Posts Tagged ‘European values’

Religions have no values – people do

September 5, 2015

I wish all organised religions were obsolete and I am hopeful that eventually they will be. I find it obscene that children are brainwashed into “religious beliefs” and that organised religions presume to impose their orthodoxies onto others. A belief cannot exist in the space of knowledge. All religions are merely “belief systems” which live in the space of ignorance and it irritates me that religions compete on the grounds of “my ignorance being superior to yours”. An individual can well have religious beliefs and I see nothing wrong with that. What I dislike is that a group imposes a “belief” – which is nothing but an ignorance – on an individual. That is my definition of brain-washing. “What I don’t know is better than what you don’t know”.

Values are created from an informed judgement by a thinking person. Is it good, is it bad? What is beautiful, or admirable, or ethical, or not, are all judgements made by individuals after a cognitive process. They do not come out of group-think. I would suggest that an individual’s value comes first and the values of a group can only be built up as a composite of the many different individual values in the group. A “group value” once created can be imposed on an individual as “a rule to be obeyed”, but that does not make it his value. A value requires a cognitive process, and as long we don’t have ESP the cognitive process is an individual property.

Values are – and can only be – those of individuals – not of religions. Religions kill infidels or unbelievers alike by exploiting those of their followers who give little value to human life. Religions make rules. These rules are not values. Values, as a cognitive property, are inherent in thinking individuals. Unthinking individuals follow a lazy path and adopt – or are coerced into adopting – religious rules to be their “values”. Or they accept the imposition of somebody else’s values because they are too lazy to think through their own. It is the same with governments. They make rules. These rules are not values.

I cannot see that there is any such thing as “Christian values” or “Muslim values”. I can see the values (or absence of values) exploited by the hierarchies of organised religions. Were Nazi values also Christian values as they claimed to be? Were they Christian values on display in Northern Ireland? or in Bosnia? Is anti-semitism a fundamental Christian value? Or were they Muslim values which led to all the predatory grooming of young girls in Rotherham? Or Muslim values which gives the barbarism of the IS? Catholics versus Protestants is not so different to Shia versus Sunni.

In the current displacement of Syrian and other refugees – from countries destabilised and bombed to ruins by the EU and the US in the name of democracy – there is much talk of “European values”. Without the destruction of Iraq and Libya and attempted nation building in Syria by the EU, there would be no IS and few Syrian refugees.  “European values” are being used to both argue for and against providing help to the refugees created to a large degree by US and European actions. These supposed ” European values” are used both by the left to prop up their moralising and by the nationalist right to paint alarmist pictures. The right likes to see the issue as an epic battle between “Christian values” and Muslim values”. It is also worth noting that in Europe today, it is Germany – not the UK – which is perceived by refugees as the land to seek sanctuary in. But there is no such well-defined thing as “European values”. Values across Europe are not homogeneous. They are a mishmash of values ranging from sanctimonious humanism at one end through to virulent xenophobia at the other.

I find that values are independent of religion but a supposed connection is hijacked by political parties to suit themselves. The nationalist right still believes they are on a Crusade. The IS does the same in their pursuit of jihad. But the reality is as the Hungarian Prime Minister puts into words. It is what is thought by virtually all right wing nationalist parties in Europe and their supporters (and that includes UK, Sweden, Germany, Austria, France, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Greece among others).

IB Times:

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has warned that the growing Muslim influx is threatening Europe’s “Christian roots”. Defending Hungary’s response to the migrant crisis, Orban said his country did not want to admit large numbers of Muslims.

Writing an opinion piece in Germany’s Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung, the Hungarian prime minister said: “Those arriving have been raised in another religion, and represent a radically different culture. Most of them are not Christians, but Muslims. That is an important question, because Europe and European culture have Christian roots. Or is it not already and in itself alarming that Europe’s Christian culture is barely in a position to uphold Europe’s own Christian values? …. Is it not worrying in itself that European Christianity is now barely able to keep Europe Christian? There is no alternative, and we have no option but to defend our borders.”

The issue of the day – and for the next few years – in Europe is the inflow of foreigners (refugees, asylum seekers, guest workers, and other immigrants) in to countries where otherwise population would decline. (And therefore for the next decade it is going to be the issue of “immigration” which will dominate all European elections). The paradox I see is that Europe needs to get its population to stop declining. The “native European” birth rate is not going to increase and therefore immigration must increase. And at the same time so will the xenophobia – at least for another decade or two.

Neither governments or religions have – or can have – values. People do. And when it comes to Christians versus Muslims, I wish “a plague on both your houses”. When organised religions finally do become obsolete, it will not eliminate the murderous inclinations of many humans. But it will remove one excuse used to justify the hate and the barbarism.

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