Monday, December 01, 2008

They still don't get it!

In response to my post about the role of religion in society, Anonymous made the following comment.

You don't need religion, you need to effectively enforce the laws that are in place. If criminals think there is a high chance they will be caught and be given a meaningful sentence crime will reduce.

I've responded in the comments, but obviously I'm not getting my point across. So here goes again.

First of all, Anonymous wrongly equates the rule of law with observance of law. They are NOT the same thing! Anonymous is correct to say that observance of the law diminishes with the possibility of being caught and held to account for breaking a law and it is true that that further weakens the rule of law, but, more importantly, it means more people believing that they can break the law and not be held to account.

Tougher punishment and longer sentencing will prevent existing criminals from committing crimes while they are behind bars, but will not deter others from breaking the law if they believe they can get away with it.

However, if that rule of law is backed by the belief in an all-seeing, all knowing God then that means more people will believe that if they do break the law and even if the state never catches or punishes them then they will still, ultimately, be judged for their crimes.

It is incredible how atheists overlook this essential point about Christianity. If you knew that you could steal a million pounds without effecting anyone else and not ever be caught or punished for it, what would stop you doing it? What if you knew it would effect someone else, but you would still get away with it? What if it meant the death of someone else, but that you would still never be caught and punished?

Furthermore, Christianity does not just influence observance of the law, it also influences moral behaviour. For example, if more people believe in Christ, God and the Ten Commandments then fewer people would commit adultery. That would mean fewer divorces and fewer problems that family breakdown brings.

Now I appreciate that not everyone believes in God, but when it comes to the rule of law there is a simple choice to be made. The choice between a society governed by an omnipresent God or a society governed by an omnipresent state.

Which would you prefer?


Nick von Mises said...

So you are proposing we all believe in a ridiculous lie for the good of society? Might as well make that lie Socialism and kill us off a little quicker

Ginro said...

The following is an anonymous comment to a critic of Christianity I found on the Internet some time ago:

"Yes, a lie that would make men more loving, more patient, kinder, gentler, more humble, thoughtful, and peaceful. A lie that would lead to greater self-control, self-discipline, charity, and humanity. A lie that would bring upon the liar severe persecution and death. A lie that, the more they told it, the more odious and disgusting they would become to those people people who didn't believe it. Yes, people tell and believe those kinds of lies all the time, don't they?

Adolf Hitler told lies, for very obvious reasons, and for the very reasons that people DO lie--selfish, self-aggrandizement. Nobody, NOBODY, invents the kind of lie that will make them hated by all of mankind, tortured, and killed, the very antithesis of the self-interest that is the true motive behind every real lie. Your reasoning is not only ahistorical, it's the most pathetic attempt at disproving the resurrection I've ever read in my life."

TheFatBigot said...

The difficulty I have with your approach, Mr Stan, is that if someone doesn't believe in god he doesn't believe in god and there's nothing anyone can do to make him.

I can see that someone who believes there is a punishment far greater than 6 months in Pentonville might find that a more persuasive reason not to commit crime, but it by no means certain that it will have that effect. No doubt many Italian American businessmen in Las Vegas in the 50s and 60s were god-fearing but it didn't stop them being very naughty boys.

In any event, someone who follows the ten commandments because he thinks it is the right thing to do is in exactly the same position as someone who follows them because he believes they are god's law.

By the way, I am much saddened that there was no car to admire yesterday.

Stan said...

Nick: "So you are proposing we all believe in a ridiculous lie for the good of society?"

No - first off, to those who believe in God he is not a lie and seeing how even Darwin and Einstein could not come to the conclusion that there is no God I wonder what it is that makes you so convinced that it is a lie? (That's a rhetorical question, btw)

After all - something made the Big Bang happen didn't it? And don't you find it odd that thousands of years before the theory of the Big Bang was even considered the Bible said that at the very start God said "let there be light". What happens when you make a very large explosion in a perfect vacuum? Lot's of light but no sound? So thousands of years before anybody else thought of it, the Bible was putting forward the theory of The Big Bang more accurately than we do now (it should be The Big Flash, not the Big Bang - wonder why they didn't call it that?)

Secondly - as I have said before - the point is not to force others to believe but to not allow people who don't believe to force their view on others.

FB: "The difficulty I have with your approach, Mr Stan, is that if someone doesn't believe in god he doesn't believe in god and there's nothing anyone can do to make him."

As, I've said, FB - that's fine. The difficulty I have is the vast number of secular humanists - many of them conservatives - who go to great lengths to try and convince others there is no God. There have always been people who didn't believe, but it's only in recent years that they have actively sought to destroy the Christian belief system. As I pointed out in the original post, that was the intention of Gramsci - the grandadddy of cultural marxism - because he realised that the only thing standing between Europe and marxism was Christianity. It's not about making everyone believe, but understanding that the MORE people who do, the less we need to have the state scrutinising us at every turn. That's why, in my view, it is better to teach children about belief in God and allow them to make their own mind up when they become adults. Even if they end up rejecting God, the likelihood is that they will have a better understanding about what is right and wrong than if they didn't learn about God.

Finally, as I said in the post, in the absence of an omnipresent God you WILL get an omnipresent state - or as close as a state can be to being omnipresent. Personally, I prefer having a private spiritual being which can delve into every area of my private and public life rather than the public state. At least God doesn't leave the data CD on a train!

Anonymous said...


Just remember that the Islamists also believe in God.

Anonymous said...

Adolf Hitler told lies

Can you be more specific?

Im sure he did lie, as everyone does from time to time.

Stan said...

I'm aware of that Henry - but Islam is not Christianity. And as I've said before, in the absence of a strong Christian belief structure to act as a bulwark against Islam the chances of Islam becoming the dominant belief system of Britain increases.

And as I believe that there is nothing new under the sun and everything is cyclical I am certain that Britain will return to being a more spiritual nation once more. I'd prefer that to be the spiritualism of Victorian England rather than the spiritualism of medieval Arabia - but right now the latter is odds on favourite.

North Northwester said...

' Secondly - as I have said before - the point is not to force others to believe but to not allow people who don't believe to force their view on others.'

Hmm. That's more hopeful.

Maybe the job for a conservative non-believer like me who wants the good old days back would be to subvert the subversives and let the Christians get on with the job of re moralising the country.
That seems to have happened, in part, under the Reagan coalition in America.

The Christians and to a lesser extent the libertarians fought the culture wars [not very unitedly] against the Dems and the Left, and let the business and national security types get on with the Cold War and making the industry competitive.
It's better than letting the Devil and the State have all the best tunes.

How to start?

An atheist named Dawkins,
Discussed the Bang with Hawkins...