69 thoughts on “Moral, or…

  1. Would ye be suggestin’ that we be bribin’ the Lord, ye heathen scoundrel?

    (Oops—I don’t do a very good Irish accent but you get the picture … )


  2. “You Laddie! Yes you behind the bike sheds. Stand Still!”
    “How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?”
    Pink Floyd.

    Our father which fart in heaven…..


  3. And yet creationists continue to argue that science can’t say anything about morality. The last atheist vs creationist debate I watched was Lawrence Krauss vs some notable moslem based out of Australia. Most of the audience members were moslems and before the debate there was controversy about males and females made to sit on separate sides of the room (childish bullshit). I think Krauss refused to participate in the debate until the issue was resolved by insisting that males and females should have the freedom to sit near each other. Anyways, during the Q & A, Krauss posed the question to an audience member asking him if he believed he would commit murder if he didn’t worship allah and the ways of the quran. You have a 50/50 chance of guessing the answer. This mindset is quite disturbing.


    • I’ve seen part of that debate. It got off to an atrocious start and really didn’t improve after. Yes, i find it absolutely baffling that a theist (not all, of course) would say (believe/admit) that the only thing stopping them from raping and murdering is the threat of punishment. They are, in effect, admitting they’re little more than uncontrollable beasts… what i’d call sub-human. Pathetic and sick at the same time.


  4. I always wonder what these guys will say when instead of heaven, they find themselves entering the gates of hell. Can you imagine look on their face? “Hang on, there is a mistake. I’m a GOOD guy! I can prove it”. And the Devil smiles. “Sure. Take your time my friend.”.


      • The problem is probably on my side. I chose to follow the Great Lord Veles, but worshiping the Slavic god of musicians, wealth and trickery has proved to have some downsides attached; namely car Keys going missing and posts going astray in cross dimensional Readers. That said, the upside of giving my life over to The Great Veles is my parties are often the envy of the neighbourhood 🙂


      • Yep, that wreaks of Veles handiwork. You can appease him by erecting some standing stones in a nearby forest. Don’t ask me why, but He, in His ultimate wisdom and mischief, likes standing stones.


      • My favourite god would propably be Tursa – the ancient Finnish god of war. Mind you, I am not terribly warlike person, however there are benefits to this. At the moment I have none what so ever use for gods in my life (infact I’d appriciate them not interfering in any way), but in an extreme situation like a war, it might be good to have one, that is a true professional (not for example some sort of jack of all trades) and actually personally interrested in me and us Finns being on the winning side. 😉 In case of civil war, that last point might not be the most important attribute, but we had ours allready, so…


  5. This is a serious issue, alltough you manage to make it amusing. It is not that the fundies are being stupid, but that they are being taught this frankly childish way of resolving what is right or wrong.

    It is the authoritarianism inherent to so many religions, that is indistinguishable from the authoritarianism of a dictatorship – exep perhaps, that dictators and their henchmen are very substantial, as any afterlife remains totally unverified.

    I suppose, it is the result of fear of the unknown. When not all factors are known on a matter to know wether one is doing right or not, it is an easy trap to fall into, that you take the easy way out. That being, that you simply see the world in black and white and instead of making the effort to decide by oneself, one simply trusts an authority.

    Or perhaps, it is because they simply lack any thinking skills to make rational judgement, so that they necessarily become dependant on an authority to make it for them. It seems it is either the authority handing out ready made modus operandi, or that the choises are made totally intuitively.

    It is generally beneficial to a child to trust the authority of parents, but this is as, if we are living whith a bunch of people on this planet, that never grew up to adulthood.


    • Well said. The allusion to authoritarian regimes is perfect. It’s a binary system: good behaviour, bad behaviour. What I find perhaps most troubling is in squeezing behaviour through these two options (punishment or reward) the individual is not fully comprehending what it is they’re doing. Dog performs trick, dog gets treat. Dog shits on the couch, dog gets spanked. This routine doesn’t appeal to our deep sense (and skill) of empathising with others. It’s a closed system and that retards any genuine long-term planning. By this I mean investing in things now which might not bear fruit until the next generation, or even later.


  6. I’ve just read a very interesting article [sorry Dog I’m pilfering your link as I think it’s quite relevant here]:
    It’s a bit of a long read but very interesting and goes some way to explaining the psychological aspect behind such sheep-minded behaviour.
    Children particularly are immensely gullible, I know I have three, and to an extent I think it is a survival instinct, otherwise I think I would have lost them all by now!
    It is true though that left to our own devices we can learn to develop independent thinking, but it is something that has to be trained through experience. I don’t think it’s something that occurs to most of us naturally, but seems to arise from first hand encounters when we are faced with our survival, whether psychological or physical. Self preservation is much more powerful than common-sense. Better if you can manage to put the two together. As you know speaking your mind takes practise.


    • Unquestionably, we have a herd instinct written into out genome. It sits there (emitting little beeps like sputnik) right next to our submission to authority. Both are essential to the survival of social creatures like us. Strong social cohesion reduces individual anxiety. The thing is, a strong sense of empathy and fair play is an ancient skill, a natural attachment, and this negates the authoritarian carrot and stick approach to honing right behaviour. Punishment and reward is simply conditioning; tasty treat or whack on the ass. It’s not actually bringing out the better person… the person who does good for goodness sake.

      Here’s two articles on experiments which found a strong sense of empathy and fair play with monkeys. They clearly understood what was good behaviour and what was bad, or unfair.


      • Fascinating that there are comparisons between us and other primates. However, in order to understand human behaviour, surely it is best to study human behaviour, not that of chimps or capuchins? I agree that the carrot and the stick approach is not conducive to building healthy relationships. I think the question of what may be considered good or bad behaviour is not an adequate qualifier, in that it is highly subjective. Your sense of good, or mine for that matter is not necessarily someone else’s sense of good, and vice-versa. To cast a general interpretation of what is good and not I think is idealistic and therefore unrealistic. Like I wrote in my post the other day, the place to start in encouraging more beneficial behaviour is by living it and imparting it, which is what I think you are getting at, and in that sense you have my total agreement and support.



      Firstly, I’d question anything that comes from a sight espousing the “art” of manliness.

      Secondly, mixing genetic tendencies and cultural condition is always a recipe for bullshit at worse and questionable results at best.

      It is true though that left to our own devices we can learn to develop independent thinking, but it is something that has to be trained through experience

      Is there a different way to learn?

      Self preservation is much more powerful than common-sense.

      I’m not sure I understand what you mean, I’ve always thought of self-preservation being derived from common sense. For example, I tend not to go into yards with barking slavering mongrels as common sense would dictate the likelyhood of being gnoshed on is fairly high.

      Are you demarcating self-preservation and common sense for a reason?


      • I could give you a succinct answer to your questions, but I don’t think you are interested in my views. I think you have another agenda you wish to address possibly?


      • I could give you a succinct answer to your questions

        Okay, at your leisure.

        but I don’t think you are interested in my views.

        I would not have bothered to comment if was not interested in your opinion; more specifically the reasoning behind what you’ve asserted.

        Arguments stemming from genetic factors and genetic predispositions usually fall prey to the genetic fallacy and thus are not supportable when evaluated.

        I think you have another agenda you wish to address possibly?

        Not really.

        surely it is best to study human behaviour, not that of chimps or capuchins?

        Statements like this though show me that you have not looked into research of this type, and have not seen how beneficial it is to the study of human behaviour.

        Thus, your other assertions are also called into question, hence my request for clarification.


      • But why? What’s bothering you about the reasoning behind my views? Why is it any of your business? What I said obviously didn’t marry with your own world view, and so what, we are all entitled to our own opinions, but neither are we predisposed to give an explanation on demand. Or at least I certainly am not. My reply was to John, not you and as he didn’t respond I assumed that he didn’t want to challenge it. The fact that you have makes me wonder what your motives are when we both comment on JZ’s blog regularly and I air my views quite freely, yet you’ve never seen fit up until now to make your thoughts known?
        Intuitively, as I’m reading you, I can feel that I’ve got your hackles up for some reason. I can feel your defensiveness. So I’m interested to know what it is you expect to gain from this? If you want to know about my views, go and visit my blogs if you haven’t already.
        I also dislike it quite intensely when people paraphrase me to bulk out their comments. It is a defensive measure, and it’s lazy, when you could take the time to say what you want in your own words if it was of any importance.



    The proposition that Christians are saved by faith only is supported by proof-texting. Using a select verse of Scripture to validate a doctrinal position without using all Biblical accounts is proof-texting.


    1. PROOF-TEXT: Romans 4:3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

    a. Abraham was not a Christian.
    b. Abraham was not saved under the New Covenant.
    c. Abraham was also justified by works. (James 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?)
    d. Abraham did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God. (John 8:24 “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”) If you can be saved like Abraham, then you can be saved without believing Jesus was the Son of God.

    Was Abraham saved? Yes. Can men living under the New Covenant be saved like Abraham? No, they cannot.

    2. PROOF-TEXT: Luke 23:39-43…..43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

    a. The thief on the cross was not saved under the New Covenant.
    b. If you can be saved like the thief, then you can be saved without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. (John 7:39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.)
    c.If you can be saved like the thief, then you can be saved without believing in the resurrection of Jesus. (Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.) The thief did not believe that God had raised Jesus from the dead. Jesus was still alive when the thief was saved.
    d. If you can be saved like the thief, then you can be saved without being baptized in water for the forgiveness of your sins.(Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16)

    Was the thief saved? Yes. Can men living under the New Covenant be saved like the thief? No, they cannot.

    3. PROOF-TEXT: John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

    a. If by believing only you could be saved, then the demons could be saved.(Matthew 8:28-31 …..And suddenly they cried out, saying, “What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?”…..31….the demons……) The demons believed that Jesus was the Son of God. Faith only did not save them.
    b. If believing only could save, then men would not have to confess Jesus before men to be saved. (John 12:42 Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue;) (Matthew 10:32-33 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father in heaven. 33 “But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My father who is in heaven.)

    Believing only cannot save anyone.


    Men are justified by faith.(Romans 5:1) But not by faith only.
    Men are justified by grace. (Titus 3:7) But not by grace only.
    Men are justified by the blood of Christ. (Romans 5:9) But not by blood only.
    Men are saved by water baptism.(1 Peter 3-21) But not by baptism only.
    Men are save by confessing Jesus and believing in His resurrection. (Matthew 10:32-33, Romans 10:9-10) But not by confession only nor by believing only.
    Men are saved by repentance. (Acts 2:38, Acts 3:19) But but not by repentance only.

    Men living today need to be saved by the terms of the New Covenant. FAITH-John 3:16 REPENTANCE- Acts 2:38 CONFESSION Romans 10:9-10 WATER BAPTISM 1 Peter 3:21

    Men can be save in two hours more or less—NO WORKS OF THE LAW OF MOSES NOR GOOD DEEDS ARE REQUIRED TO BE SAVED.

    (All Scripture from : NEW KING JAMES VERSION)

    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY CHRISTIAN BLOG. Google search>>>steve finnell a christian view


    • Well, thanks for the invitation, but I’ll have to decline. Tell me, are you aware that neither Abraham or Moses ever existed? Famed Israeli archeologist, Ze’ev Herzog of Tel Aviv University, put it this way: “Following 70 years of intensive excavations in the Land of Israel, archaeologists have found out: The patriarchs’ acts are legendary stories, we did not sojourn in Egypt or make an exodus, we did not conquer the land. Those who take an interest have known these facts for years.”

      So conclusive have been these findings that Christianity Today’s Kevin D. Miller conceded: “The fact is that not one shred of direct archaeological evidence has been found for Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob or the 400-plus years the children of Israel sojourned in Egypt. The same is true for their miraculous exodus from slavery.”

      Even Jewish rabbis are admitting to the farce. “The rejection of the Bible as literally true is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis.” (Rabbi David Wolpe of the Conservative Sinai Temple).

      “Defending a rabbi in the 21st century for saying the Exodus story isn’t factual is like defending him for saying the Earth isn’t flat. It’s neither new nor shocking to most of us that the Earth is round or that the Torah isn’t a history book dictated to Moses by God on Mount Sinai.” (Rabbi Steven Leder of the Wilshire Boulevard Temple).

      I’d urge you to read the Etz Hayim: Torah and Commentary. It’s the first authorised commentary on the Torah since 1936. Published in 2001 by the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (in collaboration with the Rabbinical Assembly and the Jewish Publication Society) the 1,559 page long Etz Hayim concludes with 41 essays written by prominent rabbis and scholars who admit the Pentateuch is little more than a self-serving myth rife with anachronisms and un-ignorable archaeological inconsistencies, and rather than triumphant conquest, Israel instead emerged slowly and relatively peacefully out of the general Canaanite population with monotheism only appearing in the post-Exilic period, 5th Century BCE; 1,500 years later than claimed.

      So, I’m afraid to say your religious beliefs are all founded entirely on a myth. There was no Abraham (“the LORD appeared to Abraham, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect” Genesis 17:1 = didn’t happen), no Moses (“The Lord proclaimed His own name before Moses” Ex. 33:19; 34:5 = didn’t happen) and no Exodus (“The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Sukkoth. There were about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children” Ex. 12:37 = most definitely didn’t happen).

      So, time to jettison the silliness and move on, wouldn’t you say?


      • Author Alvin Boyd Kuhn about Christianity , ” As ignorance was its Mother and the source spring of its world power, it is bound to cherish ignorance as its patron saint and monitor forever, for the breadth of knowledge would wither it away.”


      • Ha! Knock yourself out. I know you like lurking on these Xtian blogs. You’re like a regular SAS operative; out behind the lines, collecting data, surveying the lay of the and, then reporting back 🙂


  8. This morning, I decided to write my own news headlines that I’d like to see – like this one:
    “Survivors of Religious Childhood Abuse Raise Millions to Open Safe Houses for Children of Extremist Religions – United Nations to Amend Article 14 on the Convention of the Rights of the Child, Recognizing that Freedom of Thought and Conscience Can Be Threatened and Compromised in Closed Religious Societies.”
    Who knows? It could happen.


  9. Motive behind action is more important than the action itself. I can see where you’re coming from with this. That’s one thing the Protestant denomination I grew up in harped on Catholics about… I don’t really care about either these days.


    • Club mentalities are easily shed. In Australia there was no real distinction between Catholics (what i was) and Church of England except perhaps for the fact that Catholics (especially the priests) gambled more on the horses.

      I think you’re right. Motive = character, and character = trustworthiness. Action is just the byproduct.


  10. These kinds of religious ethics certainly provided a back-bone for corporal punishment, particularly in schools. It’s only been a generation since the banning of caning in UK schools. I remember having to sit through all the religious songs in assembly, and the prayer at the end. If you squirmed at all or missed a word you’d be sent to the Head-Master to be dealt several thwaks of the cane. When you have a god that tells folk it’s ok to use coercion to persuade deviancy, then I guess it makes it ok right? I believe my old Head-Master was one the last in the country to still defer to such measures. All it did was to encourage the bully-boys to beat more kids up out of frustration and hatred toward the teachers and the school, and probably scarred them for life for good measure.


    • In my primary school we has Sister Helen, a carmelite nun with an array of rulers i got to know quite well. In secondary we had Father Boff (yes, real name) who had an entire freaking cupboard of devises!


  11. As usual, your post has inspired lots of interesting and/or entertaining comments.

    Here is my two cents worth – –

    There is no sin.
    There is no virtue.
    There is just what people do.

    That would be the three pillars of my religion – if I had one.

    As opposed to the three pillars of the various religions based upon ancient script from the middle east:

    Fear of punishment.
    Hope of reward.
    – and –
    The absolute certainty that all us non believers will be rewarded with eternal suffering.


    • Ah yes, Hell… what a glorious invention for a loving religion 🙂

      I’ve always liked Mister Lincolns take on it all:

      “When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.”


  12. I grew up in a non-mainstream cult that was most definitely fear-based and fear-inspired. Walking away from that mindset and opting for a different form of spiritualism that allowed me to do good deeds for the sake of helping another human being and no other reason was one of the best things that happened to me. There have been times in conversations where my atheist husband has commented that he’s a better person than some of the “alleged” Christians I grew up, and I’ve agreed wholeheartedly.


      • Yes, that exactly. My husband does good deeds because he wants to. I do good deeds because I want to. Neither of us is motivated out of a sense of fear that if we don’t, we won’t make it to paradise or heaven or whatever term someone chooses to use. We do it because we want to help someone in need.


    • Cheers, thanks Ken! I’m amazed the History Channel actually had something worthy on! Just watched the first ten mins, rest later… It’s astonishing how susceptible we are to false conclusions.


      • After watching the entire video, I think you will agree that it explains perfectly how people can become religious and believe the supernatural stories of their holy books .


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