“Stars died so you could be here.” ~ Lawrence Krauss.
I’m an ethical person, not necessarily a “moral” one in the religious sense. As we know today, a sense of ethics – an inherent sense of right and wrong, predates organized religion. Altruism is a natural, innate attribute of our species. It is beneficial and integral to the survival and success of our planet to be altruistic, to be cooperative rather than not. This is why we, humans as a whole, tend to regard psychopathy as aberrant and horrifying. Innate ethics are a part of our evolution as a species. Without cooperation and love, we wouldn’t be here today with 3.8 billion years of evolution in our dossier.
Now what’s up with morality? Sometimes ethics and morality overlap, causing the two terms to be sometimes confused and regarded as solely synonyms. As a branch of philosophy, ethics deals with rightness and wrongness in human conduct. Typically, ethics is the secularized term whereas morality comes with all the dogma of its prescribed religion. I am very careful to distinguish secular morality from its religious variant. But, generally, when the term “morality” is thrown out, it comes with religious and/or dogmatic connotations. “Ethics” is often the word choice in regards to philosophy, legal issues, secular society, and a general sense of universal right and wrong.
Born and mostly raised in the South, religion is typically some brand of Christianity. Where Tennessee meets Alabama seems to be infested with creepy Pentecostal strands. The Deep South is prone to various brands of chauvinistic Baptists, but you will find those special “Flowers in the Attic” Catholics around the Gulf. And, of course, there’s the rich, inbred Presbyterians who send their kids to private schools that teach the world is six thousand years old… and we revolve on a turtle’s back or some dumb shit like that. Episcopalians… no. Just no. These diet Catholics love to claim “enlightened one” status but they’re just as bad in their own passive-aggressive way. In fact, it was Episcopalians that showed their entire ass to the hubs and me circa 2009. Hey, they thought they’d bagged themselves a physicist in my husband, as if this would so validate their brand of Christianity. Stupid people. In all my dealings with Christians, I have come to this conclusion: the only sense of goodness that Christians have is a shifting subjective morality. Their lives are like soap operas; every day there’s a new villain. It’s not difficult to be vilified by the average Christian. Just be yourself. That’ll do it.
Morality of the religious variety is not only dangerous, it’s deadly. Especially in regards to children and women’s health where needs and services are purposefully withheld on the grounds of some Iron Age belief system and its imaginary friend in spite of present day facts. Whether it’s a blood transfusion or antibiotics denied to a child, or the dark-age treatment of rape victims by Catholic hospitals, religious zeal and personal beliefs have no place in medicine, or in the application of clinical practice. From the receptionist, to nurse and doctor, to the administration of facilities, there’s a responsibility, ethical and legal, to attend the sick despite personal beliefs and issues. Beliefs systems and mythologies are just that – beliefs, not facts.
Morality is ever fluid according to the selfish, lecherous needs of its cult. The driving force behind religious morality is the lust for power of the top elite. And it’s just not your purse strings they want – it’s your personal autonomy. Everything meaningful and enjoyable is demonized as a worldly pleasure. The insistence of focus on an afterlife, and the threat of damnation, is a ploy to get the sheep to take their focus off of the very real world. Stealing your sexuality is the main cornerstone of the cult of religion. And the entire anti-abortion crap is a grab to control the threshold of life, stealing women’s very own bodies from them. The “immorality” of sex between consenting adults, suppression of female sexuality, and ridiculous demonization of masturbation results in the maniacal crimes such as female genital mutilation and infant trafficking (adoption). (A quick note on FGM: Christians in Africa mutilate girls and women too. It’s just not an Islamic crime against humanity.)
Sex is natural. When natural sexual urges and needs are demonized and made taboo, perversion is the result. This is why “moral” people are child molesters. Think of all the Catholic and other religious scandals involving church schools, charities, legal kidnapping rings. The Mormon Church has their like scandals in abundance, as do Jehovah Witnesses. The Mormon Church is the American answer to the Catholic Church. Both are plagues on humanity, especially women and children. Both pimp out dogmatic morality used to separate mothers from babies. The crimes committed against women and children is where morality goes from being the petty dogma of a really stupid idea to a universal evil.
Religious morality, simply put, is the stilted and petty dogma of religion(s). The difference between a cult and a religion is the amount of real estate owned. And that’s largely it. Any religion that extols cutting on genitalia is sick – creepy, creepy sick. How does a cult grow into a religion? Real estate and members. It’s no wonder that the religious right – in the 21st century – has a war on birth-control. When a new religion, or new brand of a current religion, surfaces, there’s another brand of morality. Morality isn’t necessarily ethical. There’s nothing righteous in preaching “god hates fags.” Often, morality isn’t even legal, as in the case of child abuse at the hands of the religious. There is no universal truth to morality, no law of gravity or mathematical theorems. Morality is just the sanctimonious bullshit of religious creeps and sheep.