In Dostoyevsky’s book Crime and Punishment He has his main character Raskolnikov Decides that he’s going to commit a murder and he has very good justification for the murder and Dostoyevsky’s very good at this he puts his characters into very very difficult moral situations and gives them full justification for pursuing the… pursuing the pathway that they’re pursuing and so Raskolnikov is broke and starving he wants to go to law school his sister’s about to prostitute herself roughly speaking by marrying a guy that hates her, that she hates and that he has contempt for or at least acts in that manner. He’s trying to rescue his mother as well who’s also in dire financial straits. He goes to a pawn broker to pawn his meagre possession so that he can continue to scrape by and She has this niece. I believe it’s her niece that’s not very bright who she basically treats as a slave and is horrible to and so the The pawnbroker has this money Raskolnikov is in dire need. He thinks, look, I’ll just kill her because why the hell not. I’ll take her money. She’s not doing any good with it anyways. I’ll free her niece, who’s just lurking as a slave. She’s got all these other people tangled up in her pawnbroker schemes all that will happen is the world will be a better place and the only thing that’s holding me back is conventional moral cowardice and you know Dostoyevsky has his character in Crime and Punishment Go through days, hours, hours and days and weeks of intense imagination about this rationalization about this trying to justify himself placing himself outside the law so that he can perpetrate this act and telling himself with all the best nihilistic arguments that the only possible thing that could be holding him back is an arbitrary sense of indoctrinated morality and so Dostoyevsky explores that he does commit the murder and then of course all hell breaks loose because things don’t necessarily turn out the way that you want he gets away with it however Well he gets away with it technically because no one knows he did it, but he doesn’t get away with it in relationship to his own conscience and So the rest of the book explores that. Well Dostoyevsky… I believe it was in Crime and Punishment, although he makes the same point in many of his books. He makes a very fundamental point and this is the kind of point that that I think that people who haven’t investigated these matters down this particularly Particular literary and philosophical pathway never grapple with. Dostoyevsky said straightforwardly: If there’s no, God, so if there’s no higher value let’s say if there’s no transcendent value, then you can do whatever you want and that’s the question that he’s Investigating and you see this is why I have such frustration say with people like Sam Harris this sort of radical atheists because they seem to think that once human beings abandoned their grounding in the transcendent that the plausible way forward is with a kind of purist rationality that automatically attributes to other people equivalent value. It’s like, I just don’t understand that. They believe that that’s the rational pathway? What the hell is irrational about me getting exactly what I want from every one of you whenever I want it at every possible second, why is that irrational and how possibly is that more irrational than us cooperating so we can both have a good time of it? I don’t understand that. I mean, it’s as if the psychopathic tendency is irrational. There’s nothing irrational about it It’s pure naked self-interest. How is that irrational? I don’t understand that. Where’s the pathway from rationality to to an egalitarian virtue? Why the hell not every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost? It’s a perfectly coherent philosophy and it’s actually one that you can institute in the world with a fair bit of material success if you want to do it so I don’t… See to me I think that the universe that people like Dawkins and Harris Inhabit is so intensely conditioned by mythological presuppositions That they take for granted The ethic that emerges out of that as if it’s just a given a rational given and this of course precisely Nietzche’s observation as well as Dostoyevsky’s, that’s Nietzsche’s observation You don’t get it. The ethic that you think is normative is a consequence of its nesting inside this tremendously lengthy history, much of which was expressed in mythological formulation. You wipe that out. You don’t get to keep all the presuppositions and just assume that they’re rationally axiomatic. They’re the rational… To make a rational argument you have to start with an initial proposition. Well the proposition that underlies western culture. Is that there’s a transcendent morality. Now you could say that’s a transcendent morality instantiated in the figure of God, that’s fine. You could even call that a personification of the morality if you want to, if you if you don’t want to move into a metaphysical space. I’m not arguing for the existence of God I’m arguing that the ethic that drives our culture is predicated on the idea of God and that you can’t just take that idea away and expect the thing to remain intact mid-air without any foundational support.