Religious moralism vs true morality

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Magical Realist, Feb 10, 2014.

  1. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Religion generally assumes it has the market cornered on morality. It, by which I mean the majority of the three monotheisms, claims to know what is ultimately good and what ultimately is evil. But all I see when I look at religious people is a hateful and bitter moralism that seeks only to elevate its ideals and values as absolutes everyone else should follow. This isn't morality. It is moralism--the enforcement of a system of belief and behavior on everyone on pain of actual punishment.

    How does religion justify this imposition of its values and creeds on all humans? It conceives of humans as inherently sinful and sin-loving brutes, incapable to morally deciding right from wrong. In the religious scheme of things, humans without the strictures of divine law and recompense will naturally resort to a bestial state of irrational and wanton hedonism and selfish malice. For them humans can never be trusted. Is there any justification for this? ARE humans inherently incapable of moral intent and so in need of morality by edict and by punishment? What are some of the consequences of moralism in our our society?

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  3. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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    Its more that it lays claim to the highest grade of moralism, since its engineered relative to an eternal system (as opposed to being relative to temporary existence in a temporary body ... which is the mainstay of conventional moralism).
    That of course isn't to say that anything and everything said to be accordance with god is actually in such accordance. Even in mundane wranglings its seen that individuals can tend to misrepresent an authority simply because the said authority warrants greater stakes.

    Plenty of scriptural commentaries to suggest moral behavior that requires the hand of punishment is simply the lowest grade ... as opposed to the perfectional stage.
    Infact they even go as far to suggest that moral behaviour that requires the hand of punishment is incapable of attaining the perfectional stage (since its symptomatic of conditioned existence).
    IOW they are mutually exclusive.

    or alternatively, in a modern context for something a bit more pertinent to contemporary society

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    Its more the consequences of a lack of moralism that are concerning.
     
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  5. wellwisher Banned Banned

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    Burning witches is not written anywhere in the bible. This law was based on a secular addendum to bible morality; doctrines of men. In politics, a scapegoat is useful for organizing people. Do you think the democrats would do as well if their tactic did not scapegoat rich, religion, straight, males, whites, etc.? The politics of old, were no different, so they scapegoated the naturalist (witches) who lived peacefully in the woods. This demonization gave the mob an outlet for their anger, and helped to consolidate the power of the leaders. If the democrats could burn Rush Limbaugh at the stake, would they?

    When Jesus overturns the money changer tables, at the entrance of the temple, he was pissed off at how these biblical offerings had become commercialized by secular interests. Those who got their cut from these ancient tee-shirt tables, where not too happy with the prospect of lost business so Jesus became an enemy they needed to scapegoat. Later the atheists would blame the commercialization on religion, and not secular influences.

    If you look at this logically, religion dominated culture for centuries. But not everyone was a true believer. There were also practical minded people who realized the fastest path up the dominant company ladder (church) required outward conformity (yes men) even if you don't believe. This allows one to get access to the upper level and a good career position from which one can practice their own form of secular atheist.

    As an analogy, say you are an environmentalists, but land a excellent job with a mining company that will pay you a huge salary. One might decide to keep quiet about their deep beliefs, so you can take advantage of the good life this job will make possible. They can't read your mind. The alternative is to remain outwardly true to your belief and end up with a crap job with no influence. On the other hand, from the high position, one can live well and potentially add environmental considerations to the high level discussion, so things move in the direction you see is best. The church has plenty of secular and atheists leveraging and adding laws of man. They don't get blamed for it since this is not good politics.

    If you look at torture, there is nowhere in the bible that says this is a moral path. But you can find all typos of torture in secular laws. The bible purists can't add a new law without bible justification. But a secularists is not too concerned about a book he does not believe in. He will simply leverage his position of power to gain more power and wealth.
     
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  7. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Atheists seem to moralize quite a bit themselves, MR. You're doing it right here in this thread.

    Humans everywhere make distinctions between good and evil, or closely related concepts. That appears to me to be one of the innate human universals, so common that it's almost invisible.

    And "religion" isn't synonymous with "the three monotheisms".

    If that's all that you see, then that's sad. I question whether the difficulty is in them or in you.

    As for me, some of the most thoughtful and humane people that I've ever known have been deeply religious people. Conversely, some of the most judgemental people, people who were wound-up way too tight, were aggressive atheists.

    Of course the reverse was true too, in many other cases. But my point is that religiosity and moral judgementalism aren't necessarily the same thing. And becoming an atheist doesn't necessarily free somebody from that particular defect. (Just think: Marxist.)

    Religion does that?

    The three Jewish-derived Western monotheisms conceive of mankind as created by God in his own image. Monotheistic Hinduism thinks the same way. In Buddhism, which doesn't have creation or creator gods, salvation is typically seen as something that people must do for themselves, meaning that the capacity to accomplish it is certainly there.

    What all of the religions teach is that people need to make choices. People need to reorient themselves towards what we might choose to call higher things.

    It isn't just religion that thinks that way. Here in the West, art does it. (Or did, until recently.) It's probably accurate to say that science does it too, in its own cerebral way.

    I think that you're treating religious people as if they were caricatures of your own design. And isn't that what you're condemning them for doing to you?
     
  8. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    Since I believe religion to be a product of human beings, I think it's safe to say it is ALL a result of human nature. The good and the bad.
     
  9. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Exodus 22:18

    King James Version (KJV)


    18 "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live."


    Revelation 21:8 ESV

    "But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2014
  10. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    ...
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2014
  11. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    There is only one serious offender, and that's fundamentalism. The orthodox religions are antagonistic to the rights of women and gays, while the evangelical branches among them are nearly as extreme as the fundies in regard to public policy matters in general.

    Liberalism opposes all religious forays into public policy which impose rules and sanctions on conduct that is taboo to the the religion, yet legal under the law, and/or supported by best evidence for the common welfare. Their main focus has been: restrictions on abortion, the use of prayer Bibles in public schools and other public places, restrictions against homosexual lifestyles, restrictions on the teaching of evolution and environmental science, derailment of the IPCC, interference in science and academic programs and institutions, and restrictions on embryonic stem cell research. The same ideology produced the policies of the Prohibition. The rest of social conservative antics perpetuated by religious bodies have to do with interference in civil rights matters, immigration, welfare and related aid to the poor. The balance of the pressure by the religious bodies lies in a wide swath of tactics designed to help industries become achieve deregulation, usu. couched as attacks on "big government", and to include the attack on Liberal-appointed chairs of the Fed and Keynesian monetary policies. All of these are are the fuel that fires the culture war, with religious people (primary fundamentalists) attacking from the Right and Liberals pushing them back from the Left. This just scratches the surface. Digging deeper, we get to the religious pressure to influence campaign financing, judicial appointments and candidates; interference with the right to vote, pressure/control of public opinion through propaganda and media outlets, opposition to gun control, etc.

    There are a notable exceptions. For example, the Catholic and Jewish religions have usually supported civil rights.

    Looks like history is not on your side after all.
     
  12. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Yeah. If criticism of a system of belief and dogma that has enforced itself on the masses with lies and superstitions and guilt and fear constitutes some kind of moralism, then so be it. I'll take that hit in the service of speaking the truth.

    Humans make distinctions between good and evil. But only religion enforces those distinctions as some arbitrary absolute that everyone must believe in and conform to. That is the nature of believing you speak for God. MY will be done. And if you dare to disagree with me, then woe be unto you who will suffer the wrath of God, usually imagined as some fiery place of eternal torment or some curse on your household.

    It is in this thread. The three monotheisms are the largest instances of religion in our modern world. That's why I'm talking about THEM and not say the animistic totemism of the aborigine people.

    Yeah..I'm really missing out on something not loving a system of delusional lies and fables designed to keep it's adherents from doing what they really want to do in life and believing in themselves. Poor pitiful me..sniff sniff.

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    Atheists SHOULD be a little mad in a world where like 90% (the religious at least) are too cowardly to even speak out against religion and its long history of mind control and psychological enslavement and anti-science indoctrination. Why SHOULDN'T atheists be a little P.O'd when everybody acts like being deluded by religion and wasting your whole life serving it is just fine. It isn't fine. You need to believe in something? Believe in yourself. You are NOT a weak sinful dependent of some manic-depressive Skydaddy. Praying to the east on a rug will NOT solve your life problems. Cutting off your son's foreskin will NOT make him more special or chosen. And eating a cracker every Sunday will definitely NOT make you a holier person.

    Religion is ideologically connected to moralistic judgement. It thrives on holding up itself as THE way and then denigrating humanity as inherently sinful and demonic and animalistic. Even Buddhism teaches that human nature is infected with a sinful seed called the mind--the snake, the monkey and the pig at the heart of the Tibetan wheel. All religion does this. It demoralizes and demonizes the human in its attempt to promote itself as the way to holiness and immortality. All just empty promises to keep the people sedated and compliant.

    Religion removes choice by psychologically manipulating minds with threats of punishment and promises of reward. It gets to children before school can even get to them, scrawling over their budding dreams irrevocable visions of demons and hell and apocalypse and a wrathful God. Religion is more akin to a virus than anything else, taking over the believer's mind and controlling them in a simulation of freely chosen belief.

    Where fear and shame reign, particularly based on imaginary phantasms and obsolete superstitions, there can be no choice. There is only being stuck in the same old patterns you were ingrained with since childhood, with only the smallest chance that you might get these educated out of you by the time you graduate.

    Religion is definitely the best at it having for many more centuries honed to precision its dark craft of enslaving young souls with visions of hellfire and public shaming and saccharine promises of divine coddling. No other system of thought, neither art nor science nor philosophy, so totally relies on brainwashing its believers to accept doctrines and dogmas that weren't true 2000 years ago much less so today. How long are we going to just bite our tongues and let this go on--this unquestioned elevation of ancient fictions and fables to the status of respectable concepts? Why NOT speak out against it? Can't it hold its own ground without falling apart? You're an atheist. Why do you ally yourself with such a universal and organized campaign of keeping people emotional prisoners of ignorance and deception?

    I know it isn't kosher to speak out against religion. But then that's how religion has always maintained its power over us, silencing its critics as blasphemous heretics who need to be burned at the stake. Talk about caricatures. Witches and sodomites and whores and saints and virgin mothers and philistines and prophets and demon-possessed Satanists. Religion has been fobbing off a loony cartoon version of reality on its sheep for thousands of years now. Maybe a little adversarial caricaturing is in order, if indeed it isn't too far off the mark. Church lady anyone? lol!

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    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
  13. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Funny you should mention those scriptures--a book filled with grisly tales about a God so blinded by wrath and jealously over his human creatures he not only periodically destroys them with fire and floods in a fit of rage but will furthermore consign them to torment by fire for all sorts of really "bad" sins like drunkenness, adultery, disbelief, homosexuality, idolatry, blasphemy, lust, greed, and so on. Now what was it were you saying about the perfectional stage of morality? lol!
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2014
  14. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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    I was saying that there are plenty of scriptural commentaries that explain how this is simply the lowest grade of morality.
    Iow much like if one refrains from murder only out of fear of jail, a person who only refrain from sin only out of fear of hell is not really a moral person.
     
  15. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    IOW, the vengeful punishing God of the scriptures has a "low grade of morality." Thanks for the clarification.
     
  16. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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    If you think that god operates out of no higher capacity than punishment, then yeah, that's indicative of your low grade of morality on the subject ... much like if you can't conceive of legal representatives operating in any higher capacity than that of throwing you in jail.
    :shrug:
     
  17. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    There is not true morality, religious morality though assumes there is, and that it is "my" god that dictates this true morality.
     
  18. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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    This is only true of definitions of god that seek no clarification beyond subjectivity.
     
  19. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    I'm not the one touting belief in the scriptural God of blood atonement and hellfire. That's your thing. So you can spare me your ad homs about low grade morality.
     
  20. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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    But you are the one advocating that god operates in no higher capacity than the outlayer of punishment.
     
  21. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    That God punishes sinners is not my idea. It comes straight out of the Bible. Read it sometime..
     
  22. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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    The idea that god operates in *no higher capacity* than the outlayer of punishment certainly is your idea however ....

    Kind of like saying that since the state throws people in jail, it has no other mode of operation than punishing its citizenry.
    IOW if you want to suggest that having recourse to punishment suggests an authority has no other modus operandi than implementing punishment, you have a helluva lot more work ahead of you.
     
  23. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    The idea that God does not operate on what you called "a low grade morality" of reward and punishment is your own and is not found in the Bible. As I already pointed out the Bible is filled with examples of God punishing humans with fires, plagues, and flood as well as with eternal hellfire. Heaven otoh is God's reward for the faithful. This is what your own religion teaches. Own it..
     

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