Thursday, September 08, 2005

Who died then rose again and made me a religious leader?

You may have realised by now that I find religion fascinating.
Sure, maybe not as fascinating as semi-clad women with tattoos, dyed hair and piercings.
Or Starcraft. But I find the contemplation of religion to be one of the most invigorating of past times.
Certainly if religion can be combined with SuicideGirls ("You want me to worship her?! Sure - with my tongue!!") or Starcraft ("Jesus Christ! There are heaps of bad guys!") then the world does look that little bit rosier.
So when I encounter stupid religion I tend to get a bit wrathful. Put plainly, if religion doesn't inspire then it is not religion.

Of all the religious condundra I have encountered, the flare-up over Intelligent Design (ID) had me foxed. I couldn't understand what I was missing that explained why evolution was so important for the 'other side' to defeat.
I found the answer in New Scientist of July 9 in the special on ID, to whit:
"But to many believers..., if humans are just another product of nature with no special status [ie having a soul etc], then there is no need for morality."

Even leaving aside the whole science-isn't-related-to-morality thing, this position is 100% bullshit. Its presumption is fallacy. Do The Wrong (As I shall accurately refer to people to hold to this ridiculous position) actually believe that without the magic touch of god there is no need for morality? Do they seriously think that society could exist without morality?
Putting it lazily, the morality of a society is its laws. The vast majority of people obey the law because it coincides with their own morality, not because the law is intrinsically correct. Do The Wrong honestly believe that most people don't steal from their neighbours because it is illegal, rather than because it is immoral? Is the thing stopping me committing murder a twenty-five year prison term, or the fact that its immoral? And why do The Wrong think people habitually flaut laws that are patently stupid?

Ok, take it back a step.
Can humans make their own morality?
Well, yes. We do it all the time.
Most of our laws are not sourced from the bible, and many have a moral basis. Prime examples would be ones concerned with animal cruelty, and employment - particularly the employment of minors. Heck, the bible condones slavery, but our modern morality has condemned it.
Dolphin safe tuna is a perfect example of the morality of a society being expressed.
Where does the call for an apology to the aborigines come from, if not from our fundamental morality?

So, where the hell do The Wrong get this concept of "needing" morality?!
The "need" for morality is other people and the world in general! And, as has been so amply demonstrated by people time and time again, it doesn't matter where or what the origin of these people is. Look at the outcry over the Taliban blowing up the buddha statues. Look at the response to the tsunami.

Take it back another step.
Would friendship exist without morality?
Trust, loyalty, support and honesty are all essential for friendship.

What I want all The Wrong to do now is to turn to their friends and their nearest and dearest and say "If evolution is true, there is no need for me to act morally towards you." If you actually believe that there is no 'need' for morality then you will have no problem saying that. Come on! You tell your friends that they are intrinsically not worth being treated in a moral way by you.
Go on: Put up.
Or shut the fuck up.

My friends beat your god.

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