Life After The Afterlife

Is it possible for humans to have a transcendent moral code if they no longer believe in an afterlife? Some Christians today argue that it is impossible to have any sort of morality without belief in Christ, but that’s largely a self-serving claim. God’s role in the affairs of man, in the Christian context, is primarily as the ruler of Heaven. Those, who live a moral life, a Christian life, will spend eternity in Heaven at the foot of Christ. The people who live wicked lives, will be condemned to an eternity out of the sight of God.

All of the word’s great religions have an afterlife. The Abrahamic faiths, of course, all share a similar conception of Heaven and Hell, with God ruling the former and Satan ruling the latter. Eastern religions have more esoteric and mystical approaches. Buddhists believe in a cycle of death and rebirth. Through eventual enlightenment, they hope to escape this and achieve Nirvana, an end to suffering. Hindus believe that through knowledge and wisdom, you can achieve a liberation of the soul in the afterlife.

The conception of an afterlife as a reward and an escape from human suffering is relatively new to humanity. The Greeks did not have an afterlife. A Greek lived his life so he would be remembered. Maybe his shade would end up in Hades, but that was not much of a reward. The morality of the Greeks assumed that punishment for angering the gods happened in this life. Sacrifices to the gods were all about getting good fortune now, not after death. The gods played an active role in the affairs of man, only while he lived.

The Egyptians had an afterlife, but it was only for the elite. Given their habit of burying servants with the dead, the afterlife could also include the attendants. Like the great man’s other possessions buried with him, it was assumed he would need some slaves and servants once he entered the afterlife. It does not appear that this conception of an afterlife spawned a corresponding moral code. It was not a reward for a life lived well, but a reward for having been born to the right parents and the right station in life.

It is largely believed that the people who gave mankind the concept of an afterlife, one open to everyone who lived righteously, were the Zoroastrians. They believed those who lived on the side of good spent the after life in the House of Song, which they also called the Abode of Light. The Zoroastrians taught that everyone, who followed a proper code, could live forever and that the soul mattered. Those who sided with evil in this life would be condemned to an eternity of darkness and torment.

The Zoroastrians also gave us the duality of God on one side and Satan on the other. They used different terms. Ahura Mazda is the creator of the world and father of the two spirits, Spenta Mainyu and Angra Mainyu. The former is the “good” spirit, the latter, is the destructive  and evil one. This conflict between good and evil is central to Zoroastrianism and provided the foundation of their moral philosophy. It is also the first known example of a religion basing a moral code on something beyond the here and now.

The Jews picked this up from their time in captivity. The Pentateuch has no reference to Satan, but the Book of Job, written much later, has the familiar Satan figure. In Daniel, Heaven and Hell appear for the first time. Given the history of the Jewish people at this time, it is most likely that they borrowed these concepts from the Zoroastrians. The Satan that Jesus describes is pretty much the Zoroastrian Angra Mainyu. Christian morality is entirely built on the concept of the afterlife and the battle between good and evil.

This is why Nietzsche blamed the Zoroastrians for morality. He and most Europeans scholars of the age were familiar with Zoroastrianism and understood its influence on the Abrahamic religions. Thus Spake Zarathustra is his effort to turn Zoroastrian moral philosophy on its head. Rather than an eternity of good versus evil, he has an re-imagined Zarathustra discover his error and correct the mistake of morality. Nietzsche is a tough read, but the implication is there can be no morality without the supernatural.

The question for our age is can we maintain a moral code when no one believes in God or an afterlife? This is clearly something our betters struggle with, even though they don’t think of it in these terms. The New Religion that Progressives are trying to impose upon us has no explicit god or eternal reward for the faithful. Instead, they are forced to conjure mystical stand-ins like the “tides of history” or appeals to nature. Even their appeals to science are really just appeals to an unnamed and mystical deity.

Right wing Progressives suffer from the same dilemma. It’s not an accident that you never hear conservative pundits make explicit appeals to Christian morals or even Jewish morality. Instead, they argue that Donald Trump is immoral because he vexes the shade of Ronald Reagan or Bill Buckley. They may not come out and call these guys deities, but they certainly treat them as prophets. Put another way, lacking any moral authority they have turned Reagan and Buckley into apostles of a messiah that is never mentioned.

This is, of course, the root of our current cultural troubles. For example, on whose authority was racism made a mortal sin? If it is, what happens when you commit this crime? From whom do you ask forgiveness? If the racist and the anti-racist molder in the same ground together after death, what’s the point of being a devout anti-racist? Perhaps that’s the real reason Progs are digging up Confederate soldiers. They lack an afterlife beyond the graveyard, so that will be their heaven and only the righteous will be buried.

Now, it does not follow that we are condemned to an age of might makes right. The Greeks got along fine without worrying about the afterlife. They did have a set of gods, who had to be mollified. Otherwise, bad things would happen to man in this life. Given the shape of our nature cults and the fanaticism of our secular elites, it is clear that we have not evolved past the point of needing a transcendent morality. That suggests some new deity will replace the Christian god and we get a new conception of the afterlife.

Alternatively, the recent efforts to fashion a civic religion will founder as it lacks the necessary moral authority to induce voluntary compliance. The Christianity that flowered in the middle ages may be on the ropes, but something new will surely spring from its ruins. Perhaps the flood of Islam into the West is part of that process. That’s not to say that the West will embrace Islam, but that the soul abhors a vacuum. Maybe we are on the edge of a great religious experiment, like that which birthed Zoroastrianism.

131 thoughts on “Life After The Afterlife

  1. Late to the show.

    “The Egyptians had an afterlife, but it was only for the elite.”

    No, it varied depending on whether you were royal or nonroyal. You brought with you your valuable possessions in the afterlife to enjoy the fruits of your labor if you were a member of royalty. For those who lacked that distinction, you were buried with your meager possessions, but you would still experience life after death. Everyone desired to be mummified as elaborately as possible and be placed in well-kept tombs. Of course, not everyone could afford an equal kind of afterworld. The elite had a very plush existence, and the poorer people compensated by having prayers and incantations said at the funeral to speed them through.

    “It is largely believed that the people who gave mankind the concept of an afterlife, one open to everyone who lived righteously, were the Zoroastrians.”

    

No, it was the Egyptians with their worship of the god Osiris, honored by the people there since He opened the door to the afterlife for everyone.

    “The New Religion that Progressives are trying to impose upon us has no explicit god or eternal reward for the faithful. Instead, they are forced to conjure mystical stand-ins like the “tides of history” or appeals to nature. Even their appeals to science are really just appeals to an unnamed and mystical deity.”



    Except Progressivism is NOT a religion; it is a political ideology. So you are crafting your argument from a false premise. Certainly people can “worship” or “revel” a particular political party and its tenets. and they can religiously adhere here to political dogma. But this behavior in and of itself does not result in the formation of a “new religion”.

    “Instead, they argue that Donald Trump is immoral because he vexes the shade of Ronald Reagan or Bill Buckley.”



    No, Trump is immoral—like his counterpart Bill Clinton—because he consistently breaks several of the Ten Commandments. That is the hypocrisy of those evangelicals who helped to put Trump into office. And some continue to refer to him as a “God Emperor”. I thought good, real Christians ought not to worship false idols.


    “For example, on whose authority was racism made a mortal sin?”

    God and the Bible.

    “If it is, what happens when you commit this crime?”

    
God will judge Ye.

    
“From whom do you ask forgiveness?”

    The Lord.

    • Pretty much everything you have here is wrong. You’re locked into an antiquated mode of thought that frame’s the world to reinforce the views of the Left. This is a well known defect of “Bible believing Christians.”

  2. Pingback: Post-Christian Liberalism | The Z Blog

  3. This post is based on the unstated assumption that human beings are semi-rational, rational enough to figure out how to get some promised afterlife, but not rational enough to see the obvious logical flaws in any such afterlife. Why make this assumption about future humanity?
    It also makes the unstated assumption that acceptance of a religion is a rational process, when everything indicates it is an emotional one, not a rational one. The design of a new religion depends greatly on which assumption you adhere to. I have a blog discussing this in more detail:
    improvingbuddhism.bravesites.com

  4. Some problems. 1. It is not “self-serving” to have an opinion that is different, any more then a person writing an article like this is self-serving when he calls OTHERs’ motives that. It is a difference of opinion; we start sounding like the left when we gratuitously slur the views of others.

    2. “The Abrahamic faiths” sounds as thought there are several. There are two. islam is a totalitarian political ideology created a by a man whose life example did not warrant the followers he has, most of whom are born or brainwashed into the cult. Sad, but true.

    3, To state carelessly that islam coming into the First World may lead to a solution (to a problem that millions do not believe exists) is dangerous in that it is comparable to saying the current vogue for socialism may help solve the problems of capitalism or admiration for the Castro brothers means that a dictatorship might improve the Constitutional system we follow. islam is a threat to the country and to look at it not in that way, but as a possible solution to a problem that only some feel we have is to normalize the idea that it is just another set of beliefs, no better and no worse than any other. This kind of cultural equivalency is harming Western civilization tremendously.

    Just some thoughts that occurred as I read this…

  5. Beauty is a testament of a God, of a Grand designer, and an eternal afterlife. Otherwise we are all mad to allow ourselves to be transported by good music and visuals to the stratosphere, feeling more than human and more like angels with endless possibles to match our passions and ambition. Would practical, utilitarian evolution really play such a grand joke on humanity just to hard wire us to create and revel in such artistic explorations and delusions as a mere mental narcotic to help us pass the time before we become food for the worms? I think not. As C.S. Lewis advocated, earthly beauty is the doorway to a greater truth. Otherwise, it is madness, just sound and fury signifying nothing as most modern art is today, a reflection of despair and nihilism by those who have lost belief in the divine and a spiritual progression into eternity.

  6. Thank you for the interesting article. Even the comments were intriguing. I have been an atheistic Buddhist for many decades, so some of the assertions were hard to take, but one thing really caught my eye: the claim at the end of the post that something new was in the wind. I have a blog dedicated to that concept:
    http://improvingbuddhism.bravesites.com/

  7. In Christianity, one does not and cannot earn heaven. Since the Fall of Adam and his posterity, man knows good but does evil and daily increases his guilt before God. One goes to heaven by believing in Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, as the final sacrifice and payment for sins.

  8. “That suggests some new deity will replace the Christian god and we get a new conception of the afterlife.”

    But what new deity? From where? There’s nothing on the horizon. Islam doesn’t qualify; it’s not a new religion. It’s old. It’s been around for 1500 years, long enough for people to have thoroughly examined it and found it useless to all but the most primitive tribes. It has no secrets, no fresh revelation. We’ve seen everything it has to offer, and it’s no more convincing now than it was a thousand years ago. Like multiplying bacteria in an infected wound, the growth it’s displaying now is more a demonstration of the weakness of a deracinated West, than a proof of its own vigor.

    I can buy the idea that God in his wisdom is turning the page, and the Christian churches that created the West have served their purpose and now will be replaced, but I look about me and can see no sign of any new chapter about to begin.

    • Humanity survived eons without a dominant organized religion , relying on folkways and folk customs and tradition for moral teaching

      This works fine except perhaps its doesn’t scale to larger societies in the way Christianity does. That’s a valid concern but its kind of predicated on scale being a good idea or more importantly it being possible

      The later is far from certain, we may well be entering a new Dark Age and larger societies simply will have no place in it for a few centuries

      In any case it take a mere few decades to create new traditions (c.f the modern Santa Claus) and those that work, survive.

      If for some reason the Abrahamic religions vanish humanity will keep on, keeping on and won’t notice them gone.

      Now as to the afterlife question, pyrrhus makes a good point there .There is evidence for reincarnation more so than any of the other religious afterlives . Its by no means proven and amusingly requires no Gods or transcendent purpose to occur.

    • Not a new deity, but a new age to be herald in by God, who created us, the Millennium. The signs are there. If there is no God and the event doesn’t come on its own accord, well, the best we got to look forward to is any number of dsytopia’s, and the worst, extinction by any number and combination of events, becasue its plain as day we cannot solve our own problems, and are victims of our flaws.

  9. “Is it possible for humans to have a transcendent moral code if they no longer believe in an afterlife? ”

    Kind of. Something like that goes on daily in large swaths of other hemispheres. See Theravada Buddhism in Thailand and SE Asia. It’s worked quite well for about 2500 years.

    I’ve contended for many years that Buddhists act more like Christians than avowed Christians do. Of course, having no experience of it, being conditioned by the indoctrination of their cultural upbringing, and not really caring much about these things to begin with, nobody pays much attention. I don’t expect to get a whole passel of upvotes here either.

    Of course, purists will say that since the Buddhists are all about reincarnation and karma that they don’t count. Sort of right. But the end goal of all lives is the cessation of existence. So I say on technical grounds Buddhism qualifies.

    It’s really kind of an elegant solution to the justification of moral code problem.

    • Too generalized to put all Buddhists and all Christians into boxes in that way. Besides, there can be quite an overlap — also with other disciplines, as mentioned above, esp now with quantum theory. I have found my faith grows as I read the Bible with an open mind and communicate with God in the same way…it has about as much to do with the churchgoing I did as a child as quantum physics has to do with arithmetic.

      That churchgoing was only to provide a grounding, a basis, a framework, for later spiritual development and Christianity in my life, just as the intense study and “taking refuge” in a school of Tibetan Buddhism was for me at uni. It’s kind of like, at least for me and those I’m closest to, forget all the standard, traditional things you’re “supposed to believe” – sure, we all look like hypocrits otherwise — seek, search, pray, read, observe, dream , meditate, watch for signs, immerse yourself in other ways of developing your soul. What Jesus taught and who he was is so much deeper and wider than what is taught in Sunday school that it’s impossible to say, “but when I was a child….

  10. Quite a few of us believe in the immortality of the soul, and in reincarnation. Read the accounts written by Eben Alexander (Harvard neurosurgeon), Anita Moorjani (Dying to be me), or Dr. Brian Weiss (Yale psychiatrist and head of psychiatry at a prominent hospital) (Many Lives many Masters).Not to mention billions of people in Asia. And many of us have had near death experiences or other profound spiritual experiences…Many quantum physicists became mystics of one sort or another, because the double slit experiment shows that consciousness determines physical outcomes.Entanglement presents similar problems…
    Western materialism has failed, because it ignores reality.

  11. You asked:
    >The question for our age is can we maintain a moral code when no one believes in God or an afterlife? This is clearly something our betters struggle with, even though they don’t think of it in these terms.

    Does religion actually affect people’s moral behavior? I decided not to be a Christian when I was a child largely because I noticed that not a single Christian that I knew even respected the idea of trying to live up to what the adults told us was Christian morality: turn the other cheek, give all you have to the poor, etc.

    It seems to be just a myth that there is a connection between people’s professed religion and their sense of morality.

    • Dave;
      Respectfully, there’s only one sure way to avoid being a hypocrite: Have no standards at all. Otherwise, at some point, you too will fall short.

      Are churches full of hypocrites_? Absolutely_!!!

      That’s because we’re all sinful, fallen human beings and NO body can live up to God’s standards. The great news is, we don’t have to. What we do have to do is accept God’s free gift of Christ’s death on the cross in our place. And then after that to do our best, knowing it will never be enough, but also knowing that the matter is settled.

      • “What we do have to do is accept God’s free gift of Christ’s death on the cross in our place”

        All due respect, Al, but this simple statement is the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to wrap my mind around. And I cannot, at this point, honestly say that I do. Therefore, the loving, Christian God will send me to hell for eternity. Some God, some “free will” choice we have to make.

      • Al,

        You misunderstand what I was saying.

        What bothered me was not that they failed to live up to their own standards but rather that they exuded enormous contempt for the very idea of someone actually trying to live up to those standards.

        I.e., they thought that someone who systematically turned the other cheek, gave all he had to the poor, etc. was quite bonkers.

        And, I agree: why shouldn’t a person defend himself?

        But, that shows that there really is something seriously wrong with Christian morality and therefore with Christianity.

        • @ Dave and Robert.. You both have had a similar experience common to most (former or current) Christians. That is an early exposure to contradictory, nonsensical doctrine and hypocrisy. Yes Dave, you’re right–it is hypocrisy when people attack others within their own religion who are only making an honest attempt to follow its tenets. Maybe some envy too… But it happens a lot.

          What you guys need to understand though is that most Christians aren’t deliberate hypocrites or irrational religious nuts, but are merely products of their religious education. That’s to say, they’re mostly deceived in what they think their religion is and actually quite ignorant about the rest.

          Unfortunately, you are the end products of their very bad examples; you have been turned away from your Creator God—in large part—as a consequence of His followers’ ignorance of His Word. Which is really inexcusable as we now have the entire written Word of God (and countless expositions, commentaries and translations) freely at hand—today, right now—when for almost ALL of our history, we did not. Remember it wasn’t all that long ago that men went to their violent deaths for merely copying or possessing the Christian scriptures!… A Bible in those days was more precious than gold, even more than a man’s own life.

          So instead of lamenting how others have failed in their religion (or have represented something which sounds like nonsense or wickedness), why not get your own copy of the Bible (stick with a traditional translation) and read it for yourselves? Then you will discover that so many of the so-called Christian tenets (like ‘eternal hell’ and ‘Christian pacifism’ and ‘the Jews are God’s chosen people’) are patently false. It will take some effort on your part. The pay-off is incomparable…

          Fact is, most of the Christians you’ve ever had experience with have NEVER read their own Bibles and really couldn’t explain even ONE of their fundamental doctrines to you if pressed. They simply parrot what they’ve heard or think they’ve heard. And like Z-man’s post, is almost 100% WRONG.

          If you truly are seeking the Truth, don’t take anyone else’s word for it. Find out for yourselves what your God has said and ask Him to guide you. Start in Genesis and work your way to the end of Revelation. You also have no excuse to remain ignorant, and no excuse will be granted in the judgment. Why should it be?

          Of course all of the above counsel is coming from a confirmed heretic who “should be burned at the stake”…or crucified on one. Like the other heretics of the Bible; Jesus, all of his apostles and just about every prophet of God who walked the earth.

          • Tekton wrote to me:
            >What you guys need to understand though is that most Christians aren’t deliberate hypocrites or irrational religious nuts, but are merely products of their religious education.

            Of course. I do not hate most of the people in the church my parents took me to (though I am still a bit angry at those adults who tried to “scare the Hell” out of kids).

            But Tekton also wrote:
            >So instead of lamenting how others have failed in their religion (or have represented something which sounds like nonsense or wickedness), why not get your own copy of the Bible (stick with a traditional translation) and read it for yourselves?

            The church my parents took us to was really strong on Bible reading. I’ve had my own copy of the KJV for over fifty years and I also own the NEB. I have read the NT in its entirety and big chunks of the OT.

            And, the doctrines I quoted are really in the NT.

            I have also compared different sections of the NT and seen the internal contradictions (to take an obvious example, Mt. vs. Lk. genealogy).

            The truth is that it is very often those of us who know more about the Bible than most Christians who reject Christianity, precisely because we do know a lot of the Bible.

          • “And, the doctrines I quoted are really in the NT.”

            They are not. You imagine they are.

            I’ve also been a life-long student of the Bible, so I understand your confusion. But I can also attest that the Scriptures do not contradict. It is you who do not understand… When you read the scriptures with the idea that you already understand them, you will get out of them exactly what you expect. Or nothing at all. No doubt your ‘church’ indoctrination preceded your own personal study of the Word. Therein lies your problem.

            You really want to know why you don’t “get it”? Do a study on the word “blind” in the scriptures.

            https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=blind&qs_version=KJV

            And as I said before, there are no ‘perfect’ translations of the Bible. Certainly the KJV has its share of errors. The translators were men who had biases and an agenda. That is why a single word which means “grave” can be translated into “hell” half the time… Or the Hebrew word, “Satan” left untranslated part of the time, and as “adversary” the rest. You, as a student of scripture, must earnestly study this out… God rewards all those who “diligently seek Him”. Get an interlinear Bible. Learn to do Greek and Hebrew word studies. Your resources and study tools are nearly unlimited.

            And God in fact CONCEALS His Truth to all but those who earnestly and humbly seek Him out. (A fact certainly not taught in the churches!) If you have a chip, lose it first, and approach God with an honest heart—admitting you really know nothing. Then start again at the beginning.

            On the other hand, there are none so blind as those who will not see… Perhaps you’ve already “decided” Christianity is wrong. That’s a precarious position to be in… and a hopeless one as well.

            A consistent Bible doctrine that threads throughout the scriptures is that the MEEK (the humble, contrite of heart) will “see God”. Indeed, Christ said they will “inherit the earth”. HOW will they do this? By understanding His word. That day is coming for those who fit the description:

            “And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness. The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 29)

          • Tekton wrote to me:

            And God in fact CONCEALS His Truth to all but those who earnestly and humbly seek Him out.

            Well.

            That pretty much says it all.

            Look: I have spent a good deal of time over the years studying the Bible. There are numerous clear and obvious falsehoods and contradictions.

            But… you tell me that if only I study it harder using your secret superlative super-human methods… well, then I will understand what God “CONCEALS” from most readers.

            Maybe. And maybe if I spend the rest of my life studying the writings of L. Ron Hubbard or Muhammad or Ayn Rand or Hitler or Lenin or Jack Sprat, I will somehow manage to find the “Truth” that is “concealed” within their writings.

            Or maybe sometimes a mishmash of falsehoods and contradictions is really just a mishmash of falsehoods and contradictions. And maybe sometimes the “Truth” seems to be “concealed because it is not there at all.

            I think any sane person can perceive which is more likely.

        • Jesus taught that there were many levels to what he was doing. He taught the disciples things that the Bible does not touch upon. Perhaps at another point in your life, you will see the whole concept of what “fighting back” entails differently than you do now. I have realized levels and layers of Christian teachings at various times of my life that did not occur to my before. I believe most of us, the older we get, do this more. We only understood parables as a child. Now we understand more, and this increases the more we communicate on a personal level with God. Reading others who struggle with great truths helps with this. I have found, as I mentioned before, Buddhism and Stoicism, as well as Kaballah (on a very elementary level to be helpful over the decades I have been on this planet and trying to comprehend.

    • another interpretation of that is to turn the other cheek as a way of showing that you are so beyond that that it is of no difference to you, in a way that is shared by Buddhism and Stoicism.

  12. I realize this post was not meant to be a Ph.D. thesis on religious history, but a lot of this was really more complicated.

    Greek heroes could end up in the Elysian Fields. The Egyptians had a myth about the heart of the deceased being weighed to see if he had been a good person, and the concept of the Egyptian afterlife was being democratized as time passed. And, officially in Buddhism, Nirvana is the cessation of existence, not really an afterlife (I realize that popular forms of Buddhism vulgarize the concept).

    Anyway, the great “salvation religions” only go back two or two and a half millennia. So, if we return to morality not based on salvation religions, we will just be returning to the human norm.

    Dave

  13. I’m a not all that devout Catholic. I fell away from the Church as a college student but like many, after the kids arrived, I realized my principled opposition to organized religion was based mostly on an unwillingness to get up on Sunday mornings. I was a Lutheran for 20 years, but left when we called an openly gay minister. So it was back to the one true church for me- it’s still holding the line, sort of, at least if I pretend that Catholic Charities doesn’t exist.

    Any philosopher that I am, I have come to the conclusion that, while individuals can be good without God, and I think I mean an Abrahamic God, but am open to other notions, societies cannot. The part of the underclass I see (mostly white and rural) is completely godless. I gather the same is true of our urban proles. And as for our elites- I live in a college town where regular church attendance is looked upon as evidence of mental defect. We are in deep trouble unless this changes.

  14. Theodore Beal (aka Vox Day) makes the case that Jesus was a racist by his slight of the Samaritan woman.

  15. The whole point of social animals is to minimize expensive force. The most cunning way we have done this is with divine judgement, and God “willingly and vigilantly” culling the transgressors after death.

    The problem with the progressive plan is that there is no divine judgement to deal with the malefactors after death. Thus the rulers must do the divine judgement thing with real and fallible police and political force right here on Earth. I would not say they are doing very well with this plan.

  16. I recommend you all read the book “Conversations With God” by Neale Donald Walsch for some very interesting ideas about God, Christianity and the Afterlife. He proposes a friendly God of all things, not the Jesus-is-the-only-way one of the Bible. Far too much to summarize here, but I, as an old man facing imminent demise, found it fascinating reading.

  17. Christianity is either true or not, and I believe it is true.
    Others have detailed the subtleties missed in the post.

    But to the point, at some point, even if a trillion years from now, if we do not have souls, whatever form humanity takes then will end. Entropy. Heat death. The last livable planet. The star providing the last human brain computer servers goes dark.

    Yet if we are immortal souls, it changes everything.

    If we all have a dirt-nap in a few years or decades, then pleasure is to be maximized, and at best if you happen to have children, may provide for them.

    If we all will exist beyond death, then time preference should be infinite, or at least we ought to discover how to maximize the eternal life, even at the expense of the temporal.

  18. “Those, who live a moral life, a Christian life, will spend eternity in Heaven at the foot of Christ.”

    While often stated thusly, the sentence above wholly misrepresents the Gospel. Morality is a good thing, but no one is saved by living a moral life, whatever that means. Rather, the Bible teaches that those who will spend eternity with Christ are those who have faith that Jesus was crucified and died to pay the debt of sin for the whole world and rose again on the third day.

    Salvation by morality or rule-keeping is the rule in all other religions (or at least all other major religions).

  19. 1. I’m not sure we need a new religious revolution.
    2. This from the Greek book of the dead attributed to Homer:
    Then I saw Lede, wife of Tyndareus, who bore him those Stout hearted twins, Castor the trainer of horses, and Polydeuces the great boxer, both of whom are still alive, though the fruitful earth has received them in her lap. For even in the world below they have been singled out by Zeus; each is a living and a dead man on alternate days, and they are honored like the gods.

    Also, Greek funerary art commonly shows the spirit of the dead represented by the flight of a bird either flying from the dead or from a cage. Not the bleak outlook that has become the caricature of that age.

    3. Everything I’ve read indicates that Job predates the writing of the Pentateuch, and therefore can’t be attributed to the influence of the Persians. It may actually be Babylonian.

  20. If you define morality as a set of rules that governs people’s behaviour then, yes, you can have a morality without God. But does that “morality” matter?

    Who gives a shit about Kumbayah Ethics once you’re dead. A moral code without consequences for flouting that code is meaningless and a simple matter of personal preference rather than something more substantial.

    The power of the Judging God is what gives the moral code some teeth. Being judged in the afterlife means that even death provides no means of escape for those who flout the moral order. An eternal unchanging God means an eternal unchanging ethic.

  21. I see two complete and total misunderstandings of Christianity in the first paragraph.

    “Some Christians today argue that it is impossible to have any sort of morality without belief in Christ, but that’s largely a self-serving claim. ”

    I’m sure some Gomer McChurchpew might say this, but not anyone with theological education. The argument that Christians (and other religious people, for that matter) make is that non-religious moral codes are inherently arbitrary, and in fact most non-religious people more or less adopt the moral code given to them by the dominant religion of their culture, even if they deny the religious claims behind it.

    Not getting into whether that’s an true or not, but it’s certainly a stronger and more sophisticated argument than what you represent.

    “Those, who live a moral life, a Christian life, will spend eternity in Heaven at the foot of Christ. ”

    This also is the kind of thing some people might say, but not anyone that’s at all educated about actual Christian belief. Christians have always held that salvation was not about good works, but unmerited grace. They differ on what exactly that grace is, how one obtains it, how it works, etc but the idea that living a moral life is sufficent — or even necessary — for salvation has never been Christian teaching.

    • the idea that living a moral life is sufficent — or even necessary — for salvation has never been Christian teaching.

      Yes, I’m a Lutheran and this is stressed at my church quite often. I appreciate his essays, but his understanding of Christian theology is faulty, at best. But then, so is that of a lot of Christians. The fact is, if you stood at the door of a Church and asked the congregants as they left what they would say to justify being allowed into heaven after they died many would tell you that they would talk about all the good they have done. I know that’s what happened when our pastor, who continuously stresses that good works won’t get you into heaven, tried just that experiment.

  22. Z Man;

    Another deep essay. You do a great service in carefully examining the exact religious underpinnings of today’s Progressivism in order to find means to beat it.

    The crazy thing is that today’s Progs are all reflexive post-modernists and yet there’s supposed to be transcendent standards of morality for them to appeal to. If there are any such standards then their core faith is false and one need look no further.

    Specifically, any post-modernist must claim that there *cannot* be such a thing as absolute truth. This statement is absurd and contradictory on its face.* Yet that absurdity (like the rest of their absurdities) flies right over their heads. So postmodernism is clearly a matter of faith, much less the progressivism based on it.

    It’s pretty obvious from the context of his times that Nietzsche & Co were looking to demote European Christianity in favor of something else that would better gratify the pride of the emerging European elite of that time.** The Darwinists were pretty open about it. One of their mistakes was not seeing what could happen without there being any transcendent moral standards, i.e. the law of the jungle prevails.

    So the search is still on for a replacement to Medieval Christianity. What if that necessary replacement *is* Christianity, just not the Medieval European version_?

    After all, Nietzsche & Co just *assumed* that the Bible is not the inerrant Word of God. That being so, the doctrines of heaven and hell therefore *must* have a secular historical origin. And Zoroastrianism *must* be the best explanation. But why should anybody grant them all those stolen philosophical bases_?

    Actually, unless the Bible is completely false (and not just sometimes mistaken)*** the above ‘must’s’ have to be replaced with the word ‘may’. As in, ‘the doctrines of heaven and hell *may* have a secular origin and that *may* be Zoroastrianism (or there could be other explanations).’

    Nietzsche, at least, was crazy enough to own up to what that formulation meant.^ Lenin, Stalin, Adolf & Assoc also noticed and acted accordingly. The results speak for themselves.
    ____________________________
    * This is an absolute assertion, after all. If there can be no absolute truth, then this statement is also not absolutely true. If it is not absolutely true then there can be objective truth, possibly even absolutely true objective truth, etc., etc.

    **Not to mention enhancing their access to unbridled sex without consequences *to them*.

    *** The *entire* Bible simply cannot be completely false. There are numerous reference points in it that are now confirmed by archeology .

    ^His ‘God is Dead’ rant.

  23. Commandments 6 through 10 of the Decalogue, murder, adultery, theft, lying, and desiring your neighbor’s things, all dealt with establishing a harmonious here, not a hereafter. Had Moses not run out of stationary, he might have added “Thou shalt not coerce thy neighbor, against his will.” (The Jews kept slaves at that time, which might have exposed him to charges of hypocrisy.)
    If the goal is a harmonious society, the Decalogue works okay. When the goal is changed to a more “equitable” society, dissention replaces harmony as re-distribution of property is necessary to achieve some concept of equity. “From each according to his ability” works fine, but “To each according to their contribution” is no longer operative. “To each according to their need” is divisive to society. The old testament said, “If you don’t work, you don’t eat”. 2 Thessalonians 3:10. If your view of “Justice” is something else, expect dissention.

    • Yes, leading us to “all cats must be fed”, even the feral and rabid ones, the morality of the toxoplasmic cat ladies that rule us.

    • Christianity and Communism have a lot in common. Look up the Anabaptists, basically medieval communists. They were put down by the Catholics (the church+state version of Christianity)

  24. I’ll suggest that actually there is a universe full of gods. Some are interested in us, most are indifferent. The ufo phenomenon may have some relation. I like Jacques Vallee, so much.

      • Can’t use it, so I’m neutral.
        Same with the God As Creator Of The Entire Universe thing.

        One of those “could be” things, a fun puzzle and enlivening speculation, but can’t find any clear guidelines in it…

        Except one.
        “Kneel! Kneel to Zod!”

    • Given the divergent experiences with the Divine, Pantheism seems pretty likely to me more than any of the Monotheist religions being “the One” or Atheism

      J.M. Greer’s A World Full of Gods discusses this idea at length. I’ve yet to read the book so I can’t comment on his reasoning though other material of his on Ecosophia and the now gone Archdruid Report were always worth a read

  25. Boys, I have been through the proggie wringer. My parents sent me to a school where kids were expected to “find their own way”. Self esteem was more important than education. The strap got binned as barbaric. There’s always a second chance. When I got out into the real world I took it in the shorts as I learned about jobs and responsibilities. It was even worse when I had kids of my own. Couldn’t spank them AT ALL because spankings were child abuse. Rinse and repeat with the warm fuzzies I grew up with, except magnified by a factor of 10. My daughter graduated from university as a gay hipster kidult. Saying so was a sin and my family imploded.

    Wasn’t just me either, most of the kids in my family and circle divorced and had train wreck kids of their own with even worse problems like drugs or crime. Most of our kids are moral and intellectual write-offs. Anyone that doesn’t believe me is invited to try and hire an honest hard working millennial these days.

    We found solace in God. My wife dragged me to church, kicking and screaming, where I expected to meet hypocrites, hill billies, inbreeds and cretins. I was shocked when I met the most wonderful people. They weren’t pushy with their faith, they offered it to me to take or reject as I wished. It took me a year to get here.

    Boys – I’ve seen the wreckage of proggie families wash up here the same way I did. Shattered lives, kids with no parents, no hope, and no money. They arrive in circumstances that make mine look GOOD… and they are taken in. The elders sit down with them, arrange for temporary food and lodging and they’re given a Bible just like the one I got. They discuss things and come up with a plan to move forward, in this world, and if they need more help they often get that too. The guys involved pay for this out of their own pockets, I’ve seen it. They fail a lot.

    Sometimes they win. Last year they got a young fella off the street, off drugs, and now he’s married and living with a wife in BC. She’s expecting. I dunno if I can measure up to men like that, but it’s sure worth trying or thinking about.

    No, you WILL NOT replace us. We build communities and families. We save people if we can, regardless of circumstances. We constantly try to make ourselves better people. That is what offends our enemies the most, and that is why our grandkids will be doing what we do when Orca Winfrey, Obama and Hillary are unpleasant historical memories. We’ve survived Romans, Moslems, Vikings, Socialists, Fascists, and savages. Let me assure you, we won’t be defeated by queers, Marxists, feminists or any other contemporary turdies. Those morons are destroying themselves already – look at how they lost the last election. Look at the fall of the mainstream media. Look at the legions of broken, unhappy proggie families. They can’t go on like this, they have to fall.

    And when they do, by the grace of God we will try to help them redeem themselves, if that’s what they want.

    Errr… sorry for the outhouse preachin’ … sometimes I should just shut up…

    • I agree with almost all of your points. I used to be a sneering (in private) agnostic who maintained minimally polite relations with Christians. After my divorce, I came down with legionellosis, a life-threatening illness. Catholics and Protestants stayed with me in the hospital night and day , brought a me homecooked food and prayed for my recovery.
      Afterwards, I was very weak, so a missionary couple (coworkers) let me stay in their home for one month, but made no effort to convert me. That’s when I made a concerted effort to study the Bible (on my own initiative) and saw the benefits of leading a Godly life, a life where we care about others because we are all God’s children.

    • @Glenfilthie –

      in a word: Inspiring.

      Don’t shut up, Fraters – In Cristo, Libertatis

      The JG

  26. “The Pentateuch has no reference to Satan,”
    Actually it does. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, the serpent stands for Satan. That is why God said that eventually the offspring of the woman Eve (offspring meaning Jesus) would bruise the serpent’s head–understood as Satan. Genesis 3:15

    • No, that is a later Christian embellishment. When the Jews were writing Genesis, they had no concept of an celestial adversary of God.

        • To paraphrase The Zman,If you are good ,you go to heaven…if not ,it’s off to hell. Not quite. Jesus is not mentioned in his requirements for entry into heaven. Without Him. it matters not if you have won every goodguy medal on earth.If you deny the Son of God ….you ain;t going to heaven. Accept Him as you savior and you’re in…that simple.Even a democrat can understand it.

  27. A moral code without reference to anything transcendent or an afterlife is a purity spiral. Eventually all fail and must be cast out, save those doing the spiraling and casting-out. We see that today with everything from racism to sexism to #metoo-ism to environmentalism. Instead of liberation from oppressive morality, an oppressive morality blankets all life. At least Christian morality has space for moral liberty where Christian morality is silent.

    ======================

    Nits:
    1. Satan appears in Genesis, part of the Penteteuch.

    2. Lower-case “o” orthodox Christianity requires belief in Christ as savior for salvation. Works count more or less depending on the denomination, but belief/faith in Christ is the non-negotiable and no amount of works will get the job done without it. YMMV with heterodox or heretical sects.

    • Satan is not in Genesis. The first appearance of a celestial adversary of God is in Job. The serpent is often interpreted by Christians as Satan, but that’s not a concept the writers of Genesis possessed at the time. Even in Job, Satan is more like the prosecuting attorney in the divine court of justice. Jews would not consider the serpent in Genesis as Satan. It’s their book so I go with their view.

      • Z-man, just about everything you asserted about Christianity in your post was wrong… While it may be true that some Christians mistakenly believe such nonsense (and many false teachers shovel it to them), it is certainly not biblical doctrine, Old Testament or New. Moreover, “Jews” are not any authority on the matter as they both reject their ‘own’ Scriptures (“Moses and the Prophets”) and the testimony of Jesus Christ who was in fact the promised messiah, the “Seed” mentioned in the very first Chapter of Genesis. They are Talmudists and follow a peculiar religion known as “Judaism,” which bears no resemblance to the religion of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Take their word for nothing.

        Your statement that “Satan” first appears in Job is in error, for we first see the Hebrew word translated “Satan” in 1 Chronicles 21:1. Look it up. But, the word (H7854) simply means “adversary” and it is not always translated as “Satan”, though it is found many times in the OT text—the FIRST of which is actually in the book of Numbers (22:22). Same word as in Job. Numbers is in the Pentateuch in case you’re unfamiliar.

        That there may not literally be an individual being or personality named “Satan/Adversary” is not really pertinent to Christian doctrine (believe it or not) and it may be true that the serpent in the garden does not represent a particular individual—or even the same individual mentioned in Job (if indeed that refers to ‘A’ certain individual). So your conjecture there may be correct, but accidentally. Anyway, it’s not relevant.

        Other than that, though, you pretty much fudged up your whole description of the Christian Bible.

        • No, I have it all correct. What you think is Christianity is just made up nonsense from some loopy heretic. In a better age, you would have been burned at the stake.

          • There were no factual errors. Just accept the fact that your brand of religion is an offense to God.

          • @Tekton & @thezman –

            “…just accept the fact that your brand of religion is an offense to God…”

            Wow. And No, I won’t accept this. Hell, I don’t even consider accepting this notion of yours, zman – I reject it totally.

            I don’t have all the answers, but I do not believe that a structure built on lies – and agreeing with your premise, zman, is to say that Christianity is a lie – can stand for long.

            So… as I look around this world, our history, the past, our current moment – and what do I see? I see Faith. I see towns, cities, states, nations… a civilization, built upon – built by Christianity.

            Through which our enquiring into the beyond – be it Space, or subatomic; was – if not birthed, then certainly encouraged, nurtured – by and within Christendom.

            Two millenia. The greatest Civilization this world has ever seen. And you view the foundation block, the cornerstone of this miracle, as an “offense to God”?

            No sir, I’m afraid you are lost.

            St. Augustine was right, zman; we use our God-given faculties to logically discover – through science and observation – God’s Creation.

            respectfully,

            The JG

            PS: ferChrissakes, how do i enable paragraphs in this thing??!!!

          • That’s very funny, Zman, but I’m not a Jew… so, again you’re wrong.

            And I realize you’re just being a smartass, but whenever I see someone misrepresenting the religion of our fathers (yes, yours too, white Anglo-Saxon) I’ll speak out against it.
            Yes, you were factually wrong about the word ‘Satan’ in the scriptures and anyone can demonstrate for themselves your error by using any on-line concordance or interlinear Bible (free on the internets!).

            You’re also wrong in your description of Christian doctrine. Your Cliffnotes version is just the corrupted and saccharin brand of churchianity that’s been passed around Christendom for the last two centuries or so. It’s a common mistake people outside the faith make (I assume you do not consider yourself a Christian). I’m not sure why anyone would take you (or anyone else who is an unbeliever) as an authority on these matters anyhow.

            Other than that, you may have made a few good points. They just didn’t matter to me. Excuse my honesty.

          • I’m not an expert on Catholic doctrine, but I don’t have to be because they have a book you can consult.

            “far from teaching a doctrine of “works righteousness” (that would be Pelagianism, which was condemned at the Council of Carthage in A.D. 418), the Catholic Church teaches the true, biblical doctrine of justification.”

            And

            “The Catholic Church has never taught such a doctrine and, in fact, has constantly condemned the notion that men can earn or merit salvation. Catholic soteriology (salvation theology) is rooted in apostolic Tradition and Scripture and says that it is only by God’s grace–completely unmerited by works–that one is saved.”

            https://www.catholic.com/qa/why-does-the-church-teach-that-works-can-obtain-salvation

  28. Medicalism is one of the Progressives’ new, secular faiths.

    And it is one which shares its pews gleefully with many ersatz Conservatives.

    There’s a strange convergence between the Left and the Penny Loafer Right in this particular Progressive church that should get more attention.

  29. Many people assume Christians go to heaven in the afterlife, however that’s not the full story. If you read Rev 21:1, you will find there’s “…a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” So from this we can speculate there will be a new earth.

    The question is whether or not this new earth is in a completely different universe (dimension) given the concept of time will most likely become irrelevant since we will be immortal. The idea does makes for some interesting discussions.

    With regards to non-Christian moral code, many civilizations who were not influenced by Christianity, had a both moral and civil codes. Most of Asia and Japan were untouched by Christian influence until Portuguese missionaries made contact (which did not end well for the Portuguese) and they had very structured and very clearly defined civil and moral codes that go back centuries.

    The question isn’t whether we can maintain a moral code, but what will that code become as the morals of one civilization turn into something completely different – as we have seen in our own lifetime.

    • As a Catholic I never was taught or got the impression that eternal life was granted that easily. Granted probably is the wrong term, achieved would be better. Narrow is the way and few will find it….
      There are a lot of cheap knock off Christian sects who make it so easy but saying don’t make it so.

    • But Asians have lots of supernatural. Ancestor worship is the root of the shame culture. People fear doing wrong because it brings shame on their ancestors. If there’s no afterlife, no spirit world for those ancestors to occupy, why care what they think?

      • Ancestor worship is simply the genesis of organized religion. Shame is endemic to civilized societies because it is the only tool to control a people in place of the rod. It becomes genetically selected for after a certain point of domestication.

        The first religions were based on stone steles like the one that Hammurabi’s Code was engraved upon. City-states would fight each other and parade their opponents stele as a triumph and then destroy it to wipe them out existentially.

        Over time, religion evolved to be completely intangible so as to be resistant to physical destruction.

        Religion is ancestor worship which is why Jesus of Nazareth (an olive skinned Mediterranean Jew with reddish hair) has to be depicted as European looking and blue eyed, because most Christians are European.

    • The error is assuming the linear time we experience on earth applies in Heaven. It doesn’t. I’m not sure what does. Beyond that God – the Trinity – exists in an “eternal now” where they don’t experience Time as such as they created Time itself (so asking about God chose and omnipotence v.s. omniscience is just out of context as it requires Time).

  30. Job is the oldest book of the Bible, it was not written much later than Genesis as you state but in 1660bc, vs Genesis, ca 1440bc

    • That’s not a speculation supported by the evidence. This seems to be an error originating with the Bible reader sect. They assume that because Job lived before Abraham, the book bearing his name must pre-date the books about the patriarchs. Jewish scholars say Job was written after the Pentateuch. I’ll take their word for it.

      • Agree with both of you.
        Appreciate the clarification.

        Dagnab, Zman, you are well versed in this, and cooly objective without the usual rancor and heated certainties.

        More in this vein, please.
        It’s needed, it’s essential, it’s emerging.
        The Enemy looms.

        • And yes, people, whenever this one addresses the Zman this one tugs his forelock.

          Happy James Earl Ray Day to all!

      • The book of Job appears to have been a Judaic (the author’s) reaction to the the great period of Greek tragedy wherein he references the structure of Greek tragedy (a drama, an agon) but looks back to the prophets’ form of expression.

        Sort of like if Whitman reacted to Shakespeare but with the form of King James’ Bible versification.

  31. It will be a true horror if the West embraced Islam. Unlike Christianity, Islam creates a mental trap from which you cannot escape.

    To illustrate, Christianity under Thomas Aquinas allowed for the use of Greek and Roman philosophy to show that Christianity was true. Christianity allowed outside systems as God was considered perfect and his system was the best of all worlds, so any philosophical system would come to that conclusion. Also, the Bible was written by second hand sources, so outside systems could interpret it anyway they could.

    Islam lacks this. Islam is more akin to the totalitarianism of Communism. The Koran is believed to have come from Allah himself directly and cannot be interpreted as it is a sin. Allah is also more of an arbitrary figure. He can changed the world on his own whim. It’s why Islamic countries do not produce many modern scientists: What is the point of studying the world when Allah will change it on a dime?

    Thus, you must believe it literally or else you are condemned to the hellfire. Countries under Islam actually were on the verge of the Renaissance long before the Christian nations (around the 1000’s) as Islamic philosophers were experimenting with Greek philosophy. This was snuffed out by other Islamic philosophers (most notably al-Ghazali), who stated that the use of Greek philosophy was muddying the true Islam. After this, Islam never again produced a legitimate intellectual movement.

    It explains why the Islamic countries have been stuck under a rut, even during the modern era. Efforts by modernists to modernize their countries are snuffed out by fundamentalists who claim that their lives suck because they forgot true Islam and all will be well again when they rediscover true Islam (which means snuffing out modernists). It’s why Islamists do mental handstands to show that the Koran predicted the heliocentric theory or predicted every science: since Islam is perfect and the Koran was written by Allah, all the world’s answers are in the Koran.

  32. Our species is unique in that we adapted complex language skill over a 100,000 years ago and have used it to reprogram our young after birth with acquired wisdom that enhanced their survival in the ancient environment of our evolution. As any parent knows, transferring wisdom to your kids is not an easy task and history teaches us that religious practices work better and the extant religions are the ones that have succeeded at this the best. Apparently the use of a supernatural deity and reward system is very helpful. And the mysticism part was necessary to deal with all the unknowns of the ancient world.

    • Oddly, it follows a ‘family’ guideline- how natural for a social species.

      Right now they’re calling for Mommy to come back and make the Bad Daddy go away. This divorce is going to sh*t.

  33. Having read the bible twice I don’t recall much mention of a heaven in the Yid part.
    Don’t recall much mention of Abraham in the Christian part.

    • Romans 4 (from the Geneva Bible online PDF):
      1 What shall we say then, that Abraham our father hath found concerning the flesh? 2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath wherein to rejoice, but not with God. 3 For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness. 4 Now to him that worketh, the wages is not counted by favor, but by debt; 5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth in him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 6 Even as David declareth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying,
      7 Blessed are they, whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth not sin. 9 Came this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? For we say, that faith was imputed unto Abraham for
      righteousness. 10 How was it then imputed? When he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not when he was circumcised, but when he was uncircumcised. 11 After, he received the sign of circumcision, as the seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had, when he was uncircumcised, that he should be the father of all them that believe, not being circumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also, 12 And the father of circumcision, not unto them only which are of the circumcision, but unto them also that walk in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham, which he had when he was uncircumcised. 13 For the promise that he should be the heir of the world, was not given to Abraham, or to his seed, through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if they which are of the Law, be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise is made of none effect.15 For the Law causeth wrath, for where no Law is, there is no transgression. 16 Therefore it is by faith, that it might come by grace, and the promise might be sure to all the seed, not to that only which is of the Law, but also to that which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations) even before God whom he believed, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be
      not, as though they were. 18 Which Abraham above hope, believed under hope, that he should be the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken to him, So shall thy seed be. 19 And he not weak in the faith, considered not his own body, which was now dead, being almost a hundred years old, neither the deadness of Sarah’s womb; 20 Neither did he doubt of the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in the faith, and gave glory to God, 21 Being fully assured that he which had promised, was also able to do it. 22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
      23 Now it is not written for him only, that it was imputed to him for
      righteousness, 24 But also for us, to whom it shall be imputed for righteousness, which believe in him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 Who was delivered to death for our sins, and is risen again for our
      justification.

        • He said “Don’t recall much mention of Abraham in the Christian part.” I count 8 mentions of Abraham in Romans 4, which is “in the Christian part.”

    • Yid is inexact but I’ll try…
      Genesis – Jacob’s ladder – where were the Angels going.
      The Prophets caught up to heaven.
      Abraham was discussed by Paul, is in the Gospels, and Hebrews, and I can’t help you if you can’t use a concordance or Google.
      The key verse is when the Pharisees questioned Jesus about Abaraham seeing this day
      See the Gospel of John, chapter 8.
      You all but quote the pharisees.

    • What part of the Bible are you calling the “Yid,” part, because Jews DO NOT follow the 1st 4 books of the Bible. That is a lie.

  34. Jeez. Z-man appears to have done good research on religions to supply a background to this thesis, but he stopped short on how serious atheists handle this question. It is not a new one. Or maybe he knows, but left it out, because then his claim about the anchors of morality fails.
    There is or can be morality in the absence of religion or belief in punishing gods or ejection from a happy afterlife. It already exists. It is simply following the Golden Rule: Do unto others….”.
    Religions and the left-right factions all define parameters for contemporary morality (and those change BTW) as a means to guide behavior. In all cases the guidelines are meant to promote a smoothly-operating society, and minimize internecine conflict. The argument these days is on what set of rules best benefits society. The differences seem to be around tribal vs globalist rule structure.

  35. From the Jowett translation of Plato’s Republic, Book 2, via Gutenberg’s online PDF:
    “And they produce a host of books written by Musaeus and Orpheus, who were children of the Moon and the Muses — that is what they say — according to which they perform their ritual, and persuade not only individuals, but whole cities, that expiations and atonements for sin may be made by sacrifices and amusements which fill a vacant hour, and are equally at the service of the living and the dead; the latter sort they call mysteries, and they redeem us from the pains of hell, but if we neglect them no one knows what awaits us.”

    • I would assume the Greeks were familiar with the Zoroastrians. There were other religions that worshiped the sun and moon. I think the Mandeans(sp?) were moon worshipers. The Yazidis are sun worshipers.

      • Interesting, as the archangels Gabriel and Michael were Mars and Venus.
        The echoes of the lost masoretic world- the stargazers reading the signs of the heavens- run millenia deep.

      • Also, Z, many Bible historians believe the book of Job to be the oldest of the books, and Job himself to have been a contemporary of Abraham. Worth two cents, I suppose.

  36. While I agree that there will have to be a new conception of an afterlife, our capacity for great destruction/evil increases by the day. What if we don’t get a new opportunity?

  37. If you take out the word “god” in the Bible and replaced it with “society” everything would still make sense. The ultimate punishment for transgressing against “society” was banishment to an area without “society.” We still retain that aspect of religion – say the N-word in a public forum and you can expect to be expelled from polite society.

    The prog religion does have a Nirvana – a borderless world of coffee-colored people that somehow still retain cultural diversity like Indian (Dot) Food Festivals, Balkan Dancing Troupes, Swedish Christmas Songs and Mexican Quinceñaras. But they lack the foresight and hindsight to understand that must multi-cultural societies collapse violently or limp along as third world squalor pits. But that’s ok because it’s America and everyone will be rich enough to isolate their family from the morelochs.

    It must also be reminded that the essence of liberalism is remaking society to become, in their minds, better. This involves pulling apart existing cultural institutions that were pillars of the nation. At this point, they have shredded the social strands that held together many western communities through the centuries – Christianity. Now, they are gunning for the true key stone – white people and they have no idea that pulling out that stone will likely destroy our nation.

    • It may well destroy the nation, but I am confident it will not destroy the white race, and may indeed have the opposite result of that which they desire. Like Haman in the Book of Esther. Or even Robespierre. It’s up to the Lord to determine the fate of a people.

      • But isn’t that what the Progressive Orthodoxy is in a nutshell? To Progressives the God is the State and the state is the people. The afterlife is irrelevant, they are playing god – creating their brand of utopia on earth.

      • What worries is which man will be the middleman to speak for mankind.

        Some will clamor for Lord Obama, Mother Oprah, and MLK the Baptist to proclaim His coming-

        But I have heretic friends who celebrate today as “James Earl Ray Day”.

  38. One of the new religions is Scientism, complete with a priest class, liturgical garments (lab coats) and an obscure to most but impressive and cool looking liturgical language (mathematics).

    • That is similar to the evolution of the priesthood in the Dark Ages. But, because events move so much faster now, we are already at the priesthood/scientists are hypocrites and do not follow their own morality. Indulgences are equivalent to grants for research.

      I think that the actual practice of morality is similar to the number of negroes you let into a country. If the number of those that follow the “I’m only in it for me since there is no consequence for evil” or the number of negroes are only 10% of the population, society will maintain a solid degree of cohesiveness. Once it reaches 20%, chaos begins to be the norm.

    • Those sciencematics sure are adept at reading the entrails, though.
      This is my impressed face.

      Edit-
      “morality is similar to the number of negroes you let into a country. ”
      That’s it, that’s the new “E=MC2”!

  39. That’s the thing that has always bugged me about Progressivism: What, exactly, is the point? Marx et al were quite explicit: There is no God, everything but their precious Dialectic is atoms and void. So we manage to make our threescore and ten a bit less painful. What’s the point? Two IV tubes — one filled with nutrient broth, the other with morphine — would accomplish that, without all the gulags and secret police. Nietzsche might say that in the absence of God, the struggle itself is the point… but in Marx’s world, the struggle is over. All that for nothing. What’s the point, Proggies?

    • The only reason there has to be a ”point” is to satisfy/placate the big brain that rides on top of one of the Great Apes. We pay a high price for that brain, I suspect a price that it too high.

    • I’ve always wondered that, too. In a universe without heaven/hell, reward/punishment, or some kind of “meaning”, why would anyone be anything other than a self-serving, hedonistic survivalist? In a world like that, the Clintons would be paragons of virtue. I mean, why not? You have your 4 score life and then…….nothing. The universe is not aware of you and there will be no moment in which the “good” and “bad” will be judged. And humanity will eventually be dust, too, and then finally, the universe. Why care about your fellow man, other than…..because?

      • Exactly. Why do you care so much that I’m a racist, sexist, homophobe, whatever? Because it’s mean? All we are is dust in the wind, dude. All I’ve ever done, all you’ll ever do, all are gone and neither of us could ever possibly care. As a great paragon of moral virtue once said, “at this point, what difference does it make?”

      • AWM wrote:
        >I’ve always wondered that, too. In a universe without heaven/hell, reward/punishment, or some kind of “meaning”, why would anyone be anything other than a self-serving, hedonistic survivalist?

        You think that would be a happy life? I don’t, and I do not believe in God. And, based on over a half century of observation on this point, I have not noticed that people who live that way seem particularly happy.

        • But, as an atheist, you are merely substituting your desire for some kind of meaning in life to substitute for the presence of “God”. What I’m trying to point out is that regardless of whether you substitute a “meaning” for your life into your mind, your life won’t have any meaning. Why? Because a reality that has no existing timeless observer will end and nothing will be recorded anywhere to give meaning to how you spent your live, how humanity spent its life, and how the physical universe existed. It will all be over and there will be no awareness of anything. Now, if you say that there could be something that observes the footprint of the universe, you are just postulating another permutation of “God”. If by your “purpose” you are substituting your “happiness”, what difference does your happiness make? You will die, your consciousness will be gone, so your happiness is irrelevant. You life in this universe will have no more meaning than a serial killer’s. And, whether you agree or not, this is what the evil people in the world believe. Their “happiness” consists of your misery and their desires. Discuss: How are they wrong, given your conception of the universe?

          • Well… *you* are just substituting God’s assignment of meaning for your own assignment of meaning. That is just an arbitrary choice: you don’t have to.

            There is just no escaping the fact that we have to choose what meanings we accept, endorse, and pursue, whether or not God exists. And, quite frankly, if there were a God who was as arbitrary and malicious as the Old Testament God, any decent person would reject him.

            Fortunately, that God does not exist.

            In fact, there is a common core of morality that is almost universal among human societies: don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t murder, don’t engage in adultery, etc. Yes, you may be able to find a few societies that avoid such a code of morality. And, most societies — commonly for political or religious reasons — make some exceptions to those rules. But, they are obviously exceptions.

            It is easy to see why that common morality does exist: just imagine how long any human society would survive that systematically endorsed the exact opposite of common morality.

            So, I’ll take my stand with the decent opinion of humankind and not lose any sleep as to whether or not some sort of god exists.

            “Sire, I have no need for that hypothesis.”

          • Look, I don’t care what you believe. I’m just telling you that your life has no meaning. You believe you will die and cease to exist. If so, your existence doesn’t matter. Your attempt to find some meaning for yourself is just something that allows you the delusion that you are more important than a speck of dirt. You’re not.

            I have trouble with someone that uses absolutes when speaking about something he knows nothing about. Saying that “any decent” person would believe such-and-such is virtue signaling. Saying that something that you cannot prove “does not exist” is just hubris that your opinion is accurate and no one else’s is. Saying that there is a common core of morality that you think is universal, consisting of not lying, not stealing, not murdering, not committing adultery is laughable. Its not just exceptions to those rules that society makes. Just look at the history of mankind. A history of lying, stealing, murdering, committing adultery of over 4000 years. The only reality is that “money talks and shit walks”.

            Like I said, what you believe, and it is a belief based on an even less tenable reality than those that realize that God exists, is merely just another religion. You just won’t call it a religion because of your intellectual vanity. But, the same statements you use are not your own. You have no real opinions to offer. You just parrot what other atheists believe. And then you have a problem with other people that parrot opinions based on something else. Because your belief is that of the “decent opinion” of mankind. In fact, your statements lead me to believe you are an SJW and/or a Democrat since you seem to be on “the right side of history”. Because.

            To accept that “somehow” the order that we perceive in nature was from an “accident” requires an unbelievable amount of faith. You have to postulate theories that this happened, then this, while this was happening, which would result in something else happening a thousand years later, all without evidence and with a straight face. I could almost believe that a single celled organism could arise from an accident. Almost. But, once you start concluding that DNA arose by chance, a molecule that imposes a relentless order on a random process, it becomes a bit absurd. Even more absurd than believing in a Creator. I personally believe that anyone that can spend any time around trees and somehow misses the evidence of God is someone that has an arrogant need to place himself on some kind of level above dust.

            Oh, and the malicious God of the Bible. Do you believe that you have the right to protect yourself from bacteria with the use of antibiotics? If so, then you are a malicious and a cruel being. How could you slaughter all those harmless flesh eating bacteria? They’re not all bad! Maybe you believe you have the right to live. Maybe God merely defends himself from that which destroys his creation.

            Anyway, arguing with an atheist is a waste of time, just like arguing with anyone of any religion. You are egotistical enough to think you understand the infinite and the eternal. Which you can’t. Nor can I, but I have no problem admitting my limitations. You have no such limitations and no one can tell you any differently. Good luck with that! Oh, wait, there’s no such thing as luck.

          • AWM wrote to me:
            >Saying that there is a common core of morality that you think is universal, consisting of not lying, not stealing, not murdering, not committing adultery is laughable. Its not just exceptions to those rules that society makes. Just look at the history of mankind. A history of lying, stealing, murdering, committing adultery of over 4000 years.

            How many societies do you know of that tolerated that sort of thing routinely by most members of their own society against other members of their own society? I doubt you can give a single example.

            Yes, history is indeed a record of man’s inhumanity to man, and I certainly disapprove of the all too common exceptions most societies have made to common morality: war, slavery, tyranny, etc.

            But, again,, tell me of one, just one, society that approved of any random member of that society casually murdering as many other members of that society as he felt like.

            Such a society could not survive.

            And, much the same is true of stealing, adultery, etc.

            As to your rather long and very angry diatribe about who I must be… well, knowing that the Old Testament God was just a rather nasty myth just places me in the same camp with most modern Biblical scholars. Obviously, much of the Old Testament is mythical: the universe did not begin a bit over six thousand years ago, the human race did not originate in the Garden of Eden, etc.

            If you are not aware of those basic facts, I would suggest you learn some science.

          • “I have trouble with someone that uses absolutes when speaking about something he knows nothing about.” Ah, that’s what I meant. None of us KNOW, we have different beliefs and/or faith, and when some state their beliefs flatly as if they were fact, it is disconcerting to others..

        • May I just step in for a sec to say how gratifying it is to witness so many others sharing the intellectual discomfort I felt when I read this statement of opinion written as if it were full of unquestionable facts. The basic premise (the problems of believing or not in an afterlife and how that affects morality) itself is an opinion, followed by others stated definitely rather than put forth as “Though others may disagree..” or “It is my opinion that…”

    • The Progressive version of morality is not about being kind to others and doing the right thing (though real morality is much more than that). It is about labeling others as moral misfits and using their (self-assigned) moral superiority as a bludgeon to extract mental and physical payment from others. Progressives do not believe in an afterlife, so “anything goes” in this one. “Morality” is a tool to shame others out of their belongings, mental well-being, and social stature. Because Progs use the terminology and borrow many of the elements of those who do believe in an afterlife, things get all mixed up and hard to discern. But the Progressive morality is just a version of the flim-flam man hitting town, saying and doing the things that need to be said and done to pull one over on the rubes.

      • I enjoyed your comment, Dutch. You hit the nail squarely on the head. I think Progressives tend toward the sociopathic, and what better tool to achieving one’s ends than to use the morality of others to defeat them.

    • we must face the facts here. the point is, there is no known a priori point. so, what do we do? wring our hands in despair or invent one. this is a consequence of freedom. an awesome freedom. you create your own meaning and purpose. why do you get up in the morning? figure it out. no one can tell you.

  40. I don’t know which Christians argue that you can’t have a morality without a belief in the afterlife. Of course you can. It is just that such a morality is completely arbitrary.

    • Then it is not a moral code. It’s just a set of rules forced on people. Prisons have lots of rules, but no one would mistake them for a moral code.

    • The Christian view of morality is explained in Romans chapters 1 and 2. At Creation, God published the 10 Commandments on the human heart/conscience. Man therefore has inherent knowledge of right and wrong. Unbelievers can’t explain this, but they have it.

  41. “Christian morality is entirely built on the concept of the afterlife and the battle between good and evil.”
    Not just so. The concept of Original Sin plays a big part. That we are fundamentally flawed with this problem, Christian morality is a guide to a better life now although not necessarily a prosperous one.

    I like this observation: We are not so much punished for our sins as we are by our sins.

    • You affirmed both of the points quoted. The Fall is a good/evil concept and moral object lesson and as you said yourself, Christian morality does not concern itself with a better life except as it relates to afterlife.

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