Friday, 28 May 2010

Quotes to die for

Catherine Deveny’s tweets might have been too good for The Age to keep her but I still find them inspiring. Yesterday, they pointed me towards a couple of Bible quotes I wasn’t familiar with. Check them out, directly out of the King James version:
Timothy 2:12 - But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence
Psalm 137:9 - Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones
Ain’t that something? Doesn’t it warm your heart to know that even in this day and age there are people upon this round planet we live on (which happens to circle the sun and not the other way around) that still hold the Bible as the source of our morality and as the reference we should all adhere to?
Just the other day I was talking here about a Muslim educator (Fahme) and his claim that those with no faith [in the supernatural] are incapable of being moral. Well, given the above quotes, can anyone truly claim they follow the gospel's word to the letter? There are lots of people out there who sadly still act as if women should be silenced, but even they don’t just dash children against stones, do they?
I will therefore repeat my point. None of us takes our morality from the Bible; we are born with it hardwired into us through evolution, because we are a social species and without civilization – that comes through us being generally nice to one another – we won’t get too far. Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene provides the mathematical background for that, which is one of the reasons I adore the book as much as I do.
The point is, it is actually the atheist/agnostic that is in a better position to act ethically than the believer. The believer has to contend with instructions from above urging them to actively discriminate against women and to kill children. These leave him confused; most believers prefer to pretend these orders do not exist as they pick and carefully choose a selection of their god's holy words that suits them best at any particular point in time. The tactic works, but the believer is forever condemned to live a double life of confusion between their common sense and their dogma.
Us agnostics do not have this problem. We can freely pick and choose the best the Bible has to offer while we condemn the crap. We can listen and learn from the sermon on the mount while we can ignore and laugh at the bits that condemn women to a life of inferiority or the agnostic to eternal and unforgivable damnation (one of Jesus' lesser moments). By being free to think for ourselves we can acquire ever improving and clearer ethical standards.

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