Monday, January 11, 2010

Christianity & Morality: Revelation or Evolution?


Christians will tell you that there is only one divinely revealed religion, and that theirs is it.

A number of religions claim revelation by god. Islam claims Allah revealed his word to Mohammed. Mormons claim that their doctrine was revealed to Joseph Smith by Moroni, and all subsequent doctrinal revisions were revealed to successive church presidents by God. Christians dismiss Islam as simply a fiction and its followers as dupes. They deride Mormon claims as nonsense and Mormonism as a cult at best, not even Christian at worst.

But what gives mainstream Christianity’s claim of revelation more validity than the Mormon or Muslim claims? What objective evidence can any of them offer? -- The New Testament, the Qur’an, the Book of Mormon … one a fairytale sequel to a bronze age book of cultist prophesy and myth; one the hate filled misogynistic ranting of a child molesting warlord; and the other the testimony of a convicted charlatan.

If Christianity was revealed and was not a result of religious evolution how is it that so many pre-Xtian pagan gods share some of the same characteristics and miraculous events as those attributed to Jesus? How is it that so many Christian holidays were co-opted from pagan festivals and observances? Why did the Reformation mutate from Catholicism giving birth to so many new denominations? And exactly which one of the 2800 denominations & sects of Christianity was revealed by God? With their varied rituals and interpretations of God’s words they can't all be revealed; else they'd all be in agreement.

The idea of revelation is just another aspect of man made religious delusion. It’s one religion’s desire to stake their claim to ownership of the ultimate “Truth.” Religious practices have evolved beyond human sacrifice, animal sacrifice, burnt offerings and temple prostitutes, just as technology has evolved from chariots to airplanes. We see it evolving right before our eyes as the Catholic Church accepts Evolutionary Theory, and liberal Christians reject biblical inerrancy and accept science.

If Judeo-Christian morality was revealed, why did God not reveal his condemnation of slavery in an 11th Commandment? Why didn’t Jesus condemn it 3000 years later? Why did it take 5000 years of Judeo-Christian morality for society to out law it? Was its final eradication in Western Civilization a matter of divine intervention / revelation, or the result of man’s naturally evolving mortality and ethics?

Judeo-Christian claims of being the moral beacon and holding the ethical high ground has been falsified many times and is hardly well represented in scripture. Morality evolved, and continues to evolve today -- equal rights for women, gays and minority races; and the gradual elimination of capitol punishment-- none of which were sanctioned by the Bible or revealed by a supreme being.

Religion’s evolution toward liberalism and reason, and morality’s evolution away from the static and bigoted precepts of scriptural declarations is unstoppable, just as evolution of species is unstoppable. Someday the unyielding grasp of religiously interpreted moral dictates will fall to the moral imperatives of a society evolving toward equality and acceptance.
Eventually religion will become extinct as it fails to compete with reason and reality. Much like natural selection it’s simply a matter of survival of the fittest.

40 comments:

NewEnglandBob said...

To answer all your What, How, How, Why, Why, Why...questions requires on e one answer: It isn't so at all and never has been.

Religion has mostly been used as suppression and control of people

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am from Australia.

This reference is a bit off post--but then again it is not too.

But speaking of camels why not check out this website.

www.cameland.blogspot.com

also

www.adidam.org/teaching/aletheon/truth-religion.aspx

Plus please Google The Divine Physics of Evolution on how the process of Human evolution really works.

longhorn believer said...

I know some devout xtians who would say they know the "truth" because the Bible is the only religious text who's prophecies have been fulfilled. They interpret the New Testament and the birth of Jesus to be the fulfillment of prophecies made by Daniel in the Old Testament. Of course that is just their particular interpretation of a book that was written thousands of years ago, has been rewritten several times, translated several times, and is now taken out of historical context. And of course there is the glaring error that the messiah was supposed to be born in Bethlehem, and was probably born in Nazareth. But they would dispute this of course.

longhorn believer said...

@anonymous from Australia - I checked out the link to adidam. I read about entering into the egoless self-position of "is-ness". No offense, but I think you "is" smoking some serious dope!

Dromedary Hump said...

Bob,
No argument there!

Anon,
G'day Mate!
Thanks for the camel site...but I see they are largely bactrian cames, two humps. I find them offensive.
As for understanding evolutionary theory -- thanks, but having read both Darwin's Origin of Species, and Dawkins' Greatest Show on Earth, I am acquainted with the mechanics of evolution. I was using the term evolution, mutate, natural selection, "survival of the fittest," et al, as metaphors in this blog.

Longhorn,
But the NT is simply a sequel to the OT.. that is, the prophesies of the OT, known to the NT writers as Jews, were easily fulfilled in their sequel. Thats why they invented this "travel to your ancestral home town to be taxed" nonsense, to set up the Bethlehem fulfillment scenario. But try getting a xtian to even understand the difference between History Prophecized, and Prophecey Historicized. You get a headache.

I agree with your assessment of Anon's Adidam link. If you Wiki Adidam, you'll find the guy also went by the name "Bubba Free John," along with other alias and he seemed to have some legal issues with his cult's financial transactions and sexual improprieties. Maybe he was L Ron Hubbard incarnate. ;)

longhorn believer said...

Hump,
I guess that's what gets under my skin...that xtians can't come to the simple logical conclusion that the NT was simply written with the OT prophecies in mind. It doesn't take a whole lot of deductive reasoning to reach that conclusion. I guess that's the fundamental difference - they are willing to take so much on faith or they just simply refuse to ask the hard questions.

What you said about Adidam doesn't surprise me. The website rambles on about being egoless, but the pictures suggest it is all about ego. Looks like just another preacher trying to attract a flock. I've seen it before. The ego of most preachers and religious leaders is like the sun - a great big ball of gas that shines really bright before it turns into a black hole! But I'm jumping to conclusions which I try never to do without evidence. That was just my first impression.

Rastifan said...

When any dogma speaks of the ultimate truth, it speaks of blind devoted faith without question.
For Christianity as a whole, I think it would not otherwise work for educated people without adapting to this self imposed delusion.

In understanding why people would sacrifice logic and reason upon the altar of myth and superstition, it is ironically the most primal thing of all that has led humanity in to worshipping morally corrupt entities of their own design.

The fear of death. This basic emotion helped early man survive in hostile environments and evolve. What we are witnessing observing dogma is nothing more than the modern version of finding the nearest three to climb up in. Save there are no predators chasing and the pray are wearing silly hats and are now arguing who has the best three.

Just my observation:) Nice article.

Angel said...

"Much like natural selection it’s simply a matter of survival of the fittest."

.... Unless the Bible Belt suddenly explodes with so many presidential candidates that our society implodes upon itself. Then we'll be in real trouble.

Dromedary Hump said...

Longhorn,
I've tried for years to et theists to understand the simplicity of NT as sequel. It is a bizarre reality they do not even understand the concept. Something blocks their abilty to perceive the simpelest and most obvious.

Rasti,
".. dogma is nothing more than the modern version of finding the nearest three to climb up in."

I may have to steal that sentence for my next book. I'll try and remember to give you credit...but don't count on it ;)

Paul Clarke said...

Eventually religion will become extinct as it fails to compete with reason and reality.

I sure hope you're right on that one. Looking around the world today I sure don't have much faith that this will happen.

How do we get there? Do we directly and vocally challenge religion? Do we go under the radar and quietly but forcefully act as advocates for reason? I tend to take the latter approach but am interested in your thoughs.

Rastifan said...

Dromedary Hump...

Credit not needed:) Spread the good word my friend.

Dromedary Hump said...

Paul,

I'm watching a trend develope. Europe has become more secular over the years. Some western countries have almost as many non-believers as believers, church attendence is dwindling, the clergy is waning in numbers and influence. This, in what was the seat of Christianity for 1500 years.

Most of the industrialized world is far ahead of us in rejecting religion. We are the remaiing hold out, but here in the US the Pew forum poll shows a 40% increase in non-religious vs. 1998, and a double digit decline in those identifying themselves as Christian.

Remember, the scientific age is only 300 yrs old. For religion to crumbles so quickly in the face of reason, reality discovery, after having such a stong foot hold for 2000 years is a harbinger of what will be exponential declines in religion.

Naturally, the third world, impoverished and ignorant countries will continue to embrace religion. And ofcourse that is going to represent a threat, as it already does, to the civilized/industrialized world. We need to be vigilant, and ready, willing and able to fight it.

But then again...this is all in my book :)

Dromedary Hump said...

Heheh..Thanks Rasti!!

longhorn believer said...

"Most of the industrialized world is far ahead of us in rejecting religion. Naturally, the third world, impoverished and ignorant countries will continue to embrace religion. And ofcourse that is going to represent a threat, as it already does, to the civilized/industrialized world."


The US may be lagging behind western Europe in rejecting religion, but unfortunately it is still the largest military power. With Islam continuing to threaten the west, the worry is that another "Bush" will come along that will hold the power to self-fulfill the Armageddon prophecy. Can you imagine a Palin presidency in 2013? On 60 Minutes this week, it was revealed that she was not surprised to be picked for the VP because it was God's plan. Yikes! But then again, I worry too much! LOL

Dromedary Hump said...

well..if it was god's plan to pick palin for vp candidate...it must have been part of god's plan to elect Obama. ;)

longhorn believer said...

Amen ;)

Contents under pressue said...

@longhorn

I guess it was also God's plan to make her a complete airhead, the laughing stock of the GOP, and to get her daughter pregnant at exactly around the time she started declaring her stance on Reproductive Health.

Indeed, God works in mysterious (and rather twisted) ways.

@Dromedary

"Naturally, the third world, impoverished and ignorant countries will continue to embrace religion. And ofcourse that is going to represent a threat, as it already does, to the civilized/industrialized world. We need to be vigilant, and ready, willing and able to fight it."

As a resident of Manila, I couldn't agree more. As the RCC loses more and more parishioners in the US and Europe, it seems that they're pulling out all the stops in keeping their believers in the Philippines.

I have seen the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines continually lament the "secularization" of the Western world, which they claim leads to moral decay and blasphemy.

What a load of bullshit - these are the same priests who have continually blocked any attempt at a reasonable Reproductive Health program, despite the fact that our country has a bloated population of nearly 94 million, most of whom are impoverished families who barely have anything to eat.

These are the same priests that hoodwinked the population into voting politicians just because they're "God-fearing" men, nevermind if they are corrupt, arrogant, and chauvnistic wife-beaters.

These are the same priests that have continually demonized the local gay community, branding them all sinners for simply being who they are.

Granted that I have met priests with a more reasonable mindset (they're usually Jesuits), but even they think that mainstream Catholicism here is fucking retarded.

zarton said...

I don't really have much to add here except to say that I have read every single "rant" you have ever written on this blog and I have to say this is the best one yet. At the risk of sounding like a suck up I have to say that you managed to succinctly wrap up what many authors have tried to do in endless volumes. Keep up the good work, you have raised the bar yet again :)
zar

Dromedary Hump said...

Content,
When I think of all the energy that is expended by priests monitoring and managing peoples lives for the worse in order to satisfy a god that doesn't exist with illogic that flies in the face of reason I can only shake my head in disgust. That it is most heavily directed at the the poorest, the less educated, makes it all the more horrific.

How many peoples lives could have been saved from HIV if not for the church's instruction against condoms? How many peoples lives and financial security would be improved if not for this crazy prohbition against contraception?

If this world were fully sane, reasoned and ethical we'd procecute the Church for perpetrating the greatest fraud and injustice ever conceived.


Zar,
You keep talking like that and I'll have to write you into my will ;) Thanks for the compliment.

Anonymous said...

@Zarton

I agree. Hump is my favorite blogger. And his book is excellent and should be on your bookshelf, if you haven't already purchased a copy.

@Contents

Interesting. In Brazil, the RCC encourages the distribution of condoms, although they rationalize this stance since it isn't a sin if used for health reasons (preventing HIV infection spreading). NPR had an hour of programming about the state of AIDS epidemics and how various contries were handling it. It seems rather atypical though.

- Fastthumbs

Contents under pressue said...

@ Dromedary Hump

That's impossible since everybody is a "little" insane. :D

But I do agree on the matter of prosecuting them for their misdeeds, or at least have the gov't tax their asses off since they've obviously overstepped the line between church and state by directly interfering in legislation.

@Fastthumbs

Brazil's RCC encourages condom use? That's interesting, considering that the church here insists that ANY form of contraception, including condom use, is basically abortion.

Rastifan said...

A question to USA residents here. I was reading some polls on the percentage of Christians in different US states.

The public number of actual Christians here in Norway is as trustworthy as a catholic priest around choir boys. We are a secular nation by far these days.

The problem is that kids get rolled in the church books by their parent’s wishes at a very young age, and are thus registered members of the church in question. I was rolled in to the Seventh-day Adventist Church as a child and had to actually argue with the one of their minister to get them to remove me from the registry when I was 19. Most kids who grow up never do this even if they come to reject the notion of god.

And the churches are fine with this it seems. This is of course a question of membership and public support (the more the merrier) and boils down to what they really worship. The god mammon (riches).

Is this a practice common in the US, and if so! Would it not suggest that the actual number of Christians in USA could be lower than one are led to believe reading polls based on church records?

Anonymous said...

@Contents

I misspoke (miswrote?)... Some of the local RCC priests mildly support condom use - not the Brazilian Archbishops who tote the Vactican's line.

See http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/257627,priest-suspended-in-brazil-for-defending-condom-use.html

Afterall, this was still the RCC officials who excominicated doctors\nurses for performing an abortion on a 9 year old raped by her step-dad (in later statements the RCC stated the child was actually exempted from being excomunicated on grounds of her age. Appearently, old enough to be raped and bear children, but not old enough to be responsible for decisions about her reproductive tract)

Dromedary Hump said...

Rasti,

You are probably referring to the Pew Forum Poll. It's published annually and is considered to be pretty accurate.

I'm sure there are some variations, but the concept of "registering" people into religions and thus having that influence the result is probably not a factor. The poll is actually people being questioned about their religious beliefs, so there is no records searching or anything like that.

You may have noticed that New Hampshire is the 2nd least religious state in the US. I'm proud to say that's my state. The least religious is our next door neighbor, Vermont. Just under half the residents here and in VT are "non-believers, not religious."

The latest polls show signifianct delcline nation wide in those calling themselves Chrisian...a 10 point drop in 11 years; while those calling themselves non religious increased 40% in the same time span.

That's a good sign, albeit, we have a long way to go before we match Europe's level of acceptence of reality.

Rachelle said...

Hump said:" Eventually religion will become extinct as it fails to compete with reason and reality. Much like natural selection it’s simply a matter of survival of the fittest."
.
.
.
I hope I live to see that day. LOL!

As for "biblical prophesies"...I agree with the others here...It's laughable. These Xian nut jobs could make a better case for themselves if their prophesies crossed over into other religious texts. You can't make predictions AND have them realized in the same text. That IS called a sequel. LOL! If Jesus had been killed in the Bible but then resurrected in the Koran...now THAT would be interesting. LOL! But then who would need Mohammad? LOL!

Dromedary Hump said...

Rachelle,
I fear none of us will live to see religion's extinction.

But, based on pew poll trends, we will at least be the majority here in the US within 80 years or so. My grand kids will see it.

Anonymous said...

Hump said:

But, based on pew poll trends, we will at least be the majority here in the US within 80 years or so. My grand kids will see it.


Well, I suspect if trends continue, then Christians (of all types) will be a small minority in 80 years.

On the downside, I predict that the level of Woo in 80 years will be the same or greater. A Woo believer may not believe in God(s), but still accepts way to many conspiracies and supernatural crap (especially considering how poor our educational system teaches critical thinking and logic skills. If it's in Wikipedia or gets a google result, then it MUST BE TRUE ).

- Fastthumbs

zarton said...

I know this is off topic, but you guys gotta check this out. The great Pat Robertson has done it again. It would be hilarious if not so sad.
http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/01/13/haiti.pat.robertson/index.html

zar

Dromedary Hump said...

Zar,

Holy shit!! Robertson did it again!!?? So much for Christian empathy.

I'm not surprised at how crazy he is, I knew this. But the fact that he doesn't know how crazy it makes him look to 95% of the planet is an absolute a wonder.

When this asshat charlatan joins Jerry Falwell in his dirt nap, the average IQ of the USA will increase 5 points. The sooner the better.

Kristian said...

Hello Hump,

I recently also covered my views on religion and morality in my own blog (not sure if it's kosher to link here).

I believe that religious morals evolve because they're affected by natural selection. As the morality of secular society shifts towards more and more liberal values, religion can either adapt, or die away.

The gap between secular and religious morals affects how many followers a certain religion can attract. When religion lags behind, it has to attempt to define contemporary "acceptable" things as "evil" (like homosexuality) and contemporary "evil" things as "acceptable" (like racism).

Eventually, a church has to adopt more modern views or the masses will refuse to follow it. You'd be hard pressed to find a huge following in the western world for a church that supports slavery and racism, and in the near future you'd be equally hard pressed to find a church that condemns homosexuality.

I've grown up and live in somewhat secular parts of the world where atheists aren't that uncommon, so I rarely feel very strongly about issues of religion. However, I do have an interest to poke them with a stick and see how they tic.

Dromedary Hump said...

Kristian,
Sure, feel free to link your blog here.

Yes, I agree..it's adapt or die.

I am currently reading "The God Virus." In it the author talks about the necessity for religions to adapt or die. Better to "morph" or mutate to more widely accepted thought and gain adherents, than to stick to fundamentalist interpretation and watch your sheeple drop out.

Funny how those changes are determined by church heirarchy and not by the god that "inspired" the original rules.

Kristian said...

http://www.apatheism.net/

...is my blog. I've been contemplating on the god virus, but I have "Figments of Reality: The Evolution of the Curious Mind" by Jack Cohen and Ian Stewart on my to-do list before anything new.

I also heard there's a book written by a camel out there, I should check that out too (providing I can get it through kindle)

Contents under pressue said...

@Dromedary

I don't know what's more surreal:

That Robertson is SERIOUSLY blaming Haiti's earthquake on them invoking Satan to beat the French...

...or that somebody had to resort to summoning 'Ol Lucifer just to beat the French.

Dromedary Hump said...

Kristian,

Kindle is Satan's handiwork!
I'll check out your blog...you buy my book ;)


Contents said:
"...or that somebody had to resort to summoning 'Ol Lucifer just to beat the French."

Hahah!!

DM said...
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DM said...
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Anonymous said...

Rastifan: Love your Avatar--GO TICK! USA atheist (GO HUMP!), confirmed Lutheran Church Missouri Synod a long time ago and still on the rolls. Easier to not argue and just disappear. PS: My grandparents were raised, confirmed, married, lived, raised their kids, died, were buried (LITERALLY) LCMS, in a cemetery opened at a church BUILT by those grandparents to bury my GREAT grandfather. I love them and am proud of them even if we didn't agree on religion. Then the mormons baptized them. Wonder if the mormons claim them too? The idea offends me at least twice.

Rastifan said...

@Anonymous

I really wanted out of that church. Half out of spite and half out of sane logic and reason. No one likes to be lied to for many years. And I would not be completely honest if I don't admit that the memory of the red faced priest gives me chuckles.

He got a bit worked up during his attempt to make me reconsider. I threw science at him:)

Dromedary Hump said...

Rasti..

Ouch!! science to a priest is like sunlight to a vampire.
That musta hurt ;)

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