Friday, August 13, 2010

L 2.7

According to Loftus, Christianity is "The carrot-and-stick method of morality". (p. 43) One aspect of what Loftus is saying is that Christians are merely trying to avoid hell. There certainly are Christians who are guilty of this but, this is not a logical outworking of Christian beliefs. The person who needs spiritual fire insurance is overlooking other dynamics that are important most notably, joy that comes from the ultimate hope.

It could be said that Loftus is saying that Christians don’t really experience morality but, are blindly led by a process that doesn’t really evoke genuine moral sensibility. The non-theist has to discover an ethic for themselves and what they arrive at has been a process of true moral discovery derived from intellectual introspection and dialogue with nature. Unfortunately, people’s experiences are so different, wildly so in some cases, and people’s opinions change over time such that defining an ethic becomes an exercise in futility. There are many different secular and humanist ethics so, instead of being able to see land and swim to it, groups of people are forced to tread water closely together in a sea of confusion pretending that their group is on solid ground. What’s worse is that the currents will sometimes take a person from one group to another so it’s difficult to even define the boundaries of the groups.

Christianity really isn’t like a carrot and stick mentality. Using his analogy, it’s really more like the person in question ate the carrot and has carrot truth inside of them. That sustenance then propels the true disciple of Christ to perform acts of carrot-based moral goodness. Of course, people will not always be able to perfectly adhere to a Christian ethic but, that’s not the point. The point is that the Christian ethic is grounded in a transcendent moral anchor whereas the non-theist ethic is not.

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