Kind of cool, kind of scary

Well, I guess I should have seen this coming. I wrote my thoughts on the “War on Christmas“, and you guys liked them. Now I need to think, and write, more to keep your attention. Because I love the fact that people actually read what I write!

This is the “difficult second post”! Don’t worry, I’ll try to make it good…

I think I’ll adress one of my pet peevee’s as an atheist. “How can you know right from wrong if you don’t believe in god?”
Well, truth be told, I learned it as a child. Just like you did. And your grandfather did. And like your children did/will. It’s quite simple actually: I know right from wrong, because somebody told me!
Somebody figured out it’s bad to steal, so we don’t steal. But will I never steal? I don’t know… My grandfather, and his brothers, were among the most lawful people I’ve ever met, good christian stock, if I can use those words. But during the war (WWII) they stole from the Germans. Did they sin? I’m quite sure they lied to the Germans as well, but I have no idea if any of my relatives killed a German. Lying, stealing, and killing is wrong, but during war it’s right?

War is different, they say, you can do stuff during war that you can’t do during peace. This might be true, but it doesn’t change the fact that these “sins” aren’t all that coherent. It’s sinful to lie, unless you lie to the enemy (who, by the way, is just as sure he’s got god on his side as you are…) Anyway, I agree – war is extraordinary indeed.

How about lying so your kid doesn’t get beaten by his father? I’m sure it has happened more than once, as there are a lot of crazy fathers out there. A quick “It wasn’t our Nate whodunit, it was some guy from his school… Pete, I think he’s called.” and Nate’s father doesn’t punch Nate’s face, because he’s now pissed at the imaginary Pete. A sin? It was a lie. I wouldn’t have thought twice before telling such a lie – because in my mind it’s a minor thing compared to a child being beaten. Does that make me less moral? White lies – without them, life would be very complicated!

I know white lies are wrong. They are lies after all. But here’s the thing: With my moral compass, I can look beyond the white lie, to see the bigger “sin” that I prevent by telling a small lie. Or I can decide not to tell the lie, and watch as the bigger sin play out in front of my eyes. Most likely, I’ll go for the white lie.

Why am I telling you this? Well, I went to school with a very religious, born-again, christian, who never lied. Ever! Problem is, he was the kind of guy that would draw a wanna-be rapist a map if said wanna-be asked what direction the single girl went alone. Once, this christian was guarding our money – the class was saving for a school trip – and somebody decided to mug him. The money was stashed in an old tin lunchbox, and the mugger didn’t see it. But, when asked if he had any more valuables our non-lying friend opened the lunchbox, and gave all our money to the mugger. His defence? “Well, I couldn’t lie to the man…” Yes you could! You could’ve said the mugger had all the valuables, and let him run off with your watch, and people would’ve felt sorry for you. Instead everybody hated you. Not that you cared: “Religious people have always been martyrs, and now I’m one too. Just like Christ!”

Morality – it isn’t rocket science. Don’t bother others, be kind and fair. Follow those guidelines, and you can do whatever you like. Don’t think you know better because it’s in a book! Everything you read is a lie! (Yeah, I know – I just wrote that…) And remember the old atheist saying: The only thing stopping a religious man from doing evil deeds is their god!

If it wasn’t in your holy book, would you do it? If there was no “Thou shall not steal!”, wouldn’t you grab whatever you could? What if the book said “Thou shall steal!” Would you steal then? You know, deep down in your heart, that it’s wrong to steal, but your god just told you it’s mandatory. Would you steal? Oh, I can feel a whole new blog post being born from this. I’ll let you ponder the question for a while: “If you were born in Germany, say in 1918 (it would make you 19 year old as WWII started in September 1939). You were a boy. Of “aryan” birth. Would you have joined Hitlerjugend as a child, and SS as a youth?”

I don’t know. Messy second post? Close enough? I guess I’ll come back and edit this in a few hours. Feedback would be wonderful!

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2 responses to “Kind of cool, kind of scary”

  1. evanberrett says :

    Well put. I’m a christian myself, but I find it very interesting how you approach this. Recently I’ve been musing over the family as really the source of education and the betterment of society. Religion could be quite helpful, but is not necessary in the terms you describe it, and admittedly can be detrimental. I do find religion essential, personally, but I do recognize that there are a number of people out there who apply their theology inappropriately and then wonder what went wrong.

    • Kristian says :

      Well, I’m glad you found something useful in my blog Evan. I’ll check out yours when I get the time, because I think it looks interesting.

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