Hell and the Evolutionary Prerogative

Hell. We’re all familiar with the concept. There are many religions that claim its existence. Even the idea of reincarnation offers a dismal look at eternity if the cards one is dealt are not played right. Hell is the ultimate prison. Prison for eternity. I’ve never been to a prison, but can only imagine the detriment of a cage populated with humanity’s worst offenders. People, wicked as any demon, lie in wait for the fresh fish entering their population. I couldn’t fathom being held in an earthly prison – let alone – a metaphysical one for all of time. If I were to believe in hell, I’d probably stammer in my very foundation.

Luckily, the idea has never entered my mind as credible. Yet, I remain civil regardless. I’m a pacifist and see violence as a crude technique employed by the less evolved. I didn’t need hell to scare me into this line of thinking. But…I digress…

I may not stand among the average person when I state such convictions. On a world scale, violence is a reality that refuses to sleep throughout recorded history. It seems to be a reoccurring subject. What confuses me is that though I may not feel the judgment of God or gods – devil nor demon, I choose to live with a code of ethics that surpass those written of in holy books. I would never attend a public execution – or, stoning (depending on what age I find myself in). I want to help those in need. No traditional god or threat of eternal prison has defined this idealism for me. In contrast, a simple look at the natural suffering of life has lead me to this conclusion – ranging from the cuddly herbivore to the human slave.

I have made others helpless under my physical strength in self defense and only felt saddened. This is who I am. I have seen others do the same as well. I have likewise witnessed those who gain some kind of thrill by inflicting suffering upon others. Some of whom believe in hells and gods. I witnessed no difference in their behavior. Perhaps at time – but no lasting influence over their behavior. Yet, holding others in my view only cloud it. Clearly, all I speak for is my self.

I seek the same ends as those that contend morality is influenced by the fire of hellish threat do. I seek peace on Earth. Yet, tales of hell have never accomplished what I feel is a humanistic progression. In fact, the most violent times existed when hells were most widely believed in. Only objective morality has ever paved the way to righteousness. Only through arriving at the realization that our actions affect those around us in a manner that echo universal repercussion have we sought to change direction. This threat is immediate, relative to action, and thus, founded in objectivity. This is consequence in real time.

Hell is scary indeed, but alas, holy books fail us. A real threat walks among us, threatening something we need not imagine – Earth. If future generations do not act – they will be verifiably doomed. Hell is no longer needed. The real threat is written in non-fiction. Facts condemn us – not gods or devils. The pieces are set for all to see – and, any prevention is “holy.”

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14 Comments

Filed under Religion and Modern Politics

14 responses to “Hell and the Evolutionary Prerogative

  1. Dialogue from this post on Myspace (“Cowgirl”):

    Cowgirl:

    So, Catalyst, do you think your ideal of Peace on Earth will work out before the Bad Guys and Sociopaths kill all the Good Guys and Pacifists? If so, how? Will you reason with them? Will you appeal to their emotions? How do you appeal to the emotions of a socio or psychopath? How do you reason with a despot high on and addicted to power?
    —————————————————————————————
    Catalyst:

    “So, Catalyst, do you think your ideal of Peace on Earth will work out before the Bad Guys and Sociopaths kill all the Good Guys and Pacifists? If so, how?”

    Good question. My ideal would work, yes. But, that is why it is an ideal. I never said that addressing the problem would be simple. Most psychological profiles are products of extrinsic variables. There are some genetics at play; however, they are insignificant in comparison. Resolving these environmental variables would require extensive research and action. Isolating these causal relationships would also require both control and care. Naturally, childhood development would play an integral role.

    On a political level – power of the masses would need to extend beyond their current limitation and ensure that the qualifications for world leaders are not reduced to money and the right friends.

    “Will you reason with them? Will you appeal to their emotions?”

    As long as these people aren’t in positions of power, proper containment and/or medical assistance/therapy should suffice.

    “How do you appeal to the emotions of a socio or psychopath?”

    Institutionalization. It is the genocidal maniacs elected into power that are high priority. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

    “How do you reason with a despot high on and addicted to power?”

    Make their power unattainable.

    ——————————————————————————-

    Cow Girl’s Response:

    CAT: Good question. My ideal would work, yes. But, that is why it is an ideal. I never said that addressing the problem would be simple. Most psychological profiles are products of extrinsic variables.

    ME: Well, I’m glad to hear you say that. I get tired of the old cop-out of “chemical imbalance” and so forth. It makes you think the only answers that exist lie in upper lobotomies and drugs…lol. Seems hardly any further progress than when I was studying psychology and psychiatry. I became very discouraged to discover that the authorities were adept at pointing out the problem, had little clue as to the origin and none for the cure. There has been some progress since then, it appears, but it seems our problems are growing faster than what they can keep up with.

    CAT: There are some genetics at play; however, they are insignificant in comparison. Resolving these environmental variables would require extensive research and action. Isolating these causal relationships would also require both control and care. Naturally, childhood development would play an integral role.

    ME: True enough! However, what environmental equations could you isolate as contributing to the child’s dysfunctional behavior/development and then what would you do to change the equation to a healthier environment?

    CAT: On a political level – power of the masses would need to extend beyond their current limitation and ensure that the qualifications for world leaders are not reduced to money and the right friends.

    ME: The problem is, as in the case of Hitler, for example, the masses were mesmerized by Hitler, for whatever hideous and desperate reason. I don’t think you could have incorporated their assistance at the beginning. Phenomenally enough, even today, he has loyal followers. I see glimpses of the same trend today, as the economy sags and other crises overwhelm the population.

    CAT: As long as these people aren’t in positions of power, proper containment and/or medical assistance/therapy should suffice…..Institutionalization. It is the genocidal maniacs elected into power that are high priority. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

    ME: I think it would be wise to take into consideration that genocidal maniacs who also get into power, are often masterful geniuses. How would they ever accomplish the feat otherwise. If we knew them as they are, they would not progress an inch.
    Therefore, could you really contain them? Could you even recognize them for what they are before they took power? After all, conning is what they do best.”

  2. Dialogue from this post on Myspace (“Crustayshis Kev”):

    Cowgirl, I’d send them to their hell, myself. It doesn’t seem as though the fear of this myth (hell) is much of an impediment to this sort of pathology, though. I’m sure you realize that Muslim suicide bombers, such as the 9-11-2001 perps, believe that they’re on an express elevator to paradise. My guess is that you believe they’ll go to hell, or they’re already there.

    I have no use for any of sort of belief in an afterlife, but if it comforts you to believe that, then good. But you know, of course, that with exactly the same level of provability you possess in your belief, they are comforted and motivated by theirs. That I respect you, and have no respect for them doesn’t matter a bit, at least as regards this discussion. You live a decent life in my estimation, and a religiously-motivated suicide bomber is a pathetic loser.

    Your “Bad Guys” and “sociopaths” are almost always motivated by cultural imperatives based in mythology. And the way I see it, the most benign religion imaginable is the same, in this regard, as the most repulsively malevolent. People who believe in the nothingness that is God are automatically susceptible to the notion that the vagaries of these “spiritual beings” and/or “spiritual forces” in which they believe must be acted upon.

    All I can do in the face of this frightening fact of life is to trust in the better nature of the human race.

    But finally, there’s no “voice” that could ever command me to be a terrorist.

    Don’t bother to trot out Joe Stalin to refute me. That dog don’t hunt, because that man was a narcissistic mirror-worshipper. He was a sociopath, hopelessly mired in his own little brand of god-belief.

    ———————————————————————————-

    Cowgirl’s Reply:

    This earth, Crustayshis, is gasping with the blood of its inhabitants in its lungs, drowning in the bloodbath. What level of provability was it that gave you faith in our species’ goodness, that you cling to it for salvation??

  3. Dialogue from this post on Myspace (“Russel”):

    Russell:

    “In fact, the most violent times existed. . .”

    While I understand your position and opinion, you cannot claim this as a fact. You are one of a few in the Spazz that attribute man’s propensity for violence as part of his base instincts (failure to evolve).
    Have you made your assessment of your code of ethics using the scientific – and if you did, how did you manage that? Aren’t you really talking about “faith” – in your personal convictions?
    “Only objective morality has ever paved . . .”
    You are talking about moral relativism. I question man’s ability to connect the concept of “objective” with “morality”. I have no idea how you define righteousness – perhaps you might care to elaborate?
    For most people hell represents punishment for bad behavior, or suffering for some higher reason in a temporal sense. If you don’t believe in any existence beyond this life it’s a moot point is it not? Then again, it must be hell living in a world with so many transitional species, eh? B-)
    Peace

  4. Dialogue from this post on Myspace (“Ben Reichel:

    Cat, you said “thankfully the law is not as forgiving”. Do you not know that the law is hell? No one can keep the law. This is one reason God sent us Christ. To fulfill the law.

    When one tries to keep the “law” on there own, they will be in hell – miserable – serving self. When one seeks Christ, there is no law to keep. Heaven.

    —————————————————————-
    Catalyst:

    “When one tries to keep the “law” on there own”

    It looks like I’ll be joining many entire civilizations down there. lol

    —————————————————————-

    Ben Reichel:

    Yes, Cat we are all guilty. However when we are in Christ we are set free. When we are in Christ, we are wiped clean. God sees us as Holy. Do you at least understand this concept?

    ——————————————————————-

    Catalyst
    Catalyst:

    No, I don’t. Your religion and all of its content don’t amount to anything more than a fable to me. You talk of people I do not know, teachings from people that are cultural aliens to me, and a book that I find no use for.

    The book belongs back in history where it came from as far as I’m concerned.

    Do Buddhist teachings mean anything to you?
    ——————————————————————————

    Ben Reichel:

    SOME buddhist teachings I believe have truth. Our bodies, after all, are the temple. If we have Christ, we are Holy. I find it out that you don’t understand the “concept” of intercession. Did you honestly understand my question?

    —————————————————————-

    Catalyst:

    Have you studied any other religions? How did your interest in Christianity come about?

    How did Buddha consider the body to be his temple?

    —————————————————————–

    Ben Reichel:

    There were a couple moments in my life when I heard/felt God’s voice call me. However at those moments, I didn’t recognize it as God’s voice. Atleast I wasn’t willing to admit it was God’s voice. When I was 30 years of age I became certain it was God’s spirit calling me. I finally responded. I was blind, now I can see. If you are truly interested in my testimony, I can send you a link to my blog.

    And to be honest Cat, I haven’t “studied” other religions, but am familiar with most.

    ————————————————————————

    Catalyst:

    I saw Shiva on mushrooms. lol.

    How would you know that the experience you had was indeed godly? Memories are easily distorted. Furthermore, how would you know that the voice belonged to the Christian theology?

    —————————————————————-

    Ben Reichel:

    Cat, obvioulsy it is difficult to describes ones own personal experience, but the best way to describe it is to say when I read what Jesus spoke the truth was revealed to me. I didn’t read the Bible until after I was saved. The Holy spirit enabled me to feel and respond to my conscience. Do you ever hear/feel your conscience speak to you Cat?

    ————————————————————

    Catalyst:

    “Cat, obvioulsy it is difficult to describes ones own personal experience”

    It depends on which intrinsic factors are involved.

    “but the best way to describe it is to say when I read what Jesus spoke the truth was revealed to me. I didn’t read the Bible until after I was saved.”

    Which truth, exactly?

    “The Holy spirit enabled me to feel and respond to my conscience. Do you ever hear/feel your conscience speak to you Cat?”

    Sure. I think anyone that understands cultural sensitivities at some level and reacts with his/her own degree of sensitivity has had experience in this area, Ben.

    —————————————————————-

    Ben Reichel :

    Cat, you asked “Which truth, exactly?”.

    That deep down, I’m really a sinner. My whole life had been about “it’s about me” as opposed to “it’s about loving God and your neighbor as yourself”. I don’t believe anyone can truly find peace until they have this revelation.

    ———————————————————-

    Catalyst:

    “That deep down, I’m really a sinner. My whole life had been about ‘it’s about me'”

    Deep down, you’re simply human, Ben. No one is flawless. No one is innocent. It is good to turn this kind of thinking around, because we only hurt the world with our selfishness.

    “‘it’s about loving God and your neighbor as yourself'”

    God is a subjective construct – whether or not it exists. So, loving this god is much like loving yourself. Loving your neighbor is an objective action that can actually help improve social conditions.

    This is my point in the blog when I state:

    Only through arriving at the realization that our actions affect those around us in a manner that echo universal repercussion have we sought to change direction. This threat is immediate, relative to action, and thus, founded in objectivity. This is consequence in real time.

    In conclusion – our world requires your love more than your god.

    ——————————————————————

    Ben Reichel:

    “So, loving this god is much like loving yourself.” Cat, this is where you err. Loving God is nothing like loving yourself. It’s almost the opposite. However when you love God, you will love yourself.

    —————————————————————–

    Catalyst:

    Your god does not exist outside of your mind. It cannot be shown to be more than a mental construct.

    It and you are intrinsically connected. Thus, it is not a great logical leap to suggest that it and you are one and the same.

    Hence, my previous statement.

  5. Russell

    Hey Cat, my first time here, thought I would swing by and check out some of your replies. I find myself wondering if the replies are upside down or right side up – you know what I mean from the spazz. So did I leave you speechless?! I can’t imagine that – maybe I better buy a lottery ticket or something with such a unique alignment of the planets B-)
    Peace

  6. lmao…the lottery joke is clever! hahaa

    Actually, with billions of suns and their massive gravitational fields, universal alignment is far more probable. lol

    “While I understand your position and opinion, you cannot claim this as a fact.”

    Even more of a conundrum – how would that even be measured? lol. I did go out of bounds there. I should have claimed more accurately, that, despite widespread belief in hell – violence seems to take no quarter.

    “You are one of a few in the Spazz that attribute man’s propensity for violence as part of his base instincts (failure to evolve).”

    I can think of no other reason. Progress has been made, though. It is slow, and I would not discount the possibility of devolution, either.

    “Have you made your assessment of your code of ethics using the scientific – and if you did, how did you manage that? Aren’t you really talking about “faith” – in your personal convictions?”

    Due to benefits of the technological age, we can now account for most of the societies/cultures in existence today. Thus, certain consistencies can be identified. A cumulative census can be established.

    Faith?
    I’m not sure where faith comes in. Help me out.

    ““Only objective morality has ever paved . . .”
    You are talking about moral relativism. I question man’s ability to connect the concept of “objective” with “morality”.”

    The answer to this is also above. This is just as basic as objectively analyzing a culture and contrasting it with another.

    “I have no idea how you define righteousness – perhaps you might care to elaborate?”

    Wrong word for you, perhaps. Let’s replace it with altruism.

    “For most people hell represents punishment for bad behavior, or suffering for some higher reason in a temporal sense. If you don’t believe in any existence beyond this life it’s a moot point is it not? Then again, it must be hell living in a world with so many transitional species, eh?”

    Exactly, lol. I have to deal with it because it has cultural identities.

    • Btw – Thank you for the visit, Russell. Stick around. I need some criticism like you’re offering. Very helpful!

      ~Cat

    • Russell

      So are you saying you concluded that your assessment of your personal code of ethics met a technological standard? While technology no doubt has a mighty wide girth, I don’t see how you can take refuge there. Technology may influence societies, but societies are defined by their behavior.
      You didn’t say what they were, but there wouldn’t happen to be ten “consistencies” would there? If these consistencies are easily and readily defined by technology why haven’t I heard of them and what are they?
      I used the word faith because that is the appropriate word – I realize it is a dirty word to some people, but I contend that regardless of what you may believe about “religion” or “God” faith is an absolute necessity for humans and is utilized all the time. In reference to my comment, you have concluded by whatever means you used that your code of ethics is high. A skeptic might think, by what standard? Did this person consult with others, take a survey of friends and associates, do a statistical analysis, or take some test in a magazine (you should recognize by now my wry sense of humor) or what? You are exercising faith that you have satisfied enough skepticism within or without to reach your conclusion. Of course there will always be someone to come skipping along that will at least attempt to “burst that bubble” of your personal reality, but your “faith” gives you the strength to persevere (hopefully). At least until some lesson in life causes you to modify your conclusions – which may or may not happen.
      I think you and I can agree on this: there is a real, tangible, verifiable hell at certain places and times right here right now on this earth – war, crime, deceit, poverty and hunger immediately pop into mind.
      You say the “holy book fails us”, but I say men have failed themselves and others despite whatever standard they may use.
      Back at you Cat —>

      • “So are you saying you concluded that your assessment of your personal code of ethics met a technological standard?”

        No…sorry about the confusion. I am saying that we are able to gain empirical data through technological means. Ultimately, an objective morality can be established through measuring consistencies observed throughout the human collective.

        Anything that exists within human knowledge is simply that – human. Whether cultures assign gods to appeal to or not – they are choosing a moral standard. This is the finality of it. You and I are also part of this whole. We also are defining it. Morality becomes objective when cultures throughout the world hold the same values. This is a consistency.

        When I realize that you too seek happiness and are like me in this respect – then, establish confirmation with you, we will have defined an objective morality of sorts between us.

        If I cut you, do you bleed, like me, Russel? Do you want a happy and peaceful existence, like me?

        • Russell

          If you decide by whatever means that a particular behavior exhibits a low code of ethics and fails your morality test, and I happen to agree with you, our agreement is still subjective. You presume by gaining numbers and establishing a “majority” you can claim objectivity, but there is nothing objective about it. Moral objectivity is a myth. Cultures typically establish norms by majority in numbers or “power”, but these norms are still subjective. They have changed over time with the cultures that have come and gone. The only consistency is change. What you are speaking of is moral relativism – which is still subjective. Men can only pretend to approach “objectivity”; they do this by denying or ignoring the underlying influences that have formed their personal opinions.
          There are plenty of examples throughout history of men who pursued what they probably thought were high moral standards – and a lot of people might have even agreed with them for a time. It doesn’t make their actions right – and in many cases history has “judged” them harshly.
          Not sure where you are going with the last comment. My existence is happy and peaceful. I am glad yours is too.
          Interesting discussion Cat.
          Peace.

          • I both agree and disagree with your point on moral objectivity.

            My point is leading on some other ideas I have drawn up. I can show that human knowledge/contention/census is the only objective means anything is measured.

            For example – mathematics is merely propositional logic, yet appealed to as if it were infallible. Our capacity for logic – as our capacity for morality can only ever be relative to human understanding. Thus, it is subject to change.

            No man-made concept can survive change. Thus, it can only ever be relative to an ever growing understanding of reality.

            As for cultural relativism – simply because it is defined by relative parameters, does not imply it fails an objective standard. In example – mathematics is not considered a subjective logical framework simply because it works with undefined variables…

            Think about this one instead of simply filing it away from further discussion.

  7. Charlie Z

    I think the idea for having a hell or heaven is just a mass psychosis of one being delusional, and the other suffering from a bad case of schizophrenia.

    Many years from now, we will eliminate that ideology of hell & heaven. It will all become a fairly-tale to children, but the nightmare of one introducing or inflicting hell and heaven on our children – will become very dramatic, and influence more fear and control of our young.

    Excellent discussion here…I really appreciate your hard honesty and respect you as a teacher of philosophy.

    Thank you.

    You make the world a better place.

    ~Charlie Z

    • I think many Christians are already moving toward exiling hell from their perceptual framework – or, defining it on their own in the least.

      I agree, these concepts are approaching the confines of mythology.

      You also make the world a better place with your kindness and respect, Charlie. We are all teachers and all students. The day we cease to be a student is the day we are no longer a proficient teacher.

      Thank you!

      ~Cat

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