Posts Tagged ‘Morality’

humanindexIn order to answer the question of whether or not science can determine morality, one must first define what is meant by morality. The standard for objective morality is based on whether something is right or wrong – fair or just, on the scale of human value. The Human Scale is what science can use to determine whether something is moral or not. If something is determined to be moral on the Human Scale, then its objective value can be determined … that is to say how it balances on a pair of scales. As humans, the only standard by which we can measure anything is from our human perspective, thus the Human Scale of values gives us an objective standard, since we are all human.


There seems to be a lot of confusion around what actually comprises morality. On one hand everyone on the planet would agree that rape or murder fall into the morality camp, but what about jealousy and envy which is listed as the tenth commandment? I would venture to say that most Christians would categorize the Ten Commandments as being ten moral principles, but are they really? The fourth commandment says to keep the Sabbath holy. Is it really immoral to worship on another day, or no day at all? What about the first commandment, which says to have no other god than the Biblegod, I would hardly call someone immoral merely because they either worshiped another god, or no god at all. Of the Ten Commandments that most Christians hold to be ten moral laws, only four at most qualify as having anything to do with morality. This is why the term morality must be defined. Read the rest of this entry »


Moral truths fall into the camp of justice, there is nothing that is considered moral that is not also just. Justice lies at the very foundation of all that is right and good. From this truth it becomes easy to classify universal “objective” morality in terms of justice. Moral truths refer to the class of morality that stands no matter what the circumstances. Justice is realized as fairness and is the outcome that exhibits equality for any given situation, if anything less than that is achieved justice has not been reached. This is why one has a very hard time of defining many biblical actions as being  just according to the standard of fairness. Morality that comes from religious doctrines do not have to give reasons as to why something is moral or just they only need to posit that “God decreed it!” whereas morals that are defined by a standard of justice and fairness can give reasonable and logical arguments for their validity. Read the rest of this entry »

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Anything that helps to alleviate suffering in this world, no matter how small is considered a good thing; whatever unnecessarily adds to suffering is considered bad. This is the value of well-being. As can be clearly seen from examples in the Bible, unnecessary suffering caused by a tyrannical deity that demands worship and praise at the expense of well being, and metes out punishment when it is not received, does nothing to promote human flourishing or alleviate suffering. What good parent ever causes their children to suffer needlessly, or inflicts cruel punishment upon them because they do not praise or honor them, yet this is what the Bible teaches as acceptable, with its deity being portrayed as a father who instructs his children in this manner. The parenting lessons one learns from biblical instruction are at best unjust and unfair with rules being meted out according to ones gender or status.  A good example is that of David being excused of the crime of murder because of his status as king, and Bathsheba being punished by having her firstborn son stricken with sickness for seven days and dying all because of David’s sin. If a high value is not placed on human well-being and fairness, moral integrity begins to decline. Read the rest of this entry »


For something to have integrity it must show a unity of structure, a framework of coherent intent that binds the whole together; biblical morality has neither. From its first pages, a patriarchal order is established that is unbalance and biased; therefore unity is lacking at the most basic, fundamental level. What seems to start out as an integral whole in the first chapter of Genesis – with male and female made in god’s image – quickly erodes away. Beginning in chapter two, rules are set up based on obedience instead of morality and decrees are meted out which are neither moral, nor just. The ultimate judge of what is moral is found in the flourishing and well being of the individual, and the community, both of which are not consistently found in biblical decrees. When the well being of a person is compromised because of unjust treatment and bias, the integrity of the whole begins to disintegrate resulting in a loss of unity. This can be seen clearly in the decrees and commands of the biblical god, beginning with the curses of Adam and Eve. Read the rest of this entry »

When most people think of the Bible they think in terms of it being a moral guidebook, but is it really? The Bible does not teach morality per say, it teaches obedience. Starting with its first book, the Bible declares the most important law is obedience, and shows that it was solely because of disobedience that Adam and Eve were banished from their garden paradise, cursed by Yahweh, and the cause of mankind’s sin. No lesson of morality is contained in this story, or taught in either their disobedience or the curses that were decreed upon them, just the actions of a vengeful god and his demand for obedience. Adam was told by Yahweh that death would be the outcome of eating from the Tree, yet death did not happen…rather curses were decreed upon them from an angry god for their disobedience. Eve was cursed for desiring to be wise, because she didn’t obey Yahweh’s command, yet Solomon was praised for desiring to be wise and given abundant wisdom…the only difference was obedience. Read the rest of this entry »

The Golden Rule and the reflective quality of self-love

Self preservation is a trait common to all organisms and is an imperative for survival. In humans this quality of self preservation can also be called self-love (self well-being); everyone must have self-love in order to survive, it is fundamental to our existence. Morality expresses itself through and has a solid foundation in the Golden Rule, which can be defined as a form of “reflected” self-love…”treat others as you wish to be treated” for the sake of their well-being. When self-love is looked at in this way it becomes easy to see how morality developed in humans. The awareness of self-love is unique to humans, when this love is reflected onto others the outcome is “moral values” seen in an objective manner. Just as a person can see their reflection in a mirror, so they can see their self-love reflected in others, which then forms a perfect image of moral values, seen in an objective manner. The concept of moral values when viewed in this manner does not vary across the human spectrum of experience.  Just as self preservation is a component of self-love which leads to the ultimate well-being of the individual, so does treating others with reflected self-love lead to promoting their well-being. Read the rest of this entry »

I am growing weary of the same repetitious justification for the many biblical incidences of mass slaughter commanded by Yahweh.  Over, and over again the same tired excuses are made for the utter destruction of every man, woman and child…commanded by the biblegod, and carried out by the Hebrew soldiers. The incidences are too numerous to quote here, but can be easily found by anyone who has access to a Bible. The accounts themselves can be attributed to historical events in which primitive barbarians acted upon what they perceived to be instructions from a deity; the problem arises when modern folks seek to justify such acts as being necessary to rid the world of evil. If we applied the same logic to our modern judicial system any person or group that committed what was considered wicked acts would not only be judged themselves, but judgment would also be brought down upon their entire family and neighbors that lived in the community. Now how insanely crazy is that?


To a rational thinker this pattern of thought seems “off the charts” crazy, but this is exactly the lengths that biblical apologists must go to in order to excuse the biblical god of his barbaric behavior. Time after time we read in the Bible where whole cities are massacred because of the sins of the adults, is that justice? One apologist by the name of Clay Jones says that the law of the Old Testament commands death for those who participate in sinful behaviors like adultery, idol worship, and child sacrifice, and that is why all those cities of people were slaughtered. What I would like to ask is which of those sins did the children and babies participate in to be worthy of death? Again, I must reiterate, would any rational, thinking person ever considered it right to sentence a family, or a community to death because of the crimes of the leadership, no matter how horrific those crimes are? The innocent are never responsible for the crimes of the guilty.


It’s one thing to ignore the “terrible texts” of Scripture and go about ones daily devotion to their god, but entirely another thing to write articles justifying behavior that only primitive barbarians participated in. People need to wake up and speak out against the “terrible texts” and the “sins of Scripture” and quit allowing religion to twist and pervert their morals. Just think of all the innocent children who learn in Sunday school that it’s okay to kill entire families and take the young girls away to be raped, all because adult members of the family were participating in what the Bible defines as sinful behavior. How can anyone with one ounce of compassion or empathy allow such teaching to be propagated without condemning them in the strongest language possible?

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.

The topic I would like to explore in this article is the biblical method of capital punishment by stoning. In the Old Testament and into the New the method of punishment for a crime decreed worthy of death by Yahweh was stoning… this method was never condemned by Jesus. The first point I want to raise about stoning is one of causing people excessive suffering, when there are more humane ways of carrying out a punishment. The method of stoning a person to death is an extremely painful and slow process of death, yet this was the decreed method given by Yahweh…a good example in the New Testament is the stoning of Stephen carried out by the Jews. Why would Yahweh wish to submit people to such a gruesome method of death when there were much more humane ways of dealing with a capital crime, like the sword for example? So, the question must be asked, is it immoral to kill a person in a tortuous, barbaric manner for purposes of punishment when other methods would be more humane? Do we today consider it immoral and uncivilized to stone people to death as is spoken of in the Bible (and is still done in Muslim countries)? Of course we do! So, if it’s not acceptable now, why is it acceptable in the Bible?


Secondly, the crimes that were considered capital offenses by Yahweh worthy of stoning were things like picking up sticks on the Sabbath and adultery. Can you imagine stoning someone for picking up sticks, or adultery, what kind of a god would decree a punishment like that? Not a loving god that’s for sure. Imagine stoning your child for picking up a toy that you told him not to!


In the New Testament we see Jesus intervening in the case of “stoning of the women caught in adultery,” which according to the laws of Yahweh was perfectly legitimate. So, did Jesus consider stoning to be an immoral act? It appears that he did not approve of it or else he would not have prevented it from happening by saying “he that is without sin cast the first stone,” and “go and sin no more”. So was Jesus going against the laws of his father, Yahweh? It appears so. According to the laws Yahweh gave in the Torah, if a person was caught in adultery the punishment was death by stoning and it matters not whether the people throwing the stones were sinful because they were carrying out Yahweh’s decree.


It’s time to speak out about the things the Bible contains that are immoral, and if those acts of immorality fall at the feet of Yahweh, so be it. Stoning a person is immoral, and wrong for any reason!

Once consciousness arose in animals the next step was self-consciousness, the state of being aware of oneself…from the point that humans became aware they naturally connected the idea of right and wrong using themselves as the model for morality.

When one is aware of disliking something done to their own selves, one then projects that dislike onto others, hence the birth of the “Golden Rule” or “Morality”. Self-consciousness is the state from which morality was born, that is what sets us apart from all the other animals…the ability to project our own feelings and desires onto another being and know that it is either right or wrong because of our own awareness.

Self-awareness also gave birth to the idea of purpose and beginnings. Naturally when one is aware of their own existence, the question emerges…where did I come from, and what is my purpose? Thus, the idea of a creator who formed us for a purpose naturally arose, since our origins are hidden from our understanding.

Sin, like morality is a concept, not an “objective fact”, which emerged out of the consciousness of man. Without the self-awareness of the human animal “sin”, like morality does not exist; it is not a law or principle upon which life is built. The concept of sin arose solely from the state of self-awareness of our own selves, and the idea that somehow the desires of our humanity are innately bad.

If morality exists as a “truth” in the universe in the same way as say the Pythagorean Theorem does then why has mans concept of what is moral continued to change with time, and consciousness level? Take for instance the biblical passage in Numbers 31, where Moses orders the Hebrew soldiers by command from God to kill all the male children and women who are not virgins, and then proceeds to give the remaining 32,000 virgins girls to the Hebrew soldiers to keep for themselves…by today’s moral standards killing women and children and taking people as slaves is totally unacceptable and immoral, yet the Hebrew’s in biblical times seemed to think God allowed such behavior.


Num.31:1-2 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites: afterward shalt thou be gathered unto thy people. 18-19) Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.


There are countless other examples in the Bible where acts that are considered immoral by today’s standards are commanded and condoned by its God. Morality appears to come solely from the emergence of self-awareness and the ability to reason, there is no need of a “Divine Source” as the author of morality.


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