We labor under tyrants. Sometimes we become tyrants ourselves. At present things look pretty grim. Some people like to look at the horrors of past centuries in order to paint a rosy picture of things today, but insofar as it is now possible for us to do better, and we are not doing better, things are quite bad. There is so much violence in the modern climate of reduced accountability—actions taken by millions of people simultaneously and trivially—that a different morality is needed in order for people to proceed in their day-to-day lives. If we ever needed Christian morality, and the answer to that is, I think that we never did (people could always be kind, whether Christian or no), then we do not need it now. People behaving generously in order to get a good deal later on in heaven is rather laughable, even if it is a swindle (no heaven). Why not instead behave to reduce the suffering of other living things without any reward but the life thus lived? And why not stop believing man is the center of the universe? That’s a small beginning.
Jesse Ball is author of the just-published The Divers' Game. His take is gloomy, but not off the mark.