Values come down to three ultimately.

Egoism - you value using others to feel happy by doing good for them.  That is going to mean you care about how you feel and not the person.

Altruism - you give all for others and have no regard for yourself.   If altruism is good then it is not good to stop others being altruists by inviting them to take from you.

Egotism - you use others for your own selfish ends.

The values everybody finds on the menu are three: egoism, altruism and egotism.

To keep it simple we talk about what is mainly valued or mostly valued.  It gets too complex if some action is both say altruistic and self-centred.

They are about your intention or intentions.  So which one then?  The answer is based on what is supposed to be for the best for yourself and others.

You either intend the best or you don't.

What do you value then? If you have to do one thing or the other, is it really about value?  Sue needs your help. Your intention is to do something not to value her needs. To do something because doing things is what you do is valuing yourself not her.

You can do one of the three. But each one has a dark side.

Morality can be very very dark. It is always a necessary evil at best.  And how often has a necessary evil been done by you for it to turn out that it was not really necessary at all?  You may consider something to be an evil that is unavoidable and be wrong.  It may be just evil.  And we are told that evil is a lie and falsely promises good and so it can be hard to discern.  It is no wonder then that necessary evil thinking allow a lot of wanton evils to rampage through lives.

In real life, we think there are times say that egotism is warranted.  We will disguise it as altruism or egoism if only to ourselves.

To see the three as each having a bad side means you are swapping one for the other regularly.  How so?  If the milk is sour, if the cheese is sour, if the water is dirty then does it matter to you which one you consume?  Nobody believes you if you say it does!  Nobody believes you if you condemn egoism or egotism in others on moral grounds.  They know that the problem was not the morality but that you just didn't like it.

Egoism, altruism and egotism claim to be necessary evils. People only embrace one of them because they think they are necessary evils.

The case for altruism is based on it being the only real necessary evil.

If people choose the right one a problem arises.  Even if people choose the wrong one and thus choose an unnecessary evil the problem is still there.  The problem is that the fact remains that they pay homage to the notion that they need a necessary evil.  Necessary evil is a fact of life but it gives cover for real evil and devises a thin barrier between necessary evil and plain evil.  The person who has to kill on the battlefield will not be bothered if they stab somebody to death down an alley after a row.

It does not matter if it is only altruism that is the necessary evil.  Or any or all of the others.  Then their bad side is why morality itself cannot be truly as good as it pretends.  It must be a necessary evil at best.

It is not just the bad side of egoism, altruism and egotism that makes morality a necessary evil. Morality is a necessary evil in other ways as well.

Morality has risks in an atheist worldview.  For example, you can aim for the best and make things worse.  Being smug about, "At least I thought I was doing the right thing", is about patting yourself on the back as if your virtue matters not the damage.

Anyway those risks are inflated unnecessarily and excessively in a godly worldview. Eg you are condemned as a threat to morality unless you agree that God and objective morality go together so that there isn't one without the other. Plus it means that doing wrong not only hurts the other person but God too! There is no concern for innocent until proven guilty. Nobody says, "I will not accuse you of offending God when I am not sure enough there is one".

If altruism is the best we can do then religion wrecks it.  Secular human altruism can be a necessary evil.  Religious altruism can be simply evil that is sweetened up.

Jesus Christ said you must love God for his own sake and be willing to give up all for his sake. Thus you are to be 100% altruistic towards God. Imagine that you have to be altruistic to God or man and there is no alternative. It has to be one or the other. Clearly then Jesus' teaching says you must choose God. When you help man it is not about helping man but pleasing God. Belief in God is extremist then in this way. It is extremist in this implication.

The evil of offering the good you do that helps others altruistically to a God who has no needs and who is perfectly good and safe is sick.  Most of us agree with altruism for people out there may need help from us.  Whatever this divine version is, it is not altruism. It comes across as hating humanity so much that you need to direct your selfless love to a God instead and that distraction enables you to actually do good for others.

Imagine if God gives you the gift of being altruistic towards others.  Can this mean I will just help the other even if it means taking no account of him and that is his work behind it all?  A God who wants a relationship with you will not let this happen.  You will have some clue.  You will sense it is a gift even if you don't know the how or why or who.  In fact if you search within and see nothing to that effect then you can say that your lived experience shows there is no God.  Having no evidence that anybody is there does not mean there is really nobody there.  But this is not the same thing.  It is about you knowing yourself.  If you need God he will not give a gift without letting it show how much he loves you and wants you and he to be friends even father and child. God by definition is needed.  So we see that God gives you the gift of altruism towards others so that you can in awareness serve him this way.

Altruism is sacrificing and ignoring your wellbeing for others. The altruist could commit suicide so that others may have her organs and live. Altruism is intrinsically open to such behaviour and the altruist who denies this is a liar. But if you are going to be altruistic, it is better to be altruistic for people and then animals. Being altruistic to God is terrible and stupid and disgusting. And yet you are expected to be fully altruistic where he is concerned!

Christianity says your body belongs to God not you.  Paul writes that in addition to that, God owns you if you are Christian for you are bought and paid for by the death and blood of Jesus Christ.  The image of God talk means that God decides who you are and what you must do for you belong to him as his reflection.  Thus God then has the right to command you to die so others can have your organs.

These risks and implications show that a morality based on God then is not really a morality.

Even if God were the same as objective morality, could he reveal it to man considering we are going to use it as a crutch for we hate morality and have to force ourselves to give it any honour? No. 

We do force ourselves to be moral even in some twisted way.  For example, you need to be loyal to your gang if you are going to rob a bank.   Notice how this is a group coming together to force themselves.  By implication each member is standing for force and taking away the freedom of others in the group. 

But morality itself forces itself on us too. It just does.  For example, if you say there is no justice or wrongdoing then you say it is unjust and wrong to condemn those who say you are wrong.

As Nietzsche taught, being moral in any sense - real or twisted - leads to the temptation to bully those who differ from your standards or fall short. You end up willingly or unwillingly distorting the truth in order to stigmatise them.

I would add if you think you have the good creator on your side that will only make the temptation worse.  Morality feeds on a drive for power anyway so that is no surprise.

The problem is down to how goodness should just flow from us and not need a moral code to order us.  And definitely not one to reward or punish us!

The element of force is an additional reason why morality is a necessary evil. 

To say morality is somehow the God of joy and love is to celebrate it.

Morality is not something to be celebrated as a manifestation of God if it is a necessary evil.  You don't celebrate having to amputate somebody's diseased limb.  Necessary evils are to be done but not revelled in.

Man is crafty and nasty so man's morality is going to contain some of that human toxicity too. For man to glorify the morality he creates by saying it is God, is the ultimate in arrogance and vainglory. The humble man of God is a servant of pride. His humility is fake. Using God to glorify moral values and moral commands is celebrating necessary evil and it is an unnecessary evil to celebrate it. It is immoral.
Moralism is oppressive. The strict moralist hates liberals. The liberal moralist hates anybody strict. As morality has one hideous ingredient, force, it will always range from charming passive aggression to outright hate. If we all live long enough, our moralism will turn us into tyrants. The crave for power is never satisfied. It may look for a little extra power at a time or a lot but look it will.

When force is one of the ingredients of morality, anybody who tries to use God or anything more "real" is reinforcing and increasing the pressure.

Moralists will tell you that people valuing kindness means little if they don't know how to be kind. So they think then that it is better to benefit the world by accident than to be kind and make a mess?  Believers in God say that you must see that kindness is a gift from a loving God and bears his image.  We have just been told then that even if atheists are moral they deserve little praise for it.  It would be like praising an essay when all you have is the essay plan.

Christianity says our heads are impaired due to original sin so we cannot discern good from bad very well. If our own sinfulness demonstrates our incapacity to judge rightly then that means we will often put forward bad as good. We will do that with God too. And we are told that we do!

God being identified with morality makes new "necessary" evils.


Christians hold that God tells us what is righteous.

They say that he does more than that - righteousness is him. It is his character. So Christians argue that God’s rules are not just rules but show us what God is like. For example, "Feed the poor" shows that he is kind. His qualities will always be more important than the rules for there can be no rules without them.

God is innately fair and good and kind. These qualities exist because God exists. God did not invent them or create them. They are not rules but qualities. God does not have rules for himself. He can make rules for us so that we can see what he is like through the rules. For example, he commands us to love for he is love.

Being righteous does not require you to make rules. You reveal righteousness to attract people to it. Religion is just trying to turn rules into God and hide it.

The religious say that God cannot command just whatever he likes - he cannot tell you to feed your baby to the dog just for fun. God is innately righteous and moral and sensible.

Is it a necessary evil that God cannot command what he likes? Is it a pity that he cannot command us to do that to the baby? Yes and no. It is evil that one cannot and should not command what one likes. That bit is bad. But it is good that one must not cross that line. That bit is good.

Hypothetically, what if God could be right to want you to harm your baby?  Then if God wants to command you to do that to the baby he should. Hypothetically, if it is right to kill the baby for fun you should and he should. Every real statement goes along with a pile of hypothetical ones. It invites them. It does not change the fact that in your heart you would do evil if it were hypothetically good. It still says something about you. The hypothetical makes everything you do and think and say a necessary evil.

We all think that if we use evil to get some benefit that the evil is really a problem for others not us.  If you shoot Jane to get her gold you get the gold and she bleeds to death.  What if hypothetically the risk of the evil working out was worth it?  Religion will lamely simper that evil is useless in the end.  This does nothing to put you off shooting Jane when you know she will suffer and lose not you.  We have caught religion out here.  It is asserting that the problem with evil is not that it is bad but that it is useless.  So evil is fine if it would be more practical.  Religious people keep going around in circles with evil.  They cannot really get it out of anything.  They can only keep it small or less obvious.  They can only lie about it.

We conclude that morality being seen as good is incoherent and bringing God in makes it more risky and unpleasant than it is.


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