Against “Judeo-Christian values” 11

Daily one hears and reads American conservatives insisting that America, our civilization, our might, our freedom, our prosperity, are owing to “our Judeo-Christian values”. (For one of today’s examples, see here.)

There are no such things as “Judeo-Christian values”.

Unless you count a few of the “10 commandments” – that it’s wrong to kill, to steal, to bear false witness (which realization in any case long pre-dates Mosaic law) – the two religions diverge sharply on the question of values. In fact what each holds as its highest value is in direct contradiction to the other. The highest value in Jewish teaching was Justice. For Christianity as invented by St. Paul, it was Love.

Christianity preaches that a person can be separated from his deeds: “Hate the sin but love the sinner”. There is no place for justice where a wrong-doer is not to be held responsible for what he does. The Christian gospels stress that evil should not be resisted. (“Resist not evil” the putative Christ is reported as preaching in his “Sermon on the Mount”.) The Christian message also stressed unconditional forgiveness. It all adds up to a morality that excludes justice: an unjust morality.

What Judaism and Christianity could be said to have in common – which the parrots of “Judeo-Christian values” would not care to admit – is a devaluing of reason. Neither respects reason above faith.

The values we ideally live by were not the product of Judaism or Christianity, but of the Enlightenment. It was only when, in the 18th century, Reason usurped the power of the Churches, that individual freedom became a supreme value. Only then, for the first time since the glory days of classical Greece, people were encouraged to think for themselves, to obey no orthodoxy. Freedom of conscience and freedom of speech began for us then – in an intellectual revolution against religious dogma.

The greatness of the West, and especially of the United States of America, is the result of the revolution which is rightly called the Enlightenment. Freedom to doubt, to leave room for all ideas to be expressed and heard, and so to learn and discover and experiment, has brought us prosperity and power. The world-dominating success of our civilization began with the triumph of reason over religion.

A return to theocracy would be a return to darkness.

*

Afterword. Reason triumphs yet again.

From the Washington Post:

[An] experimental drug pressed into emergency use in the West African Ebola epidemic cured a group of 18 monkeys of the deadly disease, including some who didn’t receive the treatment until five days after they were injected with the virus, researchers reported Friday.

The finding raises new hope for use of the cocktail of monoclonal antibodies, called ZMapp, against Ebola, which has no known cure or vaccine. It has been fatal to more than half the people who have contracted the virus in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

During the current outbreak, more than 1,500 people have died and 3,069 people have become infected in five countries, the latest of them Senegal, according to the World Health Organization. The current epidemic is worse than all previous Ebola outbreaks combined. A small number of cases, believed to be a separate outbreak, have surfaced in the Democratic Republic of Congo. …

The fact that ZMapp has worked on monkeys “strongly supports” the possibility that it will work on people, “but it’s not proven” – as yet.

It soon will be.

Posted under Commentary, Ethics, Law, liberty, United States, US Constitution by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, August 26, 2014

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This post has 11 comments.

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  • Frank

    The United States was founded on Judeo-Christian values. That’s right, values like slavery, misogyny, and genocide which are all promoted in the Bible.

  • liz

    Yes, I am really tired of hearing (ad-nauseum) about “Judeo-Christian values” being the only foundation in history for the greatness of this country, or for morality, etc, etc. And arguing with them about it is pretty much a waste of time. They quickly resort to quite “unchristian-like” name-calling.
    Also agree with Don about Jillian’s breath of knowledge and insight!
    REALBEING mentions here “give us the security of the unseen”. This reminded me of a statement Hitchens made in the debate video, that “buried in religion is the wish to be unfree”. Very true, mostly for reasons of insecurity.

    • REALBEING

      “buried in religion is the wish to be un-free”.

      I’ve learned that most of the populace lives unconsciously and foolishly in a ‘paradise’ stretched tight between rewarding and suffering.

      They literally love this stagnation as they needn’t do anything but learn to bear their pain, or to blame someone for it, or to appease it with more outer “stuff.”

      They only live for their appetites, allowing them to rule their lives, not realizing that every breath taken freely is brought to them by their insides, and not by a ‘Master.’

      An unconscious search for security and victim-hood rules their waking hours. They’ve never realized that there is absolutely no such thing as security. Ever.

      My teacher, George, used to call these masses of animal humans “The Walking Dead.”

      They could be their own Master if they would only realize their own power, yet they insist on abdicating it away to whoever or whatever strikes their fancy.

      If a person unconsciously allows himself to be owned by another, whether it be a government ‘Master’ or a dogmatic ‘Master’ like religion in the popular, modern way, he not only gives up the right to lead his own life, but he begins to depend on the ‘Master’s’ benevolence.

      Nevertheless, it is always at the Master’s whim that the slave lives his existence.

      These “Dead” sometimes learn that their ‘Master’ is no better or no worse than he, the slave.

      Then it is time for the pendulum to swing back over to the ‘victim’ side of their life experience as they internalize their pain simply because they cannot bring themselves to realize that they must be responsible for gaining both a perspective and an understanding of both pendulum swings, personally. They never learn to own their pain.

      All pain is resistance, and all resistance is pain.

      This realization would be too much for them, and like pouring boiling hot water into fine crystal, they would explode…..

  • Don L

    In my earlier post, I was responding to my first impression which was in essence: Jillian has done it again. But what has she done..She CUT-RIGHT -TO-THE-CHASE!

    It’s been a few hours since I originally submitted. I don’t recall anyone ever putting the truth to word as succinctly and concisely as she has: justice vs love. She didn’t say, but one can borrow from Hitchens and Rand (Ayn) the atheist truth…freedom, free choice, free will as the counter to theism.

    I am armed with new weapons with which to counter, that they might see to reality, at least the delusions of those not fully fledged into their detriment justice (killing) and Love (foregiveness with no responsibility) vs Reason (truth and reality.

    For all that I have read & contributed…I’m agast …nowhere have I read it so properly spoken (typed). I can picture discussions…I look forward to the squirming as they try to deal with Justice, Love and Reason.

    WOW. Thanks again.

  • Don L

    Jillian…thank you. Your wealth and breadth of knowledge is exceptional and I’m so glad and honored to benefit from your choice to share it.

    Recently, as you know, we (your site) had the magic-soviet-christian-mathematician screaming at us about ‘our’ Judeo-Christian nation. And, that we should leave since we (atheists) didn’t bow to the dictates of the majority of only-they-are-moral christians (and the minority jews).

    Again, thanks for insightfulness!!!

    • REALBEING

      What is important to me Don is that I, having walked on both sides of the “fence” separating Religion from Atheism, meaning that I’ve had the experience of viewing both worlds from above the ‘fray,’ and have made the choice to follow “my heart” and my head. (Reason and Logic)

      I firmly believe that most Religionists haven’t been to both sides in order to make an educated choice between the two schools.

      When one is locked into emotional belief passed on by one’s parents, traditions, fears, or friends it is difficult if not impossible and unsavory to compare the two world views totally without bias.

      The person must make a conscious choice to challenge his religious beliefs……DEEPLY. (Which would be going directly against specific orders from “God!”)

      Most couldn’t unbiasedly accomplish this, as they would know that it would possibly create a schism within themselves, and against God.

      Dogma, when you’re of the religious persuasion, is paramount to the “feeling” you’re after……

      “Reason be damned!!!
      Give us the security of unseen, unknowable, magically supernatural, and unreasonable beliefs, so we can get on with the business of living in a fool’s illusionary paradise!!!”

      • Don L

        When I was in HS, age 15-17, I was heavy duty in the church youth dealy-ma-bob. President of the Presbyterian Youth council…and all along I knew I didn’t believe any of it.

        I thought I was evil and alone until, I dropped out of normalcy to join the NAVY at 17,,,hmmm, nothing normal about homelife…and I was exposed to the ideas of Ayn Rand,

        Now, I will wave my flag…I wanted to learn; philosophy…crap: Fromm, Kant and a bunch of, even for a virgin mind, losers had me totally depressed. Is this it? These are what the world considers the great thinkers? My self worth issues got worse: who am I to challenge the great minds?

        Then, I was given a copy of “Fountainhead” and I have held my head up high ever since.

        Jillian is a world asset…she has that power of thought, vibrancy and energy that only a real great mind has.

        REALBEING, I never sensed a choice…from the time I was aware I just knew, maybe why the ‘rents’ had issues with me, it was all nonsense.

        Hey, Happy Memorial Day GI!!! I Know you join me in a hand salute to the fallen!

        • REALBEING

          I strongly agree with your assessment of Jillian and Ayn Rand! As far as philosophers, I like Maslow and Spinoza, but I especially like Alfred Adler.

          I have all of my fallen friends saved in my ‘favorites’ on virtualwall.org. I reflect on their pictures, stories and my memories of them at least once a week.

          Their faces will never leave my mind……

          Thank you for your service to our great country, Don! May we always keep Her sweet, vital, beautiful, and most of all, strong!

          • Don L

            I’m losing it and you’re no help. You were supposed to correct the idiot swabby and tell me…it’s Labor Day!

            Ah…it’s to honor unions…screw ’em. I like a second Memorial Day!!! LOL

            • REALBEING

              Every day of my life is a Memorial Day, Don.