Monday, 22 August 2011

Being Good Without God -- by William Bell

What does a believer think of when they describe their own beliefs about god?  The most obvious answers are God represents love, at least in the Judeo-Christian belief system.  Many believers think that without the loving benevolent father and the eternal hell fire alternative they would be eating babies, raping, and pillaging.

This is based on the assumption that God created humans basically in a state of immorality and without divine discouragement (threat of hell) humans would not sustain any form of culture and human society would fall apart.           
But this is in fact not true, and in my view if we are in a truly moral society then someone is being altruistic they are doing it out of the goodness of their heart not because they are afraid of punishment.  It could not even be considered altruism because it is meant to contribute to reaching a selfish cause (going to heaven not hell).

However this makes sense based on evolutionary predictions.  We are selfish animals and we have a deep instinct to survive, therefore once affected by a meme such as a religious belief, like the good-bad afterlife complex we will do whatever we can to make it so we survive that afterlife in good condition.

We can also look at examples in our world for instance Estonia and Scandinavia are extremely secular, these areas also have the highest quality of life, for instance Norway has the highest quality of life as in number one and Sweden came 9th, Finland came in 16th, Denmark came in 19th, Estonia came 34th, Iceland coincidentally with the highest evolution acceptance in the world comes in 17th.  I am not trying to say that secularism increases quality of life, simply that it does not decrease it.

 In the words of Jessica Ahlquist “Religion is like a crappy commercial”, it says we are bad and we need redemption just like you need Old Spice and it tells you that you will go to hell if you don’t accept Jesus into your lives.  Religion manipulates your emotions towards selfishness, ignorance, fear and anger, it tells you who to excommunicate and who to blow up.  A construct that causes such huge problems in the world, that ensnares millions, billions of people, is that what we want judging our morality?  Is this really what you want a good book to have?

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