I have few other articles that I need to complete and publish, but I want to skip them over for a while to answer an important point that a pious christian is trying to ask me via the Amazon Book review I made for, "The god Delusion
", a book by R. Dawkins.
Are people good only because they strictly follow a Religion? This was the topic of chapter Six of Dawkins', “The god Delusion”
, which he titled exactly, “The Roots of Morality: Why are we Good?”
Here is what the christian man in a comment he made in my book review wants me to explain:
Bruce Bain, a christian, asks: “Can you demonstrate the Logical Coherency between the author's Moral Arguments in Chapter Six for THE GOLDEN RULE, and demonstrate the logical consistency between THE GOLDEN RULE and the Scientific Theory of Natural Selection?
…I am asking for the LOGICAL REASONING by which Richard Dawkins makes THE GOLDEN RULE logically consistent with the Scientific Theory of Natural Selection.”
Let’s answer his question for starters. Natural Selection
is the process by which forms of life having traits that enable them to better adapt to specific environmental pressures, as predators, changes in climate, or competition for food or mates, will tend to survive and reproduce in greater numbers than others of their kind, thus ensuring the perpetuation of those favorable traits in succeeding generations.
How does this relate to the Golden Rule? The golden rule states, “One should treat others according to how one would like others to treat one's self”
. In survival terms, the principle of Natural Selection would seem to be incompatible with this, especially to other life forms such as predatory animals. (Although to humour, if a Tuna eats a smaller fish, this tuna would be treated the same way by another bigger fish. This in fact, is an ironical analogy to the golden rule).
Although we need to go up the hierarchy on the animal kingdom and focus on humans, since in order to understand the science of morality we would need to go deeper to the neurological concept, down to the deepest function of the human brain.
Our morality is not decided by religion nor dictated by an imaginary space friend, it is decided by the perception in our brain, derived through experiences and memory. If we are reading the bible or the Qur’an, we will come across some passages that are heinous, and the other hand, some are of good virtue. If we will look at the Bible and read ‘the book of Numbers Chapter 31, verse 7-12’
, the god there asks Moses to mass murder the Midianites (commit Genocide). When we think of it carefully, we say to ourselves, “This is just plain wrong”, as compared to the golden rule which most of us will agree as a positive virtue. What helped us decide which is good and which is bad? Certainly not our imaginary space friend, it’s our brain.
If we had to conform to what our religion dictates literally —disregarding the obvious that these religions were invented by egotistic men claiming what they say are inspired by god —then we’ll consider Genocide as a morally accepted act.
Because of Natural Selection, we have a complex neurological function in our brain that is capable of producing love, selflessness, as well as negative traits such as hatred, anger, or loneliness. Moreover, because of evolution and Natural History, our brain knows through experience, that sometimes, the survival of our species does not depend on killing the other kind alone, but working with them in harmony as well. It is all in our biology.
I’ll try to prove a fact that the Golden Rule is not religiously connected to Christianity alone, because any person with cognitive sense and neurological function can come up with the same thing, even if they have not heard of Jesus at all.
Just because it sounds oh so good, it doesn’t mean it was original
Let’s go to the origin of the golden rule. One of the most famous quotes of Jesus in his sermon at the mount
, which was included in the catholic beatitudes, was the golden rule. “One should treat others according to how one would like others to treat one's self”.
Was this originally by the way of Christian tradition alone? It’s rather unlikely. I will not state Jesus as a copycat, but he definitely did not start this idea.
- Socrates: "Do not do to others what angers you, if done to you by others.”
- Aristotle: "We should behave towards friends, as we would wish friends to behave towards us."
- Confucius: "Do not do to others what you would not like yourself. Then there will be no resentment against you, either in your family or in the state."
- Taoism: "Regard your neighbour’s gain as your gain, and your neighbour’s loss as your own loss."
- Zoroastrianism: "That nature alone is good which refrains from doing another whatsoever is not good for itself."
- Buddhism: "Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful."
- Hinduism: "This is the sum of duty: do nothing to others which you would not have them do to you."
- Islam: There is no equivalent to the Golden Rule in the Koran. However, there are Rules of Reciprocity in the later Hadith writings: "None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself."
- Sikhism: "As thou deemest thyself, so deem others."
Admittedly, most of these verses are of religious nature. Unfortunately, for those theists trying to gain hope on these, it doesn’t justify anything that religion is the sole origin of goodness. Going back to my point, the fact that there are numerous people from different chronological dateline and different geographical locations that can come up with the same idea could only mean one thing: They were using their brains. Using their brains, is biology, which in fact is influenced by natural selection and evolution, which in fact means it was not dictated (but only claimed to be inspired) by an almighty being.