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NeoNote — Biblical morality

Inherent in the argument of Biblical morality is that it brings benefits without significant tradeoffs, or at least in the idea that the benefits far outweigh the costs. That's not true. In the OT number one of the Decalogue specifically says that the Hebrew G*D is unquestionably number one. That's fine if you are sworn to that faith, but accepting a Biblical morality means that any other gods must take second place.

Speaking of the OT, Christians and even modern Jews are curiously selective when it comes to which laws are followed. The books of Numbers and Leviticus list laws that are routinely ignored today.

Let's move to the NT, shall we? According to Jesus (as quoted by John and who knows how many editors and rewriters), what's the greatest commandment? Why, it's a version of number one from the previous hit parade. But then that is the whole premise of a monotheism. No other gods allowed, and only selected interpretations of the Official Religion.

The costs aren't worth the benefits unless you follow that faith. Bottom line, if a society follows a Biblical morality, other belief systems must always submit to the Bible as defined by the dominant sect. Which is the point. It's not about the faith, it's not about glorifying the Divine. It's about power over. Through the priesthood. Through the princes, potentates, and politicos sanctioned by the priesthood. Power over. Politics.

Religion cannot be allowed the coercive power of government. Government cannot be allowed the moral justification of religion.

So instead of law handed down from on high (at least according to a priesthood with their own political agenda), let's see if we can find a moral keystone that isn't subject to religious edict. We don't have to look very far for the ethic of reciprocity. Don't do it if you don't want it done to you. It probably didn't originate in the West, but it is the keystone of Western Civilization. More importantly, it doesn't require sanction from the local priesthood to work. It's tied to self-interest, one of the strongest drives we have.

One of my parlor tricks is showing how an entire system of ethics can be built on the EoR.

The thing is, there is nothing in the EoR that displaces or contradicts the Bible. But there is everything against using Biblical authority to rule over others. So the only thing a monotheist has to surrender is their expectation of control over others. Which naturally just follows. If you don't want to be controlled, you shouldn't seek to control.

It is the only way that different belief systems can live and work together.

I never claimed anything else. I also never claimed that it came from on high.

The ethic of reciprocity does have advantages. It works whenever it's tried and does not require submission to gods that you might not worship or deferring to different religious rules.

Would you be willing to follow the rules and requirements of another faith if you had not chosen it? Even if it was for "the Greater Good?"

Is it really moral if you are not allowed to choose?

Then I choose not to follow a Biblical morality.

*reaches towards you and extends hand*

That gives you a choice. Do you force me? Or do you work with me for a mutually beneficial solution that isn't based on raising your faith above all others?
NeoNotes are the selected comments that I made on other boards, in email, or in response to articles where I could not respond directly.

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