Tuesday, 30 October 2018

The Power of words…Watch your language!

The Power of words…Watch your language!

We do many things with words. The book of James in the Bible says so. Chapter 5 of that book tells us how difficult the tongue is to tame. It says no one can control it. It can start a fire. It can be destructive and, I guess - what I want to talk about now - is that it even makes a person into a non-person.

When I visited Northern Ireland in the times that people refer to as, “the Troubles,” I noted, what was to me as an Englishman a strange use of words.  If you talked to Roman Catholic people, they all referred to non-Catholics as “Prods” (short for “Protestants”). In fact, talking to a Jewish man who had lived in the South of Ireland, he told me that he was often in danger at school of being beaten up. When I asked him why, he said, “They would ask me am I a Catholic or a Prod, and I would say, “Neither! I am Jewish!” to which they would reply, “But are you a Catholic Jew or a Prod Jew?” (My readers can pause her for laughter, surprise or PTSD. It is a very funny story that isn’t funny at all from another perspective. It is a true story.)

He did go on to say that he would then get blamed for killing Jesus. I asked him how he got out of that one when he was a school kid, to which he responded, “Oh that was easy. I told them it wasn’t us that did it, it was the Northern lot. For my non-British readers, Norther Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, Southern Ireland is an independent republic and my Jewish friend was living in the South of Ireland or Eire.

When talking to the Northern Irish people, that is the non-Catholics, I noted that they did not refer to the people of the south, or Northern Catholic people, as “Catholics” but always as “Papists”. What happens with this kind of language is difficult in that it suggests to activist’s mindset that when you kill the opposite to your tribe, you are not killing a person, but an animate “thing” called a “Prod,” or a “Papist.”

I note in the war effort, when reporting on bombs dropped, the often-used phrase is that, “There was some collateral damage.”  I looked up the meaning of the term. “’Collateral damage’ is damage to things that are incidental to the intended target. It is frequently used as a military term where it can refer to the incidental destruction of civilian property and/or non-combatant casualties.”

Or let’s put it another way: “Dead civilians. Dead people.” But, oh dear! That’s a bit harsh isn’t it? So, let’s tone it down. What this language is doing is de-humanising people. Tragically in our tribal times (Tribalism is the most powerful force in the world today...more powerful than the entire military might of America, China, Russia and the EU combined. Tribalism is the basis of all relationships, brands, families, communities and nations, but is also responsible for the darkest moments in human history, and for many political "revolutions”. Dr Patrick Dixon www.globalchange.com/why-trump-won-how-tribalism-will-dominate-the-future-of-democracy-and-why-president-trump-will-struggle-to-deliver.htm

we as a society are becoming more and more willing to de humanise people, which, when we have done that, the next step is that it allows us to, not care if they (those not of our tribe) drown, or if they are put in prison because they come to near our tribe, or even if we separate them from their families, i.e. take their children away.  In fact, it’s not so bad if we kill them because – well! To be straight - they are not of our tribe. For that reason, i.e.: they are not us, they are not to be considered as human. 
So, what are our current words of dehumanisation? We might use words like: “An Illegal.” “A Refugee.” “An Asylum Seeker”, or maybe even use a colour to describe some.  We avoid the words, “human”, “person”, or, “person in need”. In fact, any word that would give dignity is wilfully avoided, because if we did that, well, god forbid!  We might have to treat them differently.

I have noted that politicians sometimes refer to other groups of people as, “dogs,” “pigs”, “infestations,” and even “animals.” I even had a Face Book connection tell me that “Jews are Pigs, and should all be destroyed.” They of course were immediately blocked from my feed. However, as  VANN R. NEWKIRK II, staff writer at The Atlantic,  says: “Dehumanization is not just a buzzword, but a descriptor of a  “specific and well-known psychological and sociological process, by which people are conditioned to accept inflicting increasingly inhumane conditions and punishments on other people.” 

Cairine Reay Mackay Wilson (February 4, 1885 – March 3, 1962) was the first Canadian female senator. However, prior to standing, she had to get a change in Canadian law, because when she first applied, she discovered that she would not be allowed to stand, because by Canadian law, females were not persons! (http://adrianhawkes.co.uk/zeitgeist/)  I wonder if, in some places in the world, they yet are.  - “Persons” that is. It seems that what is done by men in some countries means that females are certainly not equal persons.

Recently in an African country a law was passed to give people (men) in polygamist marriages legal status that did not exist, even though for some the practice did. On asking some young men if that also gave the right for the woman to enter the same kind of marriage, (i.e. several male partners) the answer was, “Of course not!  That is for men! It would be unnatural for women!” Maybe they are not persons, or at least, a lesser one. From that conclusion, I guess therefore we do not need to treat them with the same respect?

Adrian Hawkes
Edited KL

Monday, 17 September 2018

Morals and Values 10 - What and where they should come from

Morals and Values for
Values. What and where they should come from.
ž They must take precedent above our culture –whatever culture that might be.
ž  They need to come from more than our upbringing or education.
ž The best place they should come from is from the heart of being a “follower of the way”.
ž Often times, issues that people say have “Christian’ values” do not. Often times people’s values have nothing to do with the Bible, or, more importantly, being a “follower of the way”, or of becoming like Christ.
ž Non-Religious Christianity removes any show or pretence from our seen value system and our inner personal value system. Our public and private persona should be identical.
ž That our values should come from relationships is paramount. Jesus died to restore relationships. Relationship with God as well as people.
ž In building our paradigm of values, relationship with each other and the well-being of others is central.
ž It is vital to hold to a Christological interpretation of the Bible, i.e. that Christ is central to scripture. It is more than helpful if we work back from who He is.
ž To grow in Christ- likeness, a theology of Grace and freedom is foundational to thoughts and actions.
ž It is important to have a strong theology of issues such as: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free, male nor female,” so that the leadership of females is not an issue, neither is race, colour, or earthly nationality. These issues are contemporary throughout the global village.
ž Choose a lifestyle that reflects the character of Jesus. Thereby we take on the mantle of Christ.
ž Adopt a world view that creates a mindset where we consider all our human relationships as bringing and giving meaning to the whole of life.
ž Know that Christ is central in the story of God’s creation, because He is in the process of restoring all things to perfection.
ž Know that Grace fulfils and then surpasses law and brings freedom.
ž Value the equality of all. Hold tight to a value system, where all people are identified in the cross of Christ.
It’s a good idea to think about the differences in Values between what we see as Hebraic and what was Greek thinking at the time of Christ
ž Have a look at what is the difference between the thinking that was Hebraic, and what is and was Greek thinking and value.
ž This would be another way of checking our real Values. And I think it would give you quite a surprise.  You will find a comparison analysis of these things in my book, “Jacob. A Fatherless Generation.”
Scripture says:
ž Romans 8:29.  Amplified Bible (AMP)   
 29For those whom He foreknew [of whom He was aware and loved beforehand], He also destined from the beginning [foreordaining them] to be moulded into the image of His Son [and share inwardly His likeness], that He might become the firstborn among many brethren.
ž  Romans 12:2 New Living Translation (NLT)        
 2 Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Adrian Hawkes
3 min talk for UCB
w. 442

Thursday, 21 June 2018

What Mind?

Morals and Values .9.
Put on the Mind of Christ

Scripture tells us to “put on the mind of Christ”. How do we do that?
The story is told of a little boy who was coming home with his friends from school. The friends passed an apple orchard. The apples in the orchard looked red and ripe and juicy. The friends all said to each other, “There is no one else around. Let’s get some apples. We can climb over the wall and pocket a few.” In my day it was called “scrumping”.  The little boy in my story said to his friends that he could not do it?  “Why not?” his friends asked. “We will help you over the wall”.  “No! It isn’t that.” the little boy said. “I cannot do it because my mother wouldn’t like it.”  “But your Mother is not here”, the rest said. “I know that.” said the little boy. “But I know that she wouldn’t like it”.  “But your mother won’t know. We won’t tell”.  “That’s not the point,” said the little boy. “The point is, I cannot do something like this that I know my Mother would not like”.  “So”, said the rest, “How do you really know that your Mother wouldn’t like it. Maybe she would like it, and maybe she would like an apple.” “I know”, said the little boy. “But how do you know?” said the rest of the gang. “Well”, well said the little boy, “I know My Mother”.
That is the key to putting on the mind of Christ; how well you know him –Christ that is.  How well do you know what he said? What he did? What he asked his friends to do? What standards, values and morality did he set?
More than knowing about Christ, how well do you actually –really know Him?  Being a follower of Jesus is not simply reading the scripture. It isn’t even knowing your Bible well and what things are told us there about his life and work on earth. Neither is it the fact that he said, “I am showing you just what God the Father is like, and if you have seen me you have seen the Father.”  Jesus did, of course, go away. But before he went away, he said many brain changing and thought changing things to his friends. These are things that echo through the ages to His friends now. In other words, if you are a friend of Jesus, what He said is to you - yourself. “Yes. I am going away, but actually I am with you always. I am sending my Holy Spirit to be with you until I come again”.
So then, as we hear and listen and ponder what Christ spoke about, our actions, as well as our reactions, become the natural expression of having the mind of Christ.  How do know what Christ thinks? How do you know what He would like and what he would not like? Well; because I know Him well, and am getting to know him better every day, in that way I am putting on the Mind of Christ.  That is the great Lodestone to Morality, Values and just plain living right.
Adrian Hawkes
For UCB 3 min talks

Friday, 18 May 2018

8. Morality and Values - What do we put into our Brains?

8. Morality and Values 
What do we put into our Brains?

We talked last time about the fact that it is our thinking that changes us, or should I say can change us.  If we are to change, then what we think about is the key to that change. We have to think differently to what we are thinking in the present for change to take place.
So, if we can change by changing our thinking, the big question is: What do we put into our head? What do we think about?  The computer people have a phrase, when working with computer programmes. They call it GIGO. Actually it’s an American derivative. It stands for “Garbage In Garbage Out”.  Of course, we wouldn’t use “Garbage” as a word in the UK would we? But you get the idea. “Rubbish In Rubbish Out” works just as well. But RIRO doesn’t sound as catchy or poetic as GIGO,  does it? 
What they are saying is, that when you put junk information into a computer, you cannot expect to get sensible things out of the computer onto the printer or to the screen - or these days – by means of a computerised voice. If you have put rubbish in then rubbish will come out. Simple!
Now, that is not that different to our brains and our thinking. So what do you put into your brain?
I have always laughed at people who tell me that they are not affected by advertising.  Do you really think the people who make the adverts for us to buy this or that are that stupid that they spend so much money on their thirty second TV advert because they know it will not persuade anyone?  Please!? They are not that stupid! Of course we are affected by what goes into our brains. Be it via TV Computer, poster, hoarding, newspaper or whatever.
I also laugh when the TV people and the film industry claim that what people see on film or hear via music, words or computer games, will not affect us.  How come the advertising affects us and persuades us to act in a certain way but film, words, books, TV does not.  Again: Please!?  
Have you ever watched a group of young children after watching, say a fight movie, be it cartoon, or film? The first thing they do afterwards in the playground is to try all the moves on each other, the punches, the wrestling, the kicking, whatever. Have they not been affected by what they have just seen or heard what has been put into their brains? If you think they have not, then, again, all I can say to you is: Please!?
What goes into our brains, what we think about, what we absorb into our thinking will affect the way we are and what we do.  Running Christian Schools, I am often accused of brain washing children. My answer irritates people, as usually I will answer, “Yes! Of course I am. Most people’s brains need a good wash.”
Going back to those Bible verses I have mentioned before, scripture tells us to think about good things, think about lovely things, and think about things that are helpful to our development and progressesion.  Let me tell you that if you think rubbish, then rubbish will come out of your life. Why are people’s lives in a mess? Well there are other factors such as upbringing and things that have happened on the way. However, if change is to take place, thinking is the first place it will have to happen.
We live in a world where it is almost impossible to avoid negative unhelpful things being put into our brains, be it from newspapers, radio, road side hoardings or whatever. For this reason we have to take time to readjust our thinking, or, as we have noted how the scripture says it; “Put on the mind of Christ”.  As someone once said, “You cannot stop birds from flying around your head, but you can stop them nesting there.” So, take hold of those bad thoughts. Push them out of your head, and think about those good things instead. Activate the change process that God plans for us, that is, to make us into the Image of His only begotten Son.

Adrian Hawkes
Edited By Kirsty de Paor
W. 699

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

7. Morality and Values - Thinking Controls Everything

7. Morality and Values 
Thinking Controls everything.
Well first of all:  Any answers to my question of last time? My question was: What is it that is used to change us and develop our consciences? Is it God? Or is it us?  Lots of answers come to me. The Bible, Church, Prayer, Spirituality, other people - oh and lots more.  They are probably all correct - and yet probably all wrong. In fact none of them are the answer that I am looking for.
But first of all let me tell you a silly story.  Not so long ago we changed offices for work. That is, we used to rent an office in one part of London, now we rent it in another part of London.  What happened I reckon, for a whole week, is that each morning I got up, showered, dressed, got into my car to go to the office as is my usual practise, and the silly car went to the wrong office. It even parked in my old car park space. It really did.  I got out of the car and said to it, “Why have you brought me here you silly car? This is not our office any more. Our office is in the new place.”  I had to get back in the car and let it take me to the new office. 
Of course - you know I am being silly. However, it is strange how, with some things, after we have done them for a while, we do them automatically, like driving, like going somewhere and wondering, “How did I get here?”  In reality of course it all comes from our brain and even though we are not that conscious of doing it, we really are thinking and our thinking is directing our actions be that washing, cleaning your teeth, walking, driving, or playing the piano. 
So there is the answer to “How do we change?” We change by first of all changing our thinking. So the real answer to the question is: “Thinking”.  Thinking is everything.   Scripture has a lot to say about thinking, going right back to proverbs “As a man thinks in his heart, so he is”. I often say to people, “If you think you are ugly, you will be ugly. If you think your good looking, you will be good looking”.  Now that’s a bit silly too, but you know what I am getting at don’t you? 
Our thinking is that which makes us what we are.  Scripture also says things like, “Think about good things. Whatsoever things are good, lovely, of a good report, think about these things.”  It even tells us to be foolish about some things. Scripture, again, says “I would that you were foolish in your knowledge of evil”. Or, put another way, “I would that your thinking about evil was at the foolish level, or the ‘I don’t know position’”.
Then, in scripture again, it tells us to think about good things.  I know I have said that before, but it’s worth repeating. “Whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are good, and whatsoever things are of a good report then think about these things”.
I often wonder what people put into their minds.  I have this argument with my grandchildren when I think they are listening to rubbish, be it music words or speech or drama.  What you put into your mind will affect your actions. Usually they say things like, “O grandpa, it won’t hurt me”.  The trouble is that if we put bad things into our head, ultimately it does hurt and damage us.
And to end today, again with Scripture, it says this; “Put on the mind of Christ”. So now, if we do that, we will get good thinking and good actions won’t we?
Adrian Hawkes W.622 For UCB

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

6. Morals and Values - Laughing at Bad

6. Morals and Values 
Laughing at  Bad
I was leading a community of Jesus followers in the North of England, when I noticed that there was a particular parent who every time their child did something bad, they laughed at the child and noted how funny their disobedience, wrong action, and sometime destructive action was.
Taking this particular parent on one side, I said please do not continue to do what you are doing to your child. This is putting wrong things into his head.  He is beginning to think wrong. He thinks he do can do wrong things and not get into trouble. In fact everyone thinks it’s funny. However, as he grows up, the rest of society will not think it’s funny.  The police will not think it is funny, and I will be sad, as I council you when he is in prison.  I was laughed at for being silly. “He is just a child!” I was told.
I stayed in the North East of the UK long enough for my predictions to come true. I remember, late one evening, my wife and I sitting in our house, there was a knock on the door. There standing on the doorstep was the parent I had tried to talk sense about what thought patterns she was allowing in to her young Childs head.  The parent was in tears.  I invited her in and to sit down and tell me what was wrong.  Through the tears it turned out that the child I had talked about, now a teenager had been arrested and was in prison and could I please help, the whole family was in disarray.  I resisted the temptations to say “Well - I told you so”, and went to the house and talked though with the family how to best help the imprisoned young person.
It matters right from day one what you have put into your head. It matters what you, as you get older, allow into your thoughts. It matters, as you mature, what you allow to stay there.  It will affect your life. What goes in to those thoughts will come out in life actions.
I would put a rider in here, in that I think, as children grow up, we must be careful to distinguish between disobedience and accident.  My wife and I fostered for many years some 30 plus children. Children often break things. Often, my children would be puzzled when they had broken something. Often, when you asked, “Who broke this?” it turned out that it was Mr Nobody.  However, when there were children who were brave enough to say! It was me”, I would then ask how it happened. Often it would be, “I think I was going a bit too fast past the table and I slipped and knocked the vase of the edge, and it broke”.  “So, did you do that on purpose?” I would ask. “No!” was the usual answer. “It was an accident.”  My reply would THEN be “OK! Well, try to be more careful next time. We liked that vase. However, as it was not done on purpose, that’s fine, end of story.”
Often children would ask me, “Why don’t you get mad?” I would explain, “If I had said to you, “Do not throw the ball in the house”, and you then did so, and broke something, that would make me mad. That is disobedience.  Accidents on the other hand are just that – accidents. And whilst we don’t want accidents, the response from me should be different to that of disobedience, even though the outcomes are the same, i.e. something is broken.” 
It took some time for that particular idea to sink in, but usually we got there.  To finish today, maybe I should quote Dr Donald Howard on the subject of children. He said, “We need to remember that children do more right things than they do wrong things.  However we complain more about the wrong than we give praise for the right action.”  Maybe we should start to think about praising people, as well as Children for the good that is done.  Let’s try it.

Adrian Hawkes
Edited by Kirsty de Paor
W. 708

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

5. Morals and Values - Do Followers of Jesus do Good?

5. Morals and Values - Do Followers of Jesus do Good?

We are still talking about Morals and Values, and who is the law giver - but also; do Christians do good?
It brings us back to the question, “Who is the law giver?”  If there is no ultimate lawgiver, or God, then morals become irrelevant. We are left with anarchy. If we can get away with it, then why not?  If there is no law giver -whatever morality is - right and wrong are just words without meaning or significance.  What is right for you might be wrong for me, but so what!  
Dr. Bahnsen says that, “If the God of the bible does not exist, all principled or moral complaint about what Hitler did to the Jews is irrelevant.  In a godless universe, what one “animal” does to other “animals” is ethically irrelevant.  There is no basis for indignation or outrage.  What happens, happens. Period. We are left with others’ feelings and desires versus the feelings and desires of Hitler – with neither having any more “right” than the other.”
If we support liberal freedom then, in a true atheist worldview, we should defend Hitler’s freedom to do as he desired!
Dr. Bahnsen sets forth a rational, objective case for the existence of the Christian God. A case which fully takes into account the crucial function of one’s worldview in his reasoning.  He is quoted in the tabloid for the Tabash debate as saying: “Pursued to their consistent end, the pre-suppositions of unbelief render man’s reasoning vacuous and his experience unintelligible. In short, they lead to the destruction of knowledge, the dead end of epistemological futility, and to utter foolishness.”  http://www.tabash.com/
I question here the argument that atheists and humanists do as much good in the world as the likes of Robert Raikes, Wilberforce, Shaftesbury, Cadburys, Fry’s, Rowntree. The reality is that the Christian ethic, the moral bias of serving a living God gives us great reason to care for His world and the people created in his image.  Interestingly Dinesh D'Souza took Richard Dawkins to task for engaging in historical revisionism when it comes to the atrocities of atheist regimes and declared that Dawkins, "reveals a complete ignorance of history".
In a recent interview D'Souza declared:
Richard Dawkins argues that at least the atheist regimes didn't kill people in the name of atheism. Isn't it time for this biologist to get out of the lab and read a little history? Marxism and Communism were atheist ideologies. Stalin and Mao weren't dictators who happened to be atheist; atheism was part and parcel of their official doctrine.
It was no “accident”, as the Marxists liked to say, that they shut down the churches and persecuted the clergy...]
Dinesh D'Souza stated in another interview:
As one writer put it, “Leaders such as Stalin and Mao persecuted religious groups, not in a bid to expand atheism, but as a way of focusing people’s hatred on those groups to consolidate their own power.” Of course I agree that murderous regimes, whether Christian or atheist, are generally seeking to strengthen their position. But if Christian regimes are held responsible for their crimes committed in the name of Christianity, then atheist regimes should be held accountable for their crimes committed in the name of atheism. And who can deny that Stalin and Mao, not to mention Pol Pot and a host of others, all committed atrocities in the name of a Communist ideology that was explicitly atheistic? Who can dispute that they committed their bloody deeds by claiming to be establishing a “new man” and a “religion-free utopia?” These were mass murders performed with atheism as a central part of their ideological inspiration. They were not mass murders done by people who simply happened to be atheist.” Joseph Stalin's atheistic regime killed tens of millions of people the vast majority of which were his own people.
The thing that I noted most as I looked through Wikipedia and other web sites and their arguments against my moral perspective, was that no one seemed to talk about “conscience”. Conscience is that strange inner-voice with which we are all born.  No one asked, “Where does that come from?” The Bible says in John chapter 1 that there is, “…a light that lights every man.” John is talking about Jesus in his Gospel when he makes that statement. However, there is also that light of “conscience” that every person has. And why would that be a surprise?  If, as I believe, we are made in the image of God, why would it be strange that there is a part of us that is God-like, telling us about good and bad, right and wrong?  Conscience is a strange thing, it tells us these things but does not make us do the right thing or stop us from doing wrong.  Dinesh D’ Souza says it much better than me:

The Surprising Fact of Morality
Evolutionists have some ingenious explanations for morality.  But do they work?  Morality is both a universal and a surprising fact about human nature. When I say that morality is universal I am not referring to this or that moral code. In fact, I am not referring to an external moral code at all. Rather, I am referring to morality as the voice within, the interior source that Adam Smith called the “impartial spectator.” Morality in this sense is an uncoercive but authoritative judge. It has no power to compel us, but it speaks with unquestioned authority. Of course we can and frequently do reject what morality commands, but when we do so we cannot avoid guilt or regret. It is because of our capacity for self-impeachment and remorse that Aristotle famously called man “the beast with the red cheeks.” Aristotle’s description holds up very well more than 2,000 years later. Even people who most flagrantly repudiate morality — say, a chronic liar or a rapacious thief — nearly always respond to detection with excuses and rationalisations. They say, “Yes, I lied, but I had no alternative under the circumstances,” or “Yes, I stole, but I did so to support my family.” Hardly anyone says, “Of course I am a liar and a thief, and I don’t see anything wrong with that.” What this means is that morality supplies a universal criterion or standard even though this standard is almost universally violated. 
Morality is a surprising feature of humanity because it seems to defy the laws of evolution.  Evolution is descriptive: It says how we do behave. Morality is prescriptive: It says how we should behave. And beyond this, evolutionary behaviour appears to run in the opposite direction from moral behaviour. Evolution implies that we are selfish creatures who seek to survive and reproduce in the world. Indeed we are, but we are also unselfish creatures who seek the welfare of others, sometimes in preference to our own. We are participants in the game of life, understandably partial to our own welfare, while morality stands aloof, taking the impartial, or, “God’s eye view”, directing us to act in a manner conducive to the good of others. In sum, while evolution provides a descriptive account of human self-interest, morality provides a standard of human behaviour that frequently operates against self-interest.
So if we are mere evolutionary primates, how do we account for morality as a central and universal feature of our nature? Why would morality develop among creatures obsessively bent on survival and reproduction? Darwin himself recognized the problem. In “The Descent of Man, Darwin argued that “although a high standard of morality gives but a slight or no advantage to each individual man and his children over the other men of the same tribe, yet . . . an advancement in the standard of morality will certainly give an immense advantage to one tribe over another.”  Darwin’s point is that a tribe of virtuous patriots, with each of its members willing to make sacrifices for the group, would prove more successful and thus be favoured by natural selection over a tribe of self-serving individuals. This is the group-selection argument, and for many decades it was considered an acceptable way to reconcile evolution with morality.
But as biologists now recognize, the argument has a fatal flaw. The question we have to ask is how a tribe of individuals would become self-sacrificing in the first place. Imagine a tribe where, for instance, many people shared their food with others or volunteered to defend the tribe from external attack. Now what would be the fate of individual cheaters who benefited from this arrangement but hoarded their own food and themselves refused to volunteer to fight? Clearly these scoundrels would have the best deal of all. In other words, cheaters could easily become free riders, benefiting from the sacrifices of others but making no sacrifices themselves, and they would be more likely to survive than their more altruistic fellow tribesmen.
So do I still think morality or conscience is something that comes from the ‘God who is there,’ after reading all that is said about my opinions in the various discussions, Wikipedia and otherwise?  Even more so!

Adrian Hawkes
W. 1518
For UCB 3 Minute talk

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

4 Morals and Values - Good and Evil

4 Morals and Values  -  Good and Evil

While looking up something recently on Wikipedia, I discovered lots of comments about myself in discussion with Richard Dawkins.  Many of the comments following on from the discussion are statements like, “How ridiculous to think that morals come from any kind of God”.

Usually, in this kind of debate, there is a tendency to ridicule things that I have said. Well! That’s fine. I guess it goes along with getting involved and not being afraid of what I believe and understand – as well as being sure that it holds water and can stand up to cross examination. If one cannot stand the heat in the kitchen one shouldn’t really be cooking, should one?

I suppose I do get somewhat irritated in debates when people tell me what I believe, and then tell me how ridiculous it is to believe it, followed by an attempt prove how stupid I am.  Yet, all the time I am thinking, “I never believed that in the first place. And you have not given me space to say what I really do believe, or think.”  It’s what I call, “destroying straw men”. One puts up an argument, and then knocks it down. But if it was not an arguement in the first place, what is that? If I did not believe what they think I believe, and then they knock down what they believe I believe, without understanding or knowing or having me say what I believe, what is that?

In TV debates, especially those that are not live, there is the possibility that what was said is left on the cutting room floor.  I remember in one debate with Richard Dawkins, he said to me that he was more moral than me because he did not rape or pillage and neither did he require a God to stop him doing those things - whereas I did.  My reply, which I think must be on the cutting room floor was, “Bully for you. You ought to watch the news more often”.

If you watch the news you can see that there is an awful lot of inhumanity and suffering in the world. I live in one of those areas where young people can be stabbed or shot just because they happened to have strayed into the wrong post code area.  My questions are; “Why are we so awful to each other?  And what has happened to a moral basis?”  I would argue that as we move away from an understanding of a God, who ultimately will judge and question all of our life’s responses, we then become more selfish and less inclined to care for each other, or have any basis for moral decisions. Our moral compass deteriorates.

The humanist argues that our morals come from the fact that we are, “simply human”. They say that any sense of morality developes out of our selfishness and survival needs, or, as Richard Dawkins would argue; “The selfish gene is simply protecting itself by being moral towards others”.

I often ask the question, “Why do we have right and wrong? Where do we get such concepts?”  The arguements on Wikipedia, in answer to what I said about morals, seem to conclude that it’s just because we are human.  I’m sorry, but that just will not do.  If doing wrong gives me an advantage, and I can avoid getting caught, why not go ahead and do it?  Morals like that don’t seem to me to be moral at all.

In a discussion on morality, Richard Dawkins was asked: "If we do not acknowledge some sort of external [standard], what is to prevent us from saying that the Muslim [extremists] aren’t right?”  
Dawkins replied, "What’s to prevent us from saying Hitler wasn’t right?  I mean, that is a genuinely difficult question. But whatever [defines morality], it’s not the Bible. If it was, we’d be stoning people for breaking the Sabbath.”  

The interviewer wrote in response, "I was stupefied.  He had readily conceded that his own philosophical position did not offer a rational basis for moral judgments. His intellectual honesty was refreshing, if somewhat disturbing on this point."

Richard Dawkins' commentary on Adolf Hitler 
 Essay: Richard Dawkins' comment concerning Adolf Hitler  http://conservapedia.com/Richard_Dawkins 
 Richard Dawkins, atheist atrocities, and historical revisionism

Adrian Hawkes
W. 724