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GarberPark

All KINDS of stuff. Mostly ideas... politics, science, religion, fishing, food ....stuff that your mom told you wasnt polite to discuss.

3rd Topic - Holy Mackeral

((This June marks the 50th aniversary of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abington_School_District_v._Schempp!!  Everybody (optionally) say Amen. ))

Long time sufferers to me commenting on the blogs of others are probably aware that I consider (yes, label) myself an atheist.  Not an agnostic; an agnostic thinks that knowledge regarding the existence of a supernatural supreme force is either unknowable or probably unlikely.

OK. I’m an agnostic.  I think the existence of a supernatural supreme force probably unlikely.  With a probability that is vanishingly small.   Atheistically small.

But religion isn’t about whether god exists or not, it’s about the belief that a particular god (or set thereof) not only exists, but wants certain things from us.  Remembrance thru ritual.  Behavior thru dogma.  Continuance of the faith by coercing others and/or discouraging biblical fraternization (wink wink) with Those OTHER People.  Contributions to the building fund, and don’t forget about the pancake breakfast this weekend.

I went to a presentation where the speaker actually said All our understanding of moral behavior was given to us through the 10 commandments.   If I would have been of Asian/Indian descent, I would have gathered myself and all 5000 years of continuous civilization an Asian/Indian person has coursing thru their veins, stood up and loudly proclaimed this guy a Pantload.  The arrogance of many of the devout astonish me.

EVERY stable civilization has a moral code, a social contract.  Without it, it wouldn’t be stable. Duuuhh.  It was given to us thru the same mechanism that the drive to find food and water was given to us:  The evolutionary drive to have the species survive.   Its a fairly new and exciting field of research (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reciprocal_altruism, http://www.evolutionaryethics.com/, etc).  It's not as powerful a drive as maybe we'd like but it's no small gift. 

Look.  If you're a person who thinks god gave you this moral code and without that belief, you'd be some kind of wild animal, then please, PLEASE! hold tight to that belief, and please know that I’m totally kidding about this non-god stuff.   I'd much rather have you hold to odd beliefs than exhibit odd behavior.

Atheism has gotten a bit of press lately, in that there are a couple of authors who've been characterized as "angry atheists".  While actually not too angry, they cite religion as having no (or vanishingly small) redeeming qualities.  I am not of this ilk.  While I know that slavery in this country was rationalized and upheld by biblical quotations, I also know that churches in this country were key in the abolitionist movement.   While I know the Holocaust in Germany & Poland were aided and abetted by good christian people.   I also know that ACTUALLY good christian people did what they could to save who they could, at great risk to themselves.

So what’s the best course for us humans to follow?
It’s like old tyme sacred Christmas gospel sez:  “So be good for goodness sake”.

See ya at the pancake breakfast!
 

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