Professor Jim Al-Khalili: Christianity hijacked human values

By Eric W. Dolan
Tuesday, October 15, 2013 11:22 EDT
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[Image via Andy Miah, Creative Commons licensed]
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Professor Jim Al-Khalili, a theoretical physicist and science broadcaster, said Monday at The Cambridge Union Society that Christianity had commandeered humanistic values.

In his presentation, Al-Khalili said he believed in the Golden Rule: One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself. The ethical maxim is often attributed to Jesus Christ.

Echoing the thought of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, a member of the audience said it seemed like secular humanists had “killed God” but were “still doing what he said” by adhering to Christian morality and values.

Al-Khalili responded by saying the situation was actually reversed. Christianity had hijacked human values.

“For me, that is what defines me as a human, that I have the capacity to love, to empathize, to sympathize, to be kind,” he explained.

“Yes, those were values that were taken up by the Abrahamic religions and rightly so, because [it was] back at a time when people needed to be told those are important human values. For me, I don’t think I need to behave in a certain way because I want to seek the reward of God or because I fear the punishment of God. I do them because I’m a human being.”

Al-Khalili described Christians as “humanists who believe in God” and rejected the notion that humanism is synonymous with atheism.

Watch video, uploaded to YouTube, below:

[Image via Andy Miah, Creative Commons licensed]

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
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