Friedrich Nietzsche, in his On the Genealogy of Morals, said there are two types of morality: master morality, which weighs actions by their [perceived] good or bad consequences, and slave morality, which weighs actions by their [imputed] good or evil intentions. (See Wikipedia under "Nietzche slave morality".)
I'm writing a memoir and remembering that my older sister some ten years ago (before she died) told me I have to forgive our parents for their violence. We had both gone to twelve years of Catholic schools and heard often that it's necessary to forgive. I'd had some counseling on the matter and my sister hadn't. I replied that I no longer felt a need to forgive them, that I believed it more important to adapt to the consequences. As if she hadn't heard me, she demanded that I forgive them. She made her demand so clear that I wondered if I understood the word.
I referred to my dictionary, where I found that to forgive (this from the New Oxford American) is to stop feeling angry toward someone for an offense, flaw or mistake. Our parents had worked hard and made a home for us, and though they had from time to time used violence to achieve their short term ends, they had done as much or more for us than their parents had done for them.
When I'd first read Nietzsche, I hadn't been strong enough to accept his views and for years avoided his writings. I came to see the truth of his words. The Christianity I'd known had indeed taught a slave morality and I had freed myself from it. An early step in freeing myself had been resolving, despite the Commandment, that parents have to earn honor.
Do you agree with Nietzsche on this matter? Care to tell of your experiences?
Going to delve into the old book of Thread Necromancy here and answer this question.
I completely agree with Nietzsche on the basis that to be religious is to be a servant. When I used to be a Catholic, I thought that there was two ways to live life: to serve God or to serve sin. Regardless of the answer, I considered myself a servant. My life was not my own. To live a life for myself? Anathema. I wasted years of my life waiting for a purpose, waiting for a calling. It's a funny thing about invisible, intangible deities of a great beyond. Even if you earnestly think that they are there and you listen for them, if you are honest, you'll realize that all you ever hear is your own voice. That's how it went for me. I plodded along through life waiting for an end, because that was where I thought life really began. I waited for my chance to serve, but found little.
It was by finally accepting responsibility for my life that I came to find meaning. The more I chose to live a life that was mine, the better my life became. This was the impetus for me to shed my religion. It had always promised a fruitful life and it never upheld the bargain it promised. I found a better way and began to see religion for what it was, an abdication of one's life. Those who are truly faithful give up their lives in service to their faith. They don't live. They wait for death. They subsume their self to their beliefs and in turn become slaves. It was a mixture of Nietzsche, Rand, and Hitchens who helped me see that I was on the right path. I'm thankful for all three.
Thanks, Sagacious Hawk.
After 12 years of Catholic schools, I plodded along until North Korea invaded South Korea and President Truman sent me to war. It stopped my plodding. I decided to go to college, where I quit religion. I met up with existentialism and began accepting responsibility. Life became immensely better.
What is it about existentialism that allowed you to accept responsibility? Responsibility for what?
Ed, first a minor correction: existentialism didn't allow me to accept responsibility, it required me to accept responsibility.
I first heard of existentialism in a 1955 college philosophy class, after I'd returned from a war. The lecturer said Jean-Paul Sartre, a French writer who during WW2 had fought in the underground against the Nazis, had written of existentialism and made it known. That a fellow warrior had made it known resulted in my giving it a respect I'd given no other philosophy the class had studied.
The lecturer said that in the opinion of many philosophers, existentialism was a point of view rather than a philosophy but gave no reason. I disagreed but he allowed no rebuttal and took the class on to other topics. That was the last I heard of existentialism for about twenty years, until after I had experienced several years of another kind of war: hardball politics, where people demand that "players" either accept responsibility or return to a less combative life. I stayed, and learned.
If the above explanation doesn't persuade you, survive a war or some hardball politics. Then, unless you turn to idealism or cynicism, you might understand.
In keeping with Sagacious' reply, but not exactly answering your question, I had written some things recently that took me back in time, reliving old memories, and I recall a conversation with my mother about what happens after you die. She was Christian, and explained that we would all see each other. Islam (which means, "surrender"), of course, has its 72 virgins for martyrs, and most Christians believe that they will be reunited with lost loved ones.
But as I read the Bible over and over for my own website, the more I realized that heaven isn't for us, it's to have a congregation of groupies available to praise god around the clock. The NT (John, 3:16) says, "For god so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten son that we should not perish, but have everlasting life," but as the Bible reads, it was not because he loved us - if you believe what it says, he sent his son to redeem us (from breaking laws that he didn't have to make in the first place), in order to have a heavenly cheering squad. He holds the carrot of eternal life out in front of us, to make sure we're worthy of being heavenly cheerleaders, and if we pass muster, we make the squad. We're not there to reunite with loved ones or boink virgins, we're there only to cheer!
I'd have to call that slavery.
Boinking 72 virgins, and having to explain everything, would bore me.
Mark Twain, in a short story, said that endlessly listening to harp music would bore him.
@Tom - RE: "Mark Twain, in a short story, said that endlessly listening to harp music would bore him."
"Letters From the Earth," from the book by the same name, published posthumously.
It's gonna take a lot of cheerleaders to satiate that ego.
I was raised Catholic, but never bought into their mumbo-jumbo.
Count yourself fortunate.