Thursday, 10 May 2012

Carrot and stick



Guest post from pearshaped - a response to the atheists dilemma

In my view, one area religions tend to both struggle and excel in, is that of morality. I think of morals as barriers. Over time some barriers we build higher, some get eroded, others wiped out and somewhere fresh ones are built. They just tell others not to cross them out of respect for an individual or group. A typical religious person scared by a big threat and following a set of morals in an attempt to catch a carrot on a stick has an undeniable advantage over a nonbeliever.

But over a long enough time frame the moral landscape undergoes major changes. Such as, acceptance of slavery turns to outright disgust, or more relevantly stoning people to death becomes barbaric, and inevitably religion gets left behind as a snapshot of what morality once was. Frozen. 

A pretty major flaw and quite possibly one of the major reasons people in Britain seem to be turning their backs on religion in ever greater numbers. The last report I read claimed the non religious are now in the majority here (just). Although on closer inspection people still believe in God and possibly Jesus but reject organised religions especially the barbaric Old Testament bits that don’t fit in with modern life. Cherry picking, but I think these people can absolutely be more moral than both atheists and those Christians still clinging to the bible as literal truth.

But anyway, what then of our rulers, those who wish to control and exploit Europe? How could those who aspire to be Europe’s ruling class exploit the masses of today? Surely nothing so simple would work on today’s multicultural societies with firmly established religions?

Could they exploit any myths around the time they started their covert assault? Where to find a big enough and terrible threat comparable with eternal suffering? What carrot on a stick could be used to tempt instead of eternal life?

How can modern layers of complexity be used to control morality ethics, lifestyle law and thereafter be used to generate an oasis of wealth for the ruling class?

If truth runs behind deception, how best to continually shift the deception?

It was always going be science.

3 comments:

Roger said...

Maybe everyone genuinely feared God at some far distant time. Over time the priests then the kings twigged that the idea was a handy means of control - and a fiction - so don't let on - it would spoil the game. But now many people simply don't believe and many of those who say they believe harbour deep suspicions they are being fooled.

So can religion control a wised-up people? No. Instead we have the law, a pretty weak tool and we have peer group pressure - it is not nice to be despised. This last is effective but not so subject to central control - my peer group may like me but despise you. For example, at one end of society you are probably despised if you don't do shoplifting and drugs, at another corner of society you are despised for not fiddling your expenses. Perhaps a worldwide database recording our
deeds would hold us all to account - a sort of WikiSaintPeter.com.

What is curious is the hold religion has - in America being an atheist is pretty bad and don't mention the 'stans', in these
places intolerance seems the driver but step into Brazil say and the beauty of golden images in the churches seems to fit the
country perfectly, one could almost believe.

As for science, terribly interesting old boy but nothing whatever to do with power, silly sods believe in truth and facts - that will never do.

Demetrius said...

Is Earth part of God's margin of error?

A K Haart said...

Roger - "silly sods believe in truth and facts" and find funding difficult to come by.

Demetrius - I sometimes wonder if we are.