Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


IF VIRTUE IS IN THE MIND AS SOCRATES AND PLATO SAID THEN NOBODY CAN BE BLAMED FOR SIN THUS FREE WILL IS A PROBLEM DOCTRINE

Socrates and Plato said that all virtue is intellectual which implies that nobody is to blame when they do wrong (page 70, Moral Philosophy). In other words, if you are smart and know what you are doing you will not do wrong and if you do it is stupidity which is not your fault. In response to this, the Church says that though it is true that stupidity causes evil actions it is still a mistake to say that virtue is all intellectual. It says:

A. The will does not always follow what the mind knows to be right.

B. The voice of reason can be made faint under the grip of emotion and weakness.

C. The mind has to know what is right and impose its will on the body which rebels (page 73-74).

B and C really say the same thing that the body clouds the mind. That has no relevance to answering the problem for virtue can be intelligence through and through and still be twisted or silenced by powerful forces outside the intellect or thinking function. For example, when you are scared out of your wits, the intelligence is silenced for you cannot think. One of the oldest tricks used by religion is to give you reasons for believing in something that do not work in the hope that you will not think for we all tend to oversimplify out of laziness and or busyness so that the quantity of arguments for their position looks convincing if you donít study it out.

The first consideration, A, says that the will does not always follow what the mind knows to be right. It is invalid for it makes a profound logical error. Virtue is intelligence and that remains true even if the passions are unruly. You can believe you know something. But if it is untrue then you only thought you knew it. Knowing is a psychological state. The mind always follows what it senses it knows to be true in the sense of experiencing that it knows. However, only an objective standard can show if it really knew this.
 
A computer remains intelligent even if you put a virus in it for what the virus does is make the computer intelligently misinterpret itself. A man whose mind is set to think that 2+2=5 can be the most intelligent man alive. He is just wrong but that does not make him stupid. He has the virtue of intelligence. The Church is saying that though it is true that you can only do evil because you turn stupid, part of you knows what you are doing when you do wrong so you are guilty.
 
What happens when you know that something is right and do not do it but do the opposite? You have got a desire for it to be wrong and not right. The reason is that it would be more fun if it were wrong. The result is that what your intelligence sees as right is changed by the fact that the desire has appeared and made good look less good just like the man who sees 2+2=5 sees 2+2=4 as bad. The evil act is caused by a computer virus in the brain if you like. The more evil the act you perform the more deluded you were. So the worse the act the less responsible you are if you have any responsibility or free will at all. What happens is a defect in the intelligence hits it and you do wrong. You cease to know as well as you did before that the act was wrong. You may tell yourself as you do it that it is wrong but you do not really believe that anymore for you have to see it as good or believe it is good to do it.
  
To say as the Church does that evil is not a thing but a perverted good and that if evil were a thing there would be no solution for the problem of evil (Handbook of Christian Apologetics, page 132) and then to claim that virtue is not intelligence is to say that evil is the absence of intelligence which makes no sense as we have seen. Evil must be a real thing and not just a perverted good or perhaps it is not a perverted good at all but only a thing.

The main problem with A is that all our actions are caused by our feelings and our thoughts and the feelings are the most powerful element. Therefore A is the same as B and C and is to be condemned with them.

If you read no other discussion on whether free will is true you will have all the proof you need that free will is nonsense and tends to result in vindictive rationalisations.

We canít choose evil because it is evil but because we think it is good. Religion admits this though it obviously refutes the free will doctrine. But when you choose anything, it is not chosen because it is good or evil for when you only have one thought in your mind the very milli-second when the will acts, you are not thinking of it as good or evil. Suppose you had free will. If two choices were equally good and bad you would not be able to choose if you choose only what seems to be good to you. You would seize up. But if we are programmed we cannot seize up. If we are programmed then there is no such thing as real choice.

Finally, we love the desire we have for the thing we desire and not the thing itself. This is the doctrine of Maxim 175 of Friedrich Nietzscheís Beyond Good and Evil. And it is absolutely true. Some will find it silly for it seems to imply that you desire the desire and desire that desire and so on ad infinitum which we know by experience is not true. All Nietzsche meant was that anything we want it is not it we want but the happiness we think we are going to get from it. The one desire for happiness is behind it all and so there is only one built in desire for if you desire to be happy. We have no free will to care about God or man or ourselves and all we care about is our happiness which is why religion is has a problem with being rational and is prey to hypocrisy. You want money? It is not the money you want at all but how you feel about it. You want it for gratification. It is not money that causes you to feel that way - you just do.

LAST THOUGHT

Our psychology means we cannot use free will even if we have it.  Having it might make you feel free without being free!  You have eyes.  You feel free to see even though somebody has glued your eyes.  See the point?