Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Problem With Religionism

Shadow To Light recently posted a You-Tube video made by Jordan Peterson expounding The Problem With Atheism.  The point of Jordan's discussion is that, as Dostoyevski said, without God, anything is possible.  It is a repetition of the mindless religionist assertion that God serves as the ground of morality, and without that grounding, there is no rational basis for moral behavior.  So the logical consequence for atheists is a moral void.

Peterson claims that in the absence of God, it would be perfectly rational to base one's behavior purely on self-interest.  It would make sense to set aside any tendencies to act for the benefit of others, and instead do whatever benefits ourselves, even if that includes murder.  The thing that prevents us from behaving in the most rational self-interested way is what he calls "moral cowardice" - the moral inhibitions that result from being indoctrinated with religious beliefs.  So according to Peterson, without God, and without our religious moral indoctrination, everyone would be acting strictly out of self-interest.  The presumed consequence is that a functional society would be impossible to achieve.  And it is God that saves us from the abyss.

This is a canard that we hear over and over again from mindless religionists who have no understanding human nature, but insist on attributing everything to God.  They completely ignore the reality that there is morality without God, even in the absence of religious indoctrination.  And there are natural explanations for human behavior, provided by the sciences, such as evolutionary psychology and anthropology, as we see in the works of scientists like Michael Tomasello, whose book A Natural History of Human Morality (reviewed in this article in the Atlantic) attributes human morality to our evolutionary background and the enhanced cognitive abilities unique to mankind.  It would be fair to argue that religious beliefs arise at least in part from our natural moral instincts, which is the reverse of the unscientific claims made by religionists.  Steven Pinker provides more insightful discussion of the issue here.

By casting aside any scientific understanding of human nature, religionists like Jordan Peterson and Mikey (Shadow To Light) place themselves in a role of superiority, making unsustainable claims about human behavior without God, and even attributing everything good that has happened in the world to the benefits of a religious-based ethical society.  At the same time, they reveal their own hateful attitudes toward their New Atheist enemies.  In this article, Conrad Black claims that atheists are like parasites, benefiting from the productive and functional civilization created by the Judeo-Christian tradition, but are dragging that civilization down, causing the deterioration of societal norms and standards that have been so fruitful in making the world a virtual utopia, only to be ruined by those nasty atheists.

If you buy all their claims, it is easy to understand why their attitude toward atheists is so full of hatred and venom.  As Conrad Black says:
I have had as much as I can take for a while of the belligerent atheists who come crackling through the Internet assuming the airs of prosecutors, declaring ex cathedra that any suggestion of the existence of a supernatural force or that anything is not explicable by applied human ingenuity is medieval superstition. They have a trite little formula that they don’t have to prove the existence of anything and so have the high ground in any argument and then lapse into Hitchensesque infantilistic mockery about pink-winged little men in the clouds. They are repetitive and obnoxious and their fervour betrays the vacuity of their position.
And you can take that from the mouth of a Christian who is imbued with the spirit of God's love. 

The problem with these religionists is that they place themselves on a pedestal of religious superiority, exempt from any kind of criticism or rational analysis.  And anyone who attempts to do so is branded as being a New Atheist, hateful and harmful to society (regardless of what they actually say).  Religionists claim the moral and intellectual high ground, and have nothing but contempt for people who seek scientific understanding.  But all their claims are nothing more than empty assertions.  They don't have the slightest shred of evidence that there is any truth to the things they say about morality without God, or the destruction that atheists are supposedly wreaking upon society. 

My question for all those hateful religionists out there:  Why should any rational person bother listening to you?


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  2. Conrad Black. Not even his brand of christian morality or ethics was of any value, or of sufficient strength to prevent this criminal from serving three plus years as a guest of the US government's criminal justice system. And furthermore, what it does demonstrate, in spades, is the gossamer-like and insubstantial nature of piety-derived sanctimonious christian morality.

    Humility is anathema to this piece of shit. Conrad Black characterises the truth of the oxymoron, Christian Morality.

    1. Yes, he's quite a character. And a Trump-lover, too. And he thinks it's atheists who are ruining the world.