We are trying to make Blackjay more of a discussion group and less like a newspaper. Please comment. If your ideas are too long for a Comment, email me a copy and I will consider a new Post.
Well here goes:
Someone once said that there is a “God shaped hole in humans aching to be filled”. Maybe they were right. I think this is relevant to the genesis of the current madness that seems to be afflicting Western society and I would like to start a debate.
At some point in our evolution something happened that we are still unable to quite define. Whether it was the acquisition of consciousness, self-awareness, the ability to recognise our personal individuality or personal freedom, no one seems to have managed to define what it is that separates us from the animals.
The thing about animals is that they have instincts that determine a behaviour that allows them to function in a community. Whether it’s mating ritual or pecking order or symbolic surrender signals that avoid a fight to the death over food, they come into the world equipped with ironclad instincts for functioning within their group.
Now as soon as these proto-humans, by some evolutionary quirk, gained the power of independent thought and free will, they are in a position to override instinctive behaviour. This is a fatal trait with potentially fatal consequences.
And this is where God comes in.
I am suggesting that rather than being an afterthought, religion co-evolved with the development of what we consider human characteristics and is inseparable from the human condition. All religions have at their centre a complex set of rules which are administered by an all seeing and all knowing spiritual entity, and widespread fear of God has allowed the human race to prosper.
However atheism is on the rise, particularly in the West. The reason for this is the spectacular advance of science, particularly the work of Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin, the influence of Marxism, and the rising prosperity and associated improvements in education and consequent rationalist thought. The rise of the educated middle class corresponds to atheism becoming the new religion of the state. The result is that we seem to be turning more and more to the legal system to police matters that were the province of personal morality, ethics, and manners. The establishment of human rights commissions and various bodies to defend perceived persecuted groups from discrimination, unfair treatment, and constrained access to prosperity, attempt to replace the role previously occupied by rule-books like the Bible and the Koran.
The increasingly manic and loopy activities of human rights activists suggest that their mission is failing.
Whilst well-meaning, the problem with these inane rules, is that to police them in the absence of an all seeing and vengeful God requires the instruments of the state to become oppressive beyond all reason. (One example is the way the media unpick power relationships to decide whether or not they approve of an intimate relationship developing within a work environment.)
Another thing that has happened is that attributes such as honesty, truthfulness, ethics, cleanliness, and a good manners, have been discarded and largely replaced by “social justice“.
If what I am saying is accurate, the belief in God is necessary for a tribe to survive, and any society that doesn’t have a faith -based social order will eventually self destruct.
We may not approve of many of the dictates and beliefs of various religions, but it seems that a godless society, relying on the internal moral compass of its members, always fails quickly and badly.
I think you make a valid point only I would replace “atheism” with “Scientific Materialism”. Consider the following quote:
How did he know this?
This view is as dogmatic and absolutist as the creed of any religion. Typically these assertions depend heavily on a “scientific” world view but Russel was a philosopher not a scientist. He was quoting contemporary astronomy, chapter and verse, while omitting the sceptical, provisional and empirical aspects of the scientific enterprise. No doubt he didn’t get it. At that time, the only philosopher who did get it was Karl Popper. The rest were happy to cherry-pick popular science “facts” which supported their materialist preconceptions.
Th dogma of Scientific Materialism is now mainstream. The loopy progressive dogmas to which you refer, are recent spin-offs.
An “accidental collocation of atoms” indeed. Just as Beethoven’s Ninth is an accidental collocation of notes.