Hypothetical Question - What would society be like if there were no consequences?

What kind of a society (sans a god) do you think we would have if everyone believed they were born bad,couldn't help but to do bad--but that it didn't matter because they would never get thrown in jail.

In my opinion--it would be and IS chaos, but it IS chaos due to the influence of Christianity which holds to the above meta theory.  (sin, repent, sin, repent--repeat when necessary without consequence)

So what is your view of a society that could do whatever they wanted to without consequences.

Tags: christianity, morality, sin

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Also, Patrick,  you said, "So my instinct tells me that no society can exist in a completely a-moral environment."

It would be very hard, for a society to exist completely a-moral environment. Humans have always been social. Babies, for the most part, can not survive on their own.

I my previous statement, I do not mean to imply Ethical relativism.  In fact, I think that many, of not most of societies used various other normative ethical theories, for example, such as a form of utilitarianism.  Whatever increases the overall good. In which case logic would apply.

I also agree with your notion of a "rationalist goodness," one which applies the dialectical process and a form of moral negotiation. Absolutism fails. However, absolutism is not necessary  for ethics. There is still objectivity in the sense that both you and I have set out.

RE: "Christians believe that their god is "all good," yet their god is guilty of genocide," etc.

Thus, it was necessary to create an antagonist, enter Satan. Interestingly, Satan is mentioned, in the OT only about .01% of the time, and in the NT, only .015%, and in fact, god himself admits to being the cause of all the world's evil:

Isaiah 45:7  "I form the light and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things."

But as the Jewish religion, and later, the Christian sect, formalized, ceased being just a scattering of oral traditions and began to be written down and conjoined into the Torah, then the Bible, and finally, the New Testament, religious leaders couldn't get much leverage within their Pavlovian reward/punishment manipulation system, by admitting that an all-loving god caused your baby to die last year, so this minor character in the Bible, Satan, began to take on a life of it's own, and from about the late 6th century AD to 1600 AD, entire legends were built around him that were never found in any religious scripture - both god and man finally had a scapegoat. Or as Flip Wilson put it so succinctly: "Da debbil made me do dat!"

Here's a poem a friend of mine wrote that touches on a few points you've made. 

'Portrait of a Fundy'



He walked up to the pulpit with a bible in his hand

"The wrath of God," he shouted, "soon is coming to this land."

The congregation shuddered as they sang song 94

About the streets of glory and of hell forevermore!


 There was a ghastly quiet, just as if the church was dead,

As he raised high the book he held. With flaming eyes he said:

"There is one path to glory...and we have found the way

who take the King James Bible as the only truth today.


Now our interpretation of the bible is divine;

Each man who does not want to roast had better toe the line.

And those of you who disbelieve in Jonah and the whale

who think the truth of Noah's ark is but a fairy tale;

You infidels will be consigned unto that flaming hell

 Where unbelieving men are cast and fallen angels dwell;

 Where fires of torment never cease to scorch the tender soul

  And demons shovel brimstone much like miners shovel coal..


The evolutionist will fill the hottest part of all;

 For just a drop of water in agony he'll call. 

 The modernist corrupter is branded on the rear

  And made to dance in seething flames that never disappear. 


That poor misguided minister who only spoke of love

 Must walk a tightwire over hell before he gets a shove

And ends up in the seething pit with demons by his side;                                                                      First he is roasted, then he's boiled and later gently fried.

 Those men who fail to pay their tithe and hear the holy way

Preached by a fundamentalist will surely have to pay

By dancing on the coals of hell throughout eternity,

While up in heaven on a cloud the true believers see 


 The fury and the wrath of God descend on men below;

The writhing and the agony will be an endless show

 To entertain those righteous men who walk the streets of gold

 And sing their endless praises of the justice they behold.


What woe befalls that infidel who entertains a doubt

that in six days the earth was made and heaven was rolled out...                                                 Then filled with stars to light this globe on which all people dwell

 who are not up in heaven or within the depths of hell.  


 There will be those who did not read a chapter every day

From God's great book, the Bible, and neglected much to pray.

Such men may be forgiven the vastness of their crime

If they support the ministry and get to church on time. 


 But they are not forgiven if they take the time to read

 Textbooks on geology and earthly science heed.

Their future in the brazen pit  is awful and malign;

 Amid great clouds of seething smoke on living coals they dine. 


 The criminal and murderer who lived a wicked life,

Who was not known to leave alone the other fellows wife;

 Who robbed and stole and cheated every person here below:

 If on his death bed he repents, to heaven he will go. 

But mercy on the man who lived a life of charity,

 Who always helped his neighbor and did think with clarity;

 If he does not believe the way of fundamental grace

 He marches to the pit of hell and goes no other place.


Those men on South Sea Islands who were never told the plan...

That great plan of salvation...are tortured every man;

 Their destiny, the flames of hell, will never cease to be;

 They roast beside misguided men who loved philosophy.  


 Those who believe the Islam creed and walk the Buddhist way

 Will surely feel the wrath of God begin on judgment day.

 As they are hurled into those flames most awful to behold

All faithful fundamentalists will strum their harps of gold.


Yes, they shall sing 'Hosanna" to one who reigns on high

And watches endless torment from his palace in the sky.

 Now go and warn the nations who are lost in chains of sin,

And spread the gospel message, for each follower you win

Is surely bound for heaven and a mansion by and by

Where he can hear the angels sing and watch those sinners fry!"


With this our fundamentalist did bow his head in grace,

and counseled God on how he ought to run this wicked place:

"Send brimstone on the sinners who will not accept our creed,

And shed thy wrath on worldly men with vengeance and with speed.

Dear lord, uphold thy servants as they labor for thy fold;

For they shall gain a crown of light and walk on streets of gold.

We praise the lord because you now forgive our every sin...

Yet blast the wicked of the world; to this we shout AMEN!"

That was awesome!  Thanks for sharing.

Thanks.. I've always loved it..   I use to show it to people and they wouldn't get it.  Its like satire isn't a part of their education.. 

The part that relates to your post most directly...   "The criminal and murderer who lived a wicked life,

Who was not known to leave alone the other fellows wife;

Who robbed and stole and cheated every person here below:

If on his death bed he repents, to heaven he will go."..   

People believe this..and at the same time they think that the good man who lived a good life will go to hell if he doesn't.

What happens when an unstoppable force hits an immovable object?

Something unbelievable.

Hi Cathy

What a weird post!  Being thrown in gaol is not the "consequence" that prevents me from doing wrong.  In wrongdoing, there is a victim.  Sometimes the victim is far enough removed that it is difficult to see immediately, and sometimes there are hundreds or thousdands of victims, up to and including the whole of mankind.  Truly victimless crimes aren't really wrongdoing, they are more about etiquette.

I think you need to separate in your mind the concept of a crime and wrongdoing.

If I kill someone, I have committed wrongdoing.  There is a victim who has lost their life, and the family and friends are victims, because they have lost their loved one.  If there was no criminal code to call this a crime, it would still be wrong to do.

There is a common misguided idea amongst some religious people that atheists must be callous and have no morals, but that is simply rubbish.  Normal atheists are as law abiding and good as any christian.  Atheists can't have their wrongdoings absolved either, so I have often found them better people in themselves.  They know why things are wrong without having to be told things are wrong because some supernatural alien being told some semi-mythical forefather it was wrong.


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