Religion boasts commands from God that tell us to love and what love entails.  The thought that you do something because God commanded it and just because he said it is your duty and it does not matter if you understand it or not leads to pride and is a form of legalism.  The New Testament has much to say about the fake humility and virtue-signalling that religions about rules produce.   If we obey God it could be that we do it for it is good for him instead of it being good for us.  Indeed we should.  That would make the good results unintended side-effects.  Can  you imagine the implicit boast in something so rare and huge and difficult?  Do you really think somebody who wants you to think they are acting for God and nothing else is humble?


Every Christian is taught the ten commandments supposedly given by God to Moses on tablets of stone.  Jesus reaffirmed them and was clear that they were summarised by the so-called greatest commandments.  The first greatest commandment is to love God totally in all you do and think, the second is to love your neighbour.  The love your neighbour as yourself does not imply you are being commanded to love yourself.  It is assuming you already do that.  The greatest commandments do not supersede other commandments.  Even if they did it would not mean you can just commit adultery if it suits you.  They are the greatest commandments for they are shorthand for the ten.  The first few of the ten commandments is that you shall put nothing before God and not mock his name and keep his Sabbath day.  The rest are about:

 not stealing,

being faithful to your wife or husband,

avoiding false witness against others

No coveting or murdering.

The command, "You shall not commit adultery" assumes you will be in a heterosexual marriage.  It is really a command to respect marriage by keeping man and wife together for they need help in that respect.  By implication things that undermine or replace marriage are banned.  The command by extension forbids homosexuality as well.  Marriage in those days was not a legal contract and tribes had their own rules in many parts.  Do not argue that same sex marriage was not happening then.  It was but the Bible only allows for man woman wedlock.  Commands that are just short and blunt such as "You shall not commit adultery" and "You shall not steal" do not allow for modification.  That is why they are just stated as facts.  The Sabbath changing from Saturday to Sunday is regarded as only a detail but not a change in the commandment.

Today we are scared by rules that say some deeds must never ever be considered or done.  For example, Christians say that you cannot lie or curse God or have sex outside marriage no matter what the good results will be.

Take lying.

If lying is evil in itself simply because lies are bad then circumstances or intentions cannot make it right. It cannot become subjectively good. You cannot defend it as a choice. To say an intrinsically evil act can be good or understandable or neutral morally is to say that murder would be right under certain conditions. Surely getting away with it would count as a condition too!!

The idea that morality has nothing to do with your actions but how you do your relationships, (ie about you and others as persons) is behind attempts to justify breaking the rules at least occasionally or for dressing that up as "the rules do not apply and why should we not just make an exception once or twice?"  So in this view it is okay to lie or steal if it it fosters good relationships between people and yourself and them. And those who say it is not saying that are lying because they want their morality to look good and to come across as nice relationship serving people.  So for this theory good and bad is about good and bad relationships not good and bad deeds as such. This then is substituting the intrinsic evil of bad relationships for the intrinsic evil of bad deeds.  You would think that being accused of being intrinsically evil relationshipist would be more judgemental than being accused of being an intrinsically evil doer of certain deeds.

Relationships are expressed and protected by actions so divorcing relationship morality from action morality is just impossible and blind.

Plus Jesus said that all relationships are really just a way of relating to God and being in a relationship with him so making morality about relationship does not give you a loophole for softening rules at all.  God alone matters so he can say he does not want lies or sex outside marriage or whatever and having a relationship with him means it should not be up for debate.

In Christianity, only three things show if an action is immoral or moral.

An action is immoral if it is bad or can reasonably be mistaken as bad.

And if you do it with intention – purpose.

The circumstances do matter for if you are not clear if an action is bad then try to see what kind of consequences it will have or reasonably might have. An act is not made bad merely be the results but the results give a clue that it is bad in the first place which is why it leads to further badness.

The Catholic Church like Church Father St Augustine says that lying is bad in itself and the intention to lie is bad too. So the action and the intention are both bad.  So Catholics say that certain things must never be done. They say that if you have a bad intention then do the act with a good one. They say that if the act is just bad then do a good one in its place. They say that if the circumstances show your act will do unnecessary and avoidable damage then either change the circumstances or do something else. They say that is the rationale behind saying that sin is the worst evil even the accidental destruction of the world is better.  So the idea is that though it is better for the whole world to blow up by accident than to commit a single sin this is not fanaticism for you should not be sinning in the first place and don't need to.  It is you creating this dichotomy.

The Church says that you cannot justify lying or stealing from somebody to stop them from sinning for any sins will be their concern not yours.  It is their sin not yours. You cannot sin to stop them.

The Church says that if you have to lie or tell the truth to a murderer about where the intended victims are then tell the truth for it is up to the murderer not to commit the sin of murder. It is their sin not yours. You have not helped anybody murder for it was their choice. Practically speaking no murderers are going to take your word for it so the lies will get you nowhere. And lies to prevent murders soon turn into lies to avoid any kind of bother.

Evil can be hard to make out for if you are getting a leg removed to save your life then the doctors are doing something that is typically harmful for you and physically evil for the sake of the greater good of saving your life. The doctors cannot be said to be intending to save your life not cut off your limb.  Of course they intend to amputate. Otherwise you would have to reason that the stabber only intended to stop you from getting in the way not to impale you.  Otherwise you would have to say the robber did not intend to steal from you but just to have the money to pay somebody off.

Christians think that if you truly love God and neighbour you will not need the commandments. If you love having only what belongs to you you will not steal or need to be banned from doing it. The two big commands to totally love God and to love neighbour imply we won't do them or want to and need commanding.

Jesus said that the command to love God with all your being is the first and the second is to love your neighbour as yourself.  It has been noted that this is a summary of the ten commandments.  The first couple of commands urge that God alone is to be treated as important and other gods are to be cast out.  The rest is about what is good for the neighbour.  The rule is that what applies to them applies to you.  That is what the "as yourself" means.  There is nothing there about admiring yourself or saying that unless you love yourself you don't have to love others.

The very idea of commandments is judgemental.  If you truly believe humans must do good without wanting the approval of a God or a reward and without being influenced by a command you will shun them.  If you see true good is spontaneous you will shun them.  Commandments show no respect for real goodness.  They show no faith in human benevolence.


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