Friday, January 21, 2011

Without Objective Standards, Anything Is Permissible

Dostoevsky's character Ivan Karamazov said that without god, "everything is permitted".  He was wrong.  Without objective standards, anything is permitted.  In fact, without objective standards, it could even be required.

If a believer brings up this particular quotation from Dostoevsky, then you should point this out.

Once one swallows the idea that there is an invisible magic man in the sky who made everything and who makes the rules according to his mysterious ways and who metes out huge rewards and punishments, then it is clear that whatever this invisible magic man says must be obeyed.

If the invisible magic man says you must kill your daughter for having a crush on an infidel and, worse, speaking to him in public, then you must do it.  And, it is right and honorable for you to do so.  And if your daughter runs off and marries an infidel, then you must trick her into coming home so you can kill her.  After killing her you can tell the press and police:  "[I] killed [her] because [she] brought shame to our community. How could [she] elope with [an infidel]? [She] deserved to die. [I] have no remorse,""

If the invisible magic man says you must watch your child die of a treatable disease, then that is what you must do.  You are only following god's plan.

If the invisible magic man says you must stone people to death or burn them at the stake for disagreeing with his spokesmen, then that is what you must do.  You must protect others from ideas that god considers "wrong" so that they aren't "tricked" and end up in hell.

If the invisible magic man says that it is better for little girls to burn to death rather than appear in public momentarily without being covered from head to foot, then you should force them to burn to death.

If a book written by people who claim to speak for the invisible magic mans says true believers shall take up serpents without fear, then that is what you must do, even if your wife was already killed doing the same thing and your death orphans your five children, the oldest of whom is only 12.  Doing what god wants is much more important that what your children need.  After all, if they are good Christians, too, then they will have eternal bliss and who cares how miserable their short, earthly lives are?

If the invisible magic man says you should beat your two month old baby for being "emotional", then that is what you must do.

I could go on, but I think the point is clear.  It isn't just that religion has caused great harm; it is that religion will inevitably lead to great harm because it divorces believers from objective reality.

(See later post on this subject also.)

No comments:

Post a Comment