User Tag List

123 Last

Results 1 to 10 of 21

  1. #1
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    MBTI
    INTP
    Enneagram
    5w6 so/sx
    Posts
    3,467

    Default God, Public Morality and Evolution

    God, Public Morality and Evolution.


    I.What is God?

    God is traditionally referred to as a being who is ominpotent, omniscient and omnipresent. Granted the qualities he seems to be endowed with, one cannot help but wonder if he is a person. It is said that he gets jealous when others elect their personal goals over worshipping him or even worse chose the path of Satan. He also smiles in great joy when we do his bidding and finds himself in a state of dysphoria when we do not. He also keeps a close watch over each and everyone one of our deeds, as it has been often said the Holy Ghost judges all things at all times. This seems very reminiscent of how we expect our parents, police officers and office directors to behave. Yet one may wonder, all of those positions are occupied by ordinary people. We know better than to think them infallible and omnibenevolent, irrespectively of how much they would like for us to think of them that way. Essentially, if God is a person, could he truly be omnibenevolent. As David Hume has pointed out in the Dialogues of Natural Religion, if God truly is a person, what reason do we have to suppose that he is a good person. It sounds far more likely that his character would be more resemblant of an average person in this world, which is far from omnibenevolent or even benevolent at all. Even if we give this figure the greatest benefit of the doubt possible and assume him to be the best a person can possibly be, he still will fall far short of omnibenevolence. Could we truly conceive of an idea where the essence of personhood, or the character of a simple human being be reconciled with the notion of all goodness?

    Any student of human nature shall deem for this notion to be hardly credible. As we know people tend to possess qualities that are rather undesirable, irrespectively of how much they strive to purge them from their character. The truth of the matter seems to be that those qualities simply cannot be removed from the general essence of our make-up. As even the most admirable of our spiritual and ethical leaders were often destitute of many qualities of character. Consider Mother Theresa who is often deemed to be the paragon of compassion. This, no doubt, may have been an important drive in her life, to be kind-hearted to others. Yet even in this one respect, she has often fallen short, as it is well known now that there were many instances where she has been observed to behave in a decidely non-compassionate manner. What about her virtue of religiosity? It is also well known that her faith was far less stellar than it appeared to be. Can we truly regard religiosity as one of her virtues? Yet for the sake of this topic, we should note that the exhortation on mother theresa to be as virutous as possible led her to merely pay lip service to be regarded as virtuous.



    We shall concede that Mother Theresa, as a human being, was far from perfect, however, one is tempted to ask. What if in the future, there will be a person who pursued the same endeavors as Mother Theresa, but was much superior to her in all ways. Such a person would always behave in a compassionately and stay true to his teaching. Yet again, just because he has cultivated those qualities of his character, can we truly expect him to excell at all things? It is well known that people who tend to be compassionate often struggle with logical analysis and objectivity. Hence, this is Jung's celebrated demarcation between the Thinking and the Feeling type. Certainly one can master both of those aspects and be both compassionate and analytical, however, if one insists on being close to impeccable at one of the two, it is highly likely that his other side shall be wanting. One can be very good at both, though manifestly far from impeccable. In the situation where perfection will be demanded from him, he will be forced to create an image thereof without ensuring that the image is supported by the substance within his character. He will do so because the heavy demands of perfection will greatly outweigh his inner quests. Without a doubt, in such a case the person will be far more conscious of his image than of his character.

    If a man cannot attain all perfections as we say, if he embarks upon this endeavor, he likely will greatly neglect certain aspects of his character that oppose activities that he specializes in. Can one attain perfection in the single endeavor he specializes in? As for example, can one truly be a paragon of compassion or a paragon of logical analysis. Could an individual like Aristotle truly be the perfect logician, and an individual like Mother Theresa be a perfect nurturer. To answer this question we should clearly define what we understand for perfection of moral qualities to be. If we had an omniscient view of the scenario where we can observe Aristotle correctly solve all of the logic problems he is presented with and Mother Theresa behave compassionately in every case that has befallen her---could we call these two individual perfect in their craft?

    What if Mother Theresa thinks about how much she hates the people that she is assisting whilst donating all of her financial resources to charity and spending all of her time taking care of the poor. Can we still call her compassionate? What if Aristotle has some mystical, intuitive method of solving logic problems. Could we still call him a good logician? Essentially, when we see someone do kind deeds, we can conclude that this person merely appears to be compassionate. But in order to see if that is true, we must inquire into the true compelling causes of their actions, or look at their inner being. Thus, an external output cannot be equated with the quality of one's character. We may argue that good people do good deeds, and character always manifests itself externally--whatever the character may be. However, we should note that people who are good, are to be thought of as good not because they do good deeds, but because we've examined their character and have recognized the true inner goodness within them. It would be naive to claim that character always shows itself. As we know con men and politicians make a practice of leading individuals to believe that their character is different from what it truly is for the purpose of attaining personal gain. If we cannot turn to one's deeds to examine the nature of the person's character, what can we turn to then?


    One shall say, if we get to know an individual intimately and perform a very careful scrutiny of his character we would be able to see what inheres within them and how this compares to the image he exudes. We often will notice quite the striking discrepancy between what he is on the inside and how others think he is. As he is often forced to wear certain masks in the conventional society in order to get what he wants. A concrete example of this would be in regards to how one will often strive to convince others that he has the qualities that he needs to have in order to be socially accepted, whilst disregarding the absence of such qualities in his character. Lets suppose, however that upon careful examination of such a person we notice great compassion within him or great aptitude for logical analysis. Can this person be omni-compassionate or omni-logical. Or in other words, are his motives for thinking logically or emoting compassionate always pure and undiluted? The answer is essentially no, because he has other concerns to take care of besides those. As essentially his compassion and analytical skills are intimately intertwined with qualities of character that run contrary to those two. As for example, a person can be pure at heart for one incident that he comes across, yet also, without realizing this or not, he will also have concerns for his own security, or other tasks that require him to behave in a fashion incompatible with the essence of pure compassion. Same can be said for logical analysis as the person solving the problem of logic, cannot devote his whole being to this single activity as he inevitable has other concerns to take care of. Therefore he cannot be all-logical.

    Therefore if God is a person he is not omnibenevolent. Such a depiction is hyperbolic at best. Noone should be expected to meet the standard of perfection, because when such expectations are imposed on the individual he will be forced to pay lip service to the standard he is pressured to appease. God may be omniscient, as it is possible for a person to know all things. He cannot be omnipresent however, as personhood is necessarily a concrete notion. A Christian theologian can maintain that God may not be a person, but a personality. In this regard such a personality can be omniscient, omni-benevolent and omnipresent. Yet, one may wonder how we could attribute such qualities to a non-person. This is much similar to saying that rocks, trains and automobiles have personalities and because they remind us of certain qualities within ourselves, they can be omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent just like us. Such depictions at best reflect our restrained anthropomorphic biases. Restrained in the regard that here we do not quite depict such entities as typical people, but merely personified objects.

    Clearly, however, God is used to depict many spiritual notions that we tend not to have a distinct awareness of. It is often a symbol for the supreme goodness of the world, yet the anthropomorphic depictions of this notion, such as standard theism fall short of this noble notion. God is also commonly depicted as the symbol for supreme power, and for this reason his character often resembles that of the most influential rulers of the religions portraying such a God. As we see the God of Christianity resembled Jesus, the God of Islam resembled Muhammad, and respectively, the God of Judaism resembled Moses. We also notice how the ancient Greeks had many Gods in proportion to their many leaders. Yet Christians, Jews and Muslims whose societies were more organized and structured as well as had more clearly outlined leadership, often with one salient figure. As for instance, the emperor, or the Caliph had strong leniencies towards monotheism. There could hardly be a doubt that our eschatology much reflects our psychological tendencies. Very often, by studying a mythology or a theology of a civilization, we can learn much about that civilization. Very often, when we attempt to depict ideas that are highly complex, we translate them into concrete and simplistic terms. As for example, we attempt to depict the idea of infinite greatness with the symbol of a sublime and powerful person. As well as we attribute changes in weather to the wrath of an angry God. As Carl Jung has pointed out, very often in our studies of philosophy, science and theology, we find more evidence for how our minds work rather than for how the world itself works. We project ourselves onto what we see and in effect anthropomorphize all things. To avoid this, we should strive to attain as objective of an understanding of our external environment as possible. An example of such a practice would be when we see rain, we should rely strictly on our objective observations of this phenomenon. We should merely attempt to describe what we see in as objective of terms as possible. We should not associate this with our emotions, or use our personal biases to describe this phenomenon. The Buddhists subscribe to a belief in an impersonal God. Such a God has little to do with the god of standard theism. It is not a person and does not have any personal qualities. The notion in question is that of spirituality itself, or the perfection of mind. One may wonder why they were inspired to use such a term and the lurid semblance on the anthropomorphic God could not have been any more clear. This is also the tactic that Spinoza has adapted?veiling his pantheistic worldview under the facade of ?godness?, which he called God or Nature. Many, have pointed out that this is common-place atheism obfuscated in theological jargon. Rightly so, and we have good reasons to suspect that this was merely his attempt to promote his ideas to philosophers without incurring the interferences of bigoted Judeo-Christian theologians.

    Moses Maimonides who professed to be a standard theist argued that a personal god does indeed exist. Yet he also maintained that God is infinite and shares no human attributes. Yet, the common-place ignorant religious people must believe that he has human qualities in order to ensure their observance of the religious creed. This political approach was whole-heartedly embraced by our contemporary Leo Strauss who insisted on the permissibility of manipulating the ?vulgar? in order to promote the political agenda of importance to the wise. This is a Neo-Platonic notion germane to the noble lie. Yet the difference between the approach of Strauss and Plato is that the motives of the former were self-serving, yet the motives of the latter were paternalistic. Strauss was candid about the fact that the common-place folks are merely being manipulated and in the end they need not be benefited from this to any degree. Yet Plato argued that the common-place folk need to be lied to, as this will set both of their feet on the path to a higher good.

    Clearly, the notion of God, after having been taken out of its spiritual context and placed into the political has degenerated into a manifold of destitute notions. It has become a ponderous tool of corruption as well as spiritual and political chicanery. One may wonder why this has become the case, and as we have established in our discussion concerning the nature of prophecy. Even the noblest of ideas are easily corrupted once placed in the political context. As at that point, what is truly of importance would not be the ideas themselves, but merely how those ideas serve an external agenda. Their essence would be twisted to better fit the hollow practical interests of individuals manipulating such ideas.

    Thus, in the end God is best defined as the primary essence of spirituality, or the other world. Yet, could we have any knowledge of the other world? As we have established in the previous entries, our emanation theory seems to suggest otherwise. One may ask, what was the beginning of the universe. If A created B, what created A? A must be without a creator, as it could not have come from nothing. Therefore it must have always existed. If it has always existed, then it has no beginning. An entity that has no beginning, must also be without an end. This is the very definition of infinity. To be infinite and to be ubiquitous doubtlessly mean the same thing. Could we have access to the foremost essence of the universe? This would require that we have access to the infinite realm. In the infinite realm, there could not be time, space, or matter as everything would be without a beginning or an end. Yet our metrics of assessment of entities by definition of themselves presuppose a finite environment. Moreover, if we had access to this infinite essence, we would see all things as one, as this single infinite essence would occupy all things. But, we clearly see the universe in many attributes, therefore we know that we do not have access to the infinite realm. However, the world as we see it, is the way we incept such a realm, we translate the infinite into a finite apparatus of perception. This is the process of objectification of our unconscious perceptions which counter the infinite realm directly into the finite terms that we incept the world with. Thus, we are not capable of accessing God. Therefore when we speak of God, we necessarily talk of things of this world, as we are merely translating our unconscious perceptions into terms of conscious perceptions. Yet, because our unconscious perceptions are inaccessible, we necessarily confuse them for what is accessible. One may be inspired to act compassionately or bravely by his unconscious visions, but he certainly would be mistaken to claim that the particular act he has experienced is a direct manifestation of the spiritual transformation. Thus, it is a mistake to associate any particular deed of this world with the other world, as the other worldly essences do not depend on any external deed for legitimation. The external deeds, at best are numerous expressions thereof. They can express themselves in a myriad of other fashion that we?d be at a loss to depict with our concrete symbols.

    Is this an atheism? A negation of the personal god? By the depiction of the term God that we have in this case, that is certainly not the case. As we equate God not with an omnipotent person, but with the other world itself, or the quest for the other world. Yet, our culture notoriously equates atheism with the lack of belief in a personal god, rejection of public morality, hostility for the church and most of all materialism. In any case, are the moral charges against atheism justified? Should they be reviled as immoral materialists? Not at all, because materialism purports to show that an inner being is illusory only on the metaphysical level, yet this does not at all suggest that we can circumvent dealing with properties that we typically accrue to the mind. This is essentially the case to the extent that it is so with the problem of Free Will and Determinism. Our belief in theoretical determinism does not at all imply that we do not hold responsibility over our actions. As on the practical level, we always feel that we have free will. The only way this could be otherwise is if when we do not have a conscious awareness of our ability to make choices. Such a case would be reminiscent of a hypnosis or a coma. If materialism is to be applied on the practical level, it has to be shown that we are not aware of our minds and that the mind plays no role in our activity. This is not possible because it is only through the mind can we be made aware of any notion, or document any experience, even that of the material world. Clearly, this evinces the absurdity of the proposition that those who are either atheists or materialists value nothing that isnt material and incidentally have no inner being.

    In any case, are the moral charges against atheism justified? Should they be reviled as immoral materialists? Not at all, because materialism purports to show that an inner being is illusory only on the metaphysical level, yet this does not at all suggest that we can circumvent dealing with properties that we typically accrue to the mind. This is essentially the case to the extent that it is so with the problem of Free Will and Determinism. Our belief in theoretical determinism does not at all imply that we do not hold responsibility over our actions. As on the practical level, we always feel that we have free will. The only way this could be otherwise is if when we do not have a conscious awareness of our ability to make choices. Such a case would be reminiscent of a hypnosis or a coma. If materialism is to be applied on the practical level, it has to be shown that we are not aware of our minds and that the mind plays no role in our activity. This is not possible because it is only through the mind can we be made aware of any notion, or document any experience, even that of the material world. Clearly, this evinces the absurdity of the proposition that those who are either atheists or materialists value nothing that isnt material and incidentally have no inner being.
    Last edited by SolitaryWalker; 01-29-2008 at 11:55 AM.
    "Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." -- Mark Twain

    “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.”---Samuel Johnson

    My blog: www.randommeanderings123.blogspot.com/

  2. #2
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    MBTI
    INTP
    Enneagram
    5w6 so/sx
    Posts
    3,467

    Default

    II.Public Morality

    As we have established in our previous discussion, the essence of morality could not be extrapolated from one’s external deeds. It is the benevolent motives that make an individual good. External deeds, at best could be manifestations of his motives, however, there need not be a distinct connection between the two. Thus, when we open up our book of dogma. What is the foremost teaching? Love thy God, and Love Thy Neighbor as the auxiliary. Nearly all of the churches which we may confront seem to subscribe to these maxims, yet their interpretation of this teaching seems to be very different from the way Jesus has intended and inconsistent with the true path to higher morality. Essentially, as we have established in our previous section, the maxim of Love Thy God implies the search for another world. There could not be an exhortation to such a thing because this can only happen by virtue of an unconscious transformation. When we impose a concrete, external agenda on this, we lose the essence that we have been seeking. What then, could the Love Thy Neighbor maxim mean to us? This teaching should be interpreted allegorically, as we know that there ought not to be a concrete symbolization of the spiritual transformation. All we may know is that the transformation would manifest in an amorphous, mysteriously benign fashion, as this ought to lead to perfection of human nature through emendation of the mind. As after having been influenced by the unconscious force, the individual makes great steps towards the acquisition of inner peace. This should purge him of negative energy and therefore his motives will be less likely to become sinister. That is the necessary outcome of one having come across true morality. Or the true path to perfection of one’s inner nature.

    Yet, what does society lead us to believe for morality to be? Essentially, a good man is one who does good. Good seems to be arbitrarily defined by those in authority. Such a scenario is very common in many religious orthodox schools of thought. Divine Command theology has been a virulent malady in the Judeo-Christian schools of thought, especially Islam. Divine Command theology maintains as follows; good is what God says period. One may wonder if murder and rape, acts that we consider to be the most flagitious. A theist wriggles and would be tempted to say that God could not command such things because God is by definition good. Yet, little did he know that with this claim he has abandoned the divine command theory. As then he maintains that God would not command such things because he is good, yet good is a quality separable from his character. One that he has attained on his own endeavor. One may say that God by definition is good, yet this means that he merely parallels the quality of good, but good isn’t merely an arbitrary notion that seems to be favorable to his fiat.

    Public morality throughout the world seems to insist on the necessity altruism. Almost all cultures that stand to this day have this value, of course there are certain striking exceptions. As we have before noted, merely doing good for others does not equate to altruism. As the heart of altruism lies in having selfless motives. Whether or not such a thing is possible, is a question of whether we should embrace ethical egoism. This is a matter due for further consideration that we should not cover in this discussion, as this is a question of meta-ethics, and not directly relevant to public morality. However, even if we do embrace ethical egoism, we would still be forced to concede that acts of compassion genuinely gratify our inner being in a way that directly benefits others. No doubt, helping others does directly benefit them. But is this truly an act of altruism—a genuine consideration for the welfare of others. Or more so an act of compassion, a sense of sympathy for another person? If we maintain that virtue consists in simply doing the certain deeds, this is not at all the case. A conventional moralist may concede at this point and claim that he simply values the deeds of helping others. He sees such deeds as good because they help others directly. Then, we must ask, what are such person’s motives? Does he truly think about how the other person will be benefited through his deed? In such a case, it is the case that the deed itself does not show that the person may have motives of service of others, but after further investigation of this situation, we may discover for that to be true. In this case, he does have benevolent motives, and the conventional acts of courtesy are merely expressions of his motives. Yet public morality does not cover such lofty grounds. It does not tell us to be compassionate, it only tells us to behave compassionately for instance. How is this justified? Because it has been vouched for by the proper authority, much like with the Divine Command clause. The question to ask in this case is, what do we truly value? If the convention is the primary source of our ethics and we think that we attain virtue simply by doing as the convention says, without understanding what the convention says, we value not the higher ethics but the convention itself. What we truly value is merely the guiding hand to tell us what to do and how to be.

    This notion does not address morality at all, at best it is a set of practical advice. Accordingly, divine command and conventional morality are devoid of genuine ethic. As they lead us to value not the character qualities that ought to underlie the helpful deeds, but the guide to those acts and the deeds in themselves. Could it be the case that people who have benevolent motives and sympathize with character qualities that underlie such deeds embrace the conventional morality in order to express their inner motives. Could it be the case that they embrace it not by an act of conformity, but as an expression of their values? This is often the case. However, public morality tends to accomplish little to inspire others to higher virtue as its methods are crude and simplistic. Certainly politically oriented, as our moralists teach us, mostly implicitly and sometimes explicitly—that if we do as we are supposed to, good things will happen. This appears to be the salient motivation in the mind of a common-place simpleton, to have good things happen to him. Of course such a person is likely distant from his inner being and readily prefers the dictates of others over his own judgment. Thus, to him, without a doubt, a good thing has nothing to do with the rewards promised for being compassionate or brave, such as going to heaven. That is much too abstract for him. So he readily aims for the concrete rewards such as being approved of by his community. Thus, for the most part, conventional people tend to do good deeds so they can boast to their friends about how virtuous they’ve become. And should anyone challenge them, they’d retort, ‘why don’t you ask around and see if other people think I am good person?’, or ‘look at the score-card, I went on the mission trip last summer, and I’ve done 80 hours of community service this month, that’s more than you will do in your life. So, I am better than you period.’ When the challenger asks why these deeds make him a good person, the response he should get is ‘that’s what everyone says and that is how everyone does it, any further questions?’ Thus, what we have here is not ethics, but a set of arbitrary commands. Therefore public morality is no morality at all. It is the starkest nihilism we can find, twisted into its inverted image clothed in sanctimony. The notion of inversion is quite pertinent in this case, as in order to be devoid of inner conflict, one must come to inner peace. Yet conventional morality insists that one prostrate his inner being for the demands of others. It insists on a very intense external focus. Thus, the more a person relies on the conventional morality for guidance, the less in tune he is likely to be with his inner being. And the more he will use the external code of ethic to impose his disturbed will onto others. He will merely be concerned with being seen as benevolent and not with being benevolent. We certainly should not claim that there is a direct relationship between engaging with public morality and wickedness, but there certainly is an indirect relationship between the two. As public morality makes it difficult for an individual to know his inner character, and acquire the inner peace necessary in order to embrace the truly benign motives.

    Conventional people seem to be by and large ignorant of the notion that their morality is indeed relativistic. It is relative to culture. ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do’ is the chief motto of such a code of behavior. For this reason we observe how at the time of the Russian revolution, what has been considered right by the public Christian standard, was superseded by the standards of Communism. Of course, such standards was whatever best served the interests of the politicians. Or the gods of the time. Essentially, if right is what god says is right, there is absolutely no reason why god cannot be inspired by unworthy motives at the time of concoction of his system of ethics. If we maintain otherwise, we must abandon Divine Command, which is the very cornerstone of conventional morality. Yet, one shall ask, why do some cultures seem to endorse behaviors that are more consistent with benign practices than others? As after all, the conventional morality does have merit in its own right. It may not make men virtuous, but for the very least it can make society a peaceful and an orderly place where those of us who seek inner virtue would be in a good position to do so.
    "Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." -- Mark Twain

    “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.”---Samuel Johnson

    My blog: www.randommeanderings123.blogspot.com/

  3. #3
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    MBTI
    INTP
    Enneagram
    5w6 so/sx
    Posts
    3,467

    Default

    III.Evolution

    Evolution is the doctrine typically maligned as highly heretical and anti-theistic. It is often deemed to be the very symbol of the much reviled atheism. The symbol of immorality, or should we say disobedience to the popular prejudices of what we should understand for good deeds to be. Evolution is often mistakenly believed to be an anathema to the design argument. The design argument. The design argument is an insidious method employed by conventional moralists to sanctify the righteousness of the particular ethic they have embraced. Essentially, since God is the maker of mankind and incidentally of the morality of mankind, and he has passed down his instructions to our authorities, we clearly know that the morality we subscribe to is the most desirable code of behavior. The dogmatic religious sects only have a problem with this doctrine because it undermines that particular notion. They do not attempt to point out flaws in the reasoning of evolution or its empirical supportability. They merely wish to affirm their own ethical prejudices which evolution countervails.

    Religions, accordingly have also evolved. When man was primitive, the typical divine command argument would be regarded as wholly plausible by the multitude. Noone dared to oppose such a stipulation. In fact, there are many countries, especially in the Arabic world still subscribing to such a theology. The primitive nations that do not have a notion of the personal god are certainly far from being devoid of this political and sociological element in their culture. Their Yahweh is the communist party, the Taliban, or the Pope. A nation does not need to be culturally primitive in order to fall in the clutches of such a regime, it merely needs to be in dire need of external organization. Yet, there certainly is a high correlation between being in the dire need of external organization and cultural primitiveness.

    As here we see that nations reporting a sound economical condition and a high satisfaction with life also report a prevalence of non-belief in god over belief in god.

    1. Sweden 46-85(reporting non-belief)
    2.Vietnam 81
    3.Denmark 43-80
    4.Norway 31-72
    5.Japan 64-65
    6.Czech Republic 54-61
    7.Finland 28-60
    8.France 43-54
    9.South Korea 30-52
    10.Estonia 49
    11.Germany 41-49

    Yet nations that tend to be in a poor economical condition and report a low satisfaction with life, tend to report a preference for belief in god over non-belief.


    42.Mongolia 9
    43. Portugal 4-9
    44.United States 3-9
    45. Albania 8
    46. Argenina 4-8
    47. Kyrgyztan 7
    48. Dom Rep . 7
    49. Cuba 7
    50. Croatie 7

    ---Cambridge Companion to Atheism, PPs. 56-57

    Yet, history has shown us that many exceptions exist. As for example, Germany in the 1930s was much culturally refined, and was brought down its knees by a particular crisis—an opportunity which Hitler has well seized.

    The crudest form of a religious state would be one much akin to the vision Hobbes has depicted in the Leviathan. He too, clearly affirms that the reason why we need a sovereign is our own crudity. As without a sovereign, according to Hobbes, our lives shall be nasty, brutish and short. In such a case, desirable is to be equated with desired by me. People do not critically analyze complex questions of meta-ethics, such as the essence of the natural law and what does or does not conduce to the perfection of human nature. They call what they like good and what they dislike evil. For this reason, we have heartily embraced the Divine Command clause. Yahweh is to be congratulated because even the most wretched existence possible, under the worst despot possible, is better than the nasty, brutish and the short life that Hobbes alludes to. Thus, we have come to regard everything that the sovereign says as good, as we simply have no alternative, and whatever even slightly disagrees ought to be reprobated because that obviously leads to anarchy, which is the gravest evil of all. The sanctimonious traditionalists seem to be oblivious to the slippery slope fallacy in such an argument. One can plausibly maintain that if we wholly lack structure in our society, and consider the wicked tendencies within human nature, our lives would then be nasty brutish and short. Yet turning to the convention is far from the panacea to such a problem, as the convention exhorts man to focus on the external and not the inner being which is fraught with problems inflicting discontent on the person. Essentially, whatever wickedness inheres within an individual stems from his inner being, it is a direct result thereof. But, what can we do to rectify such a problem?

    We certainly are not in the position to pursue our inner quests when we lack the basic necessities, like food and shelter. We will be forced to turn outwards in order to ensure of our own survival. Conventional morality, from the standpoint of ‘higher morality’ or the quest to perfect our inner nature, is desirable only to the extent that it allows for us to turn inwards. Hence, at the beginning, a sovereign would be desired. Yet, the attitude that whatever goes contrary to the word of a sovereign is wicked is certainly undesirable. This notion is doubtlessly archaic, as to a sober mind it should become obvious that we can make modifications to our current environment without incurring anarchy. Yet those who maintain otherwise seem to be intoxicated by the vision they have had before the sovereign was established. The question here to come is, which should we value more autonomy or security? Autonomy is almost the obvious answer, because this grants us with the freedom of thought necessary to pursue higher virtue. We merely need for the society to be stable and secure enough for us to be able to pursue such endeavors.

    Interestingly, even though monotheistic religions appeal most to a simplistic mindset, as they would best cater to our simplest needs, yet historically, they were predated by polytheistic religions. Essentially, ancient tribes have not had the fortune of having the external organization they painfully longed for, and there were many influences competing for power. This was symbolized by their polytheism. As has been supported by David Hume (History of Natural Religion) with historic evidence. Here we certainly see how our Gods have evolved. This seems to evince a common misconception about evolution. That entities necessarily evolve for a better state. An all in all superior modus operandi. If this were true, our Gods would have evolved to become more benevolent. Yet this certainly is not the case, as our gods of Greek or Roman mythology are strikingly morally superior to Yahweh. Moreover, polytheistic societies have higher potential to function in a congenial fashion than monotheistic. There is a number of reasons for this; the regime is less tyrannous. As in an aristocracy, where there are many leaders, or many gods, the primary leader is least likely to become tyrannous. Because his will would be opposed by his colleagues. More people would also be represented under such a system, as the leaders or gods typically reflect the personalities of certain classes of people. This is highly correlated with an overall level of satisfaction with life by the masses. One may contend that such pluralism conduces to relativism as there would not be a one great path of morality to guide the masses. It is correct that public morality shall decline as a result of this because competition between codes of behavior will be firmly pronounced. Yet, as we have established in the previous section, public morality is a great source of moral relativism itself. Certainly individuals need to be guided on their pursuit to higher virtue, yet they need to be advised as opposed to coerced. Doing the latter infallibly leads to the confusion of the will of the sovereign for righteousness. ‘Desired by me’ for ‘desirable.’, and essentially the desires of the sovereign, in themselves are not any more justifiable than the desires of a simpleton. Competing notions of morality and a certain amount of disorder is desirable to the end of assisting individuals in the task of finding their own path to higher morality as opposed to thoughtlessly accepting the teaching of one particular luminary of the public morality. It is not without a reason that Buddhism, a religion without a clear-cut sovereign and the one that relies the least on religious inculcation is the most peaceful and epistemically soundest. As well as least resistant to philosophical and scientific scrutiny.

    Since we see that the wealthy nations are the ones reporting the least belief in theism, should we say that there is a correlation between theism and lack of social advancement? Yes, as we have established that a disorderly and primitive societies long for external organization the most. Belief in God, conventional morality, as well as organized religions is clearly correlated with acceptance of ideas uncritically. As in the last section it has been shown that public morality is radically collectivist by its nature. External organization even more so, as this requires the subjugation of the inner being to the external path. Personal God, without a doubt is inextricable from these two entities. Radical collectivist attitudes, as a rule insist on non-critical acceptance of ideas, as one’s judgment is deemed inferior to the external dictates. Thus a lack of education is a distinct factor indeed. The two in combination doubtlessly lead one to a state of helpelessness. To remedy the dilemma, the despondent man tends to imagine a panacea in a very personal and concrete guise. The personal god who loves and watches over him is the most fitting representation of such a notion. This god need not be Yahweh, as he can easily be superseded by any earthly entity which can serve the same role as Yahweh. The connection between helplessness and acceptance of religiosity could not have been any more striking.

    Now, one shall ask, if our gods evolve, how does morality evolve. We notice that the Aztecs who advocated human sacrifice were conquered by the Spaniards who seemed to have preached a more desirable code of behavior. This example seems to suggest that the wicked ethics will be superseded by those morally superior in all ways, those that best conduce to the emendation of the inner being. In this regard, one may wonder, had there been a case where a small tribe of saints was conquered and forced to practice barbaric morality. By that example it would have to follow that the barbaric morality is in all ways superior to that practiced by the saints. Such a conclusion is absurd. Essentially, states that have survived, have adapted to their environment well enough to be able to do so. States that were not conquered either held the geographical position that has insulated them from attacks by their enemies, or they were militarily sound enough to withstand assaults. Essentially, if the Aztecs were not invaded by the Spaniards, they would have continued practicing their rituals of human sacrifice, and the sheer moral obliquity of the act would unlikely lead to their extinction. However, their tribe would have been unlikely to grow strong unless they had stipulations that led to order in their society. Essentially, this is what they need in order to ensure survival of their state. That is the final end and goal to conventional morality, ensuring that our basic need to survive is satisfied. This we accomplish by forming a state strong enough to resist the attacks of our aggressors. The Hobbesian state is without a doubt the ultimate realization of such a vision. Where we have one leader who stands firm and whose bidding is infallibly done. This would be the simplistic form of public morality and from the standpoint of conventional ethic the most satisfactory. Yet because circumstances have interfered, as for example, at one point it has occurred to be the case that people could not easily be subjugated to the will of the sovereign. Hence, public morality had to be altered in favor of a policy that best manages to hold the sheep in line under the current circumstances. In the process of evolution we adapt to our environment in an unconscious endeavor to acquire the faculties necessary to survive. There is no conscious purpose to the activity, but we are wholly at the mercy of our external circumstances. We evolve only to the extent that is necessary for us to best fit our environment. Some argue that we have evolved to become more intelligent than apes, and the next thing we shall evolve to would be even more intelligent human beings. As is most desired by our agenda. Yet, this is not at all the case. We have physically evolved into what we needed to be in order to survive. The intellect was an accidental entailment to the process which is not at all necessary for the process of evolution itself. One may argue that an intellect has become an instrument for us to acquire the faculties necessary in order to survive, and over time we have evolved to become more intelligent for this reason. Yet this is the case because the environment demanded the utilization of such faculties. Should we be hit by a meteorite and go back to the condition of the civilization we were in 5000 years ago, the environment would demand the faculties that animals are currently in fullest possession of. Thus, we would be forced to become more like them, or less intellect-oriented in order to ensure of our own survival.
    "Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." -- Mark Twain

    “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.”---Samuel Johnson

    My blog: www.randommeanderings123.blogspot.com/

  4. #4
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    MBTI
    INTP
    Enneagram
    5w4
    Posts
    7,233

    Default

    Seahorse... how about Cliff's Notes? I don't have the requisite investment to sit here and read all of that, but I'm interested in your ideas (and moreso in debating you).

  5. #5
    Senior Member reason's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    MBTI
    ESFJ
    Posts
    1,211

    Default



    I think that I speak for us all.
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

  6. #6
    Member Camelopardalis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    MBTI
    INTJ
    Posts
    58

    Default

    "God may be omniscient, as it is possible for a person to know all things."

    But a God who knows the future is essentially powerless to change it.
    I: 78% N: 88% T: 66% J: 44%
    Enneagram: The Reformer/The Investigator
    Global 5:RCOEI

  7. #7
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    MBTI
    INFJ
    Enneagram
    4w5
    Posts
    8,828

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueWing View Post
    Thus, for the most part, conventional people tend to do good deeds so they can boast to their friends about how virtuous they’ve become. And should anyone challenge them, they’d retort, ‘why don’t you ask around and see if other people think I am good person?’, or ‘look at the score-card, I went on the mission trip last summer, and I’ve done 80 hours of community service this month, that’s more than you will do in your life. So, I am better than you period.’ When the challenger asks why these deeds make him a good person, the response he should get is ‘that’s what everyone says and that is how everyone does it, any further questions?’ Thus, what we have here is not ethics, but a set of arbitrary commands. Therefore public morality is no morality at all. It is the starkest nihilism we can find, twisted into its inverted image clothed in sanctimony. The notion of inversion is quite pertinent in this case, as in order to be devoid of inner conflict, one must come to inner peace. Yet conventional morality insists that one prostrate his inner being for the demands of others. It insists on a very intense external focus. Thus, the more a person relies on the conventional morality for guidance, the less in tune he is likely to be with his inner being. And the more he will use the external code of ethic to impose his disturbed will onto others. He will merely be concerned with being seen as benevolent and not with being benevolent. We certainly should not claim that there is a direct relationship between engaging with public morality and wickedness, but there certainly is an indirect relationship between the two. As public morality makes it difficult for an individual to know his inner character, and acquire the inner peace necessary in order to embrace the truly benign motives.
    I do wish I could find something to tell me how to feel. It's like no matter what I do, I never seem to find anything valuable in myself. I have to turn to others to find value, because all I see in myself when I look inward are my flaws, and a sense of emptiness. It feels so real and meaningful in the moment, when the other person is appreciative, but when they go, it all just seems so dead and blank. I'm left only with hollow memories drained of their life.

    Why can't they give me anything fulfilling or real to base my feelings on, something that doesn't die after the moment is gone? It's so annoying that I've spent so much time waiting on them to give me a straight answer about how to know what I feel for certain, and they never give it to me, no matter how I ask or beg them. Sigh. If they know, what did I do to deserve to be left in the dark? If they don't know, why can't they just admit it?
    As after all, the conventional morality does have merit in its own right. It may not make men virtuous, but for the very least it can make society a peaceful and an orderly place where those of us who seek inner virtue would be in a good position to do so.
    That's the best thing about it to me as well. It's necessary, and it's the only way some people can relate. It doesn't mean there's anything wrong with them, it just means that some people don't really have the capacity to get in tune with themselves. Sad but true.

  8. #8
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    MBTI
    INTP
    Enneagram
    5w6 so/sx
    Posts
    3,467

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Camelopardalis View Post
    "God may be omniscient, as it is possible for a person to know all things."

    But a God who knows the future is essentially powerless to change it.

    See the argument against the existence of a personal god. Though your claim is sound in the regard that it points out that omniscience and omnipotence are mutually exclusive. Omniscience implies a determinism, as in order for it to be possible for one to know all things, they must follow certain patterns. As otherwise all occurences would be chaotic and impossible to predict.
    "Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." -- Mark Twain

    “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.”---Samuel Johnson

    My blog: www.randommeanderings123.blogspot.com/

  9. #9
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    MBTI
    FREE
    Enneagram
    594 sx/sp
    Socionics
    LII Ne
    Posts
    42,333

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Camelopardalis View Post
    But a God who knows the future is essentially powerless to change it.
    Not if he owns a DeLorean.

    I'll read and discuss posts that are presented in manageable chunks; I don't "do forums" for a living, and I've already stated my opinion on this a few times in the past.

    But thanks for the stats on atheist/non-atheist countries vs economics, that was enlightening.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    961

    Default


Similar Threads

  1. Morality and Logic
    By Sunshine in forum Philosophy and Spirituality
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 09-12-2008, 02:37 AM
  2. "In God We Trust" and "One Nation Under God"
    By TheLastMohican in forum Politics, History, and Current Events
    Replies: 150
    Last Post: 08-31-2008, 02:27 PM
  3. [NT] xNTP/xNTJ duality, and an issue of degression and evolution
    By Cypocalypse in forum The NT Rationale (ENTP, INTP, ENTJ, INTJ)
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 08-05-2008, 05:05 PM
  4. Morals and Political leanings?
    By miss fortune in forum Philosophy and Spirituality
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 11-06-2007, 11:04 AM
  5. Dawkins and Evolution, a discussion (moved to new thread)
    By hereandnow in forum Philosophy and Spirituality
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 05-18-2007, 11:41 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
Single Sign On provided by vBSSO