Conservatives like to proclaim that liberals because they often use situational ethics can and will do anything. Without a creed and a God than anything is permissible so goes their theory. But all alone it has been those who are convinced of society’s norms are the ones that think anything is permissible for them. Studies show that religious people do not behave more morally than atheists. Yet if you ask any Christian they would believe they are more moral than atheists.
Now the studies did show American Christians do most of the charitable giving on Sunday and they even watched less porn on Sunday. But they made up for it the rest of the week where there were no statistical differences between Christians and others.
If you are an atheist and do not believe God or the saints are there to assist you in crises it seems to me you would be much more likely to rely on family, community, and friends. After all that is all you have to rely on. And if you rely on family community and friends it is more likely you would work to nurture and maintain those things. But someone who believes God will intervene on their behalf would not be as willing to compromise and nurture these relationships because they can always call on God in-a-pinch. God will look after the strangers in our midst, so I do not have to.
One study showed that trust in the rule of law , is also a predictor of moral behavior. If one believes transgressors are being punished and no one is seen above the law there is better moral behavior. “And indeed, when the rule of law is strong, religious belief declines, and so does distrust against atheists.” Maybe this is why the current crop of religious right does not care about the rule of law. It distracts or can even substitute to a certain degree for God. The rule of law works against the spread of religious beliefs. May I suggest here this is why probably on a collective unconscious level the religious right is so comfortable with President Trump and his almost disdain for the rule of law.
In another study ‘researchers found that believers act more morally than nonreligious people only when interacting with other members of their own religious community’. This may explain the far right’s problems with POCs. For them to act morally they have to be connected with people who act and believe as they do. Otherwise without those bonds their values become loss. The researchers say ‘Such selectivity makes sense from an evolutionary perspective. If, as some scientists hypothesize, religion evolved to increase social cohesion, it shouldn’t just make you “blindly nice to everybody; it should make you more virtuous when you are interacting with others of the same faith.”
So this would appear to say if you parse it out that xenophobia and all the isms are products of the religious need to perpetuate itself and its communities at the expense of others. Hmm sound familiar?*
*I used the information from this article from The Conversation 'Are religious people more moral?'
October 23, 2017 8.14pm EDT
I hate suffering. In C S Lewis’s book The Problem of Pain he lays out the traditional view of suffering. We feel pain to teach us lessons from god. And this can be a partial reason for some suffering. If we did not feel emotional pain when we treated someone badly we would be more likely to repeat the action. The same with physical pain. If we feel pain when we touch a hot stove we will be less likely to repeat the action. So, pain does afford us the most rudimentary learnings in life.
Of course, Lewis’s other book on suffering which was written not from and academic mindset but from his personal lost of his great love to cancer was a bit different. It is called A Grief Observed and can be heart wrenching as he tries to reconcile some sense in his grief and her suffering from cancer with a God who boasts how much She loves us.
In the end there is pain or things that happen to us that are not brought on by Karma. To challenge another religion’s premise. When working with people who were impacted with AIDS in the early days of the epidemic the karmic scales of a former lives had to be tilted. Nothing they did deserved the misery of dying young, with unfathomable suffering, ostracized, and alone.
Others will argue that suffering is an illusion. All I have to say to them ‘Suffer Much” and ‘be careful of your Karma’. Some will say most suffering is brought upon humans against humans. But that is only redirecting the blame from God to humans (of course that gives us humans more power over it). Most people suffering of starvation are not asking was this brought on by god’s indifference or human unwillingness to distribute the world food supply equitable. They only want food for themselves and their children.
The final explanation of evil is it is a part of this life. We cannot avoid it. So instead of acting as Job’s accusers standing opposite of Job to please our philosophies of evil let us hold a hand. Let us relieve as much pain as we can and then let us be present for the sufferer.
So, to get back to what matters. My suffering. My suffering is so great it will be written in the annals of history. I will become known as the Great Sufferer replacing Jesus on the pantheon of sufferers (the former is a brilliant attempt to psychologically manipulate God to make me suffer less). I can hear my fellow cancer survivors say, “Now wait a minute has he only finished week one of treatment. Why he is a child in suffering. I am afraid he is in for an unpleasant surprise before it is all over.” And I say to that enough about your suffering let us get back to mine. Which in case you have not heard is great.
Walls usually are not built for good reasons. They are built because you fear the people on the other side as in the Great Wall, they are built because you do not like the people on the other side as in the Berlin Wall, and they are built to keep people from sharing the wealth of a country with each other as in Wall Street. Trump’s famous border wall includes all three of these reasons.
The Republican’s say they are in fear of the people on the other side of the border. They are murderers and rapists. They will take our jobs. Terrorists will cross the border. The list goes on; spend a week listening to the right wing talk about why we need a wall and you will be convinced they are at least in verbiage terrified of the people below the border.
They also do not like the people below the border. They express a fear that they will move into our country and influence the way we live and whom we elect. And why is this bad. Because they do not share our same values. They will bring their socialist ideals with them. They will speak their language. They are a dirty people. They are lazy and take siestas and so forth. Now Republicans will proudly announce we do accept some things Latino. Food is okay for them to share with us (Although right wing pundit Tucker Carlson will steal their tacos as his own white man’s food) and we will borrow their Cinco de Mayo holidays. We are not racists. But all that other stuff they bring to the table is just wrong and not right for America.
I feel sorry for anyone who fears as much as the Republicans. They know this fear makes them a little less manly. Some suspect this is why they hold onto their guns. Not because they want to protect themselves but they need to prop their manliness up (there is only so much Viagra can do). Of course fear goes against their Christianity. I believe it was some one named Jesus that said, “Perfect love casts out fear.” But I guess if you do not like a group of people it is hard to have perfect love and that would of course explain the fear.
But the foundational reason for the border wall is Wall Street. We want cheap labor to help keep our food prices down. We want cheap labor to hire to clean after us in our hotels. Trump has consistently staffed his hotels with people with green cards. This is the American way. We made fortunes through the use of slavery, the exploitation of Chinese, children, and so forth. Now we have amended our ways but the control of the labor force has been key to the accumulation of wealth in this country. So the more we can prevent people who we know will work in this country from establishing their citizenship the more we can control their labor. So in the end it is Wall Street or big business that wants the wall. It is about controlling the labor force that exist here in the Dreamers and the migrant workers who cross the border.
Trump’s wall is for big business to make more money not control of the border. But he has made the Wall about the poor and not the wealthy. This sleight of hand seemingly rest undiscover as of yet. Maybe one day beyond fear and prejudice we will discover this.