Internet Goosing the Antithesis

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Moral Responsibility vs Christianity part 1

Morality has been my main topic since this blog started. In September and October, I explored the issue of how morality develops naturally and how Christianity clashes with that development. In November, and then on sporadically, I've looked at the issue of Christian morality from a memetic perspective. In January, I went on the offensive and discussed how to neutralize the Christian moral threat.

Since I've been saying all along that Christianity's most immediate and devastating consequence, and the main reason why we should fight against monotheism in general, is the loss of moral responsibility, perhaps it would be interesting to look at how this works.

Moral responsibility is the virtue of taking one's actions in one's own hands - that is to say, taking decisions based on one's personal values, not anyone else's, and taking the merit or blame derived from them. The opposite is to live in a state of cognitive dependence - letting other people or doctrines decide for us, and putting the merit or blame on these exterior elements instead of oneself.

When we mature, we gain the understanding that other individuals have their own minds, with their own values and opinions. We also gain the ability of understanding and dealing with this fact, being able to live side by side with, while not necessarily liking, people with different systems of value. We also learn tolerence and compassion for other people, through empathy and intermingling. These are some of the natural virtues we gain at the second level.

Moral responsibility is essential because the individual alone possesses the natural virtues needed to spark moral behaviour, as well as the capacity to validate his decisions based on proper and contextual reasoning. An exterior source cannot impart either. Therefore, to rely on such sources is to both reject our natural virtues and to reject the possibility of proper justification and standards of evidence.

What does this mean concretely ? Deliberate murder, war, terrorism, are only possible if a person rejects his natural virtues and rejects standards of evidence - and sees other human beings as tools to sacrifice for a greater ideal. While religion is certainly not needed to do this (other belief systems or simple beliefs can do just as well), religion and government are the most common corrupting belief system (the topic of government, of course, is already covered by my other blog).

So what these belief systems do, is to override these natural safeguards and understandings in our minds and use our capacity for evil for their own utilitarian good (which translates to : the unbridled interests of the religious leaders and the survival of their institutions). I've looked at the memetic aspects of this in "Memetics and Christianity", so I won't get into them again.

And after all, the doctrines of Christianity are supposed to apply to everything and everyone, therefore it has an infinite scope. Christianity tells us that we are all sinners, without exceptions, all worthless without religion. This is even more dangerous than, say, simple racist beliefs which hold that people with a skin of some hue are inferior to people of a different hue. Christianity is universal dehumanization.

In the second part, I look at the different ways in which Christianity destroys moral responsibility.

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At 2/08/2006 8:21 AM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

This is true- the Christian assault on morality is double-edged. On the one hand, it robs Christians of the ability to form their own values, and on the other, it precludes them from the ability to follow even its own rules.

At 2/12/2006 9:18 PM, Blogger robdashu declaimed...

Moral responsibility is not enough to assure rational or reasonable behavior. Leaving moral questions to be decided by the actors alone likely leads to chaos. You probably project your belief system on the majority [you think most people are as reasonable as you]. Don't count on it. Self-aggrandizement [be the king of the hill], and aquisitiveness [the urge to aquire stuff] are very strong drives.

At 2/21/2006 1:03 AM, Blogger Jessie Speer declaimed...

My thoughts about individualism. Note: It has taken much unlearning for me to be able to question the sacred status that individualism holds in Western secularism, and I would like to hear your reaction, as you have obviously given much thought to the topic. Forgive the string of questions...

Who should I put more philosophical faith in: myself, an individual who has been brainwashed by my given society, has limited reasoning capacities, and an even more limited life span in which to apply those capacities, or a society of thousands that has collectively, over centuries of years, developed a system of morality that creates a working whole? Yes, that working whole is bound to be ridiculously flawed. But it is a work in progress. Does it make sense to throw the baby out with the bathwater and start anew trying to develop a completely personal moral philosophy? Further, is it even possible to throw the baby out completely? Aren’t we automatically conformed to societal values by virtue of being raised in society? Even if we do manage to do so, and come up with what we regard as a brilliant moral philosophy that fits together nicely and appropriately diverges from the norm of our culture, how will we apply it? Doesn’t morality necessitate community and social framework ?

I feel that the better way of developing one’s philosophy does not involve abandoning societal wisdom. This does not mean we’re stuck in a quagmire void of progression. This means we have a ground, a starting point from which to criticize. An example: The US constitution is in many ways a fucked up peice of writing. But it is being used now by a few progressive lawyers across the nation to further change. These lawyers would be unable to make any impact if they did not take into account the society’s historical morality. America was based on many wonderful ideals. Our acceptance of these does not imply our acceptance of America’s racism and colonialism, etc.

To say that individualism is the highest goal and that conformity is primitive is to say that Western values are superior to non-Western values. Individualism is American (and has now spread due to American commercial imperialism). Most people on this planet are believers in tradition. Your arguments about moral individualism would seem to imply that someone who cherishes traditional morality over personal morality is less philosophically developed. Are small villages in Vietnam and Morocco full of depressed moral-slaves who conform merely because they do not have the luxury of higher thought? Is it the athiest individualist’s duty to introduce this philsophically primitive globe to the beauty of individualistic thought? Hmmm… these seems somehow reminiscient of the Christian missionary’s world view.

It is possible for people to make a morally sophisticated choice to follow tradition, and to worship the same entity and believe in the same stories as the community to which they belong. In fact, that seems downright sensible. Ego isn’t everything, and I think I’d rather look to society and community for moral advice rather than only relying upon my own limited worldview all the time.

(Forgive the *snappish* tone at the end. I got carried away with my argument. I really would love to hear your response)

At 12/19/2007 4:47 PM, Blogger declaimed...

This is the wrap up from your article: And after all, the doctrines of Christianity are supposed to apply to everything and everyone, therefore it has an infinite scope. Christianity tells us that we are all sinners, without exceptions, all worthless without religion. This is even more dangerous than, say, simple racist beliefs which hold that people with a skin of some hue are inferior to people of a different hue. Christianity is universal dehumanization.

WOW! You really missed the mark on this one! Christianity does advocate we are all flawed and fall short of God's perfection... yes that is a true statement! However, you are TERRIBLY flawed in your statement that Christianity says that all men are worthless without religion! Religion is manmade and thus flawed! Christianity advocates that we are all worthless without God!

Your characterization of Christianity is lame in its supposition. Yes there have been religious fanatics who have done many terrible things and they have pinned God's name on them... but to judge all of Christianity by those people is throwing the baby out with the bathwater! It is flawed logic!

Of course, I understand and realize that this is an issued of faith. Faith, by its very nature is belief without seeing...and its seems as if you are not a person of faith. However, you would lump me (a Christian) into the intolerent crowd and jump to the conclusion that I am intolerant of you and your views! I may disagree, and I heartily do so, but I am not intolerant of them! You have the right to speak them, just as I have the right to speak the truth in love! You may not believe what I have to say, but it does not keep it from being the TRUTH... I pray that God will convey Himself to you and that you would come to know His salvation and grace as I have... not under compulsion but out of surrender to Him... the Creator of all things!



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