Archive for July, 2012
If there is a God, and there is a judgment day after death, I think that God will applaud all of those who refused to condone and justify biblical violence, or accept the abuse attributed to God’s name via the Bible. If a God exists, compassion and kindness will be the hallmarks of his/her name, not whether someone praised and worshiped a biblical portrayal of an ill tempered god that demanded to be glorified for atrocious behavior. People who stand up for the equal rights of all humans and used their intellect to help a suffering world will be the ones who are rewarded for a job well done, whether or not they acknowledge the existence of a specific god recorded in the pages of the Bible.
It seems many of the teachings of the Bible focus on the praise, adoration and worship of its god at the expense of empathy, and the priorities of equal human justice. Goodness and respect is lost, replaced with the perverse idea of denying people equality based on their gender. What seems to be forgotten in the minds of those who are steeped in religious dogma, is that the ideals of true morality and compassion are acted out in the lives of countless individuals, who let their actions speak instead of the proclamations of a tribal god. They are the ones who should receive the highest praise and the greatest reward at judgment day whether or not an expression of acknowledgment was given to a particular imaginary god. No true god would ever create life on a foundation of inequality; any such endeavor is doomed to fail which is abundantly clear when we look at the course that history has taken when these biblical practices of injustice have been implemented.
In order for scientists to make a credible name for themselves, they are held to a very high standard. Not only are rigorous tests imposed upon them, but they are examined by their peers in minute detail and can only have articles published that hold up to scrutiny. Sad to say the same criteria is not applied to those who hold to the biblical account of creation. For the creationist there are no standards but the Bible; there are no peers to review one’s work; only fellow believers, so a creationist needs no evidence to back up his claims; only to state and defend what the Bible says. If a scientist must produce evidence to back up his theories, why is not the same standard applied to the creationist who merely states that because the Bible says that its god created everything it must be so. Of course no such testing can apply to the Bible, because the claims it makes have no evidence to be backed up with. Until such a time when creationists are held to the same standard of accountability as the scientists there can be no equality in comparison of evidence.
Creationists produce no proof of their own to verify the biblical story, they only take what scientists have to offer and try to discredit and disprove scientific theories because they don’t match the claims that are made in the Bible. It is time that people wake up and think for themselves with open minds and come to beliefs based on credible evidence that can be tested and holds up under scrutiny. Would a true god expect anything less? We are humans with minds that reason and think logically, why waste that ability on blind faith that gets a person nowhere? Nothing solid can be built upon a foundation of shifting sand, it only crumbles. We know if the foundation of evolution is false it will fall under the weight of truth; the same holds true for creationism, except it is being supported on the backs of those who refuse to let it go.
It’s hard to conceive of an intelligent mind that would allow itself to be confined and constrained to words written in an archaic book. If indeed there is a god who created male and female in his image, why would he then limit their ability to search for how this wonderful universe was made, and instead have his unlimited knowledge be limited to the constraints of the understanding of primitive minds still in their childhood of growth? The Bible narrows the mind and stifles its ability to learn, keeping those who follow it trapped within the timeframe of its pages. It’s time to imagine a god who is big enough and intelligent enough to have created this marvelous world we live in, and let go of the biblegod who only keeps people trapped in a very narrow mindset.
The wonderful thing about the true scientific approach is that the idea of a god or no god can be set aside. One does not need to posit either view in order to research, explore, experiment and discover. Whether an intelligent mind exists or not, plays no part in discovering how the universe operates, or if evolution is true or false. Christians should indeed applaud scientists, because each new discovery brings us that much closer to finding god, if he does in fact exist.
Knowledge is the key to finding freedom. When one opens their minds and explores the world around them, discovering the truth that lies in knowledge, then true freedom arrives. If I had to choose one message to share with the world, it would be the message of allowing oneself to freely explore all avenues of knowledge; wherever your heart leads you in pursuit of that quest…follow it. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and always let your mind be open to receive the answers that come.
If you feel the need to believe in a god, please believe in a god who is intelligent enough to act in accordance with the creative and brilliant mind that you as a human possess. Do not limit your god to the primitive mindset of our ancestors who thought females were inferior and should not be given equal human rights, but rather reach as high as your human intellect will let you, and give to your god qualities befitting a superior being. Do not dig into the pit where all manner of dark and immoral behavior resides to color the face of your god; instead clothe the character of your god with the same kindness and compassion that you as a parent would treat your children with…and then follow that god.
The philosophy of morality is based upon the Golden Rule, which states a person should treat others as they wish to be treated, but where does morality come from? I think it is possible to trace the origin of morality to the hormone Oxytocin, also called the “love hormone”. Oxytocin is a hormone that causes females to bond with their young and many studies have also shown a correlation of oxytocin with all forms of human bonding, increases in trust, and decreases in fear. It also evokes feelings of contentment, reductions in anxiety, and feelings of calmness and security around your partner.
The inability to secrete normal amounts of the hormone oxytocin is linked with lack of empathetic feelings in humans, which can manifest itself as sociopathic behavior. Empathy in healthy males has been shown to be increased after intranasal oxytocin, also interestingly; oxytocin does seem to facilitate learning and memory specifically for social information. Healthy males administered intranasal oxytocin show improved memory for human faces, in particular happy faces. They also show improved recognition for positive social cues over threatening social cues and improved recognition of fear. Taking all this into consideration it stands to reason that oxytocin causes an increase in empathetic feelings for others and altruism which is the foundation of morality. In nature a mother who produced more oxytocin would bond better with her offspring, therefore she would take better care of them, making it a trait that would be selected for.
Oxytocin is also produced during sexual arousal which in some species causes pairs to bond for life and evokes solicitous feelings in males trying to win the sexual favors of females; consequently the males that females are most impressed with win the privilege of mating. In the animal kingdom mating only occurs when the female is receptive and allows the male of her choosing to mate with her, so it is to his advantage to be more accommodating, unlike in humans where the male many times uses force against the females will.
It might seem a bit odd at first to think that morality has it origins in a chemical called oxytocin, but when you start comparing the similarities between the bonding nature of female animals with their young and moral characteristics in humans, it becomes quite obvious there is a relationship. By necessity all life forms are selfish, that is the only way survival is assured; the only exception to that rule is the mother/child relationship where the mother always puts the needs of her offspring first…in some species this also applies to the male who helps care for their young. Turn off oxytocin and animal mothers would no longer bond with, or care for their young, resulting in the continuation of life coming to a halt.
Because humans are self-aware beings we consciously understand the benefits of helping others, so we can purposely treat others with kindness and compassion regardless of our relationship to them. Since oxytocin is a naturally occurring hormone that underlies the instinctive reason all animals (including humans) bond with and sacrificially give to others in their species, it becomes a good candidate for the bases of moral laws.
Chemicals seem to play a role in just about every human emotion. When there is a chemical imbalance in a living system it can turn a kind and compassionate person into a raging lunatic, or a person with a positive upbeat outlook on life to someone who contemplates suicide. This is the power of chemicals working on the brain and what seems to in part, create our individual personalities.