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A response to Steven Pinker's ignorant tweet: Evangelicals oppose the lockdown because they believe in freedom

Dennis Prager on

Harvard professor of psychology Steven Pinker tweeted last week:

"Belief in an afterlife is a malignant delusion, since it devalues actual lives and discourages action that would make them longer, safer, and happier. Exhibit A: What's really behind Republicans wanting a swift reopening? Evangelicals."

Before responding to Pinker's remarkably ignorant tweet, I want to praise him. He is one of the few professors in America to call out the left's destruction of our universities. Most human beings lack courage, but no group is more cowardly than academics. This has been true for 100 years. From the German universities to today, professors have almost never taken a position that required courage. Indeed, one might say that when you send your child to college, your child is taught to be a coward by the cowardly.

Two years ago, Pinker wrote:

"Universities are becoming laughing stocks of intolerance, with non-leftist speakers drowned out by jeering mobs, professors subjected to Stalinesque investigations for unorthodox opinions, risible guidelines on 'microaggressions' (such as saying 'I believe the most qualified person should get the job'), students mobbing and cursing a professor who invited them to discuss Halloween costumes, and much else. These incidents have drawn worldwide ridicule, and damage the credibility of university scientists and scholars when they weigh on critical matters, such as climate change."

It takes courage for a professor to write that our universities are "laughing stocks of intolerance," that they engage in "Stalinesque investigations" and draw "worldwide ridicule."

 

Having praised Pinker, let me now respond to his tweet.

First, "Belief in an afterlife is a malignant delusion ... "

I am not a Christian, evangelical or otherwise. I am a religious Jew who has written and lectured extensively on the afterlife. My belief in the afterlife is based entirely on a logical argument: If there is a just God, it is axiomatic there is an afterlife. There is little justice and fairness in this life, so if there is a just God, there has to be an afterlife. There is only one honest atheist response to this: "There is no God, so there is no afterlife. But if there is a God, you are right that there must be an afterlife."

So, belief in an afterlife is no more a "delusion" than belief in God. But it takes an unsophisticated arrogance to dismiss belief that the world has a designer and that intelligence must be created by intelligence as a "delusion." I was disappointed in Pinker, who I respect for his courageous comments and with whom I have dialogued on my radio show. His tweet reveals a truly shallow atheism.

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