The fallacy of religious ‘objective morality’.

August 29, 2014

All atheists have come up against it at some point in their lives. Along with ‘so you think everything came from nothing?’, it is the main weapon in the ever shrinking theist arsenal. I’m talking of course, about the obsession with ‘objective’ morality and the absurdity that follows; ‘How can you condemn Hitler? By what standard?’ At first glance, it sounds like a philosophical conundrum that we may find troubling to deal with. But scratch the surface, and it really isn’t that difficult to respond to, without even having to begin to quote vastly immoral passages from those books.

There are several key problems, but the one I wanted to focus on is the misguided belief that religion provides a desirable objective moral standard. It is simply untrue that a moral
Statement magically transforms from ‘subjective’ to ‘objective’ by preceding it with a simple “my God says….”. I thought I’d highlight where I see the problems:

Firstly, to insist on an ‘objective’ moral base sent straight from heaven to humanity – the very base upon which a ‘subjective’ moral conclusion becomes ‘objective’ – one must conclusively prove the existence of your particular God. This means not simply convincing yourself of the existence of God, but convincing the rest of us also. Otherwise, the word ‘objective’ seems very familiar to the word ‘subjective’ and any moral judgement can be declared ‘objective’ if it is preceded with the phrase “My God said…“. We often hear from the religious the rather manipulative dichotomy presented as ‘Man’s law, or God’s law‘. Without first proving the existence of your God, what that dichotomy actually breaks down to, is 21st century Man’s law, or 1st/7th century Man’s law. If you cannot conclusively prove the existence of your God (this requires first proving the existence of a creator, followed by proof that the creator is all ‘good’ rather than all ‘evil’, followed by the leap from creator to your specific God) – through more than simple philosophical guesswork – the case for ‘objective morality’ or ‘God’s law’ falls before it’s even begun.

Secondly, both the Bible and Qur’an are subject to a myriad of interpretations and continual revisions depending on the context of the time and place, and the individual believer. Sit a liberal, secular Christian in a room with the Westboro Baptist Church, and the differences between them will be an ocean the size of the Pacific. Indeed, we see members of ISIS differing intensely in interpreting Islam’s ‘objective moral base’ from that of their immediate family members. If members of the same faith, in the same household, cannot agree on the meaning of countless ambiguous passages, nor can scholars over the course of time agree, constantly revising its meanings to fit a more modern narrative, it doesn’t get the luxury of being referred to as an ‘objective base’ for morality. If a divine being sent down obscure passages that believers in the same house hold cannot agree on, I’m afraid that reflects terribly on God’s ability to convey his message.

Thirdly, our nature is often – not always – in direct conflict with the idea of objective moral standards. Religion did not inform us that senseless murder is wrong (often, religion permits murder). We know this intuitively, and we punish murder, because murder contradicts our evolved ability to empathise with others, whilst posing a direct threat to our survival as a species if accepted universally. We empathise; that is to say, we imagine ourselves in the position of the other. Is that a basis itself for objective moral standards? Perhaps, though not in the form crafted by the religious, of an outside standard that transcends humanity. It is as much a part of our nature, as breathing. It is not separate from humanity. If indeed morality were a set of distinct rules, separate from humanity, existing prior to humanity, set out by a God, it would make sense – if God is to be considered ‘good’ – for those rules to be succinct and lacking ambiguity when handed to humanity. For those rules to be ambiguous, requiring 200,000 years of human suffering and violence to attempt to work out, implies a vastly immoral game by the divine rule giver.

It is then essential to note that humanity is not perfect. We are a wonderful yet very flawed species, and that reflects on our collective ideals over time, as we learn and grow. Morality is informed by complex interactions, including but my no means limited to our collective knowledge, our history, our mistakes, our experiences, and our evolved human intelligence – this essentially includes empathy and the ability to rationalise – at any given time. We are a complex species with deep flaws. Morality does not escape that. It evolved from our basic need to cooperate in order to survive the harshest of conditions, and grew as we grew. It is a natural condition in which without it, humanity would not have survived. Indeed, morality is essential for the survival of our species, yet not confined to our species. We see through the research of primatologists like Frans de Waal that our ape cousins show basic forms of moral reasoning; cooperation, conflict resolution etc. Morality is natural, and ever evolving. As with most natural occurrences – sexuality, gender, spirituality – religions tend to try to grab hold of nature, as if they own it, and shape it to fit the dictates of the faith, which in turn has the most awful consequences for those ‘outside’ of its narrow spectrum of what is to be considered God’s plan. In the case of morality, chaining moral progress by attempting to anchor moral ideals to tribal squabbles of 1st Century Palestine or 7th Century Arabia, and the obscurity of the passages that emerged as a result of those squabbles, is a distortion of nature, an attempt to reshape our nature, and by extension will without exception always end in oppression, because it cannot abide the nature of updated knowledge that contradicts 1st or 7th century far less informed dictates. From lands that were very patriarchal and very heterosexual dominated, it should come as no surprise that heterosexual males are the ones who coincidentally, God seems to offer the most privileges and power.

Further, there is a bizarre suggestion from the faithful, that no divine objective set of moral standards implies all moral conclusions are to be considered equal. For me, this isn’t true. One moral conclusion may be based on the available evidence and data, applied on a framework of our natural inclinations encompassing empathy among others, whilst the opposing moral conclusion may lack all evidence basing itself on mere belief, dismissing all contrary consideration. The two are not to be considered of equal weight. This is why I object to the reductive terms “objective” and “subjective” when speaking of morality. I don’t accept either.

So, we have noted that what the religious refer to as ‘objective’ requires as a bare minimum the conclusive proof of the existence of their particular God to begin its journey to actual objectivity; that what they tend to call ‘objective’ right now is simply their own subjective interpretation of ambiguous passages; and that anchoring morality to the moral ideals of a specific time and place is both unnatural, and by definition oppressive. So when theists insist that you as an atheist do not have an objective moral base distinct from humanity itself, by which to make moral judgements, the simple answer is; neither do you.

The Superiority of Secularism.

October 19, 2013

“I think our own hearts can teach us, no longer to look round for imaginary supports, no longer to invent allies in the sky, but rather to look to our own efforts here below to make this world a fit place to live in, instead of the sort of place that the Churches in all these centuries have made”
– Bertrand Russell.

Secularism is the natural and logical human reaction to the oppressive Patriarchal, Theocratic, Despotic, irrational, dogmatic, anti-human values that are so disagreeable to the human desire for freedom and equality.

Indeed, at its core, secularism is a level playing field, a natural system free from dogma that is conceived for the sake of anti-institutional-prejudice. That is why secularism is superior. It is that simple. Anything other than secularism tilts the playing field in one particular direction, thus becoming radically unfair. It then follows that anything other than secularism, is the advocation of the supremacy of one particular faith; a system of unjustifiable privilege and power.

I maintain that any system of power cannot be justified without enshrining equal rights for all under a legal framework for protection of those rights; gender equality, sexuality equality, race equality, and the right to believe, think, and express however you so wish without threat. All of those notions of equality are not compatible with any other system of power thus conceived by human beings, other than secular democracy. By enshrining these rights and noting that we are all born equal regardless of gender, sexuality, race, or belief; we maximise the possibility of human social advancement, understanding, and compassion by enfranchising those who would otherwise be held back, and treated less than equal under any other system. This is secularism and democracy.

The fact that we reached a stage of social evolution where it became necessary to separate church from the power of state in order to secure basic rights, is evidence of the cruelty that religion imposed upon the people when it did have power. One only need look at states that are still Theocratic, to see a continuation of that cruelty and oppression in 21st century. See my article on the treatment of homosexuality in Saudi Arabia. Secularism is the forward march of rationality and progress that must be combined with democracy for the sake of the rights of all. Religion when mixed with politics and law is cultural stagnation – usually anchored to far more violent periods of history – based on unverifiable dogma masquerading as universal truth and beauty for the sake of the social supremacy of those who believe over those who don’t. One read through a religious text quickly teaches us that we have in fact progressed since the barbaric days in which they were written.

Imagine secularism as a line of power. A line on which stands all genders, all sexualities, all races, all faiths. The line ensuring all are considered equal. No one group above another. A line that transcends generations. If any one of those groups deviate and raise above the line, or choose to push others below the line, we suddenly find ourselves in a situation in which secularism has been replaced by an illegitimate authority that has no right to do so (or no right thus rationalised adequately). The maintaining of that line, is necessary to protect against dogmatic injustices that appear as a result of one group raising above the line.

Secularism allows for the religious to believe and express the violent notion that we non-believers are cursed to spend eternity burning in the unforgiving flames of hell. That is your right to believe and to say. Similarly, I have a right to say that I find that disgusting, worthless, outdated, and worthy of nothing but ridicule and condemnation. Under a Theocratic system, believers would be free to believe and express the violent notion that we non-believers are cursed to spend eternity burning in the unforgiving flames of hell, but we non-believers would have no protection under the law to criticise and ridicule and hold those views to be contemptuous and cancerous. The level playing field of secularism is the protection of all ideas regardless of how insulted we may be by them.

When George Wallace was sworn in as Governor of Alabama, he stood on the same spot that Confederate President Davis stood 102 years earlier, and swore:

“In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever”

– He was arguing and fighting for the perpetuation of the supremacy of the colour of his skin, enshrined into law. Individual liberty, and the realisation of ones dreams and hopes and ambitions were severely limited to what colour your skin was. It takes a very long time to undo the vicious chains applied by the power of the supremacy of one particular race, but it is necessary and rational to foster a system that breaks those chains and levels the playing field, and whilst the UK and US still has major roads to travel until the ideals of secularism and equality are realised, they are on the right path. There are also some wonderful secular Muslim groups working to the same end – ‘British Muslims for Secular Democracy’ for example – who must be supported and defended against all those who wish to subdue them.

Speaking of those who wish to subdue others. Religious supremacy also tends to have male supremacy, and heterosexual supremacy built into its very foundations. A critic of mine, the increasingly Patriarchal Hakeem, when rather putridly attempting to defend grown men marrying children, says:

“Due to being moral relativists, the critics of Muhammad must judge him precisely as they would judge anyone else who lived in that time period; they cannot morally condemn him if, in his day, it was the norm to marry someone who is younger than today’s age of consent and consummate the marriage later. The only way to provide an objective basis for morality is to believe in a transcendent being (God) which, as atheists, the authors of “Does God Hate Women?” deny.”

– And here, for once, I absolutely agree with him. There is no God. Therefore the Prophet – when it comes to his marriage to a young girl – cannot be judged entirely by today’s standards. He is anchored to the cultural context of the period in which he lived. It would be arrogant of me to suggest that had I lived back then, and in that region, I would have felt the same way as I do today. Of course I wouldn’t, because I am constrained by the context of the time. But Hakeem fails in his basic premise, when we flip the argument back around to face him. The Prophet Muhammad, to Hakeem, was in touch with the eternal. He was in touch with a being that transcends time. He is not restricted by the cultural context of 7th Century Arabia, and in fact for Muslims, the Prophet is there to change the context of the time period. He certainly isn’t restricted by it.

Therefore, the ‘objective’ moral base from Hakeem’s God – who sees fit to intervene to demand which direction people should pray toward, but doesn’t see fit to intervene to suggest marrying a child might be wrong – has no problem with grown men marrying children. The Prophet today, would be absolutely fine with marrying a 9 year old girl, because his God permitted it not just for the 7th Century, but for all time. This is the absolute epitome of Patriarchy and abuse and very very dangerous. And Hakeem wishes to uphold it. His article is one long pointless ramble that could be summed up with “It’s fine to marry kids! Aisha loved it! And all those who say otherwise are white supremacists blah blah incoherent rant.”

However, whilst Hakeem is right to claim that we Atheists – in order to be consistent (unless we argue from the Muslim perspective) – cannot tie the Prophet to anything but the context of his time, Hakeem is wrong in suggesting that we secular Atheists believe we have an “objective” base for our moral understand. No Atheist will tell you we have an “objective” base for our moral values, when “objective” is defined by the religious. I simply say, that human basis of right and wrong – whether you’re an Islamist like Hakeem, or an Atheist like myself – has never been defined by religion, that we have always used our rational judgement to make a moral decision based on our understanding of the World at that moment, and that that ability to rationalise is key to the evolution of our collective understanding of right and wrong. Sometimes we have got it wrong, but we learn and we improve, as an in-built species survival mechanism derived from a group mentality that has shaped our evolutionary history. This is a process of necessary cooperation, conflict resolution, altruism, and the part of our brain that deals with empathy. I maintain that all religions simply grabbed on to the moral context of a time that they were born into, and try continually to compel us all – by force of religious supremacy – to lay stagnant in that context, on fear of punishment.

Similarly, we see primitive forms of “morality” in the nature of our primate cousins. They appear to recognise the situation of their contemporaries and act accordingly. They (what we might call “anthropoid apes”) show evidence of empathy, and group cooperation. There are some excellent studies into the empathetic displays by certain primates. I would argue that to dismiss the evolution of empathy within primates, as a key ingredient to human morality, would be to suggest that it has no bearing on our decision making, and to dismiss all understanding derived from scientific observation and experimentation, instead putting your hands over your ears and saying “la la la I’m not listening! Allah did it!!”.

Another key ingredient, is the accepted scientific method of observing and evaluating what works, and what doesn’t work; what helps humanity and the individual within the society (both important factors) and what doesn’t. Again, this is a product of our evolution as a species. If I put those two together; our evolved sense of “morality” and our socially evolved sense of empirical evidence gathering; this is where that which we have labeled “morality” stems. Human beings are wonderfully reasoned primates.

Regardless of the way Hakeem twists the words of his faith to appear less vicious, less supremacy-driven, less Patriarchal… it cannot be escaped. Religious supremacy, at its core, is no different and no less oppressive than any other form of supremacy. It demands subjugation of others. The Qur’an makes quite clear:

“Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allah), and guard in the husband’s absence what Allah orders them to guard (e.g. their chastity, their husband’s property, etc.). Regarding the woman who is guilty of lewd, or indecent behavior, admonish her (if she continues in this indecency then), stop sharing her bed (if she still continues doing this lewd behavior, then), [set forth for her the clear meaning of either straighten up or else we are finished and when she returns to proper behavior take up sharing the bed with her again], but if she returns in obedience (to proper behavior and conduct) then seek not against them means (of annoyance). Surely, Allah is Ever Most High, Most Great.”

– Indeed, the website “Islam Tomorrow” explains this verse:

“Now we can properly understand that Almighty God has commanded the men to provide for the women and allow them to keep all of their wealth, inheritance and income without demanding anything from them for support and maintenance. Additionally, if she should be guilty of lewd or indecent conduct, the husband is told to first, admonish her and then if she would cease this lewdness. If she should continue in this indecency, then he should no longer share the bed with her, and this would continue for a period of time. Finally, if she would repent then he would take up sharing the bed with her again.”

– There is no sense of equality here. There is only the sense of an owner (the man) and his animal (the woman). The woman is treated like property that requires a man to keep her in her place, on threat of punishment. This is Islamic supremacy, & male supremacy. Secularism ensures this kind of poison does not infect the lives of those of us who believe in the beauty of equality. I am quite sure that Emily Pankhurst wasn’t fighting for the right of a man to “admonish” her if she freely chose to act “lewd” according to a man’s interpretation of that term.

And then Hakeem moves onto a complete misunderstanding of secularism (though this is from a man who, when he cannot provide any logical argument – which is all the time – resorts to calling all those who disagree with him, a white supremacist):

“A perfect example of this is the issue of homosexuality. If you read literature by early secular socialists, they were vehemently against homosexuality, some arguing it was an unnatural behavior that was a product of capitalism. In the modern era, however, socialists are among the most vocal of advocates in normalizing homosexuality. Now some would give them a pat on their back for their more tolerant and progressive views. The question is, based upon what criteria are they progressive? And who is to say they won’t flip their views a couple of decades from now, believing once again that homosexuality is an elitist lifestyle of the capitalist upper-class, as they once argued? And then they would get another pat on the back for being progressive, when in reality, all that happened is they allowed their morality to be fluid, rather than based on a solid foundation.”

– Firstly, he is correct that early Communists violently disapproved of homosexuality. That’s where his “being right” ends. He fails to note how viciously his own religion treats gay people in Islamic countries, and how mainstream Islamic opinion is entirely negative toward sexuality being anything other than “straight = right, gay = hell bound!”. I would argue that the reason gay people have been so mistreated and abused for centuries, is down exclusively to the heterosexual supremacy of religion. Hakeem is wrong to use the term ‘secular’ to describe anyone who disapproved or may in the future disapprove of homosexuality. To disenfranchise, punish, or single out homosexual men and women for abuse or second-class rights, is the antithesis of secularism, and the establishing and ensuring the supremacy of heteorosexuality enshrined into the cultural fabric.

He seems to not understand the term “progressive”. We have moved from a stage of not understanding sexuality in the slightest, because our understanding up until very recently was based on Biblical prejudices that have endured for centuries…. to a position upon which we have based our understanding of sexuality on research and reason. And by doing so, we notice that heterosexuality and homosexuality are just two points on a spectrum, with neither being “better” or “natural” and thus “supreme” in comparison to the other. Thus, progress. To then suggest we might one day decide otherwise, can only be true if we suddenly decided to reintroduce religious considerations into the debate. Or, regression.

The misrepresentations are rather malodorous at times to say the least. One common misrepresentation is that secularism necessarily leads to eugenics, and the rise of Nazism. To suggest that the Nazi Party – which based its ideology on the advancement of one particular race, and worked to destroy the Jewish identity – was the result of secularism, is a catastrophic misunderstanding of secularism. The narrow frame upon which they tend to establish what led to the rise of Hitler is so intensely flawed that a response is largely unnecessary, but given the point of this defensive article, I thought it worth mentioning to highlight the basic flaws in anti-secular thought (I use the word ‘thought’ in its loosest possibility). Firstly, let’s point out that those – like Hakeem – obsessed with the idea that Atheists have no “objective” base (by which they mean, metaphysical base) for their morality echo the thoughts of Hitler, who in April 1933 said:

“Secular schools can never be tolerated because such schools have no religious instruction, and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith …we need believing people.”

– Secondly, the economic situation in Germany along with the humiliation of the Treaty at Versailles and centuries of anti-Jewish rhetoric spewed by the Catholic Church, led to the rise of Hitler and the horrendous genocide that followed. As a young man, Hitler read a lot of works by Martin Luther, the German Protestant reformer. One of which – “On the Jews and their lies“ – calls for Jews to be put to use as slaves, and Jewish schools burnt to the ground. This is the antithesis of secularism. It is the perpetuation of a system of privilege based on one particular race, and the conclusion of 2000+ years of Christian inspired anti-Jewish hate. Hitler wasn’t reading Thomas Paine or John Stuart Mill… Hitler was reading Luther.

And thirdly, supremacy. The Nazis were fighting to place their particular race above the aforementioned line of equality and establish racial supremacy. The illogic is no different to Hakeem attempting to place his religion above the aforementioned line of equality and establish religious supremacy. Only secularism ensures they cannot oppress, and that irritates both Islamists, and white supremacists. Hakeem’s dream for an Islamic-controlled state, is the reintroduction of Jim Crow based not on white supremacy, but on Islamic supremacy.

Secularism – as mentioned above – advocates a level playing field upon which no single gender, race, religion, or sexuality has a natural right to supremacy over any others. No one gender can rightfully be considered the “maintainers” of another. No one race is “greater” than another. No one sexuality is more “natural” than another. No one belief deserving of authority over others. No one is free to oppress another if the other is an apostate. Secularism allows for the ingenuity of everyone regardless of trivial differences to work to their full potential, the freedom to excel, to argue, to reason, to create, to live, to love, and to experience life in their own way, to their own beliefs. If you wish your particular gender, or sexuality, or race, or religion to deviate from that line of equality, you are going to have to work particularly hard to convince the rest of us to bow down in unquestioning subordination to your new found desire for supremacy, with reasoned and uncontentious points that stack up to more than “Well if you don’t give us power over your lives, you’re basically Hitler”.

For further reading, see my article on the right to blaspheme.
For more further reading, see my article on Hakeem Muhammad and his ludicrous claim that Atheism is a product of white supremacy.

Morality needs religion; like the sea needs Poseidon

December 16, 2012

TheWarOnFaith-MP-ChristianMoralityIsBarbaricSupreme Court Nominee Judge Robert Bork, nominated by President Reagan in 1987, once gave his rather insulting explanation as to how Atheists can live a moral, decent life, as follows;

We all know persons without religious belief who nevertheless display all the virtues we associate with religious teaching…such people are living on the moral capital of prior religious generations… that moral capital will be used up eventually, having nothing to replenish it, and we will see a culture such as the one we are entering.

It is a rather curious comment from Bork on a couple of levels. Firstly, Bork is suggesting that Agnostics and Atheists are living off of the back of religious teaching as a guide to our moral existence, whether we chose to believe in the dogma or not. Without that religious backbone, people like me, would be robbing, raping and murdering all over the place. For Bjork, morality preceded life. It was kept in Heaven, before it was handed to us, in the middle of the desert, around 198,000 years after humanity evolved. And then a new set, handed to Muhammad, that directly conflicts with the old set, and caused, still causes, and continues to cause misery and destruction. He is suggesting Moral rights and wrongs existed before humanity, but were not possible to know, until God very generously intervened in human affairs to tell us we were all born sinners, and according to his game, will be violently punished unless we now do exactly what he says. Without this, we would be awful people. He is suggesting that despite all the research and studies into the structure of our minds and how it affects empathy and other key components for moral decision making, it was in fact, Jesus. He quite conveniently ignores the question of why religion has been able to play such a central ‘moral’ role in society for the past 2000 years; this usually involves a lot of violence, oppression and vicious silencing of dissent. Even now, draw an insulting cartoon of Christopher Hitchens, and draw an insulting cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad…. and you watch which group provides the more morally respectable response.

And secondly, because the very reason he is in the position he currently enjoys, is because of the secular nature of the Constitution. He is supposed to be protecting that secular nature. Religion should not play a role in his public life, nor in his public rhetoric. The fact he is in a position of secular power, means he is living off the back of secular reasoning.

He always seems to be under the impression that Christian ‘morality’ is 1) Objective (it isn’t) and 2) Unchanged (it hasn’t).

Bork’s comments stem from the notion that there cannot be a sense of morality, without Religion. This often repeated idea from the Christian community, is embedded in Christian thought. Psalm 14:1:

“The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good.”.

– It is a theme that runs through Christian ‘thought’. Any sort of free thinking, any rational inquiry, and kind of curiosity and questioning is punishable, because in a show of circular reasoning, the Bible says so, and so the Bible must be right…. because the Bible says so. It is odd that a God would endow us with critical faculties, and then punish us for using them.

This isn’t morality, this is very heavy dictatorship based on fallacy after fallacy. You mustn’t question, you must be silent, and worship. You are punished, for thought crime. It is made clear right at the point of the ‘fall’, as we are told that the Devil urges Adam and Eve to eat from the ‘tree of knowledge’. God, obviously did not want humanity to think, or to question. Our natural curiosity as a species, is punishable. God wanted blind obedience. He wanted pawns in a very devious game. The Devil seems to get a bad reputation, for simply inspiring free thought. He certainly isn’t as vicious, and as punishing, as genocidal, and as discriminatory as God of the Bible. Nor is he as obsessed with Muhammad’s sex life, as the God of the Qur’an. As i’ve previously argued,The Devil, in the Bible, represents Enlightenment. The enemy of religion.

Bork’s words were echoed yesterday, when Mike Huckabee of “execute Julian Assange” fame (interesting, given that Assange isn’t bound by American law), claimed that the reason the tragic shooting in Newtown took place, was because God was missing from lessons. Call me cynical, but the last time the Church mixed with children, the outcome was a systematic covered up child sex scandal, that still hasn’t been dealt with. I’m not sure I trust Christian teaching, and children to be in any way connected. If we take the recent Hebrew lessons taught in schools in Palestine as dictated by the Hamas leadership; we note that it isn’t for reasoned dialogue between Palestinians and Israelis, it is to teach, and I quote:

“Expanding (Hebrew) teaching comes as a result of our plan and meeting greater demand by students to learn Hebrew. They want to learn the language of their enemy so they can avoid their tricks and evil.”

– It is to further perpetuate hate, and suspicion. Nothing more. There is no Human value to it. It is further indoctrination of children, to create a further atmosphere of tension, at a young age.

Back to Huckabee: Why wouldn’t a God intervene to stop a brutal massacre like Newtown? Christianity is clear; God is immanent. He answers prayer. He flooded the Earth. He can intervene if he wants to. A tiny school that doesn’t base its values on Christian Theocratic principles is not an obstacle for a God that has already wiped out millions before. And yet, he didn’t intervene this time. Why? Simply because the US is a secular Nation? That’s his reason for allowing mass slaughter? He seems to be able to intervene in order to commit genocide every so often, but not to stop a massacre. Keep your God, he’s insane.

I have blogged previously on the Pope’s rather ludicrous claims that non-belief leads directly to Hitler. The Muslim speaker Hamza Tzorzis in practically every debate, insists Atheists ‘lack of moral basis’ can lead to all sorts of atrocities, like Hitler (Hamza’s main talking point in debates, seems to be moral anchors; along with old, long discredited Cosmological arguments) Their suggestion is quite possibly the biggest slippery slope fallacy I have come across, and ignores the very fact that Hitler professed his pro-Christian, anti-Atheist credentials whenever he saw fit, was endorsed by the Catholic Church, and used centuries of anti-Jewish sentiment screamed by the Church, to promote the need to destroy them. In my previous article, I note:

In 1939, Cardinal Orsenigo was sent by Rome to celebrate Hitler’s birthday. Pope Pius XII started an annual birthday celebration tradition for Hitler in fact. The Catholic Church each year would send “warmest congratulations to the Fuhrer in the name of the bishops and the dioceses in Germany”.
Hitler in 1922, said this:

My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. .. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison.

Hitler in 1933, said this:

“Today they say that Christianity is in danger, that the Catholic faith is threatened. My reply to them is: for the time being, Christians and not international atheists are now standing at Germany’s fore. I am not merely talking about Christianity; I confess that I will never ally myself with the parties which aim to destroy Christianity.”

Hitler, also in 1933, said this:

“We were convinced that the people needs and requires this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out.”

Hitler in 1934, said this:

“National Socialism neither opposes the Church nor is it anti-religious, but on the contrary, it stands on the ground of a real Christianity.”

Now, compare Hitler’s speeches above, with the Islamic Palestinian Political Party Fatah today:

Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims. “Let the eyes of the cowards not fall asleep.”

Compare Hitler’s motives for a Empire by conquest, with Hamas today. Hamas member “cleric Yunis Al Astal”:

“an advanced post for the Islamic conquests, which will spread though Europe in its entirety, and then will turn to the two Americas, even Eastern Europe.”

– So do not tell me, that non-belief creates an atmosphere that leads to parties like the Nazis being morally acceptable. It is absolutely the religious claim on ‘objective morality’ that both motived Hitler, and motives those like Hamas who wish to emulate him entirely. Religious ‘objective morality’ permits acts that we non-believers find abhorrent, by stigmatising groups based on culture, gender, sexuality and race. It is religion that does that, it is religious that creates a hateful atmosphere by creating an Us VS them mentality and claiming divine right to do so. Never trust, nor pay attention to anyone who claims divine right to tell you how to dress, how to talk, what to think, or who you may or may not fall in love with. They are totalitarian poison.

Back to the point. So, the Theist’s are suggesting that morality comes directly from God. An anchor, as Hamza often puts it. A moral anchor, lodged firmly in the setting of bronze age tribal desert people, who took slaves, sacrificed people, and where women were created simply as a companion for the man, whilst gay people are treated to the death penalty.

It is illogical to claim objective morality based on ‘revealed’ texts. The very essence of revelation, is individual to every major religion. Mohammad was apparently given moral revelation, in a cave outside of Mecca. Therefore, the objective truth pertaining to morality, is objective to him only. To everyone else, it is secondary hear-say. No one is compelled to accept it, and therefore, it is subjective morality. It is absolutely irrational to claim an objective anchor for your morality, when it is second, third, fourth hand ‘revelation’.

To begin to suggest “objective” morals from divine source, you need to do a few things first. Your starting point, would be to prove a creator. This implies something ‘outside’ of everything. Everything encompasses itself. Which is impossible. And also logically absurd, because it demands a being that can exist outside of the confines of time. So, to prove a creator, first you must prove that something can exist outside of time (to have created time). Prove it, not philosophically suggest it. Actually prove it. If your faith is to have any power over the lives of others, you have a whole lot of proving to do.
Then, once you’ve proven that something can exist outside of time, you have to prove that the creator is all good. Why not an all evil creator? Or two creators? Or a creator that created everything, and then stepped back? Or a creator who created the universe in a final act before dying?
Then, once you’ve proven something can exist outside of time, and successfully dismissed all other possible creator attributes other than ‘all good’, you then have to prove that the creator, is the God of your particular religion. I wish all Theists the best of luck in that.
Once you’ve done all of those things, proven everything above, then, and only then can you speak of ‘objective’ morals. Otherwise, you have a subjective base for your morality, that you claim is ‘objective’ because someone once wrote it down.

So it is of course, ludicrous for anyone to suggest morality is anchored to religious texts. Not just for the limitations of revelation, and lack of anything even close to ‘proof’ on any of the above points, but also what those ‘revealed’ moral statements enforce at their core. We are also told by anyone insisting that to have a God, is to have ‘objective morality’ that their texts are open to masses of interpretations. Hamza Tortzis of Islamic Public Speaking fame is insistent that to be Muslim, means to have an anchored set of moral principles. Yet when challenged on the brutality that the Qur’an and Hadith have inflicted upon the World, and continue to inflict, he weasels his way out of it, by claiming a multitude of interpretations for those specific ‘objective morals’. The contradiction is glaring.

The Qur’an and the Bible are both excellent examples of what we would consider vast immorality and totalitarianism. It is, for example, very ‘morally’ dubious, for Abraham to have agreed to sacrifice his son, purely to glorify God. Though God stops it eventually, he is happy enough to put Isaac through the horror of believing his own father is about to sacrifice him. Is anyone happy to say that this is morally acceptable? That this represents an all loving God, rather than a very needy God? This test of faith, is disgusting. Islam is no different, and in many ways, far far worse. The Hadith is quite clear on what the punishment for leaving Islam should be;

‘If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.’ – Bukhari (52:260)

‘Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.’ – Bukhari (84:57)

“A man embraced Islam and then reverted back to Judaism. Mu’adh bin Jabal came and saw the man with Abu Musa. Mu’adh asked, “What is wrong with this (man)?” Abu Musa replied, “He embraced Islam and then reverted back to Judaism.” Mu’adh said, “I will not sit down unless you kill him (as it is) the verdict of Allah and His Apostle” – Bukhari (84:58)

– Most Muslims do not accept this any more. Why? I’d suggest it is because killing people simply for saying “I’m no longer Muslim” is a moral evil. Therefore, those Muslims have absolutely no right to claim a ‘moral anchor’. Unless of course they only claim a moral anchor, with the Qur’an…. which is one big war manual, as well as a guide for Muhammad’s sex life.

And we know the purpose of death for apostasy. As Yusuf al-Qaradawi, head of the Muslim Brotherhood said:

“If they [Muslims] had gotten rid of the punishment for apostasy, Islam would not exist today.”

– Islam, like Christianity, spread it’s “moral” message, through force. Nothing else. Yusuf al-Qaradawi was using the quote above….. as reason to allow death for apostasy to continue. One of the leading Islamic Theologians in the Middle East (and also, admirer of Hitler) was advocating death simply for leaving a religion. Is this your Islamic morality? Keep it.

Now, I am convinced that Muhammad invented the Qur’an to satisfy his own desires for power, wealth, and women. So therefore, to me, the ‘moral anchor’ given by Islam, is simply a man made concoction, with billions of people clinging to the ‘morality’ of a power hungry womaniser. It seems that Allah didn’t actually wish women to be veiled originally. But Muhammad’s friend Umar ‘wishes’ it, and suddenly Muhammad gets another call from Allah, and women are to be veiled for the most mundane reason:

And as regards the (verse of) the veiling of the women, I said, “O Allah’s Apostle! I wish you ordered your wives to cover themselves from the men because good and bad ones talk to them.” So the verse of the veiling of the women was revealed. (Qur’an 24:31)

– Unless Muslims can absolutely prove beyond any doubt that 1) A creator exists. 2) He’s infinitely good (a creator could also be infinitely evil, or he/she could be a creator that kick started creation, and then walked away, or there could be multi-creators) 3) The creator is the God of Islam and 4) Muhammad didn’t make it up….. until they can prove all of those points, then we have no reason to accept that the Qur’an is a moral anchor, any more than we must accept that the Chronicles of Narnia offer a moral anchor.

Similarly, we are aware, in the 21st Century that a grown man should neither marry, nor have sex with a child. We know that to be wrong. Yet, for all the revelations for irrelevant reasons (which way to pray, acquiescing to veil wearing ‘wishes’ of Muhammad’s friends), Allah doesn’t see it necessary to insist that having sex with a child, is wrong. If we are to presume the morality of God is unchanging (which we must, to consider Islamic morality to be ‘objective’), then we must assume that abusing children, is not something God cares too deeply to prevent…. but praying toward Jerusalem instead of Mecca, he feels it necessary to correct. I am not sure I like this God or this ‘objective’ morality. Most Muslims of course abhor child abuse, in the same way as the rest of us do. This is in spite of their Prophet, and in spite of Allah’s tacit acceptance of it. They have evolved a sense of morality alongside the rest of us, shunning the more vicious and frankly, despicable verses that supposedly bind all morality for eternity. The evolved sense of morality is a combination of biological and neurological traits for survival and nothing more. Natural selection is the key.

The very idea of faith; blind acceptance of a system of morals (and I use the word ‘morals’ in its loosest possible form), offered by second, third, fourth hand sources, all of whom based their accounts (if we take the gospels as an example) on second, third, fourth hand sources, edited and revised over the years…. on fear of punishment ….. is a disastrously immoral notion, especially when it is forced onto children.

Let’s assume there is a God, and He commanded us to be good – which suggests we are born sick, having been given no choice in this state of being – by providing a system of anchored morality. This is incoherent. Because if God has an actual reason for us to be good, then we don’t need God. The reason is apart from God (unless it’s simply, to get into heaven, in which case, it is no longer good for the sake of good…. it is now for the sake of reward – and unless he hasn’t revealed the reason to be good – in which case, why should we be compelled to do good?), and so the REASON stands on its own, and does not need someone to give us those reasons. Or maybe God doesn’t have a reason. In which case, there is no longer an anchor. God could say “be kind!” and so if there is a reason to be kind, then humans do not need God. The reason is apparent. Again, unless the reason is hidden – which, means the basis of your morality is a God that you have no evidence for, having a reason that he wont tell you about. If there is no reason for Him to say “be Kind”……. then there is no anchor. Hugely insecure basis. Inconsistent. Irrational. Dangerous. The stuff of children’s story books.

A sense of right and wrong, of course does not have to come from a divine dictator. There does not have to be a supreme idea of perfection, of beauty, of morality, for a sense of those ideals to exist. They are perceptions that have evolved, and appear in different degrees, to different people, in different cultures. We build those ideals ourselves, we are conditioned by society, by our family and our friends, by the injustices we see, by putting ourselves in the shoes of others, and through this, I can quite happily say my sense of right and wrong is due entirely to the evolution of our minds and the course of human events that has shaped perception. Morality is the result of rational minds debating, rationalising, and coming to conclusions based on thought, and evidence available at the time. Sometimes we get it wrong. But we learn, we evolve and we advance. The basis for Atheist morality, is trust and belief in humanity to act justly.

The Bible and The Qur’an are simply reflections of the workings of social cohesion at the time they are written. We tend to ignore the most brutal ‘morals’ because they are no longer permissible. Society has outgrown some of the ‘morals’ set out in these texts. Like the picture at the top of this article. It is absolutely morally wrong to stone someone to death for working on a Sunday. But, if we are to accept that God’s rules are absolute, and binding throughout time…. then why aren’t Christians advocating stoning people for working on a Sunday? We have out grown it. Therefore, morality is an ever evolving idea, it isn’t anchored, it doesn’t require doctrine, and it certainly doesn’t require a vicious God. Religion rides the wave, and claims it as its own.

You do not abandon moral relativism, just because you claim to have God on your side. In fact, you embrace it more than anyone.

I have noted in a previous blog, that the Ten Commandments (arguably the backbone of Christian morality) is clearly stolen from the 42 Principles of Ma’at, from the Kemet tribe of Ancient Egypt. Does this mean that Christians are simply living off the moral capital of the Kemet tribe?

The Ten Commandments of Exodus 19:23 is quite the questionable source for morality also. What we see from the Ten Commandments, is a couple of useful tips for life, but then nothing more than a rather jealous God threatening his followers. Instead of “Do not have any other gods before me”, a seemingly useless commandment, why not “Do not rape” or “Do not molest children“? Why is God using the most important set of rules in human history, to put his own jealousy ahead of much more important guidelines for life? He appears to have abandoned the idea of suggestion, and telling us that in order to live a moral existence we MUST believe in him. And so, we have no choice. It is not a matter of free will. If I were to tell my child that he either love me, or I’ll cook him in the oven, he’s going to tell me that he loves me regardless of how he actually feels. It is simply a form of control, not a form of love. This is evident in the fourth commandment “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which the LORD your God gives you.” It’s a carrot mentality, in that you will be rewarded for honouring your mother and father. But religion goes further; it tells you what you must think. It convicts you of thinking “wrong”. That in itself, does not promote morality.

Do we know what moral capital Bork is living off? Well, the foundations of his life, can be traced back to his ancestors, who made it possible for Bork to exist at all, as the Christian Puritans from England fled, taking over land with a rather ambiguous moral crusade of slavery, forced removals and the systematic destruction of the natives. Ward Churchill, Professor of Ethical Studies at the University of Columbia has estimated that between 1500 and 1850, 12 million Natives across America soon became less than 237,000. David Stannard at the University of Hawaii refers to the genocide as “The worst human holocaust the world had ever witnessed, roaring across two continents non-stop for four centuries and consuming the lives of countless tens of millions of people.” And this was all in the name of a brand new Nation derived from Christian ideals? Shouldn’t the argument be “is morality sustainable WITH religion?

We could go into the deep corruption and evil the Catholic Church has spread over the Centuries. The blood that has been shed in the name of Christ. The money that has been squandered from the masses in places like Germany during the early 16th Century to provide funds for the building of St Peters. The Crusades, the holy wars, the immense loss of life. We could also mention Islam’s autonomous ideology of hate, racism, and death-for-apostasy/adultery/homosexuality/insulting the Prophet with words. We could question the horrendous practice of child genital mutilation in the name of religion. We could go into all of this, but I think history speaks for itself. Christianity has survived, not primarily because it offers hope (although, that certainly does play a part), but mainly because it has thrived on fear and murder and indoctrination of children, to the point where we now ingrain it’s teachings (much of which, is far from what I’d describe as “moral”) into our education system, and another generation is disturbingly brainwashed.

Countries that have abandoned the conjoining of Church and State, for a secularist future, are all a huge improvement on the Theocratic hellholes that Christianity carved out when it had the smell of power. I attribute the moral problems we face today, to economic hardship, to the idea that there is no such thing as communities, and only the individual can help himself… perhaps secularism has helped perpetuate that problem by inevitably occupying a middle ground, and introducing a sort of money and Nation state worship. Though, Interestingly, Weber suggests this idea of rampant individualism and materialism, is very much rooted in 16th Century Protestant thinking.

But it stands. Secular liberal democracy, even with its faults, is far superior to anything offered by religion.

It seems unquestionable to these people, that humanity could possibly have a sense of right and wrong without religion. Their trust in humanity is pitiful. They doubt we can be thoughtful, and rational enough to build our framework for morality, without the idea (not proof of, just a very weak idea) of a divine overlord.

From my point of view, our sense of morality has been shaped over millions of years; our minds have evolved and adapted to the constant shift of culture, society, expectation, and interaction. We as humans have a wonderful sense of empathy; a trait that studies suggest has absolutely nothing to do with how we ‘ought’ to feel or act based on religious conviction, but is in fact hardwired in our genetic make up. To suggest morality is dependent on Religion, is as ridiculous as to suggest that the sea is dependent on Poseidon. Religion seems to have a transcendent nature, that opposes progress, until it can no longer sustain itself, and then it changes and updates. It is, in this respect, autonomous – by which I mean, not completely dependent on the social or political context of the day (though certainly influenced by) – I’d go one step further and suggest that if your motive for a moral existence is a Heavenly reward, then you are not acting morally at all. You are acting selfishly. Whereas, if an Atheist were to perform a moral act, he is doing so for utterly selfless reasons, and so by definition, is a virtuous human being.

Morality should not be linked to heavenly consequence. The entire nature of religious morality, is based on Pascal’s Wager. You should do what the Bible says; because it might be true. How irrational. How immoral. It seems, as long as we say “…oh, and you’ll get a reward when you die” we suddenly have an ‘objective’ basis for our morality. How childish. Not only that, but morality is not objective. Even when suggesting a religious “base”. That “base” is simply trusting the account of the person claiming to have revelation, and the historical accuracy of the life of that person, shrouded as it always is, in ambiguity. We are also told that these religious texts have “several interpretations”. So, if you are religious, your “objective” base, is based on trust that the revelation was given to one person, that every subsequent revelation must be a fraud, with very little and historical record for your case, and containing several interpretations and inaccuracies. Most of which, you now ignore, because we know it to be hugely immoral or irrational.
To conclude; the religious don’t understand the word ‘objective’.

Morality needs religion; like the sea needs Poseidon. It doesn’t.

Cameron’s (im)moral crusade.

August 16, 2011

The rioting appears to have sparked a debate about the social implications of a culture focused on consuming. The Prime Minister has been forced onto the ropes, bruised and battered, agreeing tentatively to an inquiry into the underlying causes of the riots. Ed Milliband surprised me yesterday, made me sit up and take note of him, in a way that no Labour leader has done in quite some time. In his speech, Milliband said:

‎”People who talk about the sick behaviour of those without power, should talk equally about the sick behaviour of those with power.”

– It is perhaps a little opportunistic of him to have waited so long, to have been a Brownite and not said a word, to have spent the past year as leader of the Labour Party, not really separating himself from his predecessors. Silly little concepts like Blue Labour followed the post-97 tradition of capitulating to the Right on social issues, when they had the opportunity to take the title of “Progressives” away from a deeply regressive Liberal Democrat Party, made me wonder if I could bring myself to vote Labour again. But Milliband seems to be trying to distinguish himself now, from both the New Labour legacy, and the ToryLib Coalition – which, if you watch Simon Hughes speak, is slowly crumbling. So whilst opportunistic, Milliband has created a gulf between himself and the Government, the lines of which were forever blurred when Blair and Brown held the keys to power.

David Cameron, by comparison, is apparently on a rather ironic moral crusade to instill moral values into poorer communities by the time the Parliament is at a close. A particularly ironic statement he made was that the riots can partly be blamed on:

A culture that glorifies violence

– Ironic, because in five weeks time London will host DSEi 2011, the biggest arms trade fair in the World, just a few short months after a disastrous rush to intervene in Libya.

Cameron thus far has offered no solutions. The only thing of substance he managed to muster, was the idea to take benefits away from rioters. Cuts being the cause of the unrest in the first place, Cameron’s solution is more cuts? His ironic moral crusade is vile. I say ironic for a few reasons. Firstly, where was this moral outrage when the Banks were destroying the World? I don’t remember Cameron ever demanding that those responsible for the financial breakdown and its transformation into a sovereign debt crises, come out the massively inflated bonus packages of the crooks who caused the mess. Secondly, it is easy, as a Government with no mandate to do what they’re doing, to see physical violence as the collapse of the moral fabric of England, to watch the looting of private business and express outrage. It is easy to do what Republican Americans tend to do, and scream and shout about the need for smaller government, whilst threatening to evict families from their homes if their children were involved in rioting, or banning social networking and having security services monitor it closely. Their idea of Government is just as big as it ever was under Labour, the difference is the Tories seem to believe that thugs looting the private sector, is somehow worse than the Government absolutely gutting the public sector. But then I guess the aforementioned Bankers, according to the Telegraph, have bankrolled over half the funding of the Tory party in the previous five years to the tune of £43mn.

By contrast, A disabled children’s charity called “The Children’s Society” cannot afford political influence like that of the Banking sector. It is no surprise then, that the Children’s Society found that due to public sector cuts, when a disabled child reaches the age of 16, some families could be up to £22,000 worse off. That’s just for one child with a disability. Two or three children with disabilities in the same family; the damage caused by cuts is unthinkable; unless you’re Tory, in which case it’s a “difficult decision” but “necessary”. Perhaps agreeing to tax on wealth being brought back from tax havens be entirely scrapped; marking the biggest change in Corporate tax rules, in years, so that the richest tax avoiders get away with paying nothing when they move back, represents a “difficult decision”? The curse of the nasty party. I am ever more unsure how anyone can justify taking so much money away from families who need it the most. It represents looting of the worst kind.

In 2010, before the election, Gordon Brown suggested that Sure Start would be under threat under a Tory government. Clearly he was ignored, as Cameron and his Party of the family, said:

“Yes, we back Sure Start. It’s a disgrace that Gordon Brown has been trying to frighten people about this. centres do not need to close”

– Well, the lying, nasty party of big business, between July 2010 and July 2011, has closed 20 Sure Start Centres…. that’s in just one year. The average cut to Sure Start per child is £50 across the Country. Though, in the poorest areas; Tower Hamlets and Hackney for example (coincidentally, where rioting took place), the average cut will be £100 per child. Yet, in the richest areas such as Richmond, it will be £30 per child. In contrast, here is the holiday home that Cameron stayed in during the riots; isn’t is lovely?

A few chavs stealing Nike trainers from Foot Locker isn’t even a drop in the ocean of the destruction caused both by Government cuts, and by those rich few in the Private Sector who happen to be the traditional support base of the Conservative Party.

Those that stand to gain from the destruction of the public sector, are guilty of the exact same crime that the London rioters are guilty of; attacking the community that they live, for their own selfish benefit. Eton educated Stuart Wheeler, who donated £5,000,000 to the Tory Party in 2001, is quoted as saying of party donations by individuals:

“absolutely natural and unobjectionable” for big donors to gain influence over policy”.

It is no surprise then that the NHS reforms are market orientated reforms, in which private equity firms and individuals who have donated to the Tory Party in the past stand to make a fortune. Perhaps we should investigate the absolutely immoral behaviour of Tory Donors?
Take Lord Blyth. He used to be chairman of Boots, and then Chairman of Diageo – the company who make Guinness. Under his leadership, Diageo restructured its model, to avoid paying any tax in the UK. The amount it should be paying, given that 30% of its production is in the UK, would cost 20,000 families to fill the gap left by Corporate theft committed by a company that was run by one of the Tory Party’s top donors.

Short Selling stocks no doubt was one of the major causes of the financial crises. People lost their homes and their jobs, their lives, the means to feed their families, because Hedge Fund short sellers gambled on the failure of the economy. John Nash is a Hedge Fund manager. He also ran Care UK. A Private healthcare company. He also donated £21,000 to Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s private office whilst still chairman of Care UK. In June 2011, NHS Buckinghamshire announced that Care UK had “won” a contract to provide a Musculoskeletal Service costing £2,000,000. Since 2010, Care UK has seen a rise in profits of £1.6m, with a rise in turnover of £94m. Quite a large increase. Especially when one considers that since 2009, countless councils have cut all ties with Care UK for frankly awful service. Take Islington, who ended their contract with Care UK in 2009, stating:

“We have made the decision carefully and decided that clients’ needs will be better served with a different model of care from another provider. We look forward to announcing publicly the new contract partner in due course.”

– Lennox House in Finsbury Park, run by Care UK, came under fire when two care home resident’s bodies were left in their bedrooms for over two days.
Dr KRH Adams Bolton, a Health consultant for 26 years in Bolton, wrote this of Care UK:

They do not manage complex cases. They do not have intensive care facilities. They do not have the research and teaching responsibilities that the real NHS has. I would also question if the CARE UK staff have the same training and experience as a real NHS consultant.

Care UK Hertfordshire received over 2000 complaints in 2009. In Harrow, Care UK received a zero-star rating from the Commission for Social Care Inspection, listing 20 failings, not once but on two separate visits. Not only that, but the miserable company has just won a £53m contract to provide healthcare to prisons.
Given that the Tory Party are clearly the new guardians of morality, why would they choose to offer any contracts whatsoever, from a Private Healthcare provider who have failed in their duty to provide quality healthcare where ever they can be found infecting our health system, if it not for the fact that donations equal influence over policy? There is no other reason.

David Rowland, a Tory Donor who was set to become Party Treasurer in 2010, before revelations about his dodgy business deals and immoral attitude toward the Planet forced the Party to cancel his appointment, though not cancel his next £1mn donation on top of his previous £3mn donation the year before, is really not a great person to have on your side when you’re preaching morality. Rowland bought a lead smelting plant in Idaho which had, before he bought it, caused a massive environmental disaster, leading to acute respiratory health problems for children in the surrounding area, and the deaths of thousands of animals. Rowland bought the company, used the money set aside for the clean up to secure a property deal in New Zealand, and then sold the company. He tried to hide it, by moving the funds to Bermuda, but the US Justice Department blocked it after mass protests and political pressure. Rowland moved to Guernsey to avoid tax in the UK. So arrogant is this thieving immoral shit, that he unveiled a statue on Guernsey… of himself. Cameron appears to be obsessed with looting the public sector, whilst unveiling tax exiles, and immoral Corporate fraudsters, as the answer to the troubles of the Conservative Party. Blatant hypocrisy.

Jeremy Isaacs donated £190,000 in the past five years to the Tories. He was head of the Asian and Europe part of the Lehmann Brothers company; a company that helped plunge the World into financial meltdown.

Hedge fund managers like John Nash are not a productive force. They make nothing. The gamble on the lives of millions. They are dangerous and unnecessary. The World would carry on without them, just fine. And yet seven of the top ten Tory donors, are hedge fund managers. In fact, Stanley Fink, who donated almost £2m to the Tories, is considered the “Godfather” of hedge funds. £13m from ten bankers, contrasted with £11mn from the Union Unite – with its two million members, as opposed to ten men – to the Labour Party and suddenly the influence of the Unions is about as relevant as Nick Clegg.

So, given the rhetoric on instilling a sense of morality, and knowing this must extend to every part of society, including the super rich, and the banking industry and its bonus culture that created such a mess in the first place, what are the Tories doing? Well, before the election, David Cameron said this:

where the taxpayer owns a large stake in a bank, we are saying that no employee should be paid a bonus of over £2,000.

– After the election, Stephen Hester of RBS was able to collect a £2.1m bonus. His salary and other payments, means he took home over £6m for the year. Brilliant. Eric Daniels at Lloyds; £1.45m bonus. Brilliant.

In 2009, George Osborne demanded that the Labour Government put a stop to ALL retail banks:

“paying out profits in significant cash bonuses. Full stop.”

– After the election, and after Osborne now has the power to stop it… full stop… Bob Diamond of Barclays is to take home around £4m in cash bonuses.

And most scandalous of all, especially for a Government that promoted honesty and transparent government, was the rather shocking revelation from a leaked Treasury paper, that whilst the Tories were telling the public they would seek to create new tough rules on banking bonuses across Europe; they were secretly lobbying to make sure the law never passed through the EU Parliament. The Government failed, and the directives passed the EU Parliament despite the Treasury in the UK working its hardest to fight it. Then, in true Osborne style, he said in the Commons, after the directive that he tried to destroy passed the EU Parliament:

on 1 January this year we introduced the most stringent code of practice of any financial centre in the world.

– Not only is he taking credit for something that he tried to destroy, it also isn’t true in itself. The EU originally wanted a 20% cap on upfront cash for bonuses. Osborne pushed for it to be raised to 40%. Under the rules for the UK, bonuses are not considered “large” until they reach £500,000. Significantly more than the EU. Certainly less than the £2000 Cameron was demanding before the election.

So, will Cameron be insisting these people are evicted from their homes? Or banned from the Internet, or imprisoned? Well, his spokesman said this:

“We’ve made a broad statement which is about the need to see some restraint and some responsibility from the banks, but we are not going to set bonus pools for individual banks,”

– The concept of morality from a Tory perspective, is evidently unnerving, dangerous, and breaks the immoral barrier down within seconds. We now have to deal with five years of a Party that is far more destructive, wedded as it is to big business, and dangerous than it ever was before, under a Chancellor whom, every day, seems more and more deluded and out of his depth.

The rioters are from a class that has been ignored, abused and disenfranchised for decades. The solution doesn’t lie in punishment alone, the solution lies in sorting out the immoral practices of the people at the very top first. The REAL trickle down affect. We need, as a society, to see looting by the wealthy as being just as wrong as looting by the poor. It is ironic, hypocritical and if it wasn’t so unnerving and dangerous, it’d be laughable, that a Prime Minister, from a Party with such a shady record on its ties to dodgy businessmen and a cabinet full of millionaire Parliamentary expenses abuses, would have the nerve to insist he is the one to instill moral guidance upon us all.

The Enlightenment of the Devil

November 23, 2010

Dwindling aimlessly in the realm of unbelief, as I am doing recently, I am reading “God and the State” by Bakunin, along with a plethora of other books. A passage from God and the State stood out for me, because it sums up exactly how I feel about Christianity, and it’s obvious contradictions.

The quote:

“The Bible, which is a very interesting and here and there very profound book when considered as one of the oldest surviving manifestations of human wisdom and fancy, expresses this truth very naively in its myth of original sin. Jehovah, who of all the good gods adored by men was certainly the most jealous, the most vain, the most ferocious, the most unjust, the most bloodthirsty, the most despotic, and the most hostile to human dignity and liberty-Jehovah had just created Adam and Eve, to satisfy we know not what caprice; no doubt to while away his time, which must weigh heavy on his hands in his eternal egoistic solitude, or that he might have some new slaves.

He generously placed at their disposal the whole earth, with all its fruits and animals, and set but a single limit to this complete enjoyment. He expressly forbade them from touching the fruit of the tree of knowledge. He wished, therefore, that man, destitute of all understanding of himself, should remain an eternal beast, ever on all-fours before the eternal God, his creator and his master. But here steps in Satan, the eternal rebel, the first freethinker and the emancipator of worlds. He makes man ashamed of his bestial ignorance and obedience; he emancipates him, stamps upon his brow the seal of liberty and humanity, in urging him to disobey and eat of the fruit of knowledge.”

I wanted to expand on this quote.
What Bakunin is getting at, is the idea that the God of the Bible is a ruthless, heartless, crazed dictator. He wants His subjects to understand that they should not question Him. He holds the ultimate knowledge and they shouldn’t. If anyone disobeys him, as Adam and Eve did, they shall be punished. The Catholic Church similarly seemed to punish anyone throughout the centuries, who fell across ideas and discoveries that ran contrary to their teaching. The Church’s treatment of Galileo is a famous example of the brutality of the Church when its authority is challenged. God had the same superiority complex, and tantrum when humanity demanded educating, in the garden of Eden. He created the concept of sin, He punishes a concept that he created, and then a few thousand years later He sends His one begotten son, to die an horrific death in order to absorb the concept that He created in the first place.

God placed a restriction on knowledge. He demanded obedient slaves, and if they wanted to improve their knowledge, they would be punished. Alongside complete obedience, he demands worship. This seem like a game. It serves no overriding purpose. Pawns are played with. And to make matters worse, those pawns are given curiosity and a yearning for knowledge and self improvement, built into their mentality. This wretched little game played by God, is both pointless, and torturous.

Along comes Satan. A symbol of evil, simply, it seems, because he tempts humanity away from God. I’m not entirely sure why this is considered a great evil. We must first accept that we wish to be next to God, to be tempted from him. And that requires our faculties of reason. Perhaps then, Satan is getting a bit of a bad press. Why is the questioning of authority a bad thing? It seems to me that questioning authority, is the basis of liberty. God wants complete obedience as revealed through scripture. This means any progressive free thinking is entirely forbidden. It means if our conscience tells us that a cute old lesbian couple, deeply in love, are not evil people destined for hell, we are to ignore it and instead choose prejudice as sanctioned by the Bible. If we follow our conscience (a conscience given to us by God in the first place), we are simply being tested by the evil of Satan. It means, Galileo should have been imprisoned for questioning Christian dogma, dogma that plunged Europe into a devastating Dark Age, ruthlessly suppressing all advancement, and discarding advances made by the Greeks. Free thought and curiosity, according to God, is a sin. That is the way of God. Satan, if anything, tells you to think for yourself.

If I am to think that the the systematic murder of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of first born children, sanctioned and executed by God in the book of Exodus, is wrong, I am being tempted by the Devil away from God. I should be condemning those first born children. That is the reality of being close to God.

Further in Exodus, we see God demanding the deaths of anyone who dances around the golden calf. This includes family, children and friends of the group. Exodus 32:28 suggests 3000 people were slaughtered for dancing around a calf. I’d say this God is evil.

In Numbers 31, God commands the total annihilation of the Midianite people (The Midianites were a tribe of Abraham’s descendants through the line of Keturah. This story always struck me as particularly cruel, whenever I read the Bible. I have my copy of the Bible sat on my lap as I write this, and I cannot for the life of me workout how anyone can read it, and not despise this God as we despise people like Hitler and Pol Pot. He seems no different. After the annihilation of the Midianite people, Moses, working on the command of God, says:

“……. kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man intimately. But all the girls who have not known man intimately, spare for yourselves.”

Kill all the male children, but keep the female children, as long as they’re virgins, for themselves. Nice. 32,000 virgins in all. I am not sure how Christians or Jews can suggest that any children deserve that treatment. The Midianites inhabited a large area. Much of Northern Arabia was Midianite territory at one stage. They were a diverse people.

An authoritarian God, cannot also promote truly ethical values and behaviour. An authoritarian God necessarily negates free will. We must be good because we’re commanded to be good, by the standard of Holy Texts that most of us find the majority of, to be abhorrent to our sense of right and wrong. Morality is not morality, if it is forced and threatened.

“The Catechism of the Catholic Church”, a book of defined Catholicism suggests that Satan exists only because God allows him too. In paragraph 395, it states:

Although Satan may act in the world out of hatred for God and his kingdom in Christ Jesus, and although his action may cause grave injuries – of a spiritual nature and, indirectly, even of a physical nature- to each man and to society, the action is permitted by divine providence.

You may be mistaken into thinking that the above is the ramblings of an insane person. You’d be wrong. But only slightly. It is the ramblings of an insane institution; the Church. God allows Satan to exist. God therefore allows what he considers evil to exist. He is not at war with evil, he will never be at war with evil, because he is in complete control at all times. Which suggests, he isn’t all that loving afterall. But we knew that, given that he’s already wiped out a few million people, whilst condemning young virgins to a life of abuse at the hands of his followers (Catholic Priests are carrying on the tradition recently, it would seem).

Paragraph 397 states:

Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God’s command. This is what man’s first sin consisted of. All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness.

– Interesting use of the word ‘freedom‘. You are ‘free‘ to decide whether or not to believe in God’s word, but if you choose not to, you will be punished. That’s like saying to your child “You are free to play with the skateboard indoors, but if you do, I will put your head in the oven.” Freedom isn’t freedom if one of the two available chooses includes awful punishment.

In fact, there are virtually millions upon millions of people condemned to death, and violent deaths at that, by God. I cannot for the life of me find one death ordered by Satan. All he tends to do, is tempt people to question everything this maniac in the sky tells them. Satan, although portrayed in Christian literature (although not so much in the Bible) as the fallen angel turned demon, sent to tempt humanity into evil, seems actually to be the voice of reason. If we were to take the Bible as metaphor, perhaps one could infer that Satan represents reason, and enlightenment, whereas God represents Christian/Islamic dogma and slavery.

The only way we “know” that Satan is evil, is because it is alluded to in the Bible and subsequent Christian texts. Forgive me for saying, but I am not going to rely on the writings of the single most violent and corrupt institution that has existed over the past two thousand years, to lecture me on what is good and what is evil. How hypocritical of them. It also suggests that Satan is far more powerful than God. The entire history of humanity and its suffering, according to Biblical principles, was caused by Satan. The triumph of free thought over mind-dictatorship.

Bakunin points out that Satan is the first great rebel against great an evil authoritative figure. He encourages disobedience and questioning. He is the founder of the enlightenment, millennia before the enlightenment takes place. Satan is the Christian version of Prometheus. A champion of mankind. It would appear that Christianity has taught us, that an entity that gave us the courage to investigate for ourselves, and expand our understanding, and to question everything; is evil. Genocide on a scale that would make Stalin fall to his knees in awe, gets twisted and presented as “good”, whereas educating people away from this nonsense, is presented as “evil”. Christianity is therefore a very regressive force within society. The Catholic Church embodies this regressive nature perfectly.

The Enlightenment, and all the advances it brought with it. The scientific method, political and social rights, evolutionary theory, separation of Church and State….. This is what the Biblical God forbids, and attributes entirely to Satan.

We should perhaps be a little more critical of the Theocratic dictator God whom punishes you for loving the ‘wrong’ person, requires constant worship, and demands complete obedience, and a little less critical of the free thinking, enlightened Devil.