[FoRK] "Peace and Love"

Dr. Ernie Prabhakar <drernie at radicalcentrism.org> on Mon Dec 17 17:06:51 PST 2007

Hi Aaron,

On Dec 17, 2007, at 4:53 PM, Aaron Burt wrote:
>>>> Tut, tut, Aaron. Don't you realize that *every* evil act  
>>>> committed by
>>>> a religious person *must* be because of their religion, whereas any
>>>> good act done by a religious person is to due to social and  
>>>> cultural
>>>> factors?
>>> That doesn't help things.  Nor does sanctimony.
>> I 100% agree with you; sorry if you missed the irony.
> I did catch the sarcasm, though.  Thanks for demonstrating that such  
> an
> idea is considered so obviously ludicrous it'd *have* to be sarcasm.

What, haven't you read any of Jeff's posts lately?

(I kid, I kid; well, mostly :-)

> Meanwhile, the converse idea--that religion is what makes people act
> good, while cultural and social factors ("bad influences" like TV,  
> peers
> and the corrupting influence of Darwinism and rampant Secular  
> Hedonism)
> are what make people do evil--is taken as obvious, Gospel truth by
> religious people worldwide.

Too true.

Which I agree is really sad, especially for Christians, since after  
all Jesus was (according to our Scriptures) killed by religious folk,  
not atheists.


> Problem is, the second idea is at least as ludicrous as the first.   
> Most
> religions provide a jumble of moral ideas and lessons varied and vague
> enough to justify nearly any good *or* evil act.  Meantime, I'd argue
> that most modern social and cultural factors are amoral.
> So does either make much difference in people's actual moral choices?

Now, *that's* a loaded question!

Is our behavior simply a reflection of genetics and external culture,  
so nothing really matters?  Or, on what basis can/should we attempt to  
mold culture and/or behavior to improve morality?  Or are even those  
attempts tainted by our *own* cultural biases?

-- Ernie P.

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