Friday, October 5, 2012

The Return of Torquemada

Never let a good crisis go to waste, eh. There was a headline on Press TV yesterday that read: "UN must implement resolutions against blasphemy: OIC". After checking the calendar to make sure it really was 2012 and not 1512, I read on, and it was even worse than the title implied. Apparently, what I'm about to say may already be illegal according to the UN.

First, some definitions to avoid misunderstanding. Morality is the exercise of conscience. Conscience is the means by which we directly perceive the difference between good and evil. Conscience is a sense, like sight or taste. However, instead of representing the physical world, it is designed to reveal moral rightness or wrongness.

Some readers here may wonder why I give book-based religion such a hard time. See, a lot of people have been conditioned to believe that these religions bring something worthwhile to the table. If you request specifics, they're a little hard to come by. However, one justification given, is that religions teach people to be moral. Oh cruel irony! Religion destroys morality. Yes, you read that right. I detest religions for a lot of reasons. Their horrific and ongoing crimes are really reason enough. What their followers have done to those outside their cults, is beyond sickening. But they've also done a lot of harm to their own. They have ruined their followers' minds with their systems of contradictory beliefs that subvert the intellect to the point that it gives up in despair. And then there's the moral damage that they do.

Religion destroys morality by substituting a psuedo-morality of rules for the true morality of conscience. The ten commandments of the Yahwists are a prime example. Religions define morality as: following the rules. Religions have been so successful in this substitution that even the non-religious have come to accept their definition. Thus, "morality" is widely viewed as archaic, arbitrary, oppressive. It is all these things by religion's false definition. Religious believers manage to ignore this because, generally speaking, many of the rules are in line with natural conscience. Prohibitions against killing, lying and stealing, for instance, lend legitimacy to the rules. (In real life there are always exceptions, which is one reason a living conscience is superior to any list of rules, no matter how exhaustive.) Sometimes though, and to varying extent, religion's rules run counter to the voice of conscience. Then the believer must choose. Typically, these choices are faced by young children, who are in no position to resist religious pressure to give preference to rules over conscience. They are actively encouraged to distrust their inner knowing. They are told that the voice of their conscience is actually Satan trying to lead them astray! Eventually, their awareness of conscience atrophies from lack of use and bothers them no more.

In light of the foregoing, it should surprise no one that religions have caused more death and suffering than any other single cause. In every case their atrocities were justified on "moral" grounds. If morality means following the rules, and you're the maker of the rules, then moral conduct is whatever you say it is. The Gods-who-write-books never speak audibly in the presence of witnesses. What if, somewhere along the line, the person claiming to speak for your God was actually schizophrenic, or worse, a psychopath? If you didn't have a conscience, you'd never know the difference. Who seriously thinks that possibility is too remote to consider?

No thanks to religions, but fortunately for us all, most people do have a conscience, even if it is barely functional. A few of us don't, and those people are called psychopaths. Religion can't cure them. For them, religion is just another tool to control others and get what they want. Religion's version of morality harms people of conscience and does nothing to curtail the predations of the conscienceless. Religions need to be called out and exposed for this, not protected from all criticism by law! The window for doing so appears to be closing.

4 comments:

  1. I love the notion that those who wrote the dogmatic texts of religion were psychopaths!
    I'm totally with you on the true nature of organised religion.
    Morality should be a gut instinct. Will my actions cause harm to another? How would I feel it they did the same to me? This should be the basis for considering our actions, rather than being told what is right or wrong.
    All the best!
    Carl (The 'Guide)

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    1. Thanks Carl. Natural morality is mostly a matter of compassion and integrity. You know it, and I know it, and so did John Lennon. It seems totally obvious to anyone with a functioning conscience.
      If we couldn't know moral truth for ourselves, we couldn't judge the worth of any external moral authority either. How convenient for that authority if it happened to be psychopathic.
      According to the book of Genesis, Adam and Eve were created to be genetic psychopaths. It was the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that endowed them with conscience. For which they were severely punished. Hmmm. I'm not sure what the lesson in that story is.
      In Lak'ech.

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  2. Great post! I agre with you wholeheartedly!So many people slain and so many great instruments of truth completely destroyed in the name of religion.To me any belief that teaches we have to be ruled by a taskmaker called God just doesn't make much sense.Teaching someone to be "afraid" of their maker--thats utterly ridiculous as far as I'm concerned. Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us!The best to you and yours always.

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    1. Hi Ron. Thanks. I just really feel it's time these belief systems were held accountable. People act like religion's crimes are the exception rather than the rule, or a relic of the distant past. But here in Port Hardy, you see the carnage everywhere. The church-run residential schools that the natives were forced into weren't closed that long ago. My friend Kim's husband was in one, and they were awful. Fifty percent of the children died! (on purpose) And of course, there's the Middle East insanity! I wouldn't try to force anyone to not believe that crap, but it seems just as wrong to refrain from criticism, and blasphemy laws are an abomination. It's ridiculous anyway, to ban something as subjective in definition as blasphemy. Grovelling before tyrant-gods is blasphemous in my thinking.
      All the best to you's too, and happy Thanksgiving.

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