Thursday, March 27, 2014

Civilization Requires Religion

This is where I go to worship on Sundays,
but I practice my religion everywhere, always.
I got to thinking, while writing Monday’s post on arguments related to the Hobby Lobby case. Particularly, I was thinking about the argument that government could allow a for-profit corporation to have free speech rights because, the more information people have in an election, the better; but that government shouldn’t have to allow a for-profit corporation to have religious rights, since there is no obvious benefit to society. The necessity of religion is one of the main points of the Civilization Sphere section of the Spherical Model.

I’d like to review just a few of the benefits we get—in law, in civil society, in all our relationships—from a basic list of religious requirements. So, quoting myself from the website:
Laws of Civilization
When Jesus Christ was asked what was the greatest commandment, he answered, and gave a second as well: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40, KJV) In other words, every law comes under the categories of honoring God or honoring your neighbor as equal in value to yourself. Some people might reword this second part as the golden rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you—which is universally accepted as basic civilized behavior.
The Ten Commandments, from the Judeo-Christian tradition, must therefore also come under these two categories. The first four command that we honor God, who is the source of our human rights, which we are free to exercise in a civilized society. The remaining six identify ways we must honor one another in a civilized society:
  • honor parents
  • do not murder (take innocent life)
  • do not have sex outside of marriage
  • do not steal
  • do not lie
  • do not covet (want what belongs to your neighbor)

Other religions that lead to civilization must require these behaviors of adherents. There aren’t any civilizations (using my definition) that do not share these beliefs. Is it possible for non-religious people to adhere to these basic civilized behaviors as well? Yes, but their reasons will be pragmatic, that people are happier when they treat each other this way, therefore logic suggests following these rules. And since they consider themselves, rather than God, the final arbiter of good (including what is logical and what feels happier), they can be depended on only so long as they consider the behavior beneficial, not out of duty to a higher being. So the society is helped by their adherence, but it is more true that they benefit from the duty-bound religious people bringing about civilization around them than that the civilization comes from these (often rare) civilized-living secularists.
It’s fair to say that there must be a critical mass of religious people honoring God’s commandments in order for Civilization to result. Civilization doesn’t require perfect people, which would be impossible. But it does require a strong majority daily going about their lives in purposeful effort to be civilized toward one another. Less civilized people will always exist among them, but the stronger that majority, the less savage effect the non-civilized will have.
Ways the Ten Commandments Civilize
We can look at the last six of the Ten Commandments in more detail and find that they all civilize, either by valuing family, valuing human life, valuing property, or valuing truth.

The opposition to civilization—the anti-religious crowd, mainly—goes through this list and devalues each piece.
It doesn’t value family. It even attempts to discount the value of family by saying “anything” is a family. It’s sort of like that saying (pointed out by Dash in The Incredibles), “If everyone is special, then no one is special”: if everything is family, then family has no meaning, no purpose. But since family is the basic unit of civilization, you can’t have civilization without an abundance of strong families.
It doesn’t value human life. Or, rather, it doesn’t value innocent human life. But it will fight tooth and nail to keep a serial killer from being executed.
It doesn’t value property rights; it believes it is moral to take, by force, wealth from those who have worked for it and earned it and then redistribute it to those who have not worked for it and earned it. This is called social justice. (A lot of the words they use mean the opposite of what normal people would expect.)
It doesn’t value truth. Repeat a lie until it gets believed. That’s a standard practice. There’s a sort of pattern: deny, deny, deny, and then when enough time has passed, admit and say, “What does it matter now?” That will be the epitaph for Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Harry Reid, just to name a few of the ringleaders.
What does the opposition offer?
In place of valuing family: valuing sex without consequences, and devaluing children.
In place of valuing innocent human life: valuing guilty human life, or valuing animal life.
In place of valuing equality before the law: valuing special interests and trying to enforce equal outcome regardless of effort, and/or unequal outcome favoring special classes.
Add to these the practices of valuing the earth and sacrificing to it, and you have a pretty good description of pagan worshippers in a savage society. Coincidence or consequence?
If you want civilization, you have to follow the laws of civilization. If you’re willing to settle for savagery, there are many in the world today willing to drag you down there.

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