[extropy-chat] The Bible Belt Paradox

Jef Allbright jef at jefallbright.net
Thu Jan 18 04:32:13 UTC 2007

Spike wrote:

>> pjmanney <pj at pj-manney.com> wrote:
>>> I had an epiphany the other night.
>>> <snip>
>>> If I'm wrong, do you have a better explanation for what shall 
>>> hitherto be known as The Bible Belt Paradox?
> Hmmm, bible belt paradox.
> Thru this discussion I have not seen any mention that the 
> bible is not a particularly good guide to ethics.  There is 
> some really horrifying stuff in there, just awful.  Teaching 
> by counterexample perhaps?  But even if we get past that, the 
> bible is very incomplete as a guide to ethical behavior.

In my opinion, the worst consequence of biblical ethics is the teaching
that one must surrender one's ethical judgment to a higher power, of
course by proxy via the priesthood.

IMNSHO, it's obvious that moral judgment MUST come from the self and
radiate outward in an expanding sphere of awareness of shared values
(that work over increasing scope, etc., etc.)

Most of the religious believers with whom I've discussed morality have
all replied along the lines of "how can you have morality without a
higher power?"

I could respond with "How do you drive to work in the morning if you
take your hands off the wheel?", but it's already clear there isn't
enough shared context for effective discussion.

I'm actually optimistic that enlightenment is continually taking root,
but disappointed that US fundamentalists will be among the last to join
the community of the aware and empowered.

Hey, has anyone heard the parable of the devout man and the Edsel that
could follow the path of righteousness without steering?

No, I haven't either.

- Jef

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