Skip to main content

True morality


I find his point about morality to be extremely valid.  If you're doing something because you're looking forward to some amazing reward that awaits you in heaven or because you're worried about going to hell, then you have no morality.  If you're doing the right thing because it's the right thing, that is true morality.

I believe it was Lawrence Kohlberg who listed five stages of moral development.  Obedience out of fear of punishment is the very bottom-most on his list.  Self-interest is the next highest.  So, in other words, according to Kohlberg (and you may or may not agree with him), obedience out of fear of a wrathful god or with the hope of receiving reward from god are at the very bottom of a person's moral development.  Certainly, not all religious people are at this stage.  I don't think Penn's trying to assert that.  But, it is true that most religions do teach that kind of morality.

At the very top of Kohlberg's list is the kind of morality that Penn is describing--that is using abstract reasoning to decide universally (not unequivocal--there may be exceptions) what is right and what is wrong and then to act accordingly.  Such morality cannot result from dogmatic organizations.  It cannot be the result of blind faith.  It can only be the result of rational thought based on reality.

I also like that he points out that atheists really don't all agree on everything.  We agree in one aspect--we all lack a belief in any god.  But, aside from that, we have all sorts of different opinions.  Some of us are liberal, some are conservative.  Some atheists may even oppose gay marriage.  But the whole point of being irreligious--the whole point of fighting against theocracy--is to allow people to disagree.  Let everyone have their opinion on everything and disagree on everything.  That's what it means to be a free thinker.  You don't accept other people's ideas just because they say so--that's dogma.  You listen to other people, weigh the pros and cons, and come to your own conclusion.

In this video, he laughs at Mormons openly.  But, if you watch his other videos and find out how he really feels, you'll see he's not really laughing at Mormons, he's just laughing at Mormonism.  Seriously, Mormonism teaches some pretty crazy things.  And he's just laughing at those beliefs.  He's laughing at the magical underwear.  He's laughing at the whole story of the golden plates and the 116 lost pages of manuscript.  But, he's very tolerant of people.  He thinks very highly of people.  In fact, he even says he doesn't think Romney's crazy--just that the teachings of the church are crazy.  Of course, he resolves that by concluding that Romney doesn't really believe all of the crazy teachings of Mormonism.  And, to be honest, I think that most people who claim a religion really don't believe the crazier things that the religion teaches.  But, anyway, the point is that he's a really nice guy and he does have a lot of respect for people.  Don't be offended just because he keeps saying "Mormons" and then laughing immediately afterward.

Popular posts from this blog

What's a gainer?

If you haven't already done so, I would suggest reading my previous post before reading this one.  It's sort of an introduction and gives the motivation.  Also, by way of disclosure, this post is not sexually explicit but it does touch on the topic of sexuality and how that relates to the subject at hand.

So, what is a gainer?  I'll relate, as best I can, the experiences I have gone through myself to help answer the question.  I remember when I was a young boy--perhaps around 6 or 7--I would have various fantasies.  Not sexual fantasies, just daydreaming about hypothetical situations that I thought were interesting or entertaining.  I had many different fantasies.  Sometimes I would fantasize about becoming very muscular, sometimes about becoming very fat.  
These fantasies varied in degree of magnitude and the subject of the fantasy.  Sometimes I myself would change weight--I would become muscular or fat.  Other times, I would do something to make other people fat or musc…

The scientific method vs the religious method

I find it interesting when people cite the fact that science keeps changing as a reason to disbelieve it and to believe instead in the "eternal" doctrines taught by some church or other.  Let's examine why science keeps changing.  Here's the scientific method.

Develop a hypothesis (this means "have a belief").Design an experiment to test the hypothesis.Conduct the experiment.Determine whether the hypothesis is believable based on the results of the experiment. This is why science keeps changing--because people notice flaws in it and correct them.  People once thought the solar system was geocentric, but now know that it's heliocentric.  How did this happen?  By using the scientific method.  Scientists are willing to admit that they're wrong.  They're willing to give up a bad idea when they see evidence that it makes no sense.  Contrast this with the religious method (simplified version). Have a belief.Look for evidence to support that belief.Ignor…

Cancel the gym

After I went to the gym this morning, I pulled in to the McDonald's drive through.  While waiting for my food, I played out in my mind a possible conversation I might have with someone concerning just this.  In fact, I have had many real conversations of similar nature.
"How was your morning?"
"It was good.  I went to the gym.  Then I grabbed a late breakfast at McDonald's on my way to work."
"Won't that cancel out?"
"Cancel what?"
"Going to McDonald's after the gym.  Won't that undo all the work you just did?"

I understand the humor.  I laugh about it.  It's funny.  And I think humor is an important thing, and that we should all laugh a little bit more and be offended a little bit less.  And so I write this not up-in-arms, but in the attempts of perhaps reaching some of those who literally believe this line of reasoning.

To the person who asserts that eating "cancels out" going to the gym, I ask just this…