I’ve been thinking about the impact of the “moral code” as provided by the social construct within the Church. And, comparing that with the so called right/wrong and common sense “rules” provided by the “Agnostic public” in general. First, I want to explore the basic components of human nature itself and look at how the agnostic interactions compare with religious social contracts. Second, I wish to look at these interactions and how they affect the family-unit structure. Would the religious contract prove “better” than an agnostic life?
My purpose in this exploration is to resolve an inner-conflict of interest. I desire a family. But my question is, “what type of family?” More specifically, would creating a family within a church prove more productive in terms of a longer and more satisfying life? Or, would freedom of choice enable the “joys of life” to reign through common sense and cooperative living?
The most basic Human of nature involves: hunger, fight, flight, lust, and loss. All emotions are simply combinations of these roots – fear, anger, lust, hunger, and sadness. Humans have an instinctive need to procreate and this creates the emotion Lust. We also need nutrition to survive and this produces hunger. Anger and fear are the result of our survival instincts to fight or run when necessary. Sadness arrives at the loss of life or something of value.
This is easy to understand and observe if you limit the size of a population to a small village with less than 20 individuals. Everyone in this
village would need to cooperate with each other in order to survive. Human’s need for food typically means that the strongest (and perhaps smartest) of the group would most likely survive to return with food for the rest of the group. As this creates a sense of security, most females would lust for the company of the “alpha male.” This lust can lead to a form of anger called jealousy among those whom the male does not choose. Fear is truly an emotion without dispute. Humans fear anything unknown including death. And with death, we all experience a sense of loss and sadness. Sadness is also extended to inanimate objects of perceived value that may extend life for the group such as tools.
All of these essential traits have evolved over time with ingenuity, technology, and social contracts to produce massive societies of complex rules and cultural histories. At each burst of evolution in the social construct of society, there are a set of rules established as “common sense.” All of these rules are taught and passed-down to each generation. Some of these rules evolve into “traditions.” While others may be substituted by the ruling “alpha individuals.” Some traditions have evolved into what is termed religion. I define religion as a social contract by which provides a set of “moral codes” designed to encourage mutual cooperation (within that society) and by extension a potentially longer lifespan. These moral codes are typically enforced on an emotional level by some supreme being that instills fear and sometimes hunger. Often times, there are a set of rewards provided by the religion if the code is followed for the duration of one’s life. Failure to follow the code within the religion can prove fatal depending on the social contract for which the society is based. For the sake of this discussion, I will not go into any depth on the intricate emotions and traditions involving the discipline handed out by other members within a religion.
Within the social contracts of the religion, there are often defined consequences of not adhering to the moral codes. Typically a place described as full of fear, hate, anger, loneliness, and/or pain on any number of levels. This “place” is meant to instill enough fear that the individual will not wish to divert from the code. However, most religions attempt to illustrate a “good life.” Where cooperation and “good feelings” towards the fellow human can lead to a prosperous life.
On the surface, religion serves as a model to live one’s life with the greatest “feel good” emotions while not negatively impacting another’s way of living. To this point, I have no dispute for as long as it does not negate logic. Unfortunately, most religions I’m aware of strongly encourage an emotional response that can conflict with rational logic.
Societies not based on a moral code supported by some supreme being have a set of rules or Laws that are collectively decided and enforced. These laws are typically designed to ensure mutual cooperation and safety of its citizens. Unlike religions, these laws are not founded on fear of some supernatural being but common-sense gained over time. Laws are supposed to be based on logic whereas religion is based in emotions. However, logic an be rather “cold” and provides little in the way of an emotional support structure. With the exception of capital punishment, there is little to create fear of a violation in the rules.
From the perspective of the family-unit, religions tend to enforce a hierarchy where the father is the central/key figure. The wife is expected to show respect and produce offspring. All offspring are to adhere to the rules of both parents as a means of survival. In an agnostic family-unit, the father can retain the leadership role, but the role can be either delegated or transferred to the wife. Sometimes, the wife is the dominate of the family-unit and the husband adheres to the wife’s rules. This is mostly observed in western cultures where equality is valued within the family-unit.
My concern with the agnostic family is the longevity of the relationship. I do not wish to see my family broken as I saw my parents separate. However, I must admit that regardless of the stance of religion within the family-unit… the chances of the relationship lasting the length of my remaining life are no different than with an agnostic family. One problem I’ve observed within a religious family-unit is the tendency to disassociate blame of issues from the family members. This creates an irrational buffer where a devil-figure or evil spirit is the cause rather than acknowledging fault and addressing the issue. It also creates a reliance upon some supreme being to resolve our problems rather than planning ahead and preparing for difficult times. Of course, not all things can be planned for… Nevertheless, problems should be confronted and resolved in the best possible way. And, not left to some empty faith in prayer to some supreme power.