Faith vs Ethics

How belief deflects moral obligation

The greatest contribution of atheism is the provision of a firm basis for ethical conduct. Atheism explains that morality is a social obligation but not a passport to heaven and salvation. The theistic belief in divine retribution sidetracked moral behavior. Believers were more prone to please the god of their imagination by prayer and ritual than to conform to rules of moral conduct“—Ramachantra Rao

This is the dividing line between worship and personal responsibility. To please god is obedience to belief, even if it’s socially divisive. One excludes, the other includes. Doesn’t really matter what religion you believe, it is that you believe anything at all.

“We have the impulse to resist evil, but through faith permission is granted to inflict it. We step beyond the believers mindset; not content for their own sake, but like a dangerous meme is spread. Not out of genuine concern, but religious mimicry”.

Author: jim-

One minute info blogs breaking the faith trap.

67 thoughts on “Faith vs Ethics”

  1. anything that comes from mind, is unreliable. ethics, morals… what are these? man made concepts. in the story of Arjuna, the great warrior (this is in the Gita), Arjuna finds himself at war with his cousins. he doesn’t want to fight his family, so he faces a great dilemma. his conscience tells him, of course, fighting is wrong.

    at this point, lord Krishna makes an apparition and explains to Arjuna that it is his duty to fight, this war is necessary for the greater good in the big picture, and that death is not an end but only appears so to the limited mind.
    the whole dialogue is imbued with wisdom shared between student/teacher, man/spiritual search, mind/higher knowledge. the story can be read on multiple levels.
    so, Arjuna sees the truth, fights the war and establishes peace and guarantees a better future for his people.

    truth is the only ‘morality’. here, in our world, nothing is clear-cut. our vision is limited and we have no way of knowing what the long-term consequences of any act can be. do we? recognizing that limit is recognizing the limits of mind.
    beyond that… is Tao, or the way things are😜 surrender….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have often wondered how different “Christianity” would have been had it been allowed to develop without any dependence upon the “Old Testament” (Tanakh). If modern Christianity could not refer to any aspects of the Jewish Tanakh, the Christian New Testament, as it is written, wouldn’t hold water. It would have to be purged of all references to the Old Testament, including Jesus’ references to the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Many sections of Paul’s letters would have to be deleted… or Paul himself would have to be declared the false prophet (that he is!) and excised, cut off as if surgically. Would things be better then or would it have developed as an imperialistic adjunct of the Roman empire, then of all other empires that followed suit?

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    1. Sometimes I think religion is necessary. Imagine enlightened people with nothing to do. Chaos and anarchy would be off the chain when they see nothing is what they think it was.
      I know that really doesn’t answer your question. I don’t know

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      1. Probably doesn’t matter anyway. The same percentage of people (tiny) would pay attention to the moral and compassionate teachings (the good Samaritan for example), trying to live that way, while the vast majority would subvert and distort to create and maintain an elitist, exploitative, enslaving brainwashing power system. Institutionalized religion, IMO, can only produce evil in the hearts of its adherents or faith-based believers. So I guess I answered my own question here, and finally. At least my conclusion at this moment appears to be final.

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  3. Ethics are far more ethical than religion in every sense of the word. Any cursory study of religious history will show anyone with an open curious brain that fact.

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  4. what a Christian has told me recently (which isn’t anything new) “If there is a supreme being (God) who created the universe and populated it with people, He certainly has the power and authority to take life just as He created it. I don’t find that odd, or even off-putting (as unpleasant as it seems to me), because I am not God. I am not in control. I don’t have the standing to assert moral judgment over God, and it would be foolish for me to do so.”

    such classic excuses for “following orders” by defaulting to the god that is nothing more than a tyrant.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “for what will it matter in a moment or two what we achieve, or what we do when the world will soon be rolled together like a scroll? This man-create has been an interesting exercise, and man has proven quite genius with his teaspoon of dirt and a dash of consciousness. While we have been watched long enough and the experiment nearly over, GOD is ready to roll up his experiment and head off to yonder galaxies to admire his handiwork. It doesn’t matter—our world of his refuse unfit will be dispersed when the meeting of the gods conclude, and victoriously showed he can create something living out of a thimble full of nearly nothing, as long as it is left alone long enough to generate order. It doesn’t matter that however dismal our minds and actions may seem to him, that our collective consciousness will sit on a shelf for the forthcoming eons. It may not matter to him that our struggles and achievements have been fought and won with nothing but handicaps and soulful soil, but it matters to us”.

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          1. Oh dear…don’t know the Bible other than gobbley gook I see and hear on occasion.
            I’ll give it a whirl though…😊

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            1. Ok just read it… very good, but I got lost in the back and forth between others and Loy.
              BTW…haven’t seen that name in awhile or maybe I missed it. I would have stopped reading if JB’s name had popped up. Otherwise my head would have exploded.
              I still liked the last paragraph best.😊

              Liked by 1 person

            2. Lot has been replaced. I thought it was interesting that the Christian commenters couldn’t see the connections. Almost like they’d never read it? Hmm

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            3. Did you mean Loy replaced?
              Believers simply want to believe. Facts and thoughtful conversation mean nothing to them. They just want to try to make a point that can’t really be made in any logical way.

              Liked by 1 person

            4. The last comment he sent to me I let stand alone, hoping people would see it. I emailed Nan to look and see if she could tell what the hell he was saying. She said WTF is that? He was losing his mind (and hopefully his faith so he could find it)

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            5. Here’s the full comment. Maybe you have a decoder ring…
              “There’s another thought. One fellow asked another, of all the information available in the world and universe, how much of it do you think you know? The other fellow replied, 2% or 3%, but certainly not more than 5%. I say, less than 1%. And probably far short. So, the first fellow replied, based upon your information, you’ve come to the conclusion that there is absolutely nothing to believe in. Of all the information available, which we know so little. Of course, that goes for me as well. It’s the understanding and realizations, thankfully, that answered some questions, and realizing there’s no other way.
              Here’s another thought. I’m on an island (plane wrecked) with a friend. We meet the islanders. The first few we meet are cruel and terrible. Based upon this (They represent 1.5% of the island population.), we’ve decided all the islanders are terrible.
              Here’s another thought. During WWII, Germany did terrible things to the Jewish population and others. But, having studied, and using understanding, I realize there were many German people who did not agree, loved the Jewish people and others, and so forth.
              Here’s another thought. Thankfully, I never (and encourage others) listen to anyone resorting to pure intellect, rhetoric, and history out of context, not reasoning and understanding. In person, the dialogue would last all of 10 seconds. What I’m looking for are people who truly think, which requires calmness, and look for understanding, not simply to prove their points due to some emotional difficulties they are having.
              Here’s another thought. The biggest cause of death is being born. We all die. But, if we are rational and looking for real answers, we also realize just because people call themselves something doesn’t make it so. If I call myself a giraffe, then beat people up, that doesn’t make me or giraffes bad. I’m using a ridiculous example to demonstrate ridiculous thinking. Those who are truly searching will understand. Those who don’t want to understand, we don’t worry about. Live and let live. **It was shared earlier, how some who said they believed this, and then their behavior indicated problems. It’s not what they say they are, but what truly is.
              I know there is good in the world because we know what bad is. In order to have bad, there must be good that shines the light, which is how we know. We know there is color, for we have seen it and have experienced the absence of color. We know everything was created because of creation.
              **Again, this is for readers: to those who are seeking.

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            6. Well, he is arguing, I think, that we know so little about the world to make a determination on whether ghosts, gods, angels and other such beings exist or not. It is similar to the question often asked whether you have checked every rock crevice and not found god

              Liked by 1 person

            7. There’s so much we don’t know—right up until we do. Before that it must be god. According to this guy that knows this other guy, anyway.

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  5. And … a believer who is trying top please his god(s) and is diligent about it will think that they are leading a moral/ethical life, whether they are or not. The first of the ten commandments are about worshiping, not about how to treat other people, so as a moral code … well, those aspects fail.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. “The first of the ten commandments are about worshiping, not about how to treat other people”

      That’s certainly true. Indeed, it isn’t just the first commandment, laws and rules about how one must worship god takes up a huge percentage of the old testament, and the parts that don’t deal with detailing how to worship, are full of examples of what god will do if you don’t, which is kill you, your family, your tribe, your nation… The OT isn’t about moral behavior, it’s about how you’ll be killed if you don’t obey.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. If you love god, worship, submit… then the interpreters if ambiguity can set one on a path to do whatever they want you too. Voltaire had something to say about this.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Mr. Rao makes a category error when he claims that atheism is in anyway a moral construct. As we all know the word atheist means not theist or lack of belief in a god. Morality has absolutely nothing to do with it.

    Damn this is irritating.

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        1. We have a difficult time imagining how big some of theses civilizations were. The absolute volume of precision stone cutters and artisans is amazing in itself. 100’s of thousands of people working together (weird) You know they still possess the plans for that? It has more stone than the pyramids of Egypt and is smooth as marble.

          Liked by 1 person

      1. Seems to be a glitch in the Matrix. I just had to drive way out through the countryside to get home because the main highway connecting SP to Rio has stopped. Ain’t seen it that bad before.

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          1. Looks like it’s working. Comments at my blog aren’t posted immediately. They go into a moderation que and I have to approve them before they get posted. I do see some glitches once in a while, but they’re pretty rare.

            Gads, you should see some of the stuff that the spam filters catch. Holy cow some of it is weird.

            Liked by 1 person

  7. I love Rao’s quote. Thanks for posting it.
    My personal experience is interesting in that it was a Catholic Priest who first said to me, “we should do the right thing because it is the right thing to do, not because of fear or church rules.” Nowadays, I look back and wonder if I was talking to a man in a closet. Good points!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Having been there, Jim, I agree with you about what makagutu just questioned. While I was a believer, the only real reason to not screw up was because of fear. I didn’t want to go to hell.
    In the switchover from theism to atheism the personal responsibility to oneself, and therefore to all life took on a whole new meaning. I cannot call it ethical conduct or moral conduct, but the desire to do no intentional harm to any living being took on a whole new expression for me. It lost the fear motivation, and took on the “love” of doing things simply because they are the proper thing to do. Who made them proper, no one but me.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. We’ve been schooled to think we can’t behave without the fear of god. I don’t have all the answers, but when we are forced to contemplate morality on our own, which atheists do consider quite a bit by defense, we typically will improve our thinking and ways of seeing others, over the masses. Through obedience we lined up to condemn homosexuals, but after unbelief I realized that wasn’t me, simply mimicking the borg.

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      1. You didn’t get the chance to be able to think for yourself. That is the whole point, brainwash before people have a chance to form their own opinions. A belief built on sand, and one that needs to be eroded.

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        1. Now I just let you think for me. Haha. Or help. It is an interesting exercise to share ideas in a public forum. I get lots of feedback that has really helped shape my awareness of the simple complexity of life and death. Thanks Sir rg.

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          1. sir rg, thank you Jim.
            I didn’t grow up hating “others,” but I was leary of some. Why? I had no idea. My father hated aboriginal people. It wasn’t until he was dead I found out not only was he Metis, but that meant I am Metis. Surprise. Glad I don’t hate myself.

            Liked by 1 person

  9. I think this

    The greatest contribution of atheism is the provision of a firm basis for ethical conduct

    is claiming too much for atheism. I think there are many religious thinkers who have made contributions to moral philosophy just as much as atheistic philosophers.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. On a personal level he’s right, for me. I did a 180 in a day. Something the quote misses though; a lot of theist think we just want to be atheist as a license to sin, but what was taboo© as a Christian lost its luster. I live less “sinfully” now than I did then. Doing something good for the wrong reason (belief in god) may not carry the weight they want it too. Of course there’s other things at play here too.

      Liked by 1 person

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