Morality, Religion And Hell.

I read a blog somewhere criticizing the doctrine of “universalism” for supposedly insisting that no one will go to hell forever.  The author then went on to basically say why read the bible or do good etc without the threat of hell.  I responded with what became a bit of an impassioned mini-speech about the nature of morality:

If you do what you believe is the right thing because you think you will be punished if you do not, you’re going about it the wrong way.

Yes, as children we do chores and behave and eat our vegetables because we don’t want to get in trouble, but at some point we grow up and do these things not out of fear of punishment or hope of a pat on the head – we do these things for the reasons our parents told us to in the first place.

Even if there is a god, rape isn’t wrong because he decided it is, any more than eating ice cream all day is wrong because your parents decreed it so.  It’s wrong because of what it actually is, and what the consequences are.  Punishments and rewards are there only to make up for the times when people fail to do what they should do anyway. 

And before law and order and prison and forensics and fingerprints and security cameras and all the ways we detect and punish the wicked in this life, people tried desperately to get people who wouldn’t otherwise be good to do the right thing by promising a reward or punishment in another life.  But I’ve found the best christians are not the ones that are bucking for a heavenly promotion, but the ones that would do the right thing even if they thought they might go to hell for it.  I mean jesus did what was, according to your religion, the right things to do knowing the punishment would be a gruesome execution.  Morality isn’t looking for the angle or following an incentive or shrinking from a punishment.  It’s about doing the right thing no matter what will happen to you, because someone or something outside of yourself matters a little bit more to you than your own skin. 

This is why we honor brave soldiers, not because they were following orders or forced into complying with their government, we honor those that go above and beyond the call of duty, who do more than what is by force required of them.  So do the right thing and literally damn the consequences.  Because I’d rather go to some god’s hell for doing what I think is right than live in paradise for “just following orders”.

That, to me, is morality.


About agnophilo

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60 Responses to Morality, Religion And Hell.

  1. agnophilo says:

    @striemmy – I’ve already clarified that that wasn’t what I meant and that I was just trying to demonstrate the difference between following rules because they are imposed by force or incentive versus the more grownup morality of doing something because there is a good reason to do it.  Even the bible says to follow the spirit of the law, not the letter of the law.  And what is the spirit of the law but the reasoning behind it?

  2. agnophilo says:

    @striemmy – You like to disagree with me by arguing against things I’m not saying.

  3. striemmy says:

    @agnophilo – Grown up morality. That’s so ass backwards its funny, considering the basis of most people’s twisted perversion of moral standards. At least doing something because you are compelled to by force or impelled to by desire makes clear sense and is consistent, or so investigators of crimes all over the world base all of their efforts on. I don’t have any clue why you’re quoting the bible to me but you should avoid it.The spirit of a law could be better defined as the general intended consequences, as the reasoning behind much lawmaking in this country is specious to say the least. For example, a law or measure banning selling bottles of water in a school in favor of selling snapple because it is more nutritious for the children. The relevant difference there being that water is cheaper and that he person passing the law is invested or has friends who are invested directly into snapple. Law is the direct result of politics, not morality. It is moderated by morality only when the people finally realize their interests are being skewered by the elected officials (which we have recent examples of).

  4. striemmy says:

    Really? The first half of my response is exactly on the precise subject of the original entry, merely reasoning in the reverse, and the last half is answering a question.. that you asked me, rhetorical or not. Don’t talk out of your backside, bro.

  5. agnophilo says:

    @striemmy – You seem to deliberately miss the point.  It’s as if I said 1 + 1 = 2, and you argued against what I said by citing that not all numbers are the number 1 and that sometimes people subtract numbers.While that is true, it is also irrelevant to what I was saying and is a non-sequiter if presented as a refutation or rebuttal.

  6. striemmy says:

    And yet if your argument is built on premises a and b and I construct an argument challenging the truth value of a or the entailment of b then where does the support for your argument lie? You used a demonstration to push your point. Your demonstration was flawed and I called you on it and now you’re proceeding to tell me that I’m deliberately missing the point. However, it was you who created the flawed demonstration in the first place, the one intended to flesh out your point, which I then went on to comment on directly, forgoing my attack on the premises, at which point you did not respond and simply came at me with this sub-thread.

  7. agnophilo says:

    @striemmy – When I formed my examples I assumed my readers could think for themselves without me having to explain to them that parents are not infallible.  And I assumed they would be bright enough to realize that a treatise on how morality is not dictated by authority was not meant to suggest that the best morality is that based on parental authority.You’re the only person who read the blog and commented who took it the way you did.

  8. striemmy says:

    @agnophilo – I didn’t suggest that it was based on parental authority. In fact, the better explanation for the bs you threw out dealt with socialization by the primary peer group, but that’s beyond the point. You still threw a shitty example of sourcing of reasonable morality out there and continue to tout it as good. Don’t try and push off a shitty example as an off interpretation. If you said 1+1=3 an an example of synergy and I pointed out that 1+1 actually equals 2, it doesn’t matter how many fuckheads agree with your math, it would still be wrong and you damn well know it. Btw, even if you did manage to substantiate your point by knocking down all of my objections in a reasonable manner, you and I both know your overall argument still wouldn’t stand up to close scrutiny because of the eerily taffy-like nature of morality on whole. It’s a thought construct, easily destroyed, and whether you acknowledge it or not, is a far more prevalent example of indoctrination than religion is. Of course what’s wrong with teaching what’s right? 

  9. agnophilo says:

    @striemmy – You, as usual, have not made one single criticism that is relevant to what I actually said, and this conversation is over.

Speak yer mind.

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