Christian vs. Humanist Morality
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
23-02-2017, 07:56 AM
RE: Christian vs. Humanist Morality
Well, I feel that it has had to flex to survive when secular laws were agreed. Once you start going to prison for killing people "because they're a witch", you have to stop doing it, and also downplay the fact that anyone in your religion has ever done it.

I have no doubt that there are some Christians everywhere who would take any opportunity to turn things back into a theocracy, though. It's a change out of survival, rather than desire.

I may well be looking at things backwards or too simplistically, I don't know. I would be interested to know how exactly secular law got such a hold.

I have a website here which discusses the issues and terminology surrounding religion and atheism. It's hopefully user friendly to all.
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Robvalue's post
23-02-2017, 07:56 AM
RE: Christian vs. Humanist Morality
(23-02-2017 12:23 AM)Full Circle Wrote:  
(23-02-2017 12:10 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  Ultimately, all any religious person is doing is adding an argument from authority to their own morality.

You nailed it.

I see what you did there...

Help for the living. Hope for the dead. ~ R.G. Ingersoll

Freedom offers opportunity. Opportunity confers responsibility. Responsibility to use the freedom we enjoy wisely, honestly and humanely. ~ Noam Chomsky
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
23-02-2017, 08:07 AM (This post was last modified: 23-02-2017 12:41 PM by mordant.)
RE: Christian vs. Humanist Morality
(23-02-2017 07:50 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  I'm not sure that Christianity has flexed to fit in with a secular culture.
It would take great umbrage to the assertion, but it does nevertheless. One has to pay attention for a long time or be a good student of some arcane corners of history to fully see it.

As an example, look at what has changed since I entered evangelical fundamentalism as a young child in the early 1960s. Back then, abortion was not particularly on our radar and we were not particularly even opposed to it. This classic treatment of the subject explains that the notion the Bible teaches that life begins at conception was invented out of whole cloth sometime after 1979.

During my entire childhood and young adulthood I shared my tribe's belief that combining our faith with politics, and political activism especially, was an unholy alliance from which no good could possibly come (this turned out to be true in my view, in terms of evangelical self-interest). More than one politically conservative person in my faith pointed out to me that conservatism was about questioning change for the sake of change, of being prudent and methodical rather than impulsive and experimental about change.

Contrast that with today, when evangelicals as a whole supported Trump, a serial adulterer and liar with unmistakable racist / xenophobic characteristics who is indisputably corrupt, in exchange for the appointment of supreme court justices of their liking and a couple of other political shibboleths. They did this for the most part with enthusiasm, and those who weren't enthusiastic did an enormous amount of willing rationalization.

And these people now oppose change in society, PERIOD.

To me it would be a sad thing to contemplate how far evangelical Christianity has fallen, how willingly they have "sold their soul for a mess of pottage" -- were it not that I understand that their moral superiority was just another one of their empty, self-serving and unsupported assertions about reality, not something they ever actually had to lose in the first place.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like mordant's post
23-02-2017, 08:59 AM
RE: Christian vs. Humanist Morality
(23-02-2017 12:10 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  Very good points! Excellent.

You're totally right. It's hilarious to me how well Christianity has flexed, almost to breaking point, in order to fit into secular cultures. For some people, the entire bible has been jettisoned, leaving just Jesus saying "do unto others..." That's it. If you refer to anything else that ever happens in the bible, they find ways of showing you why it should effectively be ignored.

Islam, on the other hand, seems far less willing to flex. And this is why it's grating much more against secular culture.

Ultimately, all any religious person is doing is adding an argument from authority to their own morality. But sadly, they are often taught bigotry (even against themselves in some cases) which they then feel the need to justify.

I think the origin of religion has a lot to do with governing/controlling people. If one guy stands up and says, "Stop hitting each other with rocks!", people would say, "Why should we listen to you?" So adding an invisible authority and intangible benefits/punishments gets people to listen.


I'm not sure that Christianity has flexed to fit in with a secular culture. I struggled with this until very recently and then started reading about Epicureanism, which is Greek/Roman secularism and disappeared as Christianity gained hold. My feeling is that Christianity is a "cunning plan" to wrap a secular morality up in a "superman" story. In some ways, it's a very flexible religion because the morality doesn't depend on the story. Of course, it does for proper Christians but then the NT contains a spoiler when the disciples ask Jesus why he always speaks in parables and he basicly says that its because most people are stupid. lol
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
23-02-2017, 03:29 PM
RE: Christian vs. Humanist Morality
(21-02-2017 05:33 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  
(20-02-2017 09:54 PM)Astreja Wrote:  "Adulterous generation"? Adultery has been around for many thousands of years. (It even gets a mention in 2 Samuel 11, with David fooling around with Bathsheba.)

Amusingly, no Christian to whom I have ever spoken seems aware that David already had two wives before he became king and started acquiring several more. That was no problem... God made the man married to two women a king!

But taking another man's wife, as with Bathsheba... wwweeellllll, oh now we have a problem!

I usually bring this up when I'm having the "God wants One Man And One Woman For Life!" argument with my family members. Dodgy

Prior to their affair, David sent Bathsheba's husband off on a mission he knew to be, more or less a suicide affair. Guess what? He was killed.

David not only knowingly killed one of his most loyal, right hand men, he did it just so he could get the guy out of the way in order to fuck the guy's wife.

It's good to be the king. Drinking Beverage


To be one of his most loyal, right hand men, though... not the best gig.

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like kim's post
24-02-2017, 01:54 AM
RE: Christian vs. Humanist Morality
What about that bit where they ate a baby? I bet not many Christians know about that.

Yeah, the good guys. A king and one of his townspeople boiled and ate the king's baby son, because food was scarce. It's right there in the text.

So much for atheists being the baby eaters.

I have a website here which discusses the issues and terminology surrounding religion and atheism. It's hopefully user friendly to all.
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Robvalue's post
24-02-2017, 02:08 AM
RE: Christian vs. Humanist Morality
(24-02-2017 01:54 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  What about that bit where they ate a baby? I bet not many Christians know about that.

Yeah, the good guys. A king and one of his townspeople boiled and ate the king's baby son, because food was scarce. It's right there in the text.

So much for atheists being the baby eaters.

Maybe they converted, when under siege? You know, no theists in foxholes... or something...

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes RocketSurgeon76's post
24-02-2017, 10:34 AM (This post was last modified: 24-02-2017 10:38 AM by Deltabravo.)
RE: Christian vs. Humanist Morality
(23-02-2017 08:07 AM)mordant Wrote:  
(23-02-2017 07:50 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  I'm not sure that Christianity has flexed to fit in with a secular culture.
It would take great umbrage to the assertion, but it does nevertheless. One has to pay attention for a long time or be a good student of some arcane corners of history to fully see it.

As an example, look at what has changed since I entered evangelical fundamentalism as a young child in the early 1960s. Back then, abortion was not particularly on our radar and we were not particularly even opposed to it. This classic treatment of the subject explains that the notion the Bible teaches that life begins at conception was invented out of whole cloth sometime after 1979.

During my entire childhood and young adulthood I shared my tribe's belief that combining our faith with politics, and political activism especially, was an unholy alliance from which no good could possibly come (this turned out to be true in my view, in terms of evangelical self-interest). More than one politically conservative person in my faith pointed out to me that conservatism was about questioning change for the sake of change, of being prudent and methodical rather than impulsive and experimental about change.

Contrast that with today, when evangelicals as a whole supported Trump, a serial adulterer and liar with unmistakable racist / xenophobic characteristics who is indisputably corrupt, in exchange for the appointment of supreme court justices of their liking and a couple of other political shibboleths. They did this for the most part with enthusiasm, and those who weren't enthusiastic did an enormous amount of willing rationalization.

And these people now oppose change in society, PERIOD.

To me it would be a sad thing to contemplate how far evangelical Christianity has fallen, how willingly they have "sold their soul for a mess of pottage" -- were it not that I understand that their moral superiority was just another one of their empty, self-serving and unsupported assertions about reality, not something they ever actually had to lose in the first place.

I agree. I haven't stated my point very clearly.

The point I was trying to make, which is something I only recently thought about, is that Christianity in its essence is a flexible religion, so it's not really the case that Christianity has flexed to society, but that society has flexed towards a religion which is more flexible than most Christians realise it is.

By changing the nature of "God" to "the word" and the focus of "Judaism" to a simple principle, like, "do unto others etc" Christianity is actually very flexible. I think it was intended to be that way.

People aren't, of course, generally flexible. Most devout Christians are pretty stiff and believe all the jiggery pokery of the Christian fable, but buried in the religion is this very peculiar divergence from animistic and ritualistic religions by way of the insertion of this moral philosophy, which can be used in any situation to tear down any ritual or dogma.

I was looking at the history of the Christian struggle with Epicureanism on the internet and came across quite a few pieces on the rejection by the Church of Epicureanism and the consternation Christian theologians felt towards the doctrine but one theory I read was that Christianity, by incorporating a rational, reason based moral doctrine makes it difficult for dogmatists to push their dogma.

People are, at heart, I think, Epicureans and it's very hard for most people to resist the temptation of a philosophy of life that says its ok to be happy and Christian moral philosophy is consistent with that, whereas, for instance, Islam isn't. I don't even see Buddhism as being aimed at just living a happy life. I think it tends to want to make people focus on finding something very elusive through meditation, ie., some kind of calm, mindfulness, which is great but that's not necessarily the same thing as just "happiness".

In a way, I see society, not just Western society bending towards Christianity. One place I have seen this is where I now live, which is an Islamic country and people here live very much like Westerners, listen to the same music, dress the same, have the same passtimes. I was surprised that they all celebrate Christmas as well. There are Christmas decorations all over. Businesses have Christmas parties and Father Noel turns up to give kids presents. It's very strange. But the reason is that they have such a close relation with Christians in neighbouring countries, in their own country and on TV, that they like the idea because it's fun and that's the part of it that they adopt. If you ignore the story of Jesus, and you actually don't have to if you are a Muslim because he's an Islamic prophet, then there's nothing in Christianity, in the NT, that forces you to do anything in particular.

I suppose if you look at fundamentalist American Christianity and how inflexible it was, then you can see how it has relaxed over the years, but the Christianity I know isn't like that because English Christianity is about as stiff as water. I've no experience of it as anything other than something which one nominally adheres to in terms of defining oneself on a government form or making fun of, while, of course, accepting the moral principle.

Growing up in Canada I attended the United Church, which was a bit like belonging to a book club. That church, because it combined the Presbyterian, Congregationalist and Methodist churches, for convenience sake, had a very wishy washy and vague doctrine. It's been called the greatest force for agnosticism in Canada.

"An article by Charles Lewis, published on May 14, 2011, set out what Lewis sees as the issues that beset the United Church: the church's "big tent" approach to believers, accepting even atheists as members; and lack of doctrinal orthodoxy."

I suppose that's why I can see that Christianity is compatible with atheism whereas, perhaps, if all you know of Christianity is American bible thumpers like Billy Graham, you would think of Christianity as much more rigid.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
24-02-2017, 10:56 AM
RE: Christian vs. Humanist Morality
(24-02-2017 10:34 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  People are, at heart, I think, Epicureans and it's very hard for most people to resist the temptation of a philosophy of life that says its ok to be happy and Christian moral philosophy is consistent with that, whereas, for instance, Islam isn't. I don't even see Buddhism as being aimed at just living a happy life. I think it tends to want to make people focus on finding something very elusive through meditation, ie., some kind of calm, mindfulness, which is great but that's not necessarily the same thing as just "happiness".

Are you really arguing that the great advantage of xtianity is its willingness to embrace hedonism? Christianity is "aimed at just living a happy life"? That is a pretty novel description. I would like that better than the self flagellation, abnegation and guilt I more often encounter in mainstream protestant religions. Of course there are xtian sects which are all about "abundant blessings" and prosperity, perhaps that is your orientation?


(24-02-2017 10:34 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  In a way, I see society, not just Western society bending towards Christianity. One place I have seen this is where I now live, which is an Islamic country and people here live very much like Westerners, listen to the same music, dress the same, have the same passtimes. I was surprised that they all celebrate Christmas as well. There are Christmas decorations all over. Businesses have Christmas parties and Father Noel turns up to give kids presents. It's very strange. But the reason is that they have such a close relation with Christians in neighbouring countries, in their own country and on TV, that they like the idea because it's fun and that's the part of it that they adopt. If you ignore the story of Jesus, and you actually don't have to if you are a Muslim because he's an Islamic prophet, then there's nothing in Christianity, in the NT, that forces you to do anything in particular.

I suppose if you look at fundamentalist American Christianity and how inflexible it was, then you can see how it has relaxed over the years, but the Christianity I know isn't like that because English Christianity is about as stiff as water. I've no experience of it as anything other than something which one nominally adheres to in terms of defining oneself on a government form or making fun of, while, of course, accepting the moral principle.

Growing up in Canada I attended the United Church, which was a bit like belonging to a book club. That church, because it combined the Presbyterian, Congregationalist and Methodist churches, for convenience sake, had a very wishy washy and vague doctrine. It's been called [b]the greatest force for agnosticism[/b] in Canada.

Well that (my bolded) would be a great point in its favor. Everyone should be agnostic ultimately regarding whatever religious stance they have taken. Most atheists are agnostic and most of those who claim not to be are really just expressing their degree of certainty - which isn't really any greater than we agnostic atheists. They just have a greater need to express it.


(24-02-2017 10:34 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  "An article by Charles Lewis, published on May 14, 2011, set out what Lewis sees as the issues that beset the United Church: the church's "big tent" approach to believers, accepting even atheists as members; and lack of doctrinal orthodoxy."

I suppose that's why I can see that Christianity is compatible with atheism whereas, perhaps, if all you know of Christianity is American bible thumpers like Billy Graham, you would think of Christianity as much more rigid.

Sure xtianity should be compatible with atheism. Why should they give a fuck that we don't believe everything they do?

“Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly;
Man got to sit and wonder 'why, why, why?'
Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land;
Man got to tell himself he understand.”

― Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
24-02-2017, 07:49 PM
RE: Christian vs. Humanist Morality
(24-02-2017 10:34 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  "An article by Charles Lewis, published on May 14, 2011, set out what Lewis sees as the issues that beset the United Church: the church's "big tent" approach to believers, accepting even atheists as members; and lack of doctrinal orthodoxy."

I suppose that's why I can see that Christianity is compatible with atheism whereas, perhaps, if all you know of Christianity is American bible thumpers like Billy Graham, you would think of Christianity as much more rigid.
Well the United Church sounds rather like the Unitarian Universalists here in the States, and I don't have any problem saying that both, by being non-creedal and accepting atheists as members, have stretched well beyond the bounds of even liberal Christianity, by definition. With the main difference, from your description, being that the UUs are willing to admit and embrace it.

I came from US evangelical fundamentalism and was raised to regard Graham with great respect, so it is admittedly prominent in my awareness of Christianity. While I'm aware of the other "flavors" of American Christianity, fundamentalism has outsized influence in our culture, thanks to its now-longstanding unholy alliance with conservative politics. For proof you have only to look at their willingness to be courted and patronized and flattered by the crass, religiously ignorant and indifferent and man who, with their considerable help and moral cover, is now our president, and is advancing all sorts of nonsense with very little moral outrage from Christians (one notable and frankly surprising exception being a fairly forceful interdenominational condemnation of the immigration ban).
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: