The Morality of the Humanist vs. the Christian

July 24, 2010 at 9:35 am (Uncategorized)

First, the moral reasoning of a Christian.

Not all Christians think this way, but I will take the example of one Christian’s view of moral reasoning. This person, a rival of sorts, wants to put morality in a box. He says that morality is an objective task. More specifically, he says there is objectivity in morality. He uses this premise to argue for the existence of God. Nevermind that God doesn’t exist (you can read up on my reasoning of why gods don’t exist here, or read Michael Shermer’s article on agenticity here), or the fact that neither subjectivity nor objectivity is a good argument for God. This doesn’t remotely argue for or against anything other than there being objectivity in morality. And even then, the premise of there being objectivity in morality is flatly wrong.

There is no such thing as objectivity in morality. Morality is subjective. Those who disagree are simply intolerant to others’ opinions of what it means to live a moral life. Intolerant means “not able to endure; not tolerant of the rights or beliefs of others”; tolerate means (for clarification purposes) “to put up with; to recognize the opinions and rights of others; to endure; to suffer.” In other words, the Christian in this case is not able to even recognize that other people hold different morals. He instead thinks that there is only one set of morals, and those that differ with those morals are immoral. In this thinking, he is flawed.

I will assume that the Christian thinks that he is morally superior to all other religions and even to the humanist. Let us venture into what it is to be Christian and what it is to be of this morally superior mindset.

This is a summary of my story, and the story of millions of other humanists being invited to a church by his peers during his college years:

One day, while walking outside the Curris Center, I see signs of “Christ Ambassadors” hung from podium to podium, from wall to wall. I pay no attention to this, because, well, I’m an atheist. I could care less, I live my life, and let other live theirs. Then a couple guys approach me and ask if I know about God. I say “no I don’t believe in that stuff”. This is when they let me know that they are salesmen for the Christ Ambassadors. Well, they didn’t say salesmen, but they did invite me to their Wednesday night church service. I decline and let them walk away. For the next couple of weeks, they approach me again and again, and now it’s become harassment. This is the morality of the Christian*.

So I finally cave in and accept to come to a Wednesday night meeting. I just go, and am bored to death. I am also uncomfortable the entire time, listening to what I consider to be lies the entire time. With love bombings abounding, it seemed like I was the celebrity. The next time I went, again, the love bombings occurred. I didn’t go for a while and yet people invited me to church. I didn’t want to go, but didn’t know how to convey it without offending them. They always made a big deal out of it if I didn’t go, giving me guilt trips and such. This is the morality of the Christian.

So I went again, and again, and the love bombings ceased. The church effectively turned to the corporate church. I was just like anyone else. I learned that none of my Christian “friends” were my friends at all. They were effectively co-workers. This is called bait-and-switch. I learned the hard way that the purpose of the church is to just convert you, through the tactics of love bombings, guilt tripping you to go to church when you are clearly not required to by law, and so forth. And when they’ve converted you, you’re no longer the celebrity, you’re just another sheeple. And no one is really your friend. Questions are not welcome, you will be thrown out of the church. This is the morality of the Christian.

The Christian is hasty to throw out those that do not adhere to his dogma, he disassociates himself with the dissenter. He aligns himself to authority and distances himself from reason. This is the morality of the Christian.

Now, the moral reasoning of the humanist.

The humanist welcomes open discussion, and welcomes disagreement. He realizes that the world is open to exploration and he doesn’t censor himself from that which may offend him. Instead, he invites himself if only to experience it for one time. He doesn’t give himself unnecessary rules or laws that would hinder him from being free. He loves his freedoms and doesn’t attempt to take away the liberties of others around him. And he doesn’t ignore his skepticism.

He also recognizes that other people are not like him. He has his own morals, and they have theirs. And as long as theirs do not interfere with his own, they both can live in a world peacefully. This tolerance is the most useful to upholding order in an otherwise disorderly world. He recognizes that most of the complaints that the Christian brings up are frivolous and are signs of ungratefulness for the freedoms that they have. But at the same time, he respects and upholds their freedoms to disagree with how society works. The humanist recognizes that there are ammoralities as well as immoralities. He recognizes that morality is polysemic across cultures and does not expect that his moral reasoning will necessarily get him very far in those other cultures. He tries to treat everyone fairly, living up to a utilitarian moral standard. He also knows when to fluctuate between practicing utilitarian ethics and objectivist ethics because he knows that not every situation has a one-answer-fits-all.

He further realizes that our morality has evolved. For example: the ancient Inuits use to kill their own children, quite frequently I might add, for survival purposes, would commit suicide when reaching an elderly age, and would even kill children with birth defects. Because they did this for survival purposes, it was accepted. In today’s society, this would not be accepted. The parents would be thrown in jail, and shunned upon by society. Morality is subjective, not objective.

*From here on out, I do not necessarily talk about the above stated Christian, just Christians in general.

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