Monday, September 9, 2013

MORALITY



            I recently attended a discussion on Biblical morality.  When the Bible tacitly approves of such things as slavery, genocide and rape, they explained that such things were common in the days when the Bible was written because of the scarceness of land, water, and livestock, etc.

          When I’m arguing with people who say that without a god (and his punishment/reward system) atheists cannot possibly have any morals, I usually respond in two ways. One, that a carrot-and-stick is no basis for morality; if their god took away the threat of Hell, how morally would they behave? Second, that their god condoned a lot of things that we view as immoral today; thus if their unchanging god changed his mind again, and decided that such things were okay, would they blindly obey him?

          Thing is, that second argument may be closer to the truth in real world terms. Global warming may create a lack of land, water and food. I’m not confident that we wouldn’t change our minds and decide that the old evils were good after all.

          Look how easily we shed our own morals on things like unjustified invasions, torture, legal rights and privacy after 9/11. It was okay – because we were the good guys fighting the good fight against, not fellow humans, but bad guys.  

          The old comics and pulp science fiction I read were pretty na├»ve. If anything as disastrous as climate change threatened the world, a coalition of the greatest minds on Earth would have convened to deal with it. Everybody would have survived.

          In the so-called real world, the only plan anyone has for dealing with disaster is the Pentagon’s papers on “resource wars.”

          Climate change is a real threat in more ways than one. We might lose our comfortable style of living, our superpower status and our easy access to oil, habitable land and even water. All the population of the Earth is in the same boat. And all we’re doing is plotting ways to take away what we need from other people!

          I fear worse than resource losses. We could lose our souls.

          The Klingons had it right. “Only a fool fights in a burning house.”