One raging debate that has been going on for decades is whether evolution makes sense of being moral and looking after people worse off and weaker than yourself.  Survival of the fittest really means survival of the most manipulative and adaptable.  Being able to work around problems is a creature's real strength.  Christianity gaslights that as God guides evolution or that it is simply untrue, there is no reason to take this survival idea seriously.  It says your real self is the one that loves God and lives for others.  Make no mistake.  Evolution that is for that is not evolution at all and it does no good to go into denial about how everything is in competition.  Scientific evolution is about lucky success at the expense of other creatures.

Survival of the craftiest and most adaptable is true.  And you don’t need to affirm evolution to recognise that. It is not natural then to go out and help strangers. It is natural to help and love your family and friends, those who love you. Your love for them helps them love you back. Scratch their back and they scratch yours.  It is unknown if anybody deep down believes anything different.  It seems to be written into us.

Religion refuses to admit that.  It complains that evolution teaches it when it knows fine well that it is true regardless of whether evolution is true or not.  It is a cynical lie.

It is simply not true that simple reasoning and good sense support the notion of valuing the wellbeing of strangers. And some say that ignoring strangers causes unhappiness so it is wrong but most people are happy looking out for their own only. Doing good for all where possible cannot be turned into a rule for every person. It is not universal. If a God commands it for it is supposedly logical and happiness-conducing, he is a liar.

Those who say that morality is clearly for all and seeks the benefit of all are protesting too much.

The clever and sensible knave does bad things only in secret and when he is sure that little or nothing can come out.  The sensible knave against Jesus' directive only acts with love towards those who are not a threat to him and who love him.

 There is a very careful management of potential consequences going on.  If we could all do that there is nothing stopping us.  There are more sensible knaves that we know and everybody is potentially one.  To succeed they parrot, “I treat friend and foe and stranger with justice and respect for each person on earth has the duty to look after others when the opportunity arises.” The message of universality makes a good cover. It is exactly what you would expect to hear from the knave.

What if that bothers you?  All you are left with is that God says all need looking after and it’s a moral duty but that is only an assumption.  What is just assumed can be just un-assumed as well.  You cannot command somebody what to assume so it is no good.  They may as well not bother mentioning God. 

The biggest and easiest way to be a sensible knave is to help people but to be doing it not to help them but so that you can approve of yourself and feel good.

Let us analyse.

Jake helps his neighbours whom he likes. He ignores the rest.

He helps them BECAUSE he likes them.

Remember helping somebody because you like them is rewarding yourself for it is about how you feel. You help them for you like and its is not really about them.

Objectors say regardless of what you feel you are helping them for they need help. It is about what they need.  It is not.  You would not be helping them at all if you did not like them.

Just because you know they need help, it does not mean that you are helping them for that reason.  It is about what you need for you need people you like to be around.

The sensible knave follows "the end justifies the means" to one extent or another.

If you practice that, you know that people might see you as a means to an end. It might lead to more trouble than you expect. You will be told,  "It will not give you a sense of being safe."  Many however do feel they are undetected and do feel safe.  A powerful knave does not care what people think of him.

You may bomb the city for you think there are terrorists in it. You cannot say that you are not a bomber and a killer for it was the goal of peace you wanted not the killing. Of course you wanted the killing but as a means to an end. The killing was intended more immediately than the end. You had no reason to think the killing would really bring about the end in view either. The end justifies the means makes you a liar and a hypocrite and shameless.

The solution is to be careful not to be too obvious when you are setting up your pawns.

These days therapists and trendy religion preachers virtually tell you to be a sensible knave.  To tell you as they do that you must love yourself before you can love another is really commanding you to love yourself first and not to bother loving others if you cannot do it. It tells you not to love others anyway regardless of how you feel about you. If that learning to help and love and value others is made out to be in some way bad or undesirable the last thing you will do is love yourself anyway. It cannot work.

Jolene has cared for her son over and above the call of duty for three decades. If he says, “My mother does not care about me. She just doesn’t want any guilt” how do you respond? You will think he is an ingrate of the lowest kind. It will not matter that rationally and logically he could be right. But there is something inhuman about his approach. He could feel powerful by thinking that of her.  He feels he is over her as her judge.  By invalidating her, he affirms he has a right to cheat her or abandon her.  He is being a knave.  If he tells nobody what he thinks he is being a "sensible knave".  He may never hurt her but his reward is his feeling that he can.  It feeds his ego.

Religion says atheists are doing just that but to God. "They have decided not to notice God's loving care. Jesus said in the sermon on the mount that you only have to look to see that God loves the birds and has them looking better than Solomon in his robes."  This accuses atheists of being sensible knaves to God even if nothing else.  Many will say that being like that leads to you finding new ways to be such a knave.  They say your poisonous attitude will extend to everybody else soon.  Our answer to that is that it is a very serious allegation and unless they show that God gave them authority in writing to say such things they should shut up.

People forgive to be seen as peacemakers.  They talk about doing it for themselves.  That is letting go of pain and is not the same thing as forgiveness.  The popular version of forgiveness is narcissistic virtue-signalling unless it is orientated towards an attempt at and offer of reconciliation. Reconciliation is the real goal.  Even the Bible says that.  But that is not what the vast majority really do.  This shows that sensible knaves need not be atheists!

Suffering is unfair and does not care what you deserve. It is not about what you deserve, what you don’t deserve, or any meeting point between that binary. For that reason we think that we should not have to suffer. Then we get attached to things that we believe can ward off suffering or make it manageable. We get angry and dangerous if these props are threatened. An atheist can think that way. But the believer can as well. The believer can imagine that having faith in God will somehow make any suffering that comes to them less acute.  They end up attached to faith in God which is not the same thing as being attached to God.  This is treating faith as some kind of placebo.  Another way the believer thinks that faith will help, is that God will reward it by really doing something for you.

The notion that God loves you and lets you suffer is held not to say that you need suffering or that he agrees with it happening to you.  It stops you admitting that reality is not about being fair so in that sense suffering is fair no matter what.  It does you psychological and moral harm.  It invites you to spread that harm.

If science tells us to maximise wellbeing and happiness we end up with a moral quandary for what maximises this for one person does not work for another. What is wellbeing for me is not wellbeing for you. For example, we would consider a person who paints abstract things all day as bad though he gets maximum value of life from it. The poor are starving at his door and he does not even take time to notice.  Most cases are not that obvious.  Because people claim to think that x is best they get plenty of scope for being to some degree clever knaves.  You can make something look like there are many uncertainties so that you can seem like you made what you thought was the best choice even if you got it wrong.  It gives you a cover.

Morality rules that what is loving and fair is whatever you can do.  In other words, there is no command to know or do what is impossible.  Religion worries some systems are too easily abused.  If morality is vague that is not our fault.  It is still morality.  There is only controversy over this for religion decides what it wants to condemn and then tries to make logic and the facts back it up.  It should be the other way round.

Pagan deities were often sensible knaves.  The atheist is not his or her own God. That is swapping one object of absolute worship for another. The atheist is rather his or her own god in the sense that a pagan god was a being with power over something while another god had power over something else. The gods were not interested in being morally perfect. They were usually interested in being okay.  The atheist does not literally worship herself or himself but like a god claims their own power and this power is over themselves.


The sensible knave thing is an issue for atheists yes but religion and God belief do not offer a way out. They offer another way in.


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