HOME   People do good because they are human, not because they are religious! 

Do not give God any credit for the good they do, they did it!

 

DON'T REJOICE IN A NECESSARY EVIL LIKE MORALITY

Objective morality means that it is a fact, not an opinion or theory, that feeding the starving is right and letting them starve is wrong. Objective morality is in other words saying that right is right no matter what people believe or think. It is not right to slap a baby even if the whole universe has no problem with it. You will notice that if somebody disagrees with objective morality, they should be forced to believe and conform. Why? Because nobody has the right to attack facts. In fact such force would be a priority.

Objective morality tells you never to reason, "What is good is what I like. What is bad is what I do not like." That is a repudiation of objective morality for morality is not about what you like or dislike. But it is obvious that most people do reason that way. Facts do not care and should not care what you want to believe.  Objective morality suffers from people pretending to believe in it.

Morality is a kind of law. You are told to do good or the best thing or suffer. It is thought that being immoral brings its own punishment and will bring upon you the punishment of disapproval and other horrible things from God or other people.

 

Objective morality takes the wrongness of selfishness as its basic principle.  To help another because you feel there is a moral standard that cannot be changed or which rules you so you have to cooperate with it is selfish.  Paradoxically helping a sick baby because you believe you should is still selfish.  Most would say it is both selfish and unselfish at the one time.  One way it is about you and another way it is not.  It is selfish to help a child if you know you will be condemned and harm yourself somehow if you do not.  And even more so if it is God doing it not just a law.


Religious and philosophical doctrines such as that evil tyrants and killers damage and hurt themselves more than their victims (bunkum taught by Socrates) are not helpful for they are clearly lies and nonsensical. They are based on wishful thinking. They are fundamental to moral theory which shows that morality is passive aggressive. Yet it could still be necessary. To digress, if the concept that Hitler damaged himself more than the people he had killed is important and essential to morality, then it follows that religions like Christianity that claim that the damage can be magicked away by spells or prayers or sacraments or indulgences from the pope are evil if their methods in fact do not work. Anyway it is obvious that to say that about Hitler is an insult to his victims.

No theory of right and wrong is universally accepted. Some theories say that "Love of God and of neighbour as yourself" is wrong for God cannot be that important and it is unnatural to look after a stranger as you would your own baby. Each religion has its own rules about right and wrong. Islam allows polygamy and Christianity forbids it. For a Muslim, the worst sin is not accepting the holy book the Koran as God's word. Other religions disagree. The differences between moral philosophies could be seen as a necessary evil. A moral philosophy is a necessary evil for we need it though it might be wrong. The danger is that religion can easily play on this problem to get people to be okay with evil. Catholics are okay with the murders commanded by Jesus in the Old Testament. Muslim's see at least some suicide bombers as heroic saints. Whatever they value morally or whatever moral rules they have, the worship them in the form of a God who preaches and represents them.

The Basic Values

The values everybody has to start off with are egoism, altruism and egotism. They are about your intention or intentions.

You either intend the best or you don't. What do you value then? If you have to do one or the other, is it really about value? Your intention is to do something not to value.

Egoism - you value using others to feel happy by doing good for them. Altruism - you give all for others and have no regard for yourself. Egotism - you use others for your own selfish ends. You can do one of these. But each one has a dark side. Moral choices are rooted in them. Morality can be dark. It is always a necessary evil at best. Egoism, altruism and egotism claim to be necessary evils. People only embrace one of them because they think they are necessary evils. Even if people choose the wrong one and thus choose an unnecessary evil, the fact remains that they pay homage to the notion that they need a necessary evil.

Suppose that egoism and altruism and egotism are all necessary evils. Then it is not just the bad side of egoism, altruism and egotism that makes morality a necessary evil. It is a necessary evil in other ways as well.

Jesus Christ said you must love God for his own sake and be willing to give up all for his sake. Thus you are to be 100% altruistic towards God. Imagine that you have to be altruistic to God or man and there is no alternative. It has to be one or the other. Clearly then Jesus' teaching says you must choose God. When you help man it is not about helping man but pleasing God. Belief in God is extremist then in this way. It is extremist in this implication.

Valuing Principles

Believers in morality disagree on what to value in terms of principle:

Some say it is whatever has the most love in it - situation ethics.

Some say it is the consequences - some form of Utilitarianism.

Some say that principles have to be respected regardless of the good or bad results. For example, avarice is always a sin. This is moral absolutism.

Those all agree that morality is objective and is more than just opinion. The last option is the denial of objective morality.

Some say my morality is true for me and yours is true for you - this is relativism.

Every single point has a good and bad side. Each one implies that it is a necessary evil.

It is a necessary evil that we have to choose one for it is not clear which one is the best. You cannot really be sure which ones are unnecessarily evil or necessarily evil.

And if you have the right to choose, you cannot complain if somebody is a Utilitarian one minute and a relativist the next. This problem is intrinsic and is the reason why the choice can be abused by changing all the time. The next abuse is how somebody could pretend to be choosing a moral value such as absolutism and using his freedom to choose as an excuse for doing what he believes to be wrong. It dis-empowers others from challenging him.

Situation Ethics

Situation ethics teaches that there is no rule but love. If a tyrant rules the nation and you suspect he is going to enact genocide laws situation ethics say that you can ignore the command not to murder. It says it is love to kill him. It sees commandments such as "You shall not commit adultery" as tyrannical and holds that sometimes the most loving thing is to break them.

If situation ethics is a necessary evil, then the reasons are that it gives you too much freedom and gives the bad person the chance to use love as a cover for doing evil. And if you cannot love everybody what then? And what if if you hate and still end up doing as much good as you would if you loved? That can happen.

Consequentialism/Utilitarianism

The notion that if you are judging some action as immoral you must look at the consequences. If they are bad then it is probably immoral.

Hitting somebody because you intend to give them huge compensation after is not wrong if consequentialism is true. This is hypothetical.  But it still shows that in principle most people have the principle in their hearts though they will not admit it.

Life is hard and unfair. God supposedly makes it up to you after death. The notion that you must get compensated in the afterlife is the ultimate reason why people believe in God. It is sick. But it is based on the idea that it is okay for God to torment you and let evil happen to you as long as he makes it up later. That is a form of consequentialism. Some will say, "But it is better to do good to the people and still give them the good things you would give them to compensate the evil they suffer." But if consequentialism is true, is the point they make really that important? If a god commands wars and genocide but not suicide bombings are the suicide bombers really that wrong? They are wrong but how wrong are they? A little perhaps. Besides all consequentialists agree with doing harm for a greater good so they cannot complain if God does the same thing. Most people most of the lean towards consequentialism no matter what they say. The way they think and act proves it. People then are guilty until proven innocent when they allege that they do not agree with a God hurting people to make it up to them afterwards. Perhaps there is a great Heaven waiting for you if you ruin your life here for God.

If the consequences are more important than the means however painful then surely we should assume that people who do bad things actually mean well and we must wait to see how it all plays out before deciding they have done right or wrong? Obviously the answer is yes if there is no God. And the answer is a bigger yes if there is a God who brings good out of evil. The morality is dangerous and God makes it worse.

Moral Absolutism/Virtue

Virtue is in being not doing. If you are a good being your actions will be good as a result. So what you are is really all that matters.

Thus virtue is a necessary evil. It is evil for it cares about what you are more than about those who suffer and who need help. It means that if evil is that which should not be allowed to exist then the person who is evil should be destroyed. The person who says they do not believe that anybody is evil is still saying that hypothetically if there are evil people they should be killed.

Virtue ethics is behind the assumption say that you must not have sex outside marriage even if you are doing it to earn money to save yourself from dying from cancer. It is the ground of absolutism.

Moral standards must serve a human need. If they do not then they are insisted upon for their own sake. It is just keeping rules for the sake of the rules. This would be arbitrary. Arbitrary rules and morals only lead to rebellion and resentment. Absolutism has a knack for making rules look un-arbitrary when they actually are. No sane or thinking person thinks you are better off refraining from the sex than enduring cancer. Absolutism gets its power and influence through people who don't think enough or who don't want to.

Absolutism that considers consequences is not absolutism at all. It would mean that the rule that adultery is always wrong can at least in theory be deliberately broken by a moral person if the results seem to be worth it.

Objective Morality

Objective morality means that morality is not just opinion. It is real. Stealing is not wrong because it is forbidden or does harm but it is just wrong.

Objective morality resides in persons and is about persons and not God. Those who say it is in God cannot say why it should be in God. They might suggest it is because of his almighty power or his perfect goodness or both. But objective morality is best grounded in somebody who is trying to be good with imperfect tools.

Religion tries to make out that objective morality means a value system that is validated or enforced by some entity such as God. When you are the one that has to judge if the value system from God really is from him clearly morality and values are ultimately grounded in you not God.

Those who say their morality is not their view but God's are passing the buck and lying. If morality is hard to establish as objective, we must realise that those who base faith in morality on lies are bigger enemies of morality than their rivals. They make their morality contradict itself. It is better to be fuzzy on why morality is objective than to resort to breaking that morality in order to further that morality. The first is trying to accept the morality and the second is not. The second offers hypocrisy dressed up as morality.

Moral Relativism

Religion is guilty of moral relativism. Hinduism teaches it explicitly but Christianity prefers to practice moral relativism while condemning it and pretending it refuses to have anything to do with it. Anybody who says it is right for a young boy to be killed by God and sent to Hell forever to be punished for thirty seconds of masturbation is a relativist of the worst kind.

A relativist religion or ideology can only be recognised by the results it has or if it admits what it is. Relativism is the reason a good religion can produce an alarming number of fanatics and terrorists. They are nourished and encouraged by the toxin of relativism which is so easily mistaken for a lovely soft drink.

Relativism might say that morality is just opinion. If that is all morality is then it is a necessary evil. And it will still cause much pain. Relativism promises a tolerant society but never delivers. The relativist has opened the door to calling somebody who opposes infanticide a bigot and intolerant.

Relativism is the biggest religious view in the world. Somehow it argues that if you think or believe something to be right or wrong then it really becomes right or wrong. That is as bizarre as what the Catholic Church says about the bread and wine at Mass that they become Jesus without physically changing. Relativism contradicts itself for if something is made right or wrong by your opinion then what happens when you change your mind?
God rubs it in!

Voluntarism is the view that you get your moral standards from how God behaves. For example, if he helps the poor that means you should do the same. It talks about what God does not what he is.

Essentialism is the view that you get your standards and moral values from the KIND of being God is. If God is love you have to be love as well.

People say you have free will to see if you will obey God's will or disobey. If you have to do one or the other, is it really about value? Your intention is to do something not to value.

Moral believers hold that you should suffer and pay if you break the rules. A morality with no price is not a morality. Moral believers agree with you being hurt in order to stop you hurting God. If they don't, they don't understand that they should.

It is a short step then to moral terrorism. If the terrorism does not happen, then that is down to other variables. It is not down to your faith.

Morality has risks in an atheist worldview.

Those risks are inflated unnecessarily and excessively in a godly worldview. Eg you are condemned as a threat to morality unless you agree that God and objective morality go together so that there isn't one without the other. Plus it means that doing wrong not only hurts the other person but God too! There is no concern for innocent until proven guilty. Nobody says, "I will not accuse you of offending God when I am not sure enough there is one".

Altruism is sacrificing and ignoring your wellbeing for others. The altruist could commit suicide so that others may have her organs and live. Altruism is intrinsically open to such behaviour and the altruist who denies this is a liar. But if you are going to be altruistic, it is better to be altruistic for people and then animals. Being altruistic to God is terrible and stupid and disgusting. And yet you are expected to be fully altruistic where he is concerned!

These risks and implications show that a morality based on God then is not really a morality.

As Nietzsche taught, being moral leads to the temptation to bully those who differ from your standards or fall short. You end up willingly or unwillingly distorting the truth in order to stigmatise them.

Even if God were the same as objective morality, could he reveal it to man considering we are going to use it as a crutch for we hate morality and have to force ourselves to give it any honour? No.

Morality is not something to be celebrated as manifestation of God if it is a necessary evil and the element of force makes it a necessary evil. Necessary evils are to be done but not revelled in. Man is crafty and nasty so man's morality is going to contain some of that human toxicity too. For man to glorify the morality he creates by saying it is God is the ultimate in arrogance. The humble man of God is a servant of pride. His humility is fake. Using God to glorify moral values and moral commands is celebrating necessary evil and it is an unnecessary evil to celebrate it. It is immoral.
 
Moralism is oppressive. The strict moralist hates liberals. The liberal moralist hates anybody strict. As morality has one hideous ingredient, force, it will always range from charming passive aggression to outright hate. If we all live long enough, our moralism will turn us into tyrants. The crave for power is never satisfied. It may look for a little extra power at a time or a lot but look it will.

When force is one of the ingredients of morality, anybody who tries to use God or anything more "real" is reinforcing and increasing the pressure.

With morality, people valuing kindness means little if they don't know how to be kind. So it is better to benefit the world by accident than to be kind and make a mess.

Christianity says our heads are impaired due to original sin so we cannot discern good from bad very well. If our own sinfulness demonstrates our incapacity to judge rightly then that means we will often put forward bad as good. We will do that with God too. And we do!

God being identified with morality makes new "necessary" evils

Christians hold that God tells us what is righteous.

They say that he does more than that - righteousness is him. It is his character. So Christians argue that God’s rules are not just rules but show us what God is like. For example, "Feed the poor" shows that he is kind. His qualities will always be more important than the rules for there can be no rules without them.

God is innately fair and good and kind. These qualities exist because God exists. God did not invent them or create them. They are not rules but qualities. God does not have rules for himself. He can make rules for us so that we can see what he is like through the rules. For example, he commands us to love for he is love.

Being righteous does not require you to make rules. You reveal righteousness to attract people to it. Religion is just trying to turn rules into God and hide it.

The religious say that God cannot command just whatever he likes - he cannot tell you to feed your baby to the dog just for fun. God is innately righteous and moral and sensible.

Is it a necessary evil that God cannot command what he likes? Is it a pity that he cannot command us to do that to the baby? Yes and no. It is evil that you cannot and should not command what you like. That bit is bad. But it is good that you must not cross that line. That bit is good.

Hypothetically, if God wants to command you to do that to the baby he should. Hypothetically, if it is right to kill the baby for fun you should and he should. Every real statement goes along with a pile of hypothetical ones. It invites them. It does not change the fact that in your heart you would do evil if it were hypothetically good. It still says something about you. The hypothetical makes everything you do and think and say a necessary evil.

Conclusion

Morality is not a heart-warming set of guidelines but a threatening mixture of rules and principle with a necessarily evil side. Morality can be dark and scary. Do not put the stamp of glory on it by celebrating it. It is to be followed but not divinised or adored. And no matter how lovely it looks your embrace of it is an invitation to evil in its hypothetical form into your heart. If you want to change the world, you have to challenge bad or flawed morality with candour and compassion. When people try to fuse God, the supreme authority, and morality together they are trying to give morality a reinforcing it does not need. Given that morality necessarily has a nasty side, we see they are going out of their way to reinforce it too.