My Monday blog on The Constitution and the 10-Commandments received an overwhelming response from my multitude of readers (well, I got 2 responses). One, in particular I felt could be the subject of a new blog. The person asked the question of how one could have morality if they did not have religion.
In my world view I would say that was pretty easy. Our gods are man-made. We humans created God in our image. What they espoused in morality is whatever we wanted them to say. They were our puppets, after all. Up until the time that Johannes Gutenberg developed the printing press in the 15th century the bible was in a state of flux. Bibles were reproduced one at a time by monks. Changes were made – sometimes they were simple mistakes and sometimes very intentional.
I’ll give one example, one of the most famous stories out of the New Testament was when some rabbis came to Jesus with a prostitute. The rabbis asked Jesus what should be done. He asked what was usually done. They replied that she should be stoned to death. So Jesus said, well then, stone her to death and he who is sinless should cast the first stone.
That was a beautiful story illustrating a very benevolent god. Biblical scholars tell us that this story first appeared in New Testament in the 10th century. Hmmm, it took 1000 years before someone “remembered” to put it in????? My mind is boggled! I do boggle easily.
In 1787 Dutch and German Quakers officially expressed their disapproval of the slave trade. At first they encouraged their fellow citizens to improve conditions for slaves, educate them in Christianity and, gradually, free them. To make a long story short, as we all know, starting with the agitation of the Quakers, slavery in the western world was finally abolished. Owning a human is now immoral even though it really doesn’t say anything about that in the bible. In fact slavery is justified in both the Old and New Testament.
So, who said that slavery was OK? Let’s look at the at the pre-civil war Texas constitution:
…in this free government all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights [emphasis in the original]; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations (my emphasis) …
So, abundantly authorized… justified by God … revealed will …???? Good grief! I wonder how many ministers today would agree with that. Our morality changed. Did God change? Of course he did, we are the ventriloquists. We put the words in his mouth. We changed him! We modified him to suit our current definitions of right and wrong.
We humans will continue to do so. We know how to become more civilized as a people. We don’t need the crutch of religion.
It will just take time. Lots and lots and lots of time — and, unfortunately, probably a few wars, too.