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I am continually astounded by Christian claims to moral supremacy, that they somehow have access to a pinnacle of ethics that non-believers just don’t share.

When I point out that non-believers do a great deal of good in the world, I find myself mostly ignored by theists. Apparently atheist acts of love and charity don’t count. So I tried another angle. If the good-deed doing Christians were to suddenly give up their faith, would they cease their acts of good will? Not a chance. If they actually cared about their fellow humans (which, in most cases, I believe they do) then the belief in some external sky faerie would have no bearing on their desire to help out their brothers and sisters. Again, my point is most frequently met with avoidance. And so, as I cannot get anywhere by promoting the morality of the faithless, I will now try lighting the candle of enlightenment from the other end. In this post I intend to debunk the validity of Christianity’s cornerstone of ‘ethics’: the ten commandments.

When defending the morality of their faith, Christians claim that all a society needs is wholesome and is found in the commandments. Further (as discussed above) the Bible is the only place to find these teachings. The most often cited are commandments five through nine, so I will start with those.  Honour your parents, don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, and don’t lie.  Christians will go on and on about how good these rules are and to how bad things get when they are not obeyed. Surely, they must be divinely ordained and we ought to worship the supernatural being that delivered these rules to us.  You catch that? Attribute an obvious truth to your deity and suddenly its THE god.  That just doesn’t work.

Let me explain.

Don’t murder and don’t steal are not revelations in morality.  Indeed, these have been laws for every human society for as long as there have been laws (and in case you’re not sure, the existence of laws does in fact predate Christianity). Further, these same laws have been observed in societies within the animal kingdom. Same with honouring parents. It’s an evolutionary strength found in a multitude of species. The young simply have a better chance at survival if they are close to their parents. What about that adultery one? Animals don’t get married, so that commandment is homo-sapien specific. Right? Oh wait. Marriage is just an extension of the ‘mate for life’ behaviour which IS displayed by a number of animal species (most at higher rates than us) including pigeons and termites. That’s right. Commandment number seven has been mastered by termites. Not really your typical image of absolute moral authority, is it? Not lying is a similar case. No society has every promoted duplicity between its members. These rules just aren’t that difficult for people to come up with on their own, and they certainly do not require some god to teach them.

So far the commandments are irrelevant to societal morality, as any society is perfectly capable of deriving these rules themselves. I will call this irrelevance “best case scenario”. To see how the commandments can fall short of this, we must look to the ones not yet mentioned. The first three are basically the same while the fourth is an extension of those three.

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I have not been on youtube for awhile.  Just look at all the good things I miss. :)  Thanks Thunderfoot.

 

I try and start my Saturdays on a positive note.  I look at the CBC, a few Science Blogs usually something upbeat is going on.  Not today though.

With a hat-tap to Shakesville, I excerpt from the linked article:

“Acid attacks and wife burnings are common in parts of Asia because the victims are the most voiceless in these societies: They are poor and female. The first step is simply for the world to take note, to give voice to these women.” Since 1994, a Pakistani activist who founded the Progressive Women’s Association (www.pwaisbd.org) to help such women “has documented 7,800 cases of women who were deliberately burned, scalded or subjected to acid attacks, just in the Islamabad area. In only 2 percent of those cases was anyone convicted.”

I post one of 12 pictures representative of thousands of women who have been permanently disfigured by acid attacks by men.  When women are not people, when they cannot speak or be heard, when they have no rights…

Saira Liaqat, 26, poses for the camera as she holds a portrait of herself before being burned, at her home in Lahore, Pakistan, Wednesday, July 9, 2008. When she was fifteen, Saira was married to a relative who would later attack her with acid after insistently demanding her to live with him, although the families had agreed she wouldn't join him until she finished school. Saira has undergone plastic surgery 9 times to try to recover from her scars.

They get male centric justice.

I possess a small amount of musical talent.  I can carry a tune if I get a big enough bucket.  Taking music lessons early in life only left me with a distaste for practicing.  And that folks is at the crux of the problem.   Talk about a major case of the coulda-woulda-shoulda’s.

If I had kept up with the music and actually dedicated myself to it, I could be well, above average by now.  But I left it, went to school and did other things.  Sure getting a degree is important, but the other recreational time, filled mostly with video games, seems like such a waste now.

It is only now that I see how much time and effort is required to get good at playing piano and singing.  (I’m partaking in both and am fully cognoscente of the amount of diligence, willpower and effort required to effectively play the piano and sing with confidence.

I have been blessed with the opportunity to learn with tremendously gifted piano instructor.  It is at her piano I am exposed to exactly how much more still have to learn.  It isa daunting, depressing, exhilarating challenging experience that it seems I cannot get enough of right now.

I mentioned earlier of my involvement in a Choir.  My vocal chops are raw and undisciplined, but with the excellent vocal coaching our choir director I have made significant progress on the Choral side of things.  Another steep hill, but the learning is so challenging and rewarding.

So, neophyte pianist, neophyte tenor; where does composing fit into all of this?  Rather poorly, in my initial appraisal,  as composing takes all the aspects of musicianship and wads them up so it lands like a cinder-block on your head as you’re trying to write down that elusive melody that is infesting your mind.

Composing is an art unto itself, and I am yet again having another Titanic moment as I’ve seen only the tip if the musical iceberg as I have recently tackled the notion that I should be able to write a traditional round for my choir to sing.

Well, I have a finished product of sorts, but no way of accurately judging the quality or internal musical structure inherent to all good music pieces.   Fortunately my piano instructor teaches composition as well and is helping me with turning a raw product into something that is not only singable, but beautiful.

The moral of the story:  Hate the piano lessons, but take the idea that often if it requires hard work  it is often ultimately worth it in the end.

 

Sending our best hopes that the LHC will not have any more breakdowns as they search for some of the answers in physics and quantum physics that been at the forefront of their respective fields.  They ran a test and nothing blew up, a good sign to say the least.  Catch the full story at the CBC.

“The operators of the Large Hadron Collider have successfully sent a beam of protons around the ring of the world’s largest particle collider.

It is the first time the Large Hadron Collider, or LHC, has been operational since September 2008, when an electrical connection in the collider’s magnets melted, causing a tonne of super-cooled liquid helium to leak into the tunnel.”

So now we can continue to speculate whether we will create a micro black hole and really mess things up on a planetary scale.

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