The Inhumanity of Religious Morality

Before your religion was conceived of, before anyone believed in your God, what do you think people were doing? Do you think rape and infanticide and pillaging and murder were considered permissible and everyone brought down their full force of aggression to get their way? That every teenage compulsion immediately resulted in rape, and every irritating person was immediately murdered? The world was either Godless or believed in the wrong God, before your God, right?

Possibly not, of course. You could be a religious person who defines religion in such a way that God is nothing more than a metaphor for humanity’s collective wisdom ― or at least the local tribe’s wisdom. In that case, a religious text is a document of human wisdom and an interesting literary metaphor for some flavour of progressive Humanism. And that religion doesn’t hinder your discussion on how to better one’s behaviour.

But for those who take religion as literally true ― and the commands therein are not spiritual descriptions of a snapshot of the best a tribe could do, but actual inviolate commands ― religious morality become a worrying phenomena. Before people believed a Being had a specific preference for how they behaved, people has already figured out they didn’t want murder in their society, a form of governance to achieve that, and their responsibility to also not murder. We know they knew this because the tribes survived.

Those virtues that are considered the highest ― cooperation, collaboration and compassion ― are also those with Darwinian value to tribal animals. The more intelligent an animal, the more of these traits they show. (I haven’t actually explored with correlation in detail, but dolphins and other primates join us atop this spectrum, and they fit my conjecture well.) These virtues are our moral intuitions ― a pretheoretic morality ― and may not map perfectly onto a comprehensive moral theory, but we have that problem with physics, as well. There are personal attributes that fund these virtues, too: empathy and a value for the functioning of one’s tribe. (If you consider that selfish, see what I’ve had to say about that before.)

My point here is that humans are capable of discovering the ethics of getting along in a tribe and as part of a network of tribes. It’s not just an evolutionary drive, we know sometimes to suppress the animalistic drive to kill the salesperson who is ripping us off, because cooperation among tribes is better. We don’t need a dictate from a God. I’d even go one further: a person who can learn, figure out for themselves or be taught about morality is a better person than a person who thinks morality comes down to a God’s preference or fear of punishment.

Trying to discuss with someone why religious morality matters reveals some interesting things: they take the value of religious morality as a brute fact they don’t need to defend; and they subscribe to a kind of global nihilism, where nothing of reality ― in of itself ― is worth anything, but instead it has to be imbued with value from the outside. It makes the inhumane (and unjustified) claim that human efforts to understand morality are irrelevant and meaningless. (Sometimes they say ‘ultimately meaningless’, which flirts with another idea I’ve already discussed: the distinction between universal and parochial truth.) It perceives the world not just as getting value and meaning from a God, but ― naively ― that it only can get meaning that way around. It is a complete rejection of the concept of value and meaning creation and shared values. It is a nihilism that is only escaped through religion.

I call this religious nihilism (although I’m toying with starting to call it religious ex nihilism), and it immediately seems paradoxical to me in the context of its own justification: it’s a presupposition and taken as brute fact. The paradox is that the position is one of the defences for values are insufficient, and so the sufficient solution to that problem is an undefended being lying in an undefended relationship to value.

Think about the inhumanity of this position. It says you are not important because you are you. Nothing about you is worth anything under this view. You are only important because a God says so. There is no humanity there.

You may notice that I’m not dealing with particular religious commands here: it is this particular supporting philosophy that is has such inhumanity in it; the rejection of human intellect, reason and discussion to create value (in the face of empirical research about the the successes of these efforts).

But the ironies do continue. Many religious people would be laughing at me thinking tribal impulses might be able to lead to reliable moral intuitions and programs. And yet, in my experience, the people who draw an intellectual hardline between religious morality and Humanist discussions about morality are the same people who draw cultural and identity hardlines around the different religions ― a dehumanising tribalism deeper-set than what I advocate.

I was caught up in exactly this, recently. A blogger was indulging his own religious ex nihilism while writing an advice column for an atheist recent divorcé as if there is no God. His religious ex nihilism meant he fell far short of being called satire, because he was offering a straw-worldview ― it told us more about his nihilism and intellectually vacuous reliance on a God than it did the Godless worldview. If one had to defend the idea that it was satire, then it was a self-satire, highlighting nothing but the one-dimensionality of the blogger’s thinking and world.

The comments were filled with self-congratulatory smarm and guffawing. I thought about how to (and whether to) engage the conversation. Clearly approaching the blogger from any view devoid of a God was pointless, because he already invested in the presupposition that it would be meaningless no matter what I said. (And I’d engaged him before, I had a pretty good idea that nothing could dissuade him of his position, he is dogmatically a religious ex nihilist.)

I eventually decided to hold him to account by his own standard. I took a passage of his religious text that compelled him to compassion and pointed out that his behaviour fell very short of that. There was some squirming about how being aggressively rude and devoid of empathy is compatible with compassion, which is high-order nonsense. But mostly there was a tribalist attempt to exorcise me from the conversation, because I am not worthy of their little clique. My input was not evaluated on its own merit, or even evaluated at all; I was evaluated, and my idea was ignore because of who I was. That is the paradox of the inhumanity their supposed moral structure allows them.

It would be impossible for a nonreligious community to hold these people particular people to any sort of account, because they dehumanise those outside their tribe just enough to figure they can ignore the detractor. It’s ad hominem, which is an irrational way to debate, but that’s not the point. The point is they are riding a high-horse of moral standards, and yet feel no accountability when they get their own moral standards wrong.

There is a metaethical question about what it is one wants morality to achieve in action and in writing. But I do not see how it could be other than this: moral discussion, free moral speech and moral relativism are all better than this: they all accept elements of another person’s personhood and humanity, give accountability and have error correction; they accept that values are created and can be developed and nuanced to deal with an ever changing society. You may accept, metaethically, that morality doesn’t require humanity; but religious morality does lack humanity.

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73 thoughts on “The Inhumanity of Religious Morality”

  1. Is it my imagination, or is most every post of yours an attempt to “do away” with religion? I understand that faith in God is not something you find attractive or desirable or even understandable, and that is fine. I even admit that evil has been and is done in the name of religion, and that examining the relationship of religion to evil or leading people away from religion could lead to reduction of such evil.

    But there are other forces in society which lead to evil; why do you seemingly ignore them?

    1. Freewill, AI, model dependent realism, morality, Brexit, “Truth”, gender pronouns, programs of science, Imre Lakatos, reliability of mind, Dawkins and representation of science, personhood, referendums, humanism, racism, language, contractarianism, Humanism, Deep Ecology, Huel, veganism, falsification, resource policy for asteroids, unemployments, the ‘regressive left’ and free speech, feminism, abortion…

      So, I think it may be your imagination.

      1. Belief in God is not evil, and although some who believe in God (or say they do) are responsible for things which are evil. some who believe in God do things which are good I suggest that “doing away” with religion would not reduce the evil in the world.

  2. Thank you for writing such thoughtful and informative articles. It is okay to be “anti-theist”, if that it the case. Just let people know WHY that is where you are.

    Religion IS harmful and dangerous in many ways and on many levels. It was created by ancient royalty as a form of psychological warfare.

    And those royals used it to keep and maintain their rule over the masses. Today, their descendants still ruler our world as “The Oligarchy” or the 1%, if you prefer.

    This is what everyone needs to know and understand. It is why the world is the way that it is. Please take the time to read what I’ve learned about this and share it with others if you will. Thank you.

    Understanding The Oligarchy
    http://pisoproject.wordpress.com/understanding-the-oligarchy/

    Understanding The Oligarchy (in PDF form)
    http://www.academia.edu/32492893/Understanding_The_Oligarchy.pdf

    1. “Religion IS harmful and dangerous in many ways and on many levels. It was created by ancient royalty as a form of psychological warfare.”

      Wow. Let me attempt to duplicate that statement. “Plants ARE harmful and dangerous in many ways and on many levels. They were created by ancient royalty as a type of weapon”. Sounds silly, right?

      Some plants ARE harmful (poison ivy, belladonna, etc). They were not created by ancient royalty, but rather by God or Evolution or Aliens, take your pick, and were (mis)used by ancient royalty as well as others to hurt (poisons) and control (via access to food) others.

      Some people have used religion to cause harm. Some ancient royalty have used religion in psychological warfare and to control their subjects. But they did not “create” religion. Religion was created by the first creature capable of asking “why”?.

  3. I’ve long argued that those who require an outside authority – divine or otherwise – from which to borrow their moral position are less moral than a morally autonomous agent who accepts personal responsibility for authoring that morality. The John Branyans and Co. of this world demonstrate the merit of my argument far more reliably and consistently than I could ever describe.

  4. Great points and discussion Allallt. Enjoyed reading this several times.

    There is a theological doctrine in specific religions, particularly Protestant religions, that closely resembles your “inhumanity” condition (disease?) and is pervasive throughout many cultural groups including Believers themselves! It is the Augustinian doctrine of Total Depravity and its many subtle forms, e.g. yours presented here. Basically, it is a very controversial debate among past and present religious scholars (Jewish included) about what spiritual condition a human being is born into (as an infant!) post-Fall of Mankind (Original Sin in the Garden). Are post-Fall human beings born with any sort of Godly (humanity?) characteristics? The vast majority of religions, especially Christian, say NO! If one were, there’d be no need for any Saviour! LOL

    This hyper-rigid reasoning has catastrophic consequences to all religious Believers and especially their view of non-Believers toward/opposed to their ‘brand’ of religion! It essentially means that if you don’t at least 2/3rds believe in their form of Salvation — and by default their form of Total or Limited Depravity (Sin) — then by their biblically-based(?) teachings you will go to Hell. This presumption of non-believing humanity also nurtures many forms of hate, prejudice, discrimination, distrust, and any other human suspicions toward other different “tribes”, sometimes even within their OWN tribe(s)… as we see within Islam!

    Bottom-line, their Inhumanity is deeply firmly rooted in and taught from convoluted theological doctrines that precede the earliest Christian gatherings into forms of ancient Judaism as well! They are indeed taught sociopolitical doctrines of separation, distinction, and discrimination. Period.

    1. Correction please, Allallt…

      My sentence “This presumption of non-believing humanity also nurtures…” should actually read:

      This presumption about non-believing humanity also nurtures…

      Thank you. You are welcome to delete this comment after correction, if you choose Sir.

  5. If you want to see what Christians think the world was like without their god, view the recent movie Noah. Other than Noah’s family, the world is environmentally degraded, filthy, degenerate, and ruled by raw power. There are reasons it was portrayed that way: to justify Yahweh’s decision to “Kill them all …” but also to support the idea that there is no morality without god, only degradation and death. That seems to be the only purpose of the story, other than maybe to show their god to be a callous mass murderer and abuser of animals. (I also find it interesting that Satan was invented to take on the negative aspects of divine intervention in human lives, but Christians did and do not seem to be at all unaccepting of their “perfectly good” god laying waste to everything minus one ark load.)

    1. Steve, if you said “Asians/women think ” you could rightfully be accused of being racist/sexist. But not only is it acceptable to say “Christians think “, there is not even a word to describe that behavior.

      So no, not all Christians think that. And some people who are not Christians do think that.

      By the way, the movie “Noah” was not done by Christians, but by Hollywood atheists and its purpose was not to push any religious or historical ideas, but primarily to make money, and if people are entertained and/or Bible believers annoyed, they’ll take that as a bonus. It is complete fiction, extrapolated from a story from the Bible, so using it as indication of anything (except how desperate for story ideas Hollywood is), is not valid

  6. Somebody must have been asleep during 20th century history class.

    The 20th century began with World War I, then World War II and let us not forget the atheist genocides in the Communist hinterlands of Eurasia.

    Let’s do the math:

    17,000,000
    64,000,000
    100,000,000
    Total Slaughtered by human goodness: 181,000,000.

    And let’s not go back a little earlier in time to Napoleon, and the usual, nearly nonstop warring between the Spanish, the English and the French.

    Rape and pillage has been the coin of the human realm since the agricultural revolution 10,000 years ago.

    Somebody needs to wake up and smell the coffee.

    1. Just curious SoM, how do you interpret and explain these four Jewish and Xian bible passages in light of Allallt’s post:

      1. Deuteronomy 12:2-3
      2. Joshua 6:21
      3. I Samuel 6:19
      4. II Samuel 12:31

      (And at least another 20 passages minimum, but I’ll suspend those for now until you give your personal commentary on these.)

      Thanks.

      1. Deuteronomy 12:2-3

        “The nations you will dispossess have gods of their own, and build shrines for these on some high mountain, some hill, under the first green tree they can find. All these shrines you must overthrow, 3 demolish their altars, break their monuments, burn their sacred pillars, hew down their idols, and abolish the very memory of them from the places where they stood. ”

        This sounds like a pre-play of World War II when Christian Western Civilization rose up and destroyed the genocidal fascist of NAZI Germany and Imperial Japan.

        1. John, it is no surprise that you can’t tell the difference between the Allies and the Nazis. You are an atheist after all and have no moral compass.

      2. Joshua 6:21 

        “All that was in it they slew, sparing neither man nor woman, neither youth nor age; even cattle and sheep and asses were put to the sword.”

        Again, this sounds like a pre-play of the fire bombings of Tokyo and Dresden by the Christian Allies during World War II.

        1. John, let us try to remember that not everyone who claims to be a Christian is actually one. There are those who claim to be Christian even though they know they are not, for some personal goal. If they are competent, these can be hard (for man) to determine. There are those who think they are Christian, but are not; they can be sometimes determined (by man) by their actions which are diametrically and repeatedly opposite to Jesus’ commands.

        2. Not-A-True-Christian™ excuse. Quite original.

          Truth is, Hitler was not only a Christian, but he thought himself a very, very, very good Christian, and we know others thought this way from the praise laid upon him by Cardinals and Bishops and priests

        3. I’m not God, so I could be wrong. But I’ve got a glimpse of what He is looking for, and I’m willing to bet that no matter what Hitler called himself, and no matter what other people called him, he did not meet any of the criteria specified in the New Testament to “inherit the Kingdom of God”. You’ve heard of a “RINO” (Republican In Name Only)? Hitler would be, based on his statements and the actions we know about, a “CINO”…

          It is not for me (or you) to determine who really is and who really is not a Christian, but if a person’s words do not match their actions, or their words and actions are completely opposite to Christ’s teachings, then we have a reasonable ability to believe that person to not be a Christian. Could we be wrong? Sure; we can’t see into their heart, and God is the only one who’s opinion counts for anything.

        4. As far as I know, I am an Evangelical Christian, but that has nothing to do with your question.

          First of all, did Martin Luthor really say that? How about a citation? The closest I could find was a suggestion that the preaching of Judaism be made a capital crime. Second, if he did really say, work towards or think that Jews should be killed just for being Jews, did he repent? Without those answers I wouldn’t even hazard a guess.

        5. You’ve never heard of Luther’s “The Jews and the Their Lies”?

          “What shall we Christians do with this rejected and condemned people, the Jews? Since they live among us, we dare not tolerate their conduct, now that we are aware of their lying and reviling and blaspheming. If we do, we become sharers in their lies, cursing and blasphemy. Thus we cannot extinguish the unquenchable fire of divine wrath, of which the prophets speak, nor can we convert the Jews. With prayer and the fear of God we must practice a sharp mercy to see whether we might save at least a few from the glowing flames. We dare not avenge ourselves. Vengeance a thousand times worse than we could wish them already has them by the throat. I shall give you my sincere advice:

          First to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them. This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians, and do not condone or knowingly tolerate such public lying, cursing, and blaspheming of his Son and of his Christians. For whatever we tolerated in the past unknowingly ¬ and I myself was unaware of it ¬ will be pardoned by God. But if we, now that we are informed, were to protect and shield such a house for the Jews, existing right before our very nose, in which they lie about, blaspheme, curse, vilify, and defame Christ and us (as was heard above), it would be the same as if we were doing all this and even worse ourselves, as we very well know.

          Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed. For they pursue in them the same aims as in their synagogues. Instead they might be lodged under a roof or in a barn, like the gypsies. This will bring home to them that they are not masters in our country, as they boast, but that they are living in exile and in captivity, as they incessantly wail and lament about us before God.

          Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them. (remainder omitted)

          Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb. For they have justly forfeited the right to such an office by holding the poor Jews captive with the saying of Moses (Deuteronomy 17 [:10 ff.]) in which he commands them to obey their teachers on penalty of death, although Moses clearly adds: “what they teach you in accord with the law of the Lord.” Those villains ignore that. They wantonly employ the poor people’s obedience contrary to the law of the Lord and infuse them with this poison, cursing, and blasphemy. In the same way the pope also held us captive with the declaration in Matthew 16 {:18], “You are Peter,” etc, inducing us to believe all the lies and deceptions that issued from his devilish mind. He did not teach in accord with the word of God, and therefore he forfeited the right to teach.

          Fifth, I advise that safe¬conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. For they have no business in the countryside, since they are not lords, officials, tradesmen, or the like. Let they stay at home. (…remainder omitted).

          Sixth, I advise that usury be prohibited to them, and that all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them and put aside for safekeeping. The reason for such a measure is that, as said above, they have no other means of earning a livelihood than usury, and by it they have stolen and robbed from us all they possess. Such money should now be used in no other way than the following: Whenever a Jew is sincerely converted, he should be handed one hundred, two hundred, or three hundred florins, as personal circumstances may suggest. With this he could set himself up in some occupation for the support of his poor wife and children, and the maintenance of the old or feeble. For such evil gains are cursed if they are not put to use with God’s blessing in a good and worthy cause.

          Seventh, I commend putting a flail, an ax, a hoe, a spade, a distaff, or a spindle into the hands of young, strong Jews and Jewesses and letting them earn their bread in the sweat of their brow, as was imposed on the children of Adam (Gen 3[:19]}. For it is not fitting that they should let us accursed Goyim toil in the sweat of our faces while they, the holy people, idle away their time behind the stove, feasting and farting, and on top of all, boasting blasphemously of their lordship over the Christians by means of our sweat. No, one should toss out these lazy rogues by the seat of their pants.”

          Granted, he does not say the words “kill the Jew,” but you can read between the lines, and in particular the words “I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews” is, in essence, a call to kill.

          Did he repent? Not that I’m aware of. Would that make amends for the suffering and pain and distress he caused?

        6. Never heard of him. Why do YOU think he might not be a TrueChristian (since it seems unlikely you would bring him up unless you had some indication that his status could be questioned)? And don’t just say “xxx”; show that “xxx” actually happened.

        7. You’ve never heard of the church father, John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople? Interesting. In his Orations Against The Jews (379 CE) he wrote:

          “The Jews are the most worthless of all men. They are lecherous, rapacious, greedy. They are perfidious murderers of Christ. They worship the Devil. Their religion is a sickness. The Jews are the odious assassins of Christ and for killing God there is no expiation possible, no indulgence or pardon. Christians may never cease vengeance, and the Jew must live in servitude forever. God always hated the Jews. It is essential that all Christians hate them”

          So, if a Church Father is not a TrueChristian™, then does Christianity even exist?

        8. A “Church Father” is a man, and man is flawed. In addition to mistakes, religion is often twisted by man for their own purposes. This does not, in itself, invalidate that on which the religion is based.

          So, no matter how flawed or even downright evil this fellow was or was not, yes, Christianity exists. And will continue, despite your efforts to do away with it.

        9. Equippedcat, you are simply waving away compelling evidence that religious belief is now and has long be used to grant licence to replace knowledge and wisdom with ignorance and violence. This has a very long historical trend and pretending that so many people for so long are ‘doinitrong’ does not justify its continuation as if suddenly it’s going to produce anything else in the aggregate. Religion poisons everything.

          Any benefit you want to attribute to religious belief as the cause does not seem to be true. And you can demonstrate this to yourself by seeing if you isolate religious belief as the single cause for any particular benefit you assume it possesses. In the meantime, you continue to utilize a fallacy of the Not a True Scotsman. This is clue that YOU are ‘doinitrong’ when it comes to impartially examining the evidence that supports the charge Allalt raises about religious immorality. In other words, stop fooling yourself through this ridiculous rationalizing, step back, and come at the charge with eyes wide open and let reality rather than your religious assumptions guide your beliefs.

        10. It’s not that compelling 🙂 Maybe that fellow really was a rotter, or maybe he had a period of wrong thinking. Irregardless of his flaws, he did not INVENT Christianity and any flaws he has does not invalidate Christianity.

        11. How flexible can we be, without making it all meaningless? I mean, given that your God might not exist, we can’t really pretend the definition is up to God. If we did, there would be no Christians.
          But, hey, as we’re being as flexible as we like, am I a Christian? Here’s two links to my works that suggest I might be.
          https://allallt.wordpress.com/2013/06/26/the-bible-is-a-metaphor-does-that-make-me-a-christian/
          https://allallt.wordpress.com/2015/04/08/mythos-and-religious-practice/

        12. I doubt that you are a Christian, but of course, I can’t say with any authority. My impression is, based on the only source which appears to exist, that the “requirements” for a person to be a Christian are as follows:

          A) He/She Must believe that
          1) the deity variously referred to as “the God of Moses”, Yahweh or Jehovah exists.
          2) this deity sent part of Himself, called Jesus, to live a life as human, exposed to all the temptations that Man is subject to.
          3) during His life, Jesus never “sinned” (disobeyed Yahweh).
          4) Jesus was killed as a sacrifice without blemish to pay for every “sin” committed by every person that ever was, is or ever will be.
          5) Jesus was resurrected (made alive again) after his death.
          and B) the person must
          6) admit that they have sinned (against Yahweh)
          7) be truly sorry for those sins
          8) make their best effort to not sin any more (and repent again whenever they fail)
          9) allow Jesus to be the guiding force in their life

          Or, if you want the shortest statement on the subject, try:

          Romans 10:9-10 New International Version (NIV)
          9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

        13. Romans doesn’t require deeds. My posts do wonder whether God is a metaphor, but one can believe in the meaning and value of a metaphor.

        14. No, deeds are not required

          However, none of the things I listed are “deeds”, they are “decisions”, “changes in focus”, “improving one’s relationship with God” and so on.

          Note that although deeds are not required, they tend to result from the changes in focus.

      3. 1 Samuel 6:19 

        “And the Lord smote some of the Bethsamites themselves, for prying into the ark of the Lord. (And he smote seventy men out of the people, and fifty thousand of the common folk.[2]) Over this visitation the Lord had brought on them there was great grief among the people;”

        This is an example of justice and what can happen to the hateful barbarian for disrespecting the Creator.

      4. II Samuel 12:31 

        “As for the people, he had them brought out and sawed in pieces, or crushed under iron chariots, or cut up with knives, or passed through a brick-kiln; and the same treatment he gave to all the cities of Ammon. Then David and his army returned to Jerusalem.[4]”

        Okay, so King David was a bad ass who lived in a bad ass world.

        Who are we to judge?

        If it makes you feel any better, later on in King David’s life God complained about him having committed too much bloodshed.

        1. Hahahaha… smooth your feathers, relax your chest, it was just a simple question SoM. Was this your humane moral answer or your inhumane immoral answer? What would everyone else think? 😉

          That’s an obvious rhetorical question by the way. (chuckling)

          Footnote — for anyone else following, SoM’s bible quote for I Samuel 6:19 for example is a later exegetical altercation/modification of the passage — note his parenthesis with “[2]” at the end. It’s exact wording varies depending on which version/transliteration (sympathies?) of the Canonical bible one prefers; there’s many/several. However, the true Masoretic exegesis is simply 50,070 humans slaughtered by the Hebrew-Christian-Islamic god simply for their nationalities.

          For broader perspective and (one out of many) comprehensive looks at the brutality and inhumanity of the Abrahamic god and the atrocities His followers commmitted (since all the canonical bible has to be true!) or condone/overlook, go to:

          https://ffrf.org/legacy/books/bas/bas5.php

          Also, anyone can walk-in a major metropolitan public library network, even the library of Congress, and find a plethora of verifiable sources (from various points-of-view) on this subject to gain more informed higher impartiality.

          Nevertheless SoM, thanks for your personal answers and personal commentary.

        2. 50,070… That’s a lot of killing, especially if we are to consider the actual population numbers. Lucky it’s all myth wrapped in a nationalistic dream.

        3. No, they were not slaughtered for their nationality. They were slaughtered for their religious orientation. Not man against man, but God against god, using man.

        4. I was going to say that’s a distinction without a moral difference. But then I wondered whether your explanation is actually worse…

        5. Of course its worse… from man’s point of view. If God is as much higher than us as is theorized, it might be fine from that higher view, What is really annoying is that some men have copied the idea, using other men to do their “dirty work” and that has no potential higher redeeming factor..

        6. I, of course, have my own morality, which I mostly developed before I became a Christian. Fortunately, it was similar enough that I did not have much stress due to conflicts with the Christian moral positions.

          Morality has always appeared to me to be like “Relativity”. In other words, morality seems to depend on ones point of observation.

          I’m not sure what “morality argument” you are referring to. Morality is from God or self determined? Morality is absolute or situational? The personal impact of morality as opposed to the societal impact? “Victim” morality (don’t kill anyone) vrs “victimless” morality (don’t have sex with someone the same gender as yourself)? Whether God is moral or immoral?

        7. The Bible version that I use in my comments is the Catholic Bible. You know the Catholics? They’re the ones who wrote the Bible in the first place. You can check out the Bible verses at newadvent.com.

        8. You are using very ambigious terms SoM covering several millenia and centuries, as well as cultural landmass. But very briefly, “Catholics” are the product of Jewish Reformers (and of course the Roman Empire) and much/most of the Catholic Scriptures are borrowed (hijacked? modified?) FROM a select number of Jewish sects of Antiquity that recorded earlier Jewish heritage. You can checkout the actual history of your “spiritual” ancestors at:

          http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/timeline-for-the-history-of-judaism

          Or at any number of internet sites, or in-person at public libraries, or better yet, Synagogues…that is unless you think that would demonstrate dependent thinking instead of “independent” thinking, then you are welcome to disregard my suggestion. 😉

        9. Professor T’Bo,

          Anyone can get a Catholic Bible. They are very common.

          And since my argument concerns Christian Western Civilization, not Hebrew Western Civilization, a Catholic Bible is a perfectly good source for the Bible scriptures you cited.

        10. Professor T’Bo,

          “Rhetorical question” just means that your concerns are so easily addressed that it looks better if you just argue with yourself (rhetorically speaking of course) and lose.

        11. Your speedy version(s) of religious humanity, morality, opinion, biblical or secular commentary SoM would seem as appealing as a “Father” Morton Downey, Jr. or a “Father” Howard Stern… and equivalently expressed too. They pander to a… specific demographic. Fortunately not every demographic. But I could be wrong or “losing.” HAH! 😉

        12. Professor T’Bo,

          The Bible has nothing to do with demographics. As with many great works of ancient literature, the Bible is about universal, objective morality. It applies to all demographics.

  7. Allallt,

    You stated above in a comment/reply:

    I was going to say that’s a distinction without a moral difference. But then I wondered whether your explanation is actually worse…

    This touches on a point within the logical subdivisions of Total/Limited Depravity. When a group of humans (tribe) are familially conditioned/indoctrinated, and unwaveringly embrace a “doctrine” of depravity for self or others, it nurtures many forms of dehumanization and devaluing of THIS life. Their mental and emotional conditioning/indoctrinating usually precedes eventual manifestations and/or forms of verbal abuse/disrespect or physical violence toward self and/or others (wars, massacres, genocides). By creating a (false) need for a “Messiah/Saviour”, it can be easily argued that earliest Jewish and Xian theologians inadvertantly gave MORE excuse for the unaccountability of human behavior, i.e. Satan.

    EC’s ambigious explanation above to one of my Old Testament bible passages is a very good example of (intended and/or unintended) “Divine” comedy/theology, which under close (more impartial) examination permeates through the Abrahamic canonical scriptures and religious teachings.

      1. My pleasure tildeb. These observations are actually compelling and plausible theories gaining popularity in clinical fields of counseling & psychology; soon to be established, I’d imagine, as civilized society stalls (or takes backward steps?) in collaboration, especially globally. Time will tell. 🙂

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