On morals

A lot has been written on this subject and a lot will continue to be written. On whether the huge volume of the subject has improved our knowledge of the subject is still up for debate. It is in this vain, that I will add my thoughts to the subject. It is not to be imagined that this is my first article on the subject. Various of my musings can be found on this site.

What is the basis of morality? Self love. The maxim, do not do unto others what you don’t want done unto you and the positive one that do unto others what you would wish done unto you. The nature of man and woman has not changed in the many years we have existed. We avoid pain and seek pleasure. And sometimes, we can bear pain if it leads to a future pleasure. In essence, therefore, morality has the appearance of universality because everywhere human beings have the same nature.

What has religion to do with morality. Nothing. Except sometimes to pollute it or claim that it was dictated by either their god or prophets.

It is my view that any other claims to the basis of morality that doesn’t refer to self love are all empty and chimerical.

In finishing, I refer to my last post in which I enquired whether we should judge the ancients by the standards of today, I submit yes. It was wrong then and it is wrong now to hold others as slaves and chattels. It is contrary to morality. It was contrary to morality to hold the inquisition especially on matters so doubtful and unfounded on the right way to believe.

I am open to be persuaded that I am wrong on this.

Nietzsche spoke too soon

Though a good prophet, spoke too soon when he said God is dead and we have killed him.

It’s been 120 years since the good prophet breathed his last but all around us we are surrounded by irrationality that should have died when god died.

This is manifested in many ways. In many places, morals come to us from the sky, dictated by a god who is perfect, mysterious, vengeful and hidden- if you are philosophically inclined- ; in most jurisdictions we have laws that are informed by the religious persuasions of those who handed them down to us.

Then there is the obsession with objective Truth and all objective whatever-s that when you really bother to think around, leads you down the rabbit hole occupied by the gods.

The good prophet, in Genealogy of morals tells us to craft a new morality. And in his thus spake Zarathustra, invites us to be ubermen. Maybe it is time we took him seriously and thought about our morals. We may in the end not have to overhaul them, but to admit they are not from or by the gods, but they are covenants between men and women for sociable living. I simply don’t want anyone stealing my cow, not because it is an edict from high heavens but because i don’t want to be inconvenienced!

All morality

Can be summarised as follows

To enjoy and have others enjoy, without doing harm to yourself or anyone else

Nicolas Chamfort

For the discerning reader, you can see the tinge of utilitarianism in this maxim. This however, reminds me of the article I read recently (Brian you remember) that talk of morality is no longer meaningful or something to that effect.

I think, echoing Nietszche and Onfray, that we have failed in creating a new morality. We are still caught up in the Platonic-Christian ethos though with a secular priestly.

Maybe I am missing something.

Terrible essay on religion or lack of it

There are terrible essays, then there is this by J Maren. He says in an interview with a Ferguson, he (Ferguson) said atheism is a religious faith that he was brought up in. He went on to say it is as much a faith as Christianity or Islam. And finished by making the observation that

atheism, particularly in its militant forms, is really a very dangerous metaphysical framework for a society

And at this point, I have questions. Creeds such as Christianity or Islam have books, or tenets of beliefs, they often have founders and a lot of other requirements. Now what could be the similarities between atheism and Islam or Judaism? How, in its militant form, whatever that means, is it a danger to society? Do they kill believers?

What else had Ferguson to say?

I know I can’t achieve religious faith,” he went on, “but I do think we should go to church. We don’t have, I don’t think, an evolved ethical system. I don’t buy the idea that evolution alone gets us to be moral. It can modify behavior, but there’s just too much evidence that in the raw, when the constraints of civilization fall away, we behave in the most savage way to one another. I’m a big believer that with the inherited wisdom of a two-millennia old religion, we’ve got a pretty good framework to work with.

This is interesting. For thousands of years, our loving and merciful father forgot about his creation. Left men without a religion. Without morals and remembered to send this information much later and topped it up with a suicide or is it a deicide.

If Maren is right, we must believe that before Christianity there was no forgiveness. Maren tells us, in part

What we do know is that he thought Christianity was in many ways the soul of Western civilization, and that the uniquely Christian concept of forgiveness was utterly indispensable to its survival.

I don’t know about you, but I know I am have not

My fear is that the Church is not doing what so many of us on the outside want it to do, which is preaching its gospel, asserting its truths and its claims

wanted the church to do anything except that believers keep their faith private.

Maren then tells of an interview with D MUrray who

believes that Christianity is essential because secularists have been thus far totally incapable of creating an ethic of equality that matches the concept that all human beings are created in the image of God

Which is interesting from where I stand. It appears there has been a difference between belief and practice. But the less said about this the better. Reminds me of when Haitians revolted following the French declaration of Freedom, Liberty and Fraternity, there were locked in a revolt with the French for 12 years until the defeat of Napoleon’s army.

In his conclusion, Maren writes that the west and Christianity are tied at the hip. The west will not long survive without Christianity. The sooner you all start joining the church nearest to you, the longer the western civilization will last. It is all up to you.

Or maybe I am wrong.

Is it really the case that our laws

Laws and customs having the effect of law in our days can be traced directly to some powerful organized church or churches? That even in the US where they have an amendment separating church and state, the churches managed to have placed on the statutes the individual church’s code of moral taboos.

In his novel, For us, the living, Robert Heinlein writes and I quote

All forms of organized religion are alike in certain social respects. Each claims to be the sole custodian of the essential truth. Each claims to speak with final authority on all ethical questions. And every church has requested, demanded, or ordered the state to enforce its particular system of taboos. No church ever withdraws its claims to control absolutely by divine right the moral life of the citizens.

Robert A. Heinlein, For us, the Living

Such laws include but are not limited to tax exemption for church property, practically all laws pertaining to marriage and the relations between the sexes (laws against polygamy, adultery, birth control and others), censorship laws, laws prohibiting alocohol use, cigarettes.

In his book Genealogy of morals, Nietzsche makes the same argument and calls for a re-evaluation of morals. The difficulty I see is that after a while, these laws begin to have the form of common sense and thus their religious beginnings become obscured.

Do you agree or am i missing something?

on moral philosophy

My ancestors didn’t leave behind a codified form of moral philosophy that we can quote like those works of individual philosophers like Plato, Aristotle and others I am too lazy to mention. But reading this article, it does seem to me that my ancestors were right. Sometimes I ask how could a few white men colonize my relatives? I think the grand parents owe us an explanation and an apology.

Happy week everyone

Unbelievable? Chapter 3

On human value.

Justin argues we cannot value human life unless we imagine a god to have gave us life. To this he says the fact that Jesus died for us means our lives are really valuable. There are other several claims on objective morals. Or that atheists have no grounding for their morals or that we are moral because of the Judeo-Christian god or some similar argument. His response to the objection raised in the Euthyphro Dilemma is that god is good, so all its commands are good.

My objections to this chapter.

One, there are societies and have been societies where people have lived moral lives without the Judeo-Christian god. In fact, as I have pointed out in other posts, in most of African societies, morality or right conduct had nothing to do with the gods but how to live together. It is an insult to humanity to claim that a god who showed up somewhere in the middle East not so long ago is the supreme lawgiver.

I am a Jesus skeptic. And vivacious redemption is abhorrent.

Are there universal objective morals? Can they explained by positing our evolutionary past and communal living or do we need to posit an agent elsewhere as the source of our laws?

His objection to the Euthyphro Dilemma is premature. The being of a god is in question. It’s nature is another matter.

Do other species matter? Should they count?

Let us reflect on the thoughts of d’Holdbach when he writes

it is unnecessary to tell me that we degrade man when we compare him with the beasts, deprived of souls and intelligence; this is no leveling doctrine, but one which places him exactly where nature places him, but from which his puerile vanity has unfortunately driven him. All beings are equal; under various and different forms they act differently; they are governed in their appetites and passions by laws which are invariably the same for all of the same species; everything which is composed of parts will be dissolved; every thing which has life must part with it at death; all men are equally compelled to submit to this fate; they are equal at death, although during life their power, their talents and especially their virtues, established a marked difference,  which, though real, is only momentary.

On the possibility of moral progress

Odera Oruka notes

….in matters of morals, man appears to be several centuries behind scientific and technological progress, in spite of the fact that great religions such as Christianity and Islam have existed since antiquity. The lag in moral progress must partly be blamed on these religions. Perhaps if in their place we had had the systems more oriented to earthly and worldly progress right from the beginning, the world would have been more positively different.