home » ethics, religion

lupus in ovis veste

21 March 2009 3 comments

So I think I’m going to take a break from Facebook for a while. I walked into a minefield that was clearly marked. My bad. I am intrigued how the Persians invented using crucifixion in the 6th century BCE to hurt people. Those who have taken up the cross as a symbol often learn how to use it as a weapon as well. Which begs the question; why do so many Christians feel perfectly good about insulting people in the name of the Bible?

After composing a short recap and then seeing how high-school the whole thing sounded, I’ll just say that when it was obvious that one of my post’s commenters was also an atheist, a Christian jumped in and brandished Psalm 53:1 at me.

The fool hath said in his heart, “there is no god.”

I, myself, used this verse at my “outing.”  I merely added the word, “finally.”   And I have seen it incorporated into a very empowering proverb since:

The fool says in his heart, “there is no god.”  The wise man says it out loud.

All that aside, it is immediately obvious, I think, that this person’s use of that verse at that time was meant very condescendingly, and was intended to be injurious.  The notion that it is better to offend someone than to let “error” exist is, frankly, one of the more medieval aspects of religion that was comforting to be away from.  I believe that evangelical Christians fail to recognize the similarities between their own methodologies and the methods of jihad in Islam.  I, personally, fail to see how intentionally-slung contempt can be considered Christ-like.

The Christian friends I have that do recognize circular reasoning when they see it (god exists because the bible says so and the bible is true because it is written by god and the bible says that god exists) don’t use scripture to “prove” points to me.  Indeed, I don’t disagree with them on anything except how many gods there are.  Out of thousands possible, I believe in only one less than they do.  That, and the notion of “sin,” which is wrapped up only in the idea of an angry sky-father.  A thing is right or wrong regardless of whether or not a god condones it or not.  Genocide is wrong, yet is blessed by YHWH in Leviticus (26:7-9).  Rape is wrong, yet practiced by the children of god in Judges 5 and 21.  Selling one’s daughter into slavery is wrong (it even seems pointless to type that), yet allowance for it is made in the law (Exodus 21).  At this point Christians are quick to state, “but the old law was nailed to the cross.”  But it was God’s law, right?  How is it now all “okay?”  Clearly, right and wrong do not come from a higher source – at least not one detailed in any text we have – and “sin” is a made-up concept (hamartios: “missing the mark” – how many points are the outer rings worth?).

I think it all boils down to the notion of being “forgiven.”  As a Christian, you can be a complete dick to anyone, at any time, and just pray for forgiveness and you’re good to go.  I’m talking about the practicing Christians, not the theoretical ones who “love one another.”  And I realize that there are well-known atheists who are assclowns, but they’re not going about preaching that morality comes from beyond reality.  If you have no objective moral standard, and you don’t have objective moral behavior, then that logically follows.  If you DO have an “objective” moral standard, but you still don’t have objective moral behavior, then what good is the standard?  Is there even really a standard?  It follows, then, by some historically bizarre inductive logic, that if one can imagine a standard that has never been met and then proffer that as a basis for ethical behavior, then one can imagine the existence of a god which can’t be proven, and sell that to the masses – at the point of a sword, if necessary.


  • DG Seaton said:

    Wolves in sheep’s clothing, indeed. If there was one language I could wish to speak, more so than English, it would be Latin.

    The neat irony for me on your subject line is that this is what I frequently rail against, when I find one of these types in my midst. When I find someone I was calling “friend,” who I invited into my home, who I fed and shared laughter with, and then I find they sit in judgment upon me. HOW DARE THEY? How dare they rub shoulders with me and then sit on a high horse and cast blame and shame? It’s disturbing to me in a way few others things get under my skin. It’s a violation — of trust, of my own judge of character.

    I have more to say, but I wanted to throw that out there!

  • DG Seaton said:

    “The fool says in his heart, `there is no god.` The wise man says it out loud.” I’ve not read this beauty yet, but I’m thrilled to have met it, and I will use it well. BRILLIANT.

    Your points about the Old Covenant are painfully salient. If Yahweh is perfect, then why did the debacle of Noah happen and he swear never to do it again? If Yahweh is perfect, why did he need to do away with his original commands? If Yahweh is perfect and beyond time, then where was he for the 30,000 years prior to his appearance to Moses on the mountain in the bush? There were SCADS of gods prior to that, so was he hanging by the pool? Ordering pizza? Was in the GUISE of another god? Well then what about THOSE gods’ activities and their respective woefully wrongness?

    Your point about circular logic is accurate and unassailable. I can think of little MORE corruptible source of communication than a text. How about a mass hallucination instead? That’s harder to misinterpret. How about leaving a bit more of a trail? Oh, if the point of the exercise is to “leap in faith,” well then this is a GAME, and I do not wish to play.

    I still see mankind’s messed up thumbprint on all of this religious mucking about, and it reinforces my own view that we are a virus, an evolutionary blunder. In the greater scheme of the history of this rock we inhabit, we are but a tiny scratch in the stream of time. The dinosaurs existed for 150 million years and didn’t sully the planet the way we have in our 50,000 years. Sad. A waste on a grand scale. Someone should send a memo to god about THAT.

    Thanks for your thoughts! They are like water in my parched mental soil.

  • Kellwood said:

    Wow! Have I been a bad influence on you or what? I still just shake my head at fellow Christians who use the Bible as a way to prove their bias and prejudice.