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?

 


REVIEW: THE RIGHTEOUS MIND WHY GOOD PEOPLE ARE DIVIDED BY POLITICS AND RELIGION - JONATHAN HAIDT

Foreword

This book examines the deep social questions about the authenticity of our social and religious and political moral sense. There is nobody better to write such a book than Haidt who is a moral psychologist. He is regarded as one of the world's most original thinkers with regard to society and its moralistic ways. Not all agree as he thinks evolution has made us religious for our own good! This is a virtual admission that religion can only benefit some (and by implication invite the destruction of the rest) for evolution implies the Darwinist view of dog system eating dog system.Haidt (born 1963) is Professor of Ethical Leadership at Stern School of Business, New York University.

Quote: I chose the title The Righteous Mind to convey the sense that human nature is not just intrinsically moral, it’s also intrinsically moralistic, critical, and judgmental.

Analysis: This is an extremely good point. It is proof that religions that make rules we could do without or live without are bad. They are about passive aggressive judgement. Examples are the rule that you must attend Mass on feasts such as the Immaculate Conception or that you must have communion at least once a year.Even our dodgy morality as bad as it is would condemn that as immoral.It explains why people cannot stand their acts being judged even if it were the case that the person only judges the wrongdoing not the wrongdoer.It explains why liberal and progressive people are not these things at all but impostors.

Quote: My approach starts with Durkheim, who said: “What is moral is everything that is a source of solidarity, everything that forces man to … regulate his actions by something other than … his own egoism.”As a sociologist, Durkheim focused on social facts—things that exist outside of any individual mind—which constrain the egoism of individuals. Examples of such social facts include religions, families, laws, and the shared networks of meaning that I have called moral matrices.

Analysis: What are religions doing first in the list? Most religion is very individualistic - eg Protestants gathering together but agreeing on little in relation to faith matters. Hinduism or Buddhism do not insist on community involvement. Plus a religion that is only about bringing people together is not a religion at all but a social club. You can be sure that very doctrinal religions such as Catholicism and Jehovah's Witnesses do have a good share of secret atheists and closeted egoists in their ranks who say nothing and go along with it all! A religion is a system that involves people but it is not exactly the people. It is not that simple.Notice how morality is defined as solidarity with others. Religion would say it is solidarity with God. Solidarity is the alternative to our own egoism. So you compare working with others with working them for yourself. Comparison is a very joyless negative way to formulate a morality! Is it any wonder morality in any deep and proper sense has never been loved? Adding God into the mix with a pile of alleged duties to him only makes it more toxic. It explains why God has never really been popular even among believers. They compartmentalise - box God away to keep religion from being too involved in their lives.

Quote: He found that people make up their minds to condemn what you do rather quickly. It is when they are challenged as to why they condemn that they start coming up with post hoc harms that your action has done.

Analysis: This shows how vital it is to have no more or no fewer moral directives than what you strictly need. Religion has moral rules of its own that society tends not to agree with as a whole. Not everybody in every nation thinks it is a bad thing if you never say prayers. It is vital to get rid of religion for it has religious based morals. It creates moral issues to worry about that do not exist. To the human being, there is no wrong in failing to attend public worship on a Sunday. But there is if you are a Catholic. The more rules the more you are at risk of meaning to do wrong and the more you are likely to hurt others for you will think you may as well for you broke the religion's rules and became sinful anyway. Doing evil or doing perceived evil, which still makes you evil, leads to more evil. Sunday worship is insisted on in Catholicism. It says you murder your own soul by deliberately not going to Mass on Sundays - every Sunday and that you are saying no to true and eternal fellowship with the good holy people around you. So you are very bad indeed. Religion might say it loves sinners and hates sins. Evil towards others always involves objectifying them in some way. Objectifying in practice if not in your head is just as bad. To say somebody is a sinner and to ignore this and see them as a project to be rescued or prayed for is objectifying them. Not objectifying means seeing a person for as bad or as good as they are - no more and no less. In so far as you do not want to see so far do you objectify.Undoubtedly, those who preach love the sinner and hate the sin are liars. If such love is possible it is not practiced at all. If you love the sinner you will not be accusing and then trying to justify but you will put the horse before the cart.

Quote: We do moral reasoning not to reconstruct the actual reasons why we ourselves came to a judgment; we reason to find the best possible reasons why somebody else ought to join us in our judgment.

Analysis: This is another proof that religion has to be inherently passive aggressive. And people spread the religion not out of love but to reinforce their prejudices and to get others to be as bad as themselves. Only a miracle can stop us being that manipulative and religion promises moral and spiritual miracles but does not deliver. That in itself is passive aggressive too.If all moralists are passive aggressive then religion is just an addition to a problem that is already bad enough.Haidt's last word:You’re nearly done reading a book on morality, and I have not yet given you a definition of morality. There’s a reason for that. The definition I’m about to give you would have made little sense back in chapter 1. It would not have meshed with your intuitions about morality, so I thought it best to wait. Now, after eleven chapters in which I’ve challenged rationalism (in Part I), broadened the moral domain (in Part II), and said that groupishness was a key innovation that took us beyond selfishness and into civilization (Part III), I think we’re ready. Not surprisingly, my approach starts with Durkheim, who said: “What is moral is everything that is a source of solidarity, everything that forces man to … regulate his actions by something other than … his own egoism.” As a sociologist, Durkheim focused on social facts—things that exist outside of any individual mind—which constrain the egoism of individuals. Examples of such social facts include religions, families, laws, and the shared networks of meaning that I have called moral matrices. Because I’m a psychologist, I’m going to insist that we include inside-the-mind stuff too, such as the moral emotions, the inner lawyer (or press secretary), the six moral foundations, the hive switch, and all the other evolved psychological mechanisms I’ve described in this book. My definition puts these two sets of puzzle pieces together to define moral systems: Moral systems are interlocking sets of values, virtues, norms, practices, identities, institutions, technologies, and evolved psychological mechanisms that work together to suppress or regulate self-interest and make cooperative societies possible.I’ll just make two points about this definition ...First, this is a functionalist definition. I define morality by what it does, rather than by specifying what content counts as moral. Turiel, in contrast, defined morality as being about “justice, rights, and welfare.” But any effort to define morality by designating a few issues as the truly moral ones and dismissing the rest...is bound to be parochial.Second point ... Philosophers typically distinguish between descriptive definitions of morality (which simply describe what people happen to think is moral) and normative definitions (which specify what is really and truly right, regardless of what anyone thinks). So far in this book I have been entirely descriptive.My definition of morality was designed to be a descriptive definition; it cannot stand alone as a normative definition. (As a normative definition, it would give high marks to fascist and communist societies as well as to cults, so long as they achieved high levels of cooperation by creating a shared moral order.)