See Through Duty

Duty is something you are under obligation to do. 

Duty is that which you must get no thanks for.

If there are no duties then there is no free will. If we do not have the freedom to carry out some good action, then we have no duty to carry it out. If we do not have the freedom to carry out some good action BECAUSE IT IS GOOD AND NOT JUST FOR OTHER REASONS EG SOCIAL PRESSURES then we have no duty to carry it out. We have no duty to think about carrying it out either. Without having the freedom to do something bad and cruel, then we have no duty to avoid doing so. There is more to good and bad than morality. It would be bad then in a sense if we did not have the duty to do good.

Duty according to many philosophers is set by a law or by the mind of an authority. They say a duty tells you that an act is valuable or meaningful so you must do it. But suppose there was no person who has authority. Then all you would have is the law. It is not your fault there is no person to give duties so you have to make do with laws. It would be odd to say that you need both law and the person in authority both. Half a reason to do something is fine if you cannot get any further. There is no absolute need then for a God or anybody to make rules. If you should care for your parents who fed you, this should is more important than anybody commanding it or saying it is what you should do. They cannot tell you what you should do unless the should is above even their authority.

Christianity claims that if there is no God there are no fundamental moral duties. But they contradict this by saying we can only believe that God exists or that Christianity is true. This means they are not certain of the duties - they merely believe they are duties. To sum up, they are saying there are no moral duties unless you believe in them. Even if it is true that there are no fundamental moral duties without God, the fact that we are forced to depend on faith in him is an obstacle. A moral duty is something you are not supposed to believe in but something you must know is true. If belief is enough then what if I believe I have a moral duty to bomb cancer wards?

Society tells you have a duty not to steal and you have a duty to look after your children and your parents etc. Society sees a difference between duty and generosity. If you look after your children you are only doing your duty. If you give a hundred dollars to a hungry child who you have never met before in the street that is considered generosity. Generosity is thought to be doing good that you don’t have to do. It is doing good that isn’t your duty to do.

The danger with duty is how it expects that the person who carries out their duties shouldn’t be as highly thought of as the person who practices generosity. With duty, you act without expecting thanks or deserving it.

The law can force you to carry out your duties as it sees fit. Once something becomes a duty, attempts can be made to force one to carry it out. To accept something as your duty is to accept that evil should befall you if you do not carry it out.

Duty is what binds you to live out its commands and threats are made if you don't cooperate. What does binding mean?

Does it just mean something you should do? Believers in duty say you don’t have a duty to give money to the beggar on the street. But they still add that it is something that you should do. Many people see it as a duty to help the beggar and others don’t.

Duty must mean something you should be compelled to do and you should suffer if you don’t. It is about force.

To be good people and to be well-balanced people and to reach the zenith of human potential we must reject the concept of duty. It matters not what people consider to be their duty or not their duty. What is of concern is that they do the good things required by duty but not as duty.

The duty belief stops you seeing how good you are. Jesus said that when you do all the good you can you must not appreciate yourself but say you only did your duty and were good for nothing. "When ye have done all those things which are commanded you, say We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do." The proper attitude is that what is called duty is an act of generosity. If I pay my bills, it is an act of kindness. If I walk by the stranger in the street I have kindly walked by that person and not hurt them. Duty stops you seeing how good other people are. Deny the existence of duty and advocate generosity instead.

The inventing of duties suggests that people are bad and need to be controlled and commanded. That is not a healthy message to be giving out.

Duty implies that what it requires must be done by you whether you realise that it is your duty or not. You must experience retribution if you fail in your duty. Duties are supposedly based on rights meaning you can be punished for not knowing your duty unless there is something wrong with you that prevents you understanding.


Hypothetically, if you murder out of a sense of duty then is that less bad than murdering out of spite?  Hypothetically yes.  Religion says it is no.  Is the belief that murder, even from a sense of duty, is still immoral correct? Some say it depends. It could be morally neutral for your attempt to do the right thing balances with the badness of murder.  Duty falls apart when you bring in thought experiments such as the hypothetical.  The hypothetical is not about what you do do but what you would do so it still shows the kind of person you are.

Duty implies you must not be thanked for doing your duty. When something is your duty, you are not entitled to a reward for it. Duty gives doing right a bad name. Duty deprives the person who wants to bestow gratitude on you. If they give you gratitude, duty calls it a lie.

The notion that there is a God seeks to impose more duties on us as if we do not have enough! Belief in God demeans us.

Suppose God made us out of pure love. We owe him pure love back - it is our duty to love him ultimately and wholly and completely. This means that when he wants us to be generous to him, we cannot be. There is no room for generosity to God. And if he wants us to love others and serve them, we must do it for him not them meaning all that is duty too. It is curious how religion insists that if there is no God there nobody to thank. If it is our duty to thank, then we cannot thank. Real thanks is reflecting the generosity of others back to them as much as you can. God religion is the enemy of thanks and generosity. When thanks comes from a sense of duty it is not thanks. Thanks given under a threat is not thanks. You cannot enjoy giving it much so it is not thanks.

Religion says we have a duty of obedience to God to become good people. Duty is based on the idea of owing. If I owe you money and you have no punishment for me, not even punishment for me in the form of disapproval, if I refuse to pay, then it follows I do not owe it to you at all anymore. If you say I do, you have no right to be taken seriously. By not making it a rule that you get paid, you are effectively saying you are not owed the money anymore. A rule with no price demanded of those who break it, is not a rule. Christians claim that they can sin and as long as they confess and get forgiven promptly they will be fine. This is really admitting that they do not have a duty to do good but only a duty to get forgiveness for their sins. That is a travesty of right and wrong. It is a mockery of those who suffer.

Duty even if necessary at times is not a nice idea. It means that you have no right to enjoy praying or doing anything for God because he doesn't need you and you owe it to him. If you enjoy it then well and good but you have no right to try to enjoy it. Just let yourself enjoy. And how could you enjoy it when duty is not about how you feel? If there is a divine force that is not bound to care how you feel how could you be really happy?

Duty is nonsense. It is a necessary evil at best. Therefore it is nothing to be celebrated. But we have found it is not even a necessary evil.

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