the series of articles in last week's newspaper.