Friday, January 21, 2005

Selfish kindness

I was watching a TV show explaining the Muslim faith, and while I have many objections to religions as a whole, one thing mostly bugged me about it. This in fact is something that bugs me about practically any religion. The show could have just as well been about Christianity for example.

The prime motivator for people to be "good Muslims" or "good Christians" often is explained by them in one simple sentence. A sentence that can differ in how it is expressed, but it comes down too "because I will be rewarded by god".

Now this bugs me, it too me shows how primitive most religions and those who follow it are. There is no actual inner good, there is no doing right simply for the sake of doing the right thing. It is because people want to be rewarded. Al through one might argue over if you actually want that reward (eternal life is hellish if you ask me. In the concept of "eternity" I think has not sunk in with most people. A very, very long life (perhaps a few thousand years) seems nice, but eternal?! Oh god no!).

I strongly believe people should do the right thing, not because somebody tells them too, tells them how to live. And certainly not because you will get a "reward". A reward that, due to the lack of existence of any god, is just a carrot on a stick anyway. Fear and uncertainty mixed with doing something to be rewarded is a bad combination. And in my view does not make "holy men". It is a lower plane of mental reasoning in my view. Do the right thing, because you want to do the right thing. Don't expect to be rewarded. Hoping to be rewarded diminishes any good deed to a selfish act. Your then doing it for yourself, not for anybody or anything else. Not even for your deity.


At 6:28 pm, Blogger Kathryn said...

I also have profound misgivings about religions, mostly because the rewards for being a "good" Christian, Muslim, whatever, pale in comparison to the rewards for killing or making life miserable for people who aren't "good" Christians, Muslims, whatever.

For an incisive examination of why people will be kind, generous, and "good" without religion providing a carrot and stick, you may want to check out a book called The Science of Good and Evil by Michael Shermer. He's basically confirming a hypothesis I've had for a long time with concrete scientific evidence.

At 9:40 pm, Blogger Aldo Quispel said...

Thanks for the tip. I will :)

At 3:29 pm, Anonymous opportunities said...

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