An Attempt To Explain
'Morality' To Mike Boston
Johan Grahn

Graphic Rule

From: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Grahn, Johan"
Subject: Re: Is there evil in the world?
Date: Thursday, February 01, 2001 10:19 PM

My argument against Mike was that he insisted on presupposing a specific world view (the Christian system of mythology) and then asking me to explain why this system is true. I do not wish to waste my time translating what he is saying into valid questions, because Mike has a history of trying to trip us up just for fun. I appreciate your effort to do just that, but I feel it is more important for me to address the essential dishonesty in Mike's approach -- that of expecting me to respond to a false premise -- than it is for me to rehash the subject matter of his particular trap. I engaged in this last year, during the "Atheism: A Position Of Convenience?" dialogue, only to discover at the end that he was merely contradicting whatever move I made. When he admitted that he was doing this just for fun, I wrote him off entirely, and chose not to engage with him on any terms other than that of complete honesty.

Meanwhile, yours is one possible explanation of where we get what Mike calls the notion of good and evil. This is still not to say that the notion itself is valid, however useful it may be in keeping the masses in line.

I hate to say it, but the origin of the concept of good and evil is mostly political, and has been popularized through the state religions of various cultures throughout history since the advent of the city-state. The popularity of the concept can be traced to the fact that those of us who dared to think beyond this convenient oversimplification were, for the most part, systematically put to death for opposing the state religion, and thus we never got much opportunity to populate the gene pool with those genetic traits which tend toward skepticism and Freethought.

Unfortunately for America, what little renaissance of Freethought we enjoyed during the eighteenth century was very racist and extremely sexist. It was assumed, for the most part, that religion was still good for (ex)slaves and women, and thus very little opportunity was made for these groups to engage in Freethought discussions. The suffragists, to be sure, picked up on the Freethought movement, but remained, for the most part, an isolated group. Had the American Freethought movement of the eighteenth century lacked racism, we might have been able to retain the cultural influence we once had. Now, though, the Freethought movements are rather quiet, remaining open mainly in the laboratories of science and the halls of the universities.

When we see that men like Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and even Ingersoll, and later Freethinkers such as Carnegie, Ford, and several others of great influence assumed that Freethought was the realm of the intelligent (meaning white) and the powerful and the male, we can see clearly why this movement did not last. In England, the movement did not have these problems at nearly the levels we had them. I cannot speak for the rest of Europe and would be interested in gaining insight as two how Europe has become so secular. I think this is the main reason why America's Freethought movement did not last, though, combined with the genetic predisposition toward credulity which has been (un)naturally selected into the species.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine
Five years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

Graphic Rule

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