12/12/2011 | Share this article: View CommentsBy Carl S ~
When we look at the actions of believers and compare them to their asserted beliefs of moral superiority, the first thing that often comes to mind is hypocrisy. I'm beginning to wonder if they can see it that way, because it looks like they operate on different standards than the morally sensitive. For instance, seeing nothing wrong with a deity whose "mercy endures forever," yet sometimes sends humans to eternal torment. In fact, the language of belief systems is loaded with oxymorons and double standards, "do as I say, not as I do’s.”
Just what is the standard that sees nothing wrong in lying to children, and terrorizing them with Jesus Camp indoctrinations? Parents send their children to Gospel camps and Sunday school to be taught matters of faith they themselves often don't believe. Why? How they don't see such things as being hypocritical must have something to do with what they consider right and wrong.
And, then there is, "Christians are not perfect, but forgiven.” Nobody's perfect, so what's the point? I don't consider it something to brag about, that one can be forgiven for anything and everything. The standard of a cornucopia of forgiveness has no personal responsibility value to it.
What do all religions have in common, exempting the basic, “Love one another as you love yourself?” I will say control, and use criminals and prisons as a starting point. It is obvious that prisons and mental institutions for the criminally inclined exist because there is a need to protect the public. If those individuals cannot control their criminal behavior, then society will do it for them. It's the way the justice system works. But, the primary foundational reason for religious perpetuation is its insidious doctrine that EVERY individual is basically bad, with a serious need to be controlled lest this badness gets out of hand. This calls for control by fear and/or, force.
Religion has been shown to be somewhat effective in doing this while, however, adhering to a different standard; namely, as long as actions, however heinous, are done FOR the religion, they're moral. Christian control is based on Genesis 8:21, “. . . every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood." The rules get complicated as restrictions apply to even the most ordinary human pursuits of what you eat and drink, your sex life, your attitude to the opposite or same sex, and on and on.
Religion punishes you, by its very nature, not only for what you do, (for which it holds the 'forgiveness' carrot stick), but even for what you MIGHT do. Take a good look at yourself; are you really a hardened criminal needing to be controlled?
Interestingly, Bible-god is completely lacking in self-control, as much as the most hardened criminal, but believers are "Don't ask, don't tell“ about this. The authority we are to submit to and trust is neither under control nor trustworthy. Religion teaches not to trust your own moral compass. The whole system relies on each member not trusting his own conscience, doubts, or reason - all the things which make us free individuals. This is ancient, and is accompanied by methods to undermine - by distrust of one's own character, if need be - via fears that one WILL become out of control without the beliefs. This fear is a powerful force, used by all totalitarian regimes. (Love that word "totalitarian.” Total control)
Free will, as defined by religions, means that humans, unfettered, will make immoral choices on their own, since that's the way religions interpret human nature. (See again : Genesis 8:21. Also, thank St. Paul and the other early Christian misogynists for this.) The doctrine of evil-from-youth becomes an imperative, a double-edged sword, binding both clergy and believers to religions’ negative and judgmental attitudes toward all human beings.
On our own we are all as grubby children whose dirty hands will never be clean, and though forgiven, we'll always have that reminder ready to be brought up anytime a guilt trip is needed. Our mere existence makes us totally in need of bowing down, lest we damage ourselves or others. Are we criminals just in being born? Who says so? The controllers. Brilliantly, Christianity has found a way to make people control themselves, by the example of Jesus, whose obedience to God, i.e., himself, went so far as death. The cross is everywhere to remind us to copy him and obey, to sacrifice, whatever the command may be.
This is the same message all the other human sacrifice religions demanded one to follow. There's another interesting facet of the system: Those who "play the system," know it. They're smooth, sailing under the radar - attending church services, praying the words, witnessing, contributing , who may actually believe some things, or not. Morality has nothing to do with their participation, which is a good cover for them. It's an excellent cover for their pastors, if they want to take advantage of it. Control the "image" and you control the power over others, and no matter what you do, you will always be forgiven.
Religions don't promote morality. They promote themselves. They don’t promote responsibility, but forgiveness, obedience to their "authority," and reasons to make excuses for bad behavior.
This is what children are taught by religion to accept as “virtuous. “ Blind, unquestioning obedience is the virtue taught by the Nazis, the Taliban, and religious cults of all persuasions. Yeah, totally different standards from the truly morally sensitive.