Re: MD Hume, Paley and Intelligent Design

From: Arlo J. Bensinger (
Date: Fri May 06 2005 - 06:11:38 BST

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    > Very "worth it" IMO. I agree. I believe, however, that until there's a
    > widespread belief in the rational morality of the MOQ, the Judeo-Christian
    > morality of the West is a higher quality social pattern than the pattern
    > of moral relativism which invariable leads to an "anything goes"
    > weakening of social bonds. We see some of the effects of this weakening
    > today in the splintering of our society into disparate and competing
    > political groups, many claiming victim status. Pirsig attributes much of
    > this social degeneration to the scientific worldview which denies any
    > notion of a generic moral foundation in the universe.
    > Any thoughts? What basis for a social pattern of morality other than
    > offered by Judeo-Christianity would you suggest? Should we all become
    > Buddhists? Not that there would be anything wrong with that. :-)

    First, I guess, it depends how much we can separate spiritual morality from
    religious nationalism. So long as we support static social structures over
    intellectual patterns (no matter how cozy it may make our daily lives) we are
    behaving immorally. I have no problems, for example, with the 10 Commandments.
    In fact, I wish more people adhered to them. But I reject "enforcing" it
    because it is "revealed by God to a wandering tribe in Israel". Why not promote
    it, along with the 12-fold path, and other spiritual principles, as
    intellectual patterns to improve ourselves and our social patterns, rather than
    singling out one and promoting it "because God says so"?

    I think I reject the idea that the only choices we have are favoring religious
    nationalism or moral relativity. Many people behave morally in this country and
    elsewhere that are not doing so out of blind obedience to a God. I think we
    should give people more credit than that. "Thou Shall Not Kill", for example,
    embodies an intellectual pattern that can be open to anyone. It does not need
    to be wrapped in the veneer of "because the Christian God tells you not to". Or
    any other God for that matter, again I am not picking on Christianity per se.

    Also, I think what bothers me about the whole "Judeo-Christian" morality, is
    that few people actually adhere to it. It is used to "condemn" the behavior of
    others, to be sure. For example, Jesus' life was heavily devoted to feeding the
    hungry, sheltering the homeless and healing the sick. If *these* moralities
    were legislated, a lot of people would be in an uproar. But, talk about
    "homosexuality", and every Christian around goes screaming for laws to protect
    us. We, as a people, like using God to tell others what they can't do, but hate
    having God tell us what we should do. (How many people actually keep the
    Sabbath holy? Funny story... I was doing part-time work years ago at a Barnes
    and Noble in Chicago. It as a Sunday afternoon, and a woman came in and asked
    for our "bibles". I showed her where they were, but apparently although we had
    "bibles", we did not have "the bible". When I suggested a Christian bookseller
    down the street, she looked at me and said smugly; "I would, but real
    Christians don't work on Sunday".... Apparently they have no qualms "shopping"
    though. :-))


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