I’d never be able to say this in speech form because my brain is faster than my tongue and English is not my first language. However, I took some time to type this out. This is a counter argument I wrote to a Christian friend of a friend on Facebook under some post…He was trying to tell me that morals come from Religion during a debate about gay marriage and denial of their human rights. Enjoy!
Morals do not come from religion but from tradition that religion has adopted and added onto in order to serve the interests of authorities and other people of power at different points in history of humanity. I don’t believe I have to make obvious historical examples but why the hell not – here are a couple:
In the context of the Bible – women are property of a man, and man should have slaves. I can only hope that you feel having a wife whose only purpose is to service you at your whim and birth children as well as having a human being enslaved so you could keep your hands clean and your gloves white would be considered highly immoral in our time, furthermore both would be considered law breaking oppression – NOT because god sent us another Jesus to tell us so – but because we’ve evolved to realize that women being property and other humans being enslaved is morally wrong. So why does it say in the Bible that it is not? Because it served the powerful men of that time who wanted to have stuff taught their way.
Another proof to morals being tradition and not religion to this is the sheer fact that humans have survived their own history from way before any Western form of Christianity – or any other form of Christianity that ever took place. If you are a fundamental Christian (I do not know)
and you believe that the Earth is 5000 years old, I am very sorry I have to tell you that 5000 years ago the Chinese already had a culture of literacy and the world indeed existed. The Chinese were not Christian and they did not eat and fuck each other and their children in the streets or paths (whatever they might have had back then). (btw – I love the word fuck, you will have to find a way in your Christian heart to forgive me 🙂 )
When it comes to my personal morals – they come from tradition and observation of my own state of spiritual self. Some things I was taught by my parents and some I’ve derived from my own right and wrong doings. I did not have to have a burning bush or a book tell me that throwing a brick at my brother is not a nice thing to do – I knew it because it instinctively felt wrong even before it was done and especially after it was done. Nobody had to convince me that this was a sin – because with his pain my empathy was triggered and I’ve experienced the brick as well. What I DID have to learn though was the lesson of empathy 101 out of which sprung a little chunk of my personal morals. Every day a new lesson – 32 years into it now. I succeed and fail every day. Perhaps I am lucky to have been on that level of consciousness at that age where I could recognize this without having been threatened with eternal hell and damnation in order to actualize and implement a moral code. This is a good place to advise that I am not by any means claiming that I personally am at the end of the road of my only driving force being compassion – oh no! However – I am *aware* that this is a goal to have and by the time I am your age I will have trained myself to be able to control my actions and move them in this direction more than not. I don’t expect to ever be at 100% but as long as I AIM, I’ll find my life worth living.
Another proof of morality having sprung from tradition and not religion is highly visible in the world of not just primate biology but biology of many other species – not just humans. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen a monkey read a Bible or any other religious text. Yet they baby-sit for each other, protect each other, groom each other and are highly social beings. So are whales and penguins… Now you could argue that god works in mysterious ways and perhaps god taught the monkeys in monkey language and penguins in penguin language. If I were to agree with this religious (lack of) idea or better yet ambiguous omni-applicable postulate – I could counter that with my humble interpretation – intuition or gut feeling.
Intuition is a sense by which your comprehensive consciousness (physical, spiritual and emotional) is aware of something being truth without you having to read it anywhere or have it taught to you by someone or something. For example – if you are a parent – you know that if you feel like something is very wrong with your newborn – odds are that it is. This may be a bit more expressed in mothers than fathers, but again, it is repeated in countless species. Whether there is a hidden god or yet undiscovered scientifically provable force or entity behind it – nobody knows for sure, even those who claim they do – on both sides of the argument. The morals of helping yourself or another in danger are learned from actions or lack of actions following intuition. Again, you can say it’s god – I can say it’s nature. Nature may be god, god may be nature – but it’s not religion and it’s not the bible.
Your suggestion that my personal moral code is something else than American is very offensive not just to me but to so many Americans who are like me. How do you work out that my moral code is “other”? Because I pinched and licked around female nipples versus male nipples – I am the same as a child rapist? 🙂
I think we have a different idea of what morals are. I will take my turn in being presumptuous and fire one off: It seems from your arguments that your moral code was built by someone else and you’ve been rightfully taught from early age to obey it without question and you do and it serves you well. However you do it in such a fashion that you truly believe that those people who originally came up with your adopted moral code had the ultimate authority on morals for all eternity. Again, based on belief that cannot be questioned unless you want to burn in hell. Pretty powerful image of consequence for a kid whose natural instinct is to question things. A very scary historical quote comes to mind – a quote attributed to St. Francis Xavier (co-founder of Society of Jesus and a missionary) – “Give me the child until he is seven and I’ll give you the man”. Basically – it has been known for ages that things one learns by the age of (roughly) seven are those that stick to the person for the rest of their life. Like brushing teeth – if one doesn’t do it one actually FEELS BAD on a physical level! It’s programmed behavior! With same method one can also learn UNFORTUNATE things by the age one is seven, and one of them is that men who love each other must change or not exist or exist in secrecy because they are BAD or EVIL or somehow less worthy or capable to choose their own life and do so freely. Another one is that humans are more valuable than animals. Another one (a bit more contemporary) is that another human’s health is of no concern to you, especially if lack of their health can make you money so you can feed 13 children “god told you to have”. (Not you personally, but you get my drift I hope).
I would love to serve you with a moral code, but that’s not how moral codes work. You don’t sit down and write something that will work for thousands of years. You develop it over thousands of years. You take things out and put new things in. If they don’t work, you take them out. If they work, you keep them.
Dear friend, morals existed way longer than the organized religion did. And people and animals learned them and passed them on, generations adjusted and changed – changed their rules a bit and passed them on – and it’s just about damn time to kick a few things out again. And pass it on.