Thursday, 22 December 2011

On Christianity, Faith, and Where Our "Morals" Come From.

On Christianity, Faith, and Where Our "Morals" Come From.

There are so very many splinter groups, denominations and sects of christianity...all of them fractured and agreeing to a begrudging ceasefire with a handful of groups who are similar, in order to appear and to feel less like just another splinter group that has no credibility.

That is one facet of the face of christianity - and it, like all truth, never changes with time. So that being true, how can the believer say they are right, but the devout muslim, or the faithful mormon, or the earnest hindu, or the stalwart atheist, or the <insert christian sect here> are wrong? Their faith surely can't be any less - so how did they end up putting their faith in something else?

This is not about taking away what people believe in, what gives them hope, and what they kind of life they choose to create - we all (grudgingly admitted) have that right, and our minds are indeed powerful and beautiful enough to fabricate anything that we desire. But that is truly what religion is, a construct to enhance life and entrench ideologies. Sign up and be blessed with peace in this life, absolute assurance that you are right, and that your obedience and service in this life guarantees a place of honour in the life to come.

The first problem I find with that is it is counter-intuitive and actually inhibits the growth of humankind, which is based around the moral imperative of empathy, and not some scripture or charismatic machinations by 'founding fathers' and 'prophets.' 

Religion invariably leads to the creation of division, segregation, prejudice, and the 'alien other,' who is to be feared. Look to the shattered and divided face christianity presents to the world, for instance.

Faith is not required for human beings to do right by each other and themselves. In fact, fear of divine and eternal punishment and lust for divine and eternal reward are, in the theist's mind, always going to be among the prime motive forces that compel them. These influences, in short, corrupt, distort, and distract from (in the same way that one does not name one's doctor the beneficiary of one's estate) the empathic urge that is what really compels us to be moral and good and binding to and for each other.

Empathy is the true invisible hand. If there is a Divine Creator of All That Is, then Empathy is the name of his/her/its/their hand(s). Empathy is hard-wired into our neurological biology. This has been known to science for nearly twenty years. And thus, the laboratory, one of the great think-tanks of the current step of evolution of human consciousness is proving what most of us have always known deep in our bones - Empathy which is grounded in our knowledge that we are all in this together, this acknowledgement of death, the celebration of life, and therefore in rooting for each other to flourish and to be.

This is a 10 minute video that captures all of this, more or less, in one very epic nutshell.

~Joel Ivory

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