Morality. What is it? Where does it stem from? It is a big thing right now among secularists and atheistic movements to boldly claim, “I don’t need God to be a moral person. I am a moral person because it is naturally the right thing to do.”
But can anyone really be moral because it is a basic, natural part of being human?
The answer, of course is NO.
Two major arguments arise when discussing Godless Morality. The first is Materialism, or the belief that everything is made of matter and nothing supernatural exists outside the material world. This includes God.
The second is Moral Relativism—or the belief that there is no absolute right or wrong. Moral codes are to be—and often are—freely interpreted by the individual.
Is Nature moral? Is there some sense of justice and fairness—right and wrong—to her cycle? No. At most, Nature seeks to achieve balance and will go to any lengths to maintain said balance. The material world doesn’t run on moral or ethical motivations whatsoever. There are no High Courts of Gazelles putting vicious and murderous lions on trial. There are no laws keeping monkeys from stealing each other’s fruits and mating with whomever they please or from flinging shit at people who piss them off. In Nature, it rains on the just and unjust alike. Some might even say there is a dogged absence of moral reasoning in the material world. So then logically, a sense of morality couldn’t arise from natural sources. It’s simply not natural. And after all, we aren’t anything more than apes raised above their station. 😉
So then it’s instinctual for us to be amoral. To seek the preservation of our life and species above all else. And to use whatever tools we have at our disposal to accomplish these goals. When left to our own devices this is exactly what humans do. Case in point: The Old Testament Jews.
Moses (by God’s direction) went to a lot of trouble to set them free from slavery and usher them into the promised land. Whole movies have even been made about it (if a point of reference is needed). And after all that trouble, what do the newly freed people do the moment Moses leaves to get the rules from God? Did they sit around, patiently waiting and respecting each others’ safe spaces and living in harmony because it was the right thing to do? Hell no they didn’t. They blew all their gold on a graven image and started getting chaotic about things. I mean really down and dirty. Stuff that would’ve made Caligula blush. Moses was so pissed he broke the stone tablets the 10 Commandments were written on and had to go get a whole new set.
There’s a lesson here. The instant people are left unsupervised they tend to go crazy and fuck shit up. We are not naturally moral people. We are rapacious and unapologetic assholes. But that’s cool. Knowing there’s a problem is the first step to fixing it. But we need help. And isn’t it odd that the very help we needed arose at the dawn of time in every part of the world, setting down basic and common rules for living in every group of people that later turned into religions? It’s really not odd at all. It was God who gave us morality and told us to stop acting like rapacious assholes and make something of ourselves.
Thus, the secularist’s sense of natural morality isn’t natural at all. It is a direct result of living within the confines of morality for thousands of years. We have been living with moral codes for so long that they have finally started to become part of us. This was no accident.
The next biggest problem with Godless Morality is Moral Relativism. A popular argument among its proponents is that there is no absolute right and wrong. No God exists in order to dictate morality to us. And as a result, we are each free to develop and follow our own moral codes. A few of the extreme fringe groups such as the Neo-Anarchist and Anti-Statist movements, think that moral relativism should be taken one step further in the abolishing of all laws and governing bodies. People should be free to live their lives based on their own moral codes. Moral accountability is a personal thing and absolute morals don’t exist as they are determined separately by each and every one of us. The flaws in this logic are epic.
First and foremost, if morality isn’t absolute and is open to free interpretation then anything goes. Literally anything. Murder. Rape. Pedophilia. Beastiality. Robbery. Assault. Genocide. All are welcomed in a morally relativistic society. They would have to be. Otherwise you’d be infringing upon another’s right to live their lives.
If someone thinks murder and rape are perfectly acceptable and even natural, necessary things and seeks to practice them upon you and your family, who are you to stop them?
Simply put, you have no right to stop them. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and all that. Your morals are not their morals and you just have to accept that. Give yourself over to the natural and amoral rhythms of Nature in all her glory.
But there is a problem with that scenario. Things like murder and rape ARE abhorrent to most of us. The very thought of them stirs revulsion and disgust within us. So then in the face of that, knowing that Nature is amoral and believing in no absolute right and wrong, where does that sense of absolution arise from? Where does that simple knowledge that we should act better than our animal selves spring from?
A Source outside of us. God. The same source responsible for giving us consciousness gave us morality.
So in conclusion, Godless Morality can’t exist because morality doesn’t exist without God. Morality is not some response developed through the course of evolution since it is not natural to begin with. Secular morality is intellectual dishonesty of the highest nature as it seeks to steal the credit for humanity’s moral development from God and place it within the Self. When in reality, civilization and its growth is impossible without God.
As always, the Tao is a well spring of truth and inspiration. Its complex simplicity can speak to your heart no matter what you are going through. After a chaotic day, I was trying to decide what to post. I flipped around in a few books for a while and then came back to the Tao. I immediately opened to this passage and a light went off in my head. Enjoy!
“The Great Way is easy,
yet people prefer the side paths.
Beware when things are out of balance.
Stay centered within the Tao.
When rich speculators prosper
while farmers lose their land;
when government officials spend money
on weapons instead of cures;
when the upper class is extravagant and
while the poor have nowhere to turn–
all this is robbery and chaos.
It is not in keeping with the Tao.” The Tao Te Ching, chapter 53.
I often look at my life and wonder why I always seem to choose the side paths. The Great Way is easy. It’s outlined for us, written on our hearts by God. Whispered to us each day by His loving Spirit. Yet we always seem to say, “Yeah, yeah. That’s all good. But what about what’s over here…No I hear you. Just hold on a sec while I check it out…” And then everything gets thrown out of balance. Part of me says it’s the experience of life. But I ask that part, aren’t we supposed to learn from experience? Why do we seem to get caught up and sidetracked more often than we follow the simple advice of our hearts? For me personally, a lot of it has to do with my thinking that I know what’s best for me. I can handle this. I don’t need God or the Tao or any cryptic sayings of old dead men to tell me what to do. Blah. Blah. Blah.
Only, those old dead men knew what they were talking about. Say what you want about human progress, but people really haven’t changed. All that’s changed is fashion and technology. People are much the same today as they were thousands of years ago. All that technology has done for us is added another level of distraction to an already distracted populace. Now, when the government spends money on weapons instead of cures and the upper class is extravagant and irresponsible, the people scroll past it on their social media apps, only stopping long enough to give it a cursory “like” or to comment about “how horrible it is!” But that’s as far as the outrage is likely to go. And this…all of this…is not in keeping with the Tao. It seems there’s no sense in showing all that robbery and chaos when there’s a cute picture of a kitten covered in toilet paper instead.
Quite an interesting excerpt today. It appears atheism is nothing new. Despite what its proponents would have us believe, Atheism is not the byproduct of humanity moving into a new enlightened age. It is short sighted skepticism at best. Here is what Hermes had to say on the subject. Enjoy!
“No one says that a statue or portrait has come into being without a sculptor or a painter; then has this work (the cosmos, J.) come into being without a creator? What blindness! What sacrilege! What mindless arrogance! My son, never deprive the works of creation of their creator. He is greater than anything the name of God implies, so great is the Father of all; for He is single and his work is just this: to be Father.” The Corpus Hermeticum, Book 5.
This falls in line very nicely with my piece Only The Code that I posted a while back. To me, this makes perfect sense. As above, so below. No one says that art spontaneously arises out of chaotic nothingness and falls into perfect order. So why is it so hard to believe that the beautiful and magnificent work of art we call “The Universe” has a hand intelligently directing its design? As above, so below. I think that in this day and age with technology and “progress” being what it is, our collective ego has inflated to epic proportions. And we feel bold and empowered enough to challenge the very existence of God. Much like humanity did with the Tower of Babel and we saw how that turned out…
Further exploration of the writings of Hermes. This excerpt, on the nature of God, ties in nicely with an earlier tidbit from Philip K. Dick. Coincidence? Enjoy!
“Be still, my son, and consider what is God, what is the cosmos, what being is immortal, what is dissolved and consider that the cosmos is made by God, and in God, man is made by the cosmos and in the cosmos, and that God is the source, the boundary and the constitution of everything.” The Corpus Hermeticum Book 8. p.42.
Again we find reference to God being a part of His creation and not separate from it. I keep coming across these types of passages in my readings and I think that modern religion may have some things wrong. I grew up being taught that God was this eternal grumpy old man who lorded over us dispensing justice as He saw fit. I thought of Him as a force outside the universe He created. Something apart from it. But I no longer think this to be true. God isn’t some grumpy grandpa declaring jealousy and murder a sin, yet freely inflicting these things upon the peons in the cosmic playground He created. That is a trait of someone that is outside their creation looking in. But as Jesus was so fond of telling us, “God is Love.” And in order to truly love something it has to be a part of you. There can be no distinction or separation.
Another excerpt from his Exegesis. In this piece, PKD examines the nature of God and God’s connection with nature. Enjoy!
“Space, time and motion are relative…since the universe is infinite, and there cannot be two infinites, the infinite God and the infinite universe must be one…there is no prime mover, there is motion or energy inherent in every part of the whole. “God is not an external intelligence…it is more worthy for him to be the internal principle of motion, which is his own nature, his own soul”. Nature is outside of the divine mine; however, this mind is not in a “heaven above” but in every particle of reality.” The Exegesis p. 394.
I like this. PKD is essentially saying that God is not separate from His creation. That God IS His creation.
“They”. “Them”. “The Establishment”. “The Machine.” Whatever it’s called, it’s the same thing: The ultimate force plotting the sinister downfall of humanity. PKD called it “The Empire”. This force is always illusive and only seems exposed through “glitches” in the system. Fighting the system is futile, because even if you win, you lose.
“The Empire is the institution, the codification, of derangement; it is insane and imposes its insanity on us by violence, since its nature is a violent one.
To fight the Empire is to be infected by its derangement. This is a paradox. Whoever defeats a segment of the Empire becomes the Empire; it proliferates like a virus, imposing its form on its enemies. Thereby it becomes its enemies.” —-Philip K. Dick, “Valis” p. 235
Now think back to every movement that has challenged the system in the past 100 years. What’s happened to them? What happened to the hippie movement? To the Tea Party? To the Occupy movement? Each one was infiltrated and co-opted by the “Empire”. Each one mutated into what it so desperately fought against. And there you have the paradox.
Tags: awakening, awareness, Christianity, Empire, Exegesis, Gnosticism, hippie movement, insanity, inspiration, Occupy, paradox, Philip K. Dick, Philosophy, politics, quotes, Religion, Spirituality, Tea Party, Valis, virus
You asked for enlightenment and it was granted to you. Did you think it would be so easy after that? Did you expect to dine with Sophia and not have to pay the bill? Awakening is only the first step in a lifelong journey. In that journey we are supposed to transcend our humanity. To become one with God, as it were. This, we all know, is impossible. Because in the end, we are all human. Utterly, hopelessly, beautifully human. Despite our divine origins, our humanity remains. We feel. We love. We suffer. We sacrifice. And so you asked for enlightenment thinking that all the answers to life’s problems will be answered in a moment of brilliant clarity. This is not the case.
Enlightenment is understanding is awareness. Once you gain this sense of awareness, you start to become aware of things. And it is a dangerous thing to become aware of things. Things are devious by design, you see. And they hate when we become aware of them. It’s like peeking behind the curtain and seeing the puppet master pulling the strings. Things are a sham, you understand? It’s all a show. Smoke and mirrors. But things have a purpose and they defend that purpose with purposeful ferocity. That purpose is distraction. Things distract. There you have it. And once you enlighten up, you can see past those distractions.
Nothing is more ferocious than a distraction that fails to distract. Awareness infuriates all sorts of things. And things try even harder to distract. And those things ripple out into your world, alerting other things to your enlightenment. And then those things start to distract. But still you progress. You trudge on through hard times and good. You persevere. You grow in your enlightenment. And just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, then things get really pissed. So they start doing drastic things to pull you back down into distraction. Or what existentialists would call “the human condition”. Not surprisingly, since we are human we slip and we fall. Plummeting back into things. Southern Baptists have a good term to describe this: backsliding. Now to the Southern Baptists backsliding is when you quit drinking and start going to church only to start drinking and quit going to church. It’s much the same for enlightenment.
The fact of the matter is we are all mired in things. Even we are things. Distracting ourselves from our true purposes. Even distracting us from our own enlightenment. So people say, “Don’t let things get you down” and they always smile as they say it without ever knowing it is the key to understanding. Don’t let things get you down. And when things get you down, you get back up again. That’s right. No one is accepting the e-vite to your pity party. They’re too busy sending out their own.
Don’t forget, you asked for this. You wanted understanding. You wanted awareness. You wanted to see the puppet master. And so you have and now there is no turning back. Don’t blame things. Things can only be what they are. Things will get nasty. Things will get difficult. Suck it up and forge on through. For an aware individual, things will always get better. For an enlightened person everything offers understanding. So remember: When things get you down, enlighten up. Eventually, you’ll get there.
Tags: awareness, Distraction, e-vite, enlightenment, existentialism, hero's journey, human, human condition, humanity, Philosophy, pity, progress, Religion, self realization, self reflection, Sophia, Spirituality, things, truth, understanding, Wisdom
Another quote from Stephen Mitchell’s translation of the Tao. I know there are several translations out there, but this is by far my favorite. Poetic and powerful all in one.
Ever thought to yourself, “There isn’t enough time in the day!” “I can’t get everything done!” Or maybe you’ve noticed all the other busy little bees buzzing around the streets and stores and thought something similar about them. Little do they (we) know, our lack of time stems from trying to do too much with our time. Enjoy!
The Master doesn’t try to be powerful;
thus he is truly powerful.
The ordinary man keeps reaching for power;
thus he never has enough.
The Master does nothing,
yet he leaves nothing undone.
The ordinary man is always doing things,
yet many more are left to be done.
The kind man does something,
yet something remains undone.
The just man does something,
and leaves many things undone.
The moral man does something,
and when no one responds
he rolls up his sleeves and uses force.
When the Tao is lost, there is goodness.
When goodness is lost, there is morality.
When morality is lost, there is ritual.
Ritual is the husk of true faith,
the beginning of chaos.
Therefore the Master concerns himself
with the depths and not the surface,
with the fruit and not the flower.
He has no will of his own.
He dwells in reality
and lets all illusions go.
—-The Tao te Ching ch. 38.
The second to last stanza really speaks to me. I think this is where humanity is at. Caught in the throes of ritual because we’ve lost sight of God, or the Tao. You need only watch a few minutes of the news or scroll through the headlines to see that chaos has already begun. So for the love of God, focus on the fruit!
Missy: I wish that life were a fairy tale.
Sigmund: You mean you think it isn’t?
Missy: Of course it isn’t.
Sigmund: Why not?
Missy: There is a line between fantasy and reality, you know.
Sigmund: Oh really?
Missy: Yes. Really.
Sigmund: The only lines are the ones we create in order to construct reality. It’s a collaborative effort on everybody’s part… an unspoken agreement of sorts that a tree is a tree and a glass is a glass and a cigarette burns if you put it to your skin. And those who can’t accept that, well we have special little places for them. But, if everyone were to suddenly decide that they believed without a shadow of a doubt that all humans had huge feathery wings sprouting from their backs and cars weren’t cars at all but were really a species of flightless land dragon then-
Missy: I don’t believe that for a second.
Sigmund: Which is exactly why it isn’t true.
Missy: I don’t believe that either.
Sigmund: Well then I won’t tell you what it’s like to be in two places at once.
Scene from “The Devil and Tom Jones” by Jason DeGray
Everybody has some concrete belief and a measure of faith, which are embedded within the reality in which they exist. They act as a cornerstone on which a person’s entire reality is constructed. To shake such faith or beliefs is to unsettle a person’s very notion of reality. Most people are not mentally or spiritually equipped to handle such a degradation of their world.
Throughout a person’s life, their view of reality is conditioned by external influences and internal perceptions of experiences. People construct realities based on societal, cultural and familial influences. “Reality” is dictated to us and ingrained within us from birth. We are trained to perceive reality in a particular way. We are taught the unspoken rules like “This is a tree” and “This is a dog.” As we get older we are infused with morals and values. “This is right, this is wrong.” And we are all victims of this type of reality conditioning. It is necessary in that it allows us to function on a physical level in which we can communicate with each other and react to the world around us. In essence, it allows us to gain experiences. And brilliantly, just like snowflakes, no two people experience the world in exactly the same way. The “world as you know it” is exactly that.
Everything within the “world as you know it” is real and what you consider to be fictional or unrealistic notions, beliefs or ideas are rejected. The cycle has begun. You begin to only experience what strengthens your already preconceived “truths” or “laws.” Things not known or misunderstood simply cease to exist. And so the rational mind has no room for God and vice versa.
Reading Kierkegaard has taught me that relationships are really no different today than they were in his time. Or any time. The only difference now is that all of humanity’s relationship humiliations are displayed on t.v. and the internet for our viewing pleasure. Enjoy!
“Love at first site is an untested love. It is a love that has its genesis in passionate flames, but these flames quickly dwindle. Thus when this happens, the love dwindles also. Without reinvigorating those passions–or forging from the smoldering embers an unbreakable bond–romantic love is sure to extinguish. However, if that love is tested–its sincerity challenged, and it passes, then it is on its way to becoming pure.”—-Kierkegaard “Either/ Or”