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May 15, 2008

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Brian,
When the Church and the State was a single entity, the control of the populace was through fear of hell and promise of heaven.
Today with the separation of Church and State, governments still attempt to control through fear. The big boogieman terrorists, WMD's etc. Nothing much changes - exploitation of the masses remains a constant. And the powermongers constantly update their methods to align with current times.

You are right about religions claiming a monopoly on morality. It's a left-over from the old days. And of course we can be moral without religious beliefs. The old hippie adage was something like : 'Morality is what you do regardless of whether anyone is watching or not'.

The concept of doing to others as you would like done to yourself also covers a lot of moral ground. It's a simple dictum found in the Mahabharat; also one of Confucius' edicts. Jesus also said it, so Christianity tends to claim the idea as its own. Maybe we'll see morality copyright laws one day.......

The Dalai Lama won't go back to Tibet, and the Pope rides around behind bullet-proof glass.

Used to be the tallest buildings were built by churches. Then the tallest buildings were built by insurance companies. Now the tallest buildings are built by banks.

I think we are well on our way to an earthly morality.

morality sucks. Morality is a set of rules for living life that doesn't allow for subtlety given the particulars of a circumstance. Being an American, and conditioned to think prostitution is "bad," for example, I was surprised to find out that when directly confronted with window prostitutes, while curiously visiting Amsterdam's Red Light District last week, I felt myself revising my view of prostitution. What I felt was, coercion is bad. Forcing someone to have sex for money is bad. But we assume, I think, that most or all prostitutes are "coerced" through social factors or bad circumstances, or a violent pimp. What if this is simply not always true? I felt, while in Amsterdam, against my expectation, "this is so normal....and banal...."

I rather like Rajneesh's (OSHO) definition of morality: belief systems should be replaced by the teaching of awareness. Whatever happens in the face of awareness is OK...

YAWN...


Here's a little link for you black/white viewing religion haters. It's from one of your own - an educated one, I should say.

Even though I don't have to agree with all of it, this guy actually has something to say about morality, both secular and religious, that's well-thought out.

http://www.pointofinquiry.org/

This comes from Point of Inquiry, the best secular humanist podcast out there. I listen to it all the time.

Gee, Brian, since you added an update to your post with some additional incorrect postulations about the progression of morality in a secular society, I am obliged to post an updated link to another "Point of Inquiry" podcast which totally blows a Titanic size hole in your theory.

Chris Hedges, author of "I don't believe in atheists" and an acclaimed and celebrated war correspondent for nearly two decades, totally trounces on the "moral progression" theory put forth by the new atheists, and goes on further to demonstrate how this new breed of megalomaniacs are as fundamental as the Christian right and the militant Islamists.

God bless this man! :-)

Listen to podcast here --> http://www.pointofinquiry.org/chris_hedges_i_dont_believe_in_atheists/

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