Originally posted by franklin555
reply to post by TheWalkingFox
I think that the argument held between self-proclaimed athiests and self-proclaimed Christians (at least Christians, with open enough minds to be
reading the ATS forum), is not where the point I made earlier about a societies, or any societies dominant moral compass, really comes to into
Christians (and I am not one) are held together by one book. It is the bible. This book, like it or not, is a self-contained book of concise (and
contradictory, at times) moral stances. For example, the bible says not to steal. It says not to murder someone in the heat of the moment. Later
on, it says that if someone does cross you, to even forgive them. It also says vague things about not laying with another man, but if you are a
Christian, you have to take this whole book as being the word of God.
It the "contradictory" part that counts, however. Slavery: good or bad? The Bible swings both ways (Slavery of the Israelites = bad, slavery of
everyone the Israelites dislike = good, Roman slavery = mneh...). How about Murder? Same thing. Rape? Same thing. Wanton genocide? Oh, the bible loves
it some genocide (After all, they're not really
people if their religion is slightly different from yours.)
Frankly a magic 8 ball is a more dependible moral compass.
So, today, if you are born into a Christian household, you kind of take for granted where the morality of not stealing a toy from the neighbor
and lying about it comes from. That's because by now the Christian moral compass is woven within the social behavior/conduct of the United States,
because, again, like it or not, when this country was founded until about the 1950s/1960s, this country was made up predominantly of self-proclaimed
Christians; it was a Christian country. That doesn't mean I'm inferring that everyone who lived in the United States was a Christian, but pretty
This same morality exists in societies far removed from the Abrahamic faiths; in fact it existed far prior to them. Odds are it existed before some
hairy biped first thought up the idea that the sun was magical, or whatever kicked the whole thing off. Hell, we see empathic and reciprocal behavior
among other animals.
Religion simply hijacks impulses that are already there, and all to often, corrupts them. Witness how "Christian America" clings to its piety... but
wants televised warfare and death sentences so all can enjoy both viserval vengeance and the wanton destruction of infidels.
What is religion's gift to a society? It offers the people of that society with more to do with their time (i.e. laboring) a foundation of a
moral code. You see, societies are not ideal things. They are made up of many different people. One would even say a vast majority of individuals
who make up societies are poor, under-educated laborers. That is why religion has been called the opiate of the masses. It gives people who can't
be burdened with these thoughts, a foundation of conduct.
Marx referred to religion as the "Opiate of the masses" as a criticism of the institution, referring to its tendency to make people into unthinking,
unfeeling blockheads who just shuffle around without ever living. Hard to be alive when your entire belief system only matters when you die, after
The cure to poverty and poor education is certainly not a book of make-believe being pimped by a parasitic class of men in dresses and funny hats
Ah, but back to the topic. When a person in the United States reaches athiesm, yes, reaches, it is a far step of self analysis that even most
in the mainstream religion will never attempt. This has involved questioning, identifying and ultimately rebelling against the mainstream religion
they themselves have come from.
Saying "No, you're wrong" isn't actually an act of rebellion.
They come to this enlightened naivete by saying, "I, who am intelligent enough to self analyze and define myself, have reached atheism.
Everyone should be an atheist." But not everyone can. You see, there is a difference between the atheist who has reached atheism, and the atheist
who would be gifted atheism in the absence and abhorrance of a religion. You say, "Well, I believe that cutting other people with a knife is wrong,
because when I cut myself it hurts." You falsely try to assert that other individuals, left to their own devices to create a moral compass of their
own would come to the same conclusion as you. You, who have self-analyzed, who can self-analyze, are not those who deny a religion and all tenets in
it without real knowledge of what that religion was trying to accomplish or control.
Thing is, people aren't left to their own devices. Every person is a part of some
society. All of these societies agree to a few basic things
- murder and assault are wrong, theft is wrong, etc. They agree to these principles not because of some magic book of hullabaloo, but because a group
of human beings just can't function if these constants are regularly violated. It has nothing at all to do with religion. In fact as i have pointed
out, it's often religion
that causes the violations of the "basic rules" in a society. Because religion allows for all sorts of clauses and
loopholes. "Jews killed Christ, so we can treat them how we like." "The Dalit are unclean because of their actions in a previous life; they are
below us in all ways." "Those people with only one god are morons, and we need to purge them before it spreads"
I say that Aleister Crowley said that in the new age, "Do what thou wilt shall be the rule of the law." Each individual's will shall be, to
that individual, their own law. The burden of proof, friend, the proof of an existence of agreed upon moral polemics amongst atheists rests with
Easy enough. Like I asked another; if it weren't for religion, would you be a mass-murdering cannibal-rapist? Aside from perhaps some unfortunate
people who do have a legitimate psychological defect, the answer has always been, "no, I would not be anything like that."
If you ask the Christian, the Jew, or the Muslim, much as you look down on them for the superstitious belief in an invisible God, where his or
her moral compass is, they need only hold up one book.
edit on 13-6-2011 by franklin555 because: Forgot a word.
Which one? Old Testament, New Testamant, Book of Mormon, Hadith, Sunnah, Koran, Talmud? King James, Douay Rheims, Warsh, Hafs, Ibn Dhakwan,
Babylonian, Jerusalem? Which books inside those books? Genesis, K'tuvim, The Jinn?