Monday, September 06, 2010

The Fallacy of Absolute, Objective Morality and the Stench of Mercy

Many “persons with religious delusion” talk of an absolute, objective morality and this perfect moral compass is, of course, established by their God.   Absolute morality is an illusion and objective morality is incompatible with their description of their God.   Let’s take the second point first.  If God is the author of this perfect set of moral rules, then it is not objective; it is subjective and totally at the whim of God.  God could just as easily say that rape and murder are good as he could condemn them.   Some would argue that God would not be so arbitrary and that God can only do good, but if God can only do good, then he is not omnipotent as it is claimed.  There are then things that he cannot do.  Morality cannot be objective and God omnipotent at the same time; the two are incompatible.

If morality were absolute, then whatever applied to us, would also apply to God; if it did not, it wouldn’t be absolute.  Here is where God’s morality really starts to show its true colors.  In the “Ten Commandments”, it states: “ Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13), but there is no clarification.  Does this mean to absolutely not kill anything, ever?  No other humans, no animals, no plants, etc.?  It is not very clear, but let us assume that it only refers to other human beings.   Is this an absolute moral imperative?  Can we not defend ourselves?  Can we not kill in times of war?  Obviously, God does not hold this to be an absolute moral law because he not only commands the destruction of whole societies, he kills everyone on the planet (almost) all by himself.  He also established the laws for stoning people to death for such minor offenses as picking up sticks on his “day of rest”.  

The “Ten Commandments” also require that we “honor our mother and father” and yet Jesus would have us turn on our own parents as these two verses in Matthew demonstrate:
10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
10:35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
Clearly, setting a child against the parent is not honoring them.  God, or his alter-ego Jesus, clearly seems to be able to defy the very rules (the framework of absolute, objective morality) that they themselves created - so much for absolute morality.

There are various other instances throughout the Bible where it is clear that morality is not objective, for example, women are not treated equally in many cases, so the application of this morality is not absolute or objective, but subjective relative to the parties involved.

What happens if you violate these so called moral imperative laid down by this capricious God?  You will find that God’s justice is just as fluid as his morality.  God does not operate on a concept of justice, or so I was told by my Christian friends, he works through mercy.  Viewing the Bible and seeing the reprehensible character of God, it makes perfect sense.  God is all about power and mercy functions from a place of power, by definition.  Only those that wield power over you in some manner can show you mercy.   Mercy is an egotistical demonstration of power, of strength over weakness, of advantage over disadvantage.  It is ignorance that mistakes it for compassion.  It is most definitely not compassion.  Compassion works through empathy and an attempt to truly understand the plight of person to whom it is shown.  Mercy is purely selfish.  It is the granting of leniency as a demonstration of power and false sympathy.

If God truly operated on a basis of absolute, objective morality, then it would include an objective and unbiased evaluation of our “sins”, our transgressions.  Such a review would be guided by fairness, punishments that fit the crimes.  Similar acts of aggression or mistreatment of others would be viewed in an equal manner with similar requirements for rehabilitation and reconciliation.  There would be no bias based on what you believed or didn’t believe, but you would be judged solely on what you did or didn’t do.  However, according to my Christian friends, I am wrong to think this way.  I am mistaken to believe that the mass murderer that turns to God on his deathbed will be judged more harshly than the generous, compassionate atheist.  All that matters to God is belief in Him and only through that will He show mercy.  Well, I prefer justice to mercy.  Fairness is attuned to objective morality; mercy is just the false charity of thugs.

If believing in a merciful God, rather than a just God, is a requirement of Christianity then I am glad that I am not a Christian.  If, in the end, it turns out that a God truly does exist, the just God will understand me and at least I will have my day in court.  If a merciful God exists, then I will proudly march to the gates of Hell and plot his demise.

No comments: