What then is the basis for Dalrymple's perception of good and evil? He isn't a formally religious man. He isn't measuring these things against some sort of precise didactic standard. But they exist, and his recognition of that is, in my opinion, the simple and humble appreciation of something that defies analysis, eludes intellectualization, transcends philosophy. This is very much the arena of faith.
It is no surprise that his tentative suggestion that faith and virtue are linked caused such fury among those who deny the existence of either. I know them, and in my better moments I feel sorry for them - these are people whose own faith is nothing more than a bitter and desperate clutching at the dubious proposition that the world must make sense, and that it must do so on their terms. I don't think God works like that. I know for a fact that the world doesn't.
Perhaps one of the reasons that contemporary secularists do not simply reject religion but hate it is that they know that, while they can easily rise to the levels of hatred that religion has sometimes encouraged, they will always find it difficult to rise to the levels of love that it has sometimes encouraged.
That is, I think, true of all of us. The contemplation of God confers a necessary humility that the deification of the human spirit does not. There is nothing transcendant in the measure of all things by man - if we are truly all there is then an accurate appreciation of what we actually are must inevitably make us cry for the universe. Perhaps that is the source of the hatred. And if it were true, what possibly could be the source of the nearly universal yearning for transcendence? Human weakness? I do not think so. I think that the yearning for transcendence is a visceral acknowledgment of the God who caused it even in the hearts of those who do not believe in Him. It isn't a matter of intellect.
Just some thoughts on a marvelous article, and thank you again for pinging me to it.
...and sorry for the spelling errors. ;-)