Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Where does morality come from?

The answer to the above question is so utterly obvious to most people, yet there are some who insist that the Invisible Sky Daddy is the being who instituted ethics and morality, and without this morality we would immediately devolve into murdering one another for fun. The ones who believe that they could not hurt others without their faith in religion are the ones who really worry me.

In short, the answer to the above question is this: as humans, we generally don't dig it if someone murders us, rapes us, steals from us or burns our house to the ground. So as a society we have, over time, agreed to not do this to one another (because if I do it to you, you then can do it to me), and have decided to punish those who transgress anyway. We don't need God in order to understand this. We're not born understanding right and wrong--it comes as a result of being able to think and reason and understand that if I do this to that person, than he can turn around and do it to me, and I don't want that done to me, so I'd better not do that to him. This is the simplified idea of a society with law and order. Even animals do this.

But if you still believe that morality comes from God, then you must ask yourselves the next questions. Which God from which religion, and from which flavor of a particular religion? Is it Zeus you follow? Mithra? Jesus? Allah? Yahweh? If Christianity is your religion of choice, who is your leader?--Joseph Smith, Martin Luther, Benedict XVI? And if you've chosen Christianity, you need to justify why you've chosen one church over the other. If you've chosen Catholicism over Anglicanism, or Southern Baptist over Mormonism, it must be because you believe that your particular choice has it more right than any other. But why? Didn't you exercise your own intellect and come to that observation yourself? Either way, you still make some choices on morality based on your own reasoning.

Christopher Hitchens makes a rather simple and eloquent statement about the origin of morality, and I'm going to share it now.

"Answer me this if you think morality comes from the supernatural and we require celestial dictatorship permission for it. Name me a moral action committed by a believer, or a moral statement or an ethical statement uttered by one, that could not be made or uttered by a non-believer....If I was to ask anyone in this room, however, could they name a wicked action performed or a vile statement made by someone attributable only to their religious faith, there isn't a single person here who'd have to hesitate for a second in discovering what that was and saying it."

In addition to this idea, there could be volumes of books written on the many reasons why "God" is actually quite immoral, but that's a whole other post entirely (or several). What Hitchens successfully says is that if murder/theft/rape/etc is inherently wrong as prohibited by God, why can both a believer and non-believer agree on this? Why can obscure aboriginal tribes come to this conclusion without so much as hearing of Jesus or Allah or Yahweh? Because basic, fundamental morality is universal and a common desire to all human beings.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Vatican Rag

A friend of mine sent this to me and it's just wonderful:

It's fucking brilliant:

Get in line in that processional,
Step into that small confessional,
There, the guy who's got religion'll
Tell you if your sin's original.
If it is, try playin' it safer,
Drink the wine and chew the wafer,
Two, four, six, eight,
Time to transubstantiate!

I might be Tom Lehrer fan now.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Vintage Breeder Propaganda!

Riiiiiight. Cause it's always so wonderful like that! I'd love to hear the real story as told from the mother's perspective who has to cook, clean, brush the kids' hair and shuffle them to their activities. The best part is the comments:

"My cousin and her husband have 7 children! I wish to have 8!"

Destroy the earth! Never consider adoption! God wants you to have more babies!! Spawn, spawn, spawn!

"There are enormous graces and blessings bestowed upon the large Catholic family"

What blessings are these, exactly? I don't see much difference from the large Catholic family to the large Islamic family or the large Mormon family. God must have forgotten that he only blesses Catholics who squirt out a baby every 9 months.

Keep on swallowing the Kool-Aid, people.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Rapture and the Great Atheist Bonfire

Only 109 days left until the rapture--are you ready? If you're not part of God's elect, you'll not only not be sucked up into heaven on May 21, 2011, but left to burn to a crisp on October 21. Atheists, gather your marshmallows; it's going to be one hell of a bonfire for us this fall.

MSNBC has a little article on these final days, revolving around Army veteran Marie Exley. This devout believer has moved from her home in Colorado to work for California-based Family Radio Worldwide and says, "... we're commanded by God to warn people. I wish I could just be like everybody else, but it's so much better to know that when the end comes, you'll be safe."

...right. It's fascinating to me to see otherwise intelligent people believing this malarky so wholeheartedly. What will they think when May 21 comes and goes? Perhaps they'll think they weren't saved and Jesus secretly raptured his holy ones as we heathens report in the news that Nothing Important Happened Today.

Allison Warden, of Raleigh, has been helping organize a campaign using billboards, postcards and other media in cities across the U.S. through a website, We Can Know. The 29-year-old payroll clerk laughs when asked about reactions to the message, which is plastered all over her car. "It's definitely against the grain, I know that," she said. "We're hoping people won't take our word for it, or Harold Camping's word for it. We're hoping that people will search the scriptures for themselves." Camping, 89, believes the Bible essentially functions as a cosmic calendar explaining exactly when various prophecies will be fulfilled.

Sorry, Allison, but people who really read the Bible usually can recognize it for the immoral, inconsistent babble that it is.

"Beyond the shadow of a doubt, May 21 will be the date of the Rapture and the day of judgment," [Camping] said.

Mhmm, sure. *yawn*

"If May 21 passes and I'm still here, that means I wasn't saved. Does that mean God's word is inaccurate or untrue? Not at all," Warden said.

Or... it could mean that it was a bunch of hokus pokus in the first place. There's an idea! How does one go about not being saved anyway? Isn't it supposed to be rather simple, ask Jesus into your heart as your personal Lord and Savior? Seems hard to get wrong.