(This was written shortly after September 11, 2001, for a general audience.)
I've followed, more or less, the discussions about who the "enemy" is, in the "war on terrorism"; the "Clash of Civilizations" thesis, and so forth. I confess I think of it in different terms. The enemy is theocracy. It comes in Islamic, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, AND secular forms.
The freethinking, skeptical, scientific "frame of mind" is functionally and… Continue
Added by John B Hodges on July 12, 2010 at 1:45pm —
I have sometimes encountered Christians who argue that the concept of a fiery Hell was not part of Jesus' original teaching; rather that it was introduced some centuries later by Church theologians. For easy reference, I have collected the following.
Added by John B Hodges on July 12, 2010 at 1:23pm —
ATHEIST ETHICS IN 500 WORDS. John B. Hodges, Dec. 21, 2007.
How can you have any ethics if you don't believe in God?
The question must BE questioned. How can you have any ethics if you DO believe in a god?
Religious folk misunderstand morality at its roots. Religion teaches a child's view of ethics, that "being good" means "obeying your parent". Just as religious faith is believing what you are told, so… Continue
Added by John B Hodges on July 12, 2010 at 1:07pm —
I propose, as an idea for a bumper sticker, "The Rapture has already happened."
Elsewhere on this blog I have posted an essay, "The Ethics of Jesus", in which I reported what I had found by collecting everything Jesus is reported to have said about what we should DO. I… Continue
Added by John B Hodges on July 10, 2010 at 9:04pm —
August 24, 1997. Corliss Lamont's definition of Humanism.
Recently I sent in my dues to join the American Humanist Association. They sent me a "welcome packet" including the Humanist Manifestos I and II, and a book, THE PHILOSOPY OF HUMANISM, by Corliss Lamont. First published in 1949, considered a classic. (Copyright currently held by Half-Moon Foundation, Inc; all rights reserved.)
There is a lot in that book, but I thought I would… Continue
Added by John B Hodges on July 10, 2010 at 8:45pm —
Years ago I decided that the issue of "free will vs. determinism" is irrelevant to questions of ethics, and untestable with respect to matters of science. Since then I have tried to avoid wasting time on it. But it comes up every now and then in Freethinker circles, and many people are lured into arguing at length over it.
Our ordinary practice is to ascribe "free will" to beings which are conscious and intelligent. "Conscious" meaning that they have an internal… Continue
Added by John B Hodges on July 7, 2010 at 2:33pm —
The theocratic Right is conducting a "Hang Ten!" crusade, to get the Ten Commandments posted on the walls of government buildings such as schools and courthouses, to give government endorsement to them. But the versions posted are usually edited and paraphrased, creating a false impression. Perhaps people would be more wary of these efforts if they read the original text, and understood the "divinely ordained" penalties attached. The following quotes will help put the Commandments in… Continue
Added by John B Hodges on July 7, 2010 at 2:11pm —
I had a victory on Oct. 31, 2001, got one of my essays printed in the Roanoke Times, at the top of the "commentary" page.
Wednesday, October 31, 2001
Authority from the governed, not from God
Church-state separation stands to reason
By JOHN… Continue
Added by John B Hodges on July 7, 2010 at 2:03pm —
Would you bite the apple that gave knowledge of good and evil? Read on.
We find ourselves alive and conscious. What shall we do with our lives? Beware "fishers of men". If we demand that someone else supply us with a purpose, someone else may DO just that. Purpose is ours to choose.
There is a natural "default" purpose, which we may choose if we like. We all have parents, as did they, back to the beginning of life.… Continue
Added by John B Hodges on July 7, 2010 at 1:58pm —
January 28, 2002, AACHAT... The Bait, the Hook, and Deism.
Deists are not atheists, they definitely believed in a god, and this has never been a secret. Even so, Atheists should count Thomas Paine and other Deists as friends and allies.
Religion has two aspects, the Bait and the Hook. There are lots of different kinds of bait. Relief from fear of death or misfortune, relief from loneliness by means of an imaginary companion, art,… Continue
Added by John B Hodges on July 7, 2010 at 1:50pm —
Ocober 11, 1999. What is the measure of "holiness"? Different traditions seem to have different standards.
Most of the measures I will discuss can be seen as variations on obedience. There is some Supreme Authority, and holiness consists of obedience to this authority; hence "holier than thou" directly means "more obedient than thou". But the variations can be significant.
I first learned about spirituality from Ananda Marga (a sect… Continue
Added by John B Hodges on July 7, 2010 at 1:46pm —
April 12, 1997; Trying to address the question of "Why be ethical?" Why
care about other people, why work to make the world a better place? A
collection of reasons.
"What IS ethical?" and "Why BE ethical?" are two DIFFERENT questions,
but the answers are related. Different answers to the first make the
second a different question. If a theory of ethics does not answer the
second, its answer to the first is… Continue
Added by John B Hodges on July 7, 2010 at 1:33pm —
This was not originally written for an Objectivist audience; I was arguing with a Kantian on an Atheist list. -JBH
March 7, 2001;… Continue
Added by John B Hodges on April 15, 2010 at 2:54am —
Something I wrote about ten years ago.
The following is, admittedly, 99% drawn from Ayn Rand. After thirty years of reading, and wandering all over the religious and philosophical MAP, I have decided that, on the ABC fundamentals I cover below, she was right. I have larger disagreements with her on ethics and politics.… Continue
Added by John B Hodges on March 17, 2010 at 2:02pm —
(This is a follow-on to the previous post on the Gesargenplotzian Gospel, the revelation received by Harlan Miller. )
Church of the Great Gesargenplotz… Continue
Added by John B Hodges on March 9, 2010 at 12:47pm —
To further debate, I'll repost the following "revelation", received as a young man by a (now-retired) prof. of philosophy at Virginia Tech, Harlan Miller.
Harlan says that he is an atheist on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and a Gesargenplotzian on other days. IMHO he's using it… Continue
Added by John B Hodges on March 9, 2010 at 12:22pm —
October 12, 1997. Attitudes of atheists toward religion.
Nonbelievers call themselves by a variety of names, and have
formed a plentitude of organizations (despite their small numbers). I
think this is due to the range of attitudes they have on crucial
issues, foremost among them religion.
Recently, on an email discussion list, I read one man's comment
that he preferred the… Continue
Added by John B Hodges on March 7, 2010 at 3:06pm —
ATHEIST FOUNDATIONS OF ETHICS. John B. Hodges, March 12, 2006.
In the United States,… Continue
Added by John B Hodges on February 28, 2010 at 5:30pm —