Date: May 28, 2007
This selection from “In Self Defense: The Life and Times of An Atheist BoyLover…Memoirs and Ethos”, has been narrated by Rocco White. Please enjoy the listen, or read along if you like…or need to.
“Atheism as a philosophy cannot account for a moral law, and thus opens the door to atrocities.”
This is an old debate…I’ve experienced it, first hand, a few times.
I trust you are aware…Christianity has not been around forever…but, is roughly, a few thousand years old…so long as we accept the accounts of historical records, including the bible itself…and those of the christian church…among various others, I expect.
As an atheist, I have been told, “point blank”, that there is no basis for my morals, because I am not performing acts, within the tone of some type of mysticism. I am not living to promote mystical beliefs, through my actions or words, so…I’m guessing, the implication, was that by living a life of good moral code, I was “defaulting” to what is supposed by many, to be a “christian” moral code.
I supposedly, have no foundation, or excuse to be good, on my own, by myself…as though, nothing at all anchors me…I guess, it was presumed, I’m not crafty, or intelligent enough, to figure out such “complex” things…
Relativity, is a concept which deeply offends many Christians, for some reason…and yet, if you look around you, and are aware…you will see that it is, everywhere in this world, a fact of life…a fact of our very being.
Many different moral codes have existed, within the many different cultures, that have come and gone, and still exist on our planet. No culture is perfect, yet, many have thrived. Some have had very, very different outlooks, on social issues…how to treat minorities (popular, or not)…how one commonly lives…and so forth…
Morality, is relative, to the context of the culture, in which you live…because, it is that cultures moral code, on which you, as an individual, will be raised, starting from zero, and building an entire understanding of the world around you. Some will see things differently in the long run, but, most will accept and embrace the cultural norms, because of the inertia (momentum of social pressure) of cultural moral, and the pack mentality of the human species.
Moral codes and ethics, are not born out of atheism…that is true…but they are neither born out of Christianity, or any other religion…or, any construct of religion (i.e. the “god” concept).
They (at least the good moral codes) are born, from understanding, empathy, mutual respect and the desire for a good life.
Moral codes, including whatever good or bad ones Christianity happened to adopt, predated Christianity…just as they predated any belief in “i am”, the god of Abraham.
…In fact, Christianity (in its’ many, morphing forms), is a product, of the environments, in which it has existed…why else, does one suppose, that there are commandments to stone disobedient children to death, and things of this type? It is because, the culture which originally fashioned Christianity, was (and some would say, still is) barbaric, and inhumane…at least, in some regards.
For me…my “excuse” for being kind, giving and helpful to others, comes from a broader understanding of life, and community support.
I’m not motivated by some mystical carrot…Instead, I am motivated because I logically understand, that if I do nothing to help others in their time of need, then I deserve no help in my time of need.
I am not terrorized by threats of eternal burning, should I refuse to obey the human dictated demands of a mystical creature…Instead, I know that if I fail others, those others may no longer be there…my well being, is tied to their well being…
Violence begets violence…Violence hurts all…I don’t need a mystical creature to tell me this…
Lies and cheating beget instability and distrust…I don’t need a mystical creature to tell me this…
Hate and anger beget sickness…I don’t need a mystical creature to tell me this…
Doing good things for others enriches your life, and makes you feel good…I don’t need a mystical creature to tell me this…
I do not march across the road, to my neighbors house, beat down the door, and throw a boiling pot of grease into his face…because, I expect others not to do the same to me.
…This logic makes sense…yes?…
Perhaps, you, or many like you, require the threat and demand of a mystical creature, to prevent you from scolding your unsuspecting neighbors with boiling grease…but, for many others of us, it is simply a matter of common sense.
…I guess I’m not as unsophisticated, and dimwitted, as my previous adversaries anticipated, after all…because, I somehow managed to figure this out, on my own…
…or, maybe it is just that logic has always been the foundational basis of truthfully sound, moral decisions.
Religion does not hold the patent on morality…it never did…and no, it did not create morality…human consciousness did that.
Religion merely adopted what was already there.