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If You Reject The Religion, Why Do You Still Accept Their Definition Of Morality?


MWLarry
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I have been amazed in the last eighteen years since my deconversion and subsequent divorce, by the people I have met who, though they don't go to church, and see numerous things wrong with Christianity and Christians, whose conditioning is still so strong that they still buy into the general worldview. I really think that people here in the US are so steeped in the so-called Christian way of thinking about things, that even though they aren't practicing Christians, they still accept the Christian worldview and definition of morality. For instance, why is lifelong monogamy and strict fidelity the only way? How is morality in any way only about sex? Why are only certain sexual practices the norm, and right only? What is wrong about pornography? Prostitution? For me this brings to mind what a pastor of one of the churches I attended before I "saw the light", said in one of his sermons. He said it was his belief, that each person should only see naked one other person in his or her life. That is, his wife, or her husband. Needless to say, gays were the worst of sinners, in his view. But, to me, most people here in the US still buy into this general way of thinking. If you don't think so, show me how.

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I think there are other forces than religion that mold our morality. One's parents, extended family, schools, community, mass media, positive and negative feedback, etc. all give us constant clues as to what is acceptable and proper in our society. Initially, society may have taken some of these notions from religion, but it has gone far beyond that. Our sense of moral behavior is internal and instinctual by the time we reach adulthood, and not based on a conscious decision to follow or rebel against any particular authority.

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I really think that people here in the US are so steeped in the so-called Christian way of thinking about things, that even though they aren't practicing Christians, they still accept the Christian worldview and definition of morality.

 

Intriguing in that it asks, "what is normal?"

 

and why do fundy's hate penises and vagina's?

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My morality hasn't changed that much since I ditched christianity. I have sex now where before I was celibate, that is about it. The things I do believe have more to do with not being an asshole than anything else. I used to think they were part of my faith, but then I discovered that even most christians did not see things the way I do. I am dedicated to the truth, so I don't lie. I put others before myself, but that is just my nature. I believe everyone is equal and should be valued equally. I think that a person's character is more important than how they look or what they own. I believe the pursuit of power, money and status is for insecure wankers. I believe that I should always do the right thing, instead of what the rest of the pack tells me, even if it means being rejected by the pack.

 

I believe that revenge is pointless, and where it is possible in life, just don't be an asshole. Treat other people the way you want to be treated, take responsibility for your actions, and above all don't be an asshole to people because someone has been an asshole to you. Not rocket science, but not really religious either.

 

 

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It's at least partly the American perception that there just HAS to be somebody, somewhere keeping score. My selfless gift has to be noticed by someone in charge and that asshole that gets away with crap will someday be dealt with by same. Hanging on to the naive idea that life's by nature fair. Ha!

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It's at least partly the American perception that there just HAS to be somebody, somewhere keeping score. My selfless gift has to be noticed by someone in charge and that asshole that gets away with crap will someday be dealt with by same. Hanging on to the naive idea that life's by nature fair. Ha!

 

Well I have been accused of being naive, more than once, but aren't we supposed to keep our own score??

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I have been amazed in the last eighteen years since my deconversion and subsequent divorce, by the people I have met who, though they don't go to church, and see numerous things wrong with Christianity and Christians, whose conditioning is still so strong that they still buy into the general worldview. I really think that people here in the US are so steeped in the so-called Christian way of thinking about things, that even though they aren't practicing Christians, they still accept the Christian worldview and definition of morality. For instance, why is lifelong monogamy and strict fidelity the only way? How is morality in any way only about sex? Why are only certain sexual practices the norm, and right only? What is wrong about pornography? Prostitution? For me this brings to mind what a pastor of one of the churches I attended before I "saw the light", said in one of his sermons. He said it was his belief, that each person should only see naked one other person in his or her life. That is, his wife, or her husband. Needless to say, gays were the worst of sinners, in his view. But, to me, most people here in the US still buy into this general way of thinking. If you don't think so, show me how.

 

I think that religion has influenced our thoughts about sex.

 

 

I don't think that the act of sex itself has any morality at all. Many people attach emotions to sex. That is natural but our society acts as if there is only one way to feel about sex. Some people can detach emotions from the act of sex. Having mulitple partners will not cause them any emotional difficulty. Other people just don't enjoy sex unless they are in an committed relationship. For those people, they should wait until they are in a relationship. Neither type of person is wrong with their reaction to sex. In both cases, the individuals should be honest with themselves and others. If you don't want to be in a committed relationship, either don't get in one or be upfront that you are not monogamous. In this case, I put more emphasis on being honest than who you sleep with.

 

Some of the attitudes toward how we expect women to respond to sex is still influenced by religion. Women who can detach their emotions from sex are seen as abnormal. Think about it. The words, slut and whore don't simply mean a woman who sleeps with several men but often carries with them the idea that the woman must not respect herself or be stupid. The reason that calling a man a male slut does not carry the same weight is because most people don't think men are stupid or disrespect themselves when they sleep with many women.

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Do we really follow "their" morality? I don't think so.

 

You brought up monogamy. In fact, in the Bible monogamy is not required! In the Old Testament there were several people with more than one wives. King Salamon had 700 wives and 300 concubines (or was it the other way around?). Even the New Testament doesn't explicitely forbid poligamy (monogamy is only required from ministers so that they will have enough time to deal with God's matters). That poligamy is not acceptable had to come from somewhere else, because it's not in the Bible.

 

On the other hand some of the Bible's moral orders are hardly sustainable or even acceptable by now. For example, do we really want to kill adulterers? Homosexuals? Or disobedient children?

 

So, no, I personally don't think it's "their" definition of morality we accept.

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So, no, I personally don't think it's "their" definition of morality we accept.

 

I don't understand how Christianity defines my morality at all. As far as morality goes, Christianity is very immoral imo. But if I want just one wife or decide not to sleep with a prostitute that has nothing to do with religion. If I were religious, I'd be more likely to do something I don't want to do, like sleep with a prostitute, because of the roller-coaster-like nature of it.

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I think much of this has to do with the US apeing Victorian England in the late 1800's. For whatever reason, the US often copied what was being done in England. Up till the end of WWII.

 

Then we got all moralistic about communists and really got stuck in the 50's....and it went downhill from there. But the ideal had been shaped by a far earlier time and got picked up on by religion.

 

Now we are faced with a crossroads where the Baby boomers are begining to lose their political power and are looking backward over thier lives. They feel a nostalgia for their childhood when "things were better". So they cling to it.

 

However, the younger generation is going to hell cause they are looking forward right now.

 

Give it about 10-15 years and things will be different.

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Back in therapy, I am learning to put myself first, in a way that was prohibited by my Christian upbringing. I could not possibly see all the ways I undermined myself and my sanity by always putting everyone else ahead of myself...

 

To myself first, then to others, I am attempting to be:

 

Fair

Understanding

Caring

Kind

Important

Nurturing

Genuine

Do look at the acronym, I got a laugh out of that!

 

Happiness and seeing myself as impressive are two current personal goals. I intend to care for myself and not abuse myself or anyone else.

 

For myself, I would never want an abortion because it hurts me. I am not anti-abortion.

 

I would not be a hooker. That would hurt me. And I don't think people who 'hook' are evil, but I believe they have been damaged. Whether someone wants to see a hooker is up to them, but is this fair, understanding, caring, kind, treating the person as important, being nurturing and genuine?

 

And so forth. It is a simple and thoughtful way for me to live.

 

More therapy to go, but so pleased that I met a therapist that has opinions and direction for his own life.

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I think that sometimes it isn't healthy to forgive but society makes it sound as if you need to forgive to move forward. This isn't always true. Yes, you shouldn't be consumed with anger but sometimes allowing yourself to be angry is healthy. There are instances I think, people are pushed into trying to forgive others when they should be allowed to experience their own healing in their own time.

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I meant to add to the above that I think that the emphasis on forgiving others is often pushed by Christian and in some cases is healthy but not in all.

 

I was once in an online discussion with a woman who admitted to being raped. The topic of the discussion made this information relevant. In the course of the discussion she admitted that she not only had not forgiven her attacker, she had no intentions of doing so. Several of the Christian posters could not understand how she could be a mentally healthy person unless she forgave the man. But the woman explained that she had moved forward in life and was not consumed with anger. She just didn't feel the need to forgive her attacker.

 

It was strange how disturbing the Christians were by her declaration of nonforgiveness. To me, it sounded as if the woman was enpowered to decide for herself how she would react to what happened to her. That seemed healthy.

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I don't think that the act of sex itself has any morality at all. Many people attach emotions to sex. That is natural but our society acts as if there is only one way to feel about sex. Some people can detach emotions from the act of sex. Having mulitple partners will not cause them any emotional difficulty. Other people just don't enjoy sex unless they are in an committed relationship. For those people, they should wait until they are in a relationship. Neither type of person is wrong with their reaction to sex. In both cases, the individuals should be honest with themselves and others. If you don't want to be in a committed relationship, either don't get in one or be upfront that you are not monogamous. In this case, I put more emphasis on being honest than who you sleep with.

 

Some of the attitudes toward how we expect women to respond to sex is still influenced by religion. Women who can detach their emotions from sex are seen as abnormal. Think about it. The words, slut and whore don't simply mean a woman who sleeps with several men but often carries with them the idea that the woman must not respect herself or be stupid. The reason that calling a man a male slut does not carry the same weight is because most people don't think men are stupid or disrespect themselves when they sleep with many women.

 

 

Completely agree with this. I have also been told that I am stupid and have no respect for myself if I am what is considered promiscuous. I don't attach emotions to sex, never have. This allowed me to be a hooker for a short period of time when I was younger, and enjoy my work. However, the christian guilt that god was watching me ate me up inside and I carried that guilt around for 20 years.

 

After 9 celibate years in church after my marriage finished I finally realised I was doing myself a disservice by not allowing myself the comfort of sex, which I enjoy immensely. So if I am now going to hell, I am going with a smile on my face.

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I think there are other forces than religion that mold our morality. One's parents, extended family, schools, community, mass media, positive and negative feedback, etc. all give us constant clues as to what is acceptable and proper in our society. Initially, society may have taken some of these notions from religion, but it has gone far beyond that. Our sense of moral behavior is internal and instinctual by the time we reach adulthood, and not based on a conscious decision to follow or rebel against any particular authority.

 

 

I just think that ALL of these sources of attitudes you mentioned, are also under the influence of the Christian worldview. Otherwise, why would it be necessary for a candidate for public office in this country to profess at least some form of belief in either Christianity, or Judaism. I think our "post-christian" society is not nearly enough post for me!

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Christianity isn't just a belief- it's a culture. And you can't entirely get away from the culture in which you were raised... it's deeply embedded within your psyche. You can critique your own culture, come to disagree with it on many points, rail against it, seek new ideas... that's all good and healthy IMO. But you will still harbor more linguistic assumptions, attitudes, unspoken rules, etc. than you can shake a stick at.

 

I was pretty amused the other day when Antlerman pointed out that I was just a christian without 'god'. I can't deny that that's the case. I'm not particularly happy about it, but I can't change it any more than I can change my ridiculous Tennessee accent.

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Our sense of moral behavior is internal and instinctual by the time we reach adulthood, and not based on a conscious decision to follow or rebel against any particular authority.

 

Mine must be broken then :) If something is wrong its wrong, and I don't hesitiate to rebel against it or question it. It's a wonder I haven't been burnt at the stake by someone. I got myself into a situation where I did something not "socially normative" or morally decent but perfectly legal. I still don't think I did anything wrong, even though just about everyone else does. No on can really tell me why though, other than it is "inappropriate", whatever that means. Upon close questioning everyone who thinks that, does so because everyone else is in agreement. When I ask them to examine the situation given all the facts, they often change their mind.

 

We cannot afford to be told what to think by our culture. Quite often it is wrong. I don't judge other people for their seuxal behaviour, unless it includes cheating. None of my damn business.

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For me this brings to mind what a pastor of one of the churches I attended before I "saw the light", said in one of his sermons. He said it was his belief, that each person should only see naked one other person in his or her life. That is, his wife, or her husband.

 

So are we supposed to put blindfolds on when we change our babies' diapers? How clean can we be expected to get them? Won't they end up with terrible rashes?

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I meant to add to the above that I think that the emphasis on forgiving others is often pushed by Christian and in some cases is healthy but not in all.

 

I was once in an online discussion with a woman who admitted to being raped. The topic of the discussion made this information relevant. In the course of the discussion she admitted that she not only had not forgiven her attacker, she had no intentions of doing so. Several of the Christian posters could not understand how she could be a mentally healthy person unless she forgave the man. But the woman explained that she had moved forward in life and was not consumed with anger. She just didn't feel the need to forgive her attacker.

 

It was strange how disturbing the Christians were by her declaration of nonforgiveness. To me, it sounded as if the woman was enpowered to decide for herself how she would react to what happened to her. That seemed healthy.

I absolutely think that one does not have to forgive to move forwards. Some people are not deserving of forgiveness. Period. I applaud that woman for saying how she felt and I despise Christians who think they know everything and are telling her she couldn't be mentally healthy without forgiving. They are stuck on the "everyone is born bad and I need to be forgiven by god kicking the crap out of son and me thinking that will work" theme.

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I truly believe that the society is totally influenced by Christianity and its insane moral belief system. I think women are especially expected to live up to some norm that says that sleeping around occasionally is somehow bad. I read about a culture once in which the women were able to sleep with whomever they wanted to and the guys that were jealous were considered to have an emotional problem. How refreshing!

 

Its other things besides sex. Like that we should accept war and the death penalty. Now, I do believe that we have to defend our country from others but it seems like we are a very aggressive culture and, guess what, the Bible is very aggressive against other countries, as well. And the biggest form of punishment in the Bible. Death! Why is anyone having a problem with homosexuality? Because the Christian belief system. Why is it considered okay to spank your children? Spare the rod and spoil the child. Why are we having problems with the concept that men and women can do most of the same jobs? Seperate but not so equal promoted by the Bible.

 

I hope that I am not overly influenced by my Christian beliefs and instead think about what is right and good for myself and others. Culture is difficult to overcome.

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I haven't read all the replies and will just focus on sex for a moment (since I just had it with my super hot wife and it was awesome!) Of course there is no reason to continue to accept Christian's views on sex, but keep in mind Christianity is pretty young in terms of human history and didn't invent sexual tension and jealously, which causes most of the drive for sexual faithfulness (I won't say monogamy because it most of human history richer more powerful men had multiple wives, but they were expected to stay faithful). Our sexual "morality" is in part based on our evolutionary history which has hard wired our brains; people want their mates to be faithful to them and though there is no external sense to say this is more "moral", that doesn't mean people won't feel this way, and societies and ultimately religions might not codify it into their laws.

 

Either way, I want my wife to be faithful to me. That was true both when we fundies and now we are both atheists.

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The flags on the field of what is considered acceptable and unacceptable are many and are coloured grey. Morality on a cosmic level essentially doesn't exist and the instincts we're given are given by nature, our rules are moulded and fashioned by us. With enough time maybe altruistic values and rules will be the norm. To your question, it sounds as if the people dumped all the fallacious, negative aspects of religion, and maybe kept a few tid-bits because they appeal to the person on a completely different level.

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God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?

—Nietzsche

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He said it was his belief, that each person should only see naked one other person in his or her life. That is, his wife, or her husband.

This is funny. This guy has no idea what goes on in hospitals and nursing homes, obviously. Does he realize that if he is ever brought in as a full-trauma patient to the emergency room, all his clothes will be cut off and he will be lying completely naked for the whole ER staff to see? Or patients in the OR? Those patients are always completely naked. There's no other way.

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i believe in many of the morals of christians such as: dont steal, dont murder, dont rape. I also believe that monogamy is best for the family. i also believe that abortion is murdering. i believe in the death penalty in theory. i dont believe in gay marriage. (well technically i dont believe any marriage is a legal matter and there should be no government rewards for marriage)

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