Y B Good? or, Columbine Wuz Bad

Question from Dominic:
I was thinking of the Columbine massacre lately as an example…why should Dylan and Eric have been good instead of bad? Even in our daily lives, why should we choose to be good?

Answer by SmartLX:
Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are hardly shining examples of why there’s no good reason to be good, what with being not only dead but widely despised and ridiculed because of their terrible act. They may have avoided punishment by killing themselves when they were done, but they destroyed any possibility of improving their lives and being happy ever again. If they had simply not done that, they might well be alive, in their thirties and quite content right now despite all they were going through in their teens. Sadly they couldn’t see that far forward at the time.

A better question than why we should choose to be good is why we do choose to be good, whether or not we believe in gods. It really happens all the time out in the world, so rather than imply despite the evidence that there’s no good reason, we can accept that people are finding reasons which have nothing to do with gods, and think about what they are.

Consequences are the main thing to consider, and not just for oneself. Actions which are selfish and/or pointlessly destructive (a working definition of “bad”) can bring obvious and severe consequences like jail, ostracism or retribution, which people generally want to avoid, but that’s just for the person doing them. As with Columbine, “bad” actions can also profoundly affect the lives of others in negative ways, and people usually want to avoid this too. Not only is it part of the “social contract” we all live with, but our innate empathy ties our mental wellbeing to the plights of others. Put simply, if you’re going to feel bad for someone you’re much less likely to do bad things TO that person.

All this is true for believers in a judgemental god as well. The only difference is that there is one more posthumous consequence to take into account when deciding how to act. There’s no denying that this can be useful for reinforcing good behaviour, but it can backfire in less clear-cut situations because the supposed commands of a god may not line up with what’s altruistic and beneficial to the most people (“good”). Too many people working against the rights of women, ethnic minorities and LGBT groups throughout the world are entirely convinced that they’re doing God’s work.

9 thoughts on “Y B Good? or, Columbine Wuz Bad”

  1. (The following was submitted by Dominic as a question, but works better here as a comment. -SmartLX)

    A better question than why we should choose to be good is why we do choose to be good, whether or not we believe in gods. It really happens all the time out in the world, so rather than imply despite the evidence that there’s no good reason, we can accept that people are finding reasons which have nothing to do with gods, and think about what they are.

    It seems that you think people are finding reasons to do good in the natural state of things. Yes, people have a spark of goodness in their souls and an innate sense of right and wrong. However, some people think some things are good for them or for society and yet what they choose is wrong. I am sure Hitler thought it was good to be rid of the Jews so that German nationals could have better jobs and better opportunities they did not have at the time. He could well have been right yet this is no excuse for what he did to resolve it.

    You said that having moral absolutes to guide our country–absolutes that come from God–would reek havoc on our justice system. I say that atheism would obliterate it altogether. In my question about crush videos, you really have no right to tell me I should not do them. You are a human as I am human, you have your opinions as do I have mine. If there is no God than there is no reason to be good to another human–there is no real human dignity to be respected in another, there is no soul, no reason to see anyone else as something to be good to who is made in the image and likeness of his creator who deserves respect because the other is the work of a God who loves. You said that there are no moral absolutes except you failed to see that there is no moral absolute except the one moral absolute that there really is none. Bertrand Russell said himself that I choose values as I choose colors–not one better than another. You seem to fail seeing that when there is no common Truth to live by everything does indeed becomes relative. Richard Dawkins recently stated that “a bit of pedophilia is okay.” You know, It’s interesting that I find in every athiestic government on the planet a “tolerance” for those of differing opinion. It may be well to believe philosophically in moral relativism, but in real life it is a different story. Athiesm has certainly proved their own premise–written in the blood of Stalin, Enver Hoxha, Hitler, etc., etc. who shut everyone they deemed as differing from their view to banishment in Siberia, Concentration Camps and jail cells. It also certainly shows how tolerant you are when you reduce yourself to sarcasm remarking on my post about the Ouija Board: the “Ouija Board Woo Woo.” Dear Richard Dawkins is certainly no example of tolerance either when he called out to those attending the 2012 Reason Rally: “[to Christians] Mock them. Ridicule them! In public. They need to be ridiculed with contempt.” I suppose we could turn the clock back even further to the French Revolution that supposedly let almighty REASON reign yet became a blood bath for humans who thought they had liberated themselves from the dire, medieval shackles of religion.

    Did you happen to notice that the words on Eric Harris’s T-Shirt were “Natural Selection”? His diaries were full of social Darwinism. But, lets not get into Darwin at this point, although I was thoroughly surprised when Richard Dawkins was asked about the exact moment of life happening on this earth–that spark that set it all in motion–could have been ALIENS. And this is reason? Little green men? You certainly accept things which require more faith than I ever could. That is why I stopped being an athiest. You might also look at the true title of Darwin’s “Origin of Species.” The subtitle for the first edition was thus…”by means of natural selection for FAVORED RACES.” You may tell me that we all choose good. Eugenics is certainly an example of something chosen to be good which, in the end, is not. Thank you for your time.

  2. Godwin point aside, Hitler made decisions regarding the Jews without any empathy for them. He didn’t see them as human, or at least didn’t want others to see them that way. As you say, he acted for the good of the Germans and the master race only, and that blinkered view caused untold suffering. Thus he taught the world a terrible lesson about people in power with blinkered worldviews. There’s no conflict in the idea that people go very wrong when trying to do good, or sometimes abandon doing good to serve themselves. It’s not a perfect world.

    I didn’t try to tell you you shouldn’t do crush videos. The one time I used the word “should” was as part of an assumption, one that I think you make anyway. My point is that regardless of what should happen, most of us try to do the right thing because empathy pushes us that way, and because we live in the kind of society that rewards it and punishes the opposite. Case in point, I don’t have to assert any right to tell you not to do a cruel and illegal thing like a crush video, because you don’t want to do it and if you did try you’d be guilty of a misdemeanor at least, not to mention a terrible human being by society’s standards. Yes, those standards can change, but only so much as long as those very few human beings addicted to senseless cruelty aren’t in charge of the courts.

    Even if there’s no reason to see other people as deserving of love and altruism without a god, atheists see them that way anyway. This isn’t because they haven’t thought it through, as you might be thinking, but because whatever other people are they’re the same as us. A previous commenter reduced us all to piles of chemicals, which technically we are, but then we know what it’s like to be a pile of chemicals and that gives us common cause and empathy with the other piles. You can’t belittle the true state of human beings to a point where other human beings won’t care for them as their own, any more than you can unbalance a scale by removing equal amounts from each side.

    Values lead to objectives, and that’s the useful thing in the absence of absolutes. One value isn’t “better” than another, in Russell’s very considered definition, but rather changes one’s targets in life. If one’s values align with one’s neighbours, one’s actions are more likely to benefit them too.

    Richard Dawkins never said “a bit of pedophilia” is acceptable. He was fondled as a child by a schoolmaster, found it very unpleasant, and recovered. There are demonstrably worse things that can happen to a person, in terms of molestation or otherwise, but he certainly isn’t saying it’s a good thing. And he may have been talking about religious doctrines when he told people to mock and ridicule them, but regardless strong criticism is necessary to engage fully with them, as you’re doing by arguing that atheism is morally bankrupt. Finally, he mentioned aliens and directed panspermia only because Ben Stein, in a concerted effort to make him sound silly, demanded to hear any way other than a god that life could have been designed. Dawkins doesn’t think it was designed at all, which is why creationists take issue with him in the first place.

    I’ve been through the Communist argument before. Communist governments use atheism for specific propaganda purposes, they don’t base their values on it. Here’s the full piece. And I’ve discussed the French Cult of Reason during the Revolution, together with Communism, here.

    My sarcasm regarding evil was uncalled for. I’ve had to point out that fallacy rather a lot, so if you were offended, I’m sorry you were on the receiving end of my attempt at novelty. My point still stands however: that it’s better if there’s a god, or that we need a god, is not an argument that there IS one.

    And lastly, here’s an earlier piece on eugenics. “Social Darwinism” has nothing to do with Darwin or atheism as it’s merely a description of human behaviour. Darwinian evolution does not dictate how we should act as it’s merely a description of natural processes, and indeed Darwin himself said we shouldn’t model ourselves on its often violent nature. And Eric Harris was if anything applying artificial selection by shooting people, but really, if was trying to use any kind of Darwinist strategy he wouldn’t have killed himself and negated the literal or figurative core of all “Darwinian” processes: survival.

    1. Your responses to me have been underlined:
      “Hitler made decisions regarding the Jews without any empathy for them. He didn’t see them as human, or at least didn’t want others to see them that way” Apparently, you don’t see them as human beings either if you want to subscribe to the idea that, as you say, “us all to piles of chemicals, which technically we are, but then we know what it’s like to be a pile of chemicals and that gives us common cause and empathy with the other piles.
      “There’s no conflict in the idea that people go very wrong when trying to do good” How do we define a “good person” a “bad person” obviously we are appealing to a fixed standard of objective truths—you know, going back to Columbine, some commenters on You Tube considered Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris “heroes.” Do some people not have a right to believe that? You never really answered me regarding the assertion that there are no objective truths except the truth that there are no objective truths. Such an opinion is contradictory.
      My point is that regardless of what should happen, most of us try to do the right thing because empathy pushes us that way, and because we live in the kind of society that rewards it and punishes the opposite.
      How do you know what the “right thing” is? Empathy pushes us to be good? Left to ourselves experience proves the opposite. No, not everyone is perfect, but there is nothing in the atheist worldview that prevents one from choosing to be bad. As you have said yourself– One value isn’t “better” than another. The difference between atheism and Christianity is whether there is an obligation to be moral or not. On a purely human level, one can look at Lord of the Flies and see what happens when teenagers are left alone with purely human values. Might—slowly becomes right, but that will be dealt with shortly. Who was right in the end?
      society’s standards. Yes, those standards can change, but only so much as long as those very few human beings addicted to senseless cruelty aren’t in charge of the courts.
      So we are placing our value system with courts and the government. In the democratic culture of our time it is commonly held that the legal system of any society should limit itself to taking account of and accepting the convictions of the majority. It should therefore be based solely upon what the majority itself considers moral and actually practises. Furthermore, if it is believed that an objective truth shared by all is de facto unattainable, then respect for the freedom of the citizens-who in a democratic system are considered the true rulers-would require that on the legislative level the autonomy of individual consciences be acknowledged. Consequently, when establishing those norms which are absolutely necessary for social coexistence, the only determining factor should be the will of the majority, whatever this may be. Hence every politician, in his or her activity, should clearly separate the realm of private conscience from that of public conduct.
      As a result we have what appear to be two diametrically opposed tendencies. On the one hand, individuals claim for themselves in the moral sphere the most complete freedom of choice and demand that the State should not adopt or impose any ethical position but limit itself to guaranteeing maximum space for the freedom of each individual, with the sole limitation of not infringing on the freedom and rights of any other citizen. On the other hand, it is held that, in the exercise of public and professional duties, respect for other people’s freedom of choice requires that each one should set aside his or her own convictions in order to satisfy every demand of the citizens which is recognized and guaranteed by law; in carrying out one’s duties the only moral criterion should be what is laid down by the law itself. Individual responsibility is thus turned over to the civil law, with a renouncing of personal conscience, at least in the public sphere.
      The basis of these values cannot be provisional and changeable “majority” opinions, but only the acknowledgment of an objective moral law which, as the “natural law” written in the human heart, is the obligatory point of reference for civil law itself. If, as a result of a tragic obscuring of the collective conscience, an attitude of scepticism were to succeed in bringing into question even the fundamental principles of the moral law, the democratic system itself would be shaken in its foundations, and would be reduced to a mere mechanism for regulating different and opposing interests on a purely empirical basis. 89
      Some might think that even this function, in the absence of anything better, should be valued for the sake of peace in society. While one acknowledges some element of truth in this point of view, it is easy to see that without an objective moral grounding not even democracy is capable of ensuring a stable peace, especially since peace which is not built upon the values of the dignity of every individual and of solidarity between all people frequently proves to be illusory. Even in participatory systems of government, the regulation of interests often occurs to the advantage of the most powerful, since they are the ones most capable of manoeuvering not only the levers of power but also of shaping the formation of consensus. In such a situation, democracy easily becomes an empty word.
      It is therefore urgently necessary, for the future of society and the development of a sound democracy, to rediscover those essential and innate human and moral values which flow from the very truth of the human being and express and safeguard the dignity of the person: values which no individual, no majority and no State can ever create, modify or destroy, but must only acknowledge, respect and promote.

      1. Hi again, Dominic, I’d now like to address some factual errors in your replies. They are so basic that it seems to me that you haven’t bothered to perform due diligence in coming to your views.

        You wrote “Athiesm has certainly proved their own premise–written in the blood of…….. Hitler etc”. I’d be interested to know where you got the idea that Hitler was an atheist. It certainly wasn’t from any source emanating from during his lifetime. We have a great deal of information about Hitler, from his own books, his speeches, the great many interviews he gave during his lifetime to newspapers and magazines and book authors, and the reports of people who worked with him (including politicians, domestic staff and academics), even his notes in the margins of the books in his personal library. We also have expert psychological profiles. Two distinct themes run through all of these sources: Hitler’s inordinately strong sense of religiosity and his lifelong hatred of atheism.

        Just a few examples: In March 1933 Hitler had the SS (who refused to accept applications from atheists) march into the head office of the ‘Deutscher Freidenker-Verband’ (German atheist/freethinker movement) arrest all the staff (later executing the leader)and handed over the building to the Lutheran Church. In October of that same year he gave a speech in front of 250,000 people where he announced, enthusiastically ranting, poking his finger into the air, getting the crowd worked up, that he had smashed atheism in Germany once and for all. Hitler was strongly supported, both before and throughout the Reich, by the leading German Protestant theologians of the day (e.g., Emanuel Hirsch, Gerhard Kittel, Paul Althaus). Even Martin Neimöller (author of the original ‘First they came for the Communists’ poem; not the dishonest versions you see too often today with ‘Protestants’ or ‘Christians’ added) originally supported Hitler precisely because of his strong anti-atheist stance. The head of the Anglican Church in the UK wrote two books about Hitler in the early 1940s which discuss his motivations. He describes him as a “misguided Christian”. A psychological profile of Hitler’s speeches and radio interviews by (Max Steer, Purdue University, 1942) reports:

        “He speaks of faith and destiny and miracles, of regeneration and martyrdom, and of his struggle for the souls of men………..he uses purely religious terms: shame, sin and expiation.”

        Another profile (Harvard University, Langer et al., 1943, ‘A Psychological Profile of Adolph Hitler’) commissioned by the US State Dept in order to predict Hitler’s future behaviour, discusses at length Hitler’s

        “conviction….and belief that he is guided by some extra-natural power which communicates to him what he should and should not do………. at the present time, it is the core of his thinking.”

        BTW the Langer report proved to be very accurate. My advice is this: never accept what you’re being told because it fits with what you want to believe. Always read and critically analyse source material yourself. Always demand quality evidence for claims.

        Similarly you wrote: “You might also look at the true title of Darwin’s “Origin of Species.” The subtitle for the first edition was thus…”by means of natural selection for FAVORED RACES.” The implication here is, of course, that Darwin and by implication, evolutionary theory, is racist. But to someone who has studied evolutionary biology, or even read the book, your implication is not only misinformed but quite frankly, comical. You complain that you are being ridiculed; but that’s what people do when confronted by ridiculous statements!

        Nowhere in ‘Origin of Species’ does Darwin discuss the evolution of humans. The bulk of the book is concerned with the evidence for evolution using examples of dogs, cabbages, finches, pigeons and barnacles. There is only one short sentence in the entire book that even mentions human beings! The title would nowadays read ‘favoured species’ (BTW, the original title is still used in reprints, why wouldn’t it be?). The word ‘favoured’ is used as metaphor, because the English language was (and still is) notoriously bereft of words and concepts that describe non-conscious, automatic processes. The word ‘race’ is used because the word ‘species’ wasn’t well-known or much used when Darwin wrote the book. He (and other naturalists) generally used the words ‘race’, ‘variety’ and ‘species’ interchangeably, sometimes even in the same sentence by Darwin. So ‘favoured races’ simply refers to those extant species of birds and barnacles which have descended from now extinct species; there is nothing more sinister than that. So you’ll understand, I’m sure, why it’s become a bit of a joke when people mention the title as being racist………it’s a sure sign that the person hasn’t bothered to read the book but is content to merely parrot misinformed and/or dishonest sources.

        If you really want to know what Darwin thought of the notion of human ‘races’ then don’t rely on the blatantly dishonest assertions and quote mines that you’ll see all over the Christian and Islamic internet (a sentence from here added to a sentence from there and reported out of context; some quotes even shamelessly invented). In a later book ‘Descent of Man’ Darwin devotes a whole chapter to explaining why he considered all attempts to subdivide human beings into ‘races’ or ‘subspecies’ to be scientifically dubious. I know that’s probably not what you’ve been told, but it’s true. You can read it yourself.

        The Anti-Evolution League of America was originally set up in the 1920s to counter the influence Darwin’s idea that human sub-species did not exist were having on those who wanted to end the Christian-inspired and supported anti-miscegenation laws that many states had (even into the 1960s). Indeed, the modern creationist movement in the USA (not Europe) has its origins in Christian white supremacism. But don’t take my word for it; this is a matter of public record. Read for yourself the Anti-Evolution League pamphlets, newspaper reports, trial transcripts etc. If you do so I’m confident you’ll come to realise that some people haven’t been entirely honest with you.

  3. Hi Dominic, I have some concerns regarding lax argumentation and unevidenced assertions in your replies.

    The first is concerned with your assertion about “absolutes that come from God”. You don’t define what you mean by “absolute”. Is it synonymous with ‘objective’? If so, then you would need to further explain why we would need a God to ascertain what these ‘objective’ values are. After all, we don’t need to invoke a God to work out other objective values, such as the speed of light, do we? If they are not objective, then why are they not merely the product of God’s subjective whim? In which case, anything – any action at all, no matter how much harm or suffering results to human beings or animals – no matter how grotesque we personally find it – becomes a moral absolute simply because God has commanded it. Is this what you mean? If it is, then your claim really amounts to this: there are moral instructions that exist in an ontologically-absolute fashion, yet no-one can demonstrate that they have emanated from anywhere outside the human mind. These values cannot be changed or altered even if there are demonstrable benefits that are apparent for all to see. So, I must follow them regardless of whether I am convinced of their value or the consequences that result from them. I return to this notion later.

    Second, regardless of which definition you employ, nowhere do you attempt to construct an argument that such a thing as absolute values even exists. You just assert it to be the case, point out your opinion of what would likely happen if it wasn’t the case and assume that you’ve done your job. You haven’t. If you had, non-believers would agree with you, wouldn’t they? People of different persuasions don’t argue about the reality and value of the speed of light, for example. Even if atheism proves to be unwarranted and a God exists, the onus is still on you, the theist, to demonstrate that moral values really are ‘ontologically-absolute’ or ‘-objective’ or whatever. If you are so sure that your assertion is based on sound evidence then this shouldn’t be too difficult. All you have to do is provide us with an example of a single moral value or duty that:

    (i) Is not dependent on personal intuition.
    (ii) Is not dependent on any single scriptural tradition.
    (iii) Is not simply the consensus opinion.
    (iv) Has no possible exceptions to the rule.
    (v) Is always necessary to follow despite any known or possible consequences, good or bad.

    Instead of doing this you write: “It is therefore urgently necessary, for the future of society and the development of a sound democracy, to rediscover those essential and innate human and moral values which flow from the very truth of the human being and express and safeguard the dignity of the person: values which no individual, no majority and no State can ever create, modify or destroy, but must only acknowledge, respect and promote.” Eloquent words but you nowhere do you explain the methodology we should employ in order to recognise these “innate moral……morally absolute” values. And do you really want to live in a society that holds to moral values that could never be changed regardless of e.g., increases in scientific knowledge? I certainly don’t want to be controlled by a worldview as boundlessly cruel and simplistic as that. Take eugenics, for example. Is it always a bad thing? In every conceivable way? What about two people who knowingly carry the susceptibility alleles for Tay-Sachs disease deciding not to have children? That’s eugenics. What if they decided to have children but to allow geneticists to alter, in vitro, the HEXA gene variant that causes Tay-Sachs in order to have a healthy child? That’s eugenics. Or, is it a morally superior act to give birth to a child with Tay-Sachs than to practice at least some forms of eugenics? Questions like these are morally ambiguous, and our decisions must depend on the level of scientific knowledge and ability, surely? To not accept seems morally perverse. Surely if you wish to” safeguard the dignity of the person” then you need also to sometimes “acknowledge, respect and promote” the use of eugenics on a case-by-case basis? And isn’t informed, democratic decision the best means available to achieve this? A democracy with fixed laws is an oxymoron, surely? Yet the whole moral basis of your whole argument hinges on the reality of democracy, not theocracy. Absent the reference to ‘democracy’ and your whole sentence could have been lifted directly from the theocratic notions found in Mein Kampf or ISIS/Daesh recruitment literature.

    Third, if your views hold water we should be able reverse your comment “If there is no God than there is no reason to be good to another human” and get a statement that is patently untrue, shouldn’t we? Let’s do that: “If there is a God there is every reason to be unkind to another human”. That doesn’t sound right does it? It goes against our “innate human and moral values”. Except……we have another demonstrable truism, don’t we? I live in Europe and travel often. I have no personal enemies. However, when I step out of my door the ONLY people who wish me harm, to be unkind to me – who endeavour to kill me – are people who believe in God, who want to do God’s work, to please God; it is precisely BECAUSE they are theists they consider themselves to have very good reasons to be unkind to other humans. It’s their absolute duty to do so, as commanded by the absolute morality of God. How is this possible on your reckoning? Two statements with polar-opposite meanings are both argued to be true, predicated on the basic claim that GOD EXISTS.

    Remember, the head honcho of ISIS has a BA, MA and PhD in theology. Like you, he really, really believes in God. He understands all your theological arguments for God and absolute morality inside and out. Like you he sees belief in, and adherence to God’s word, as essential to the proper working of a community. Yet he’s come to a completely different view of morality. Obviously, the view of the world you suggest we hold to in no way inoculates against us against cruelty to other humans, any more than it did in theocratic Christian pre-enlightenment Europe. The reason you aren’t living in a society run along similar lines to ISIS occupied Mosul (as a friend of mine does) is because Europe enjoyed a secular enlightenment.

    So to return to my question: how can you (or ISIS) demonstrate to non-believers like me that the absolute moral values that you assert and hold so dear exist independently of the criteria that I outlined earlier? Don’t just assert, show your evidence in a logically coherent argument. I’d like to ask the same of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, too, but he’d probably try to behead me as an infidel…….on account of his equally strong belief in “absolute moral values”.

  4. Feel free not to publish this comment, it’s more of a question. Does the Euthyphro dilemma have any relevance to Dominic’s fervent desire to establish God as the source of human rights, morality, the good etc.

    Thank you for setting up this site by the way. I really enjoy following your reasoning process.

    1. A related question makes a perfectly good comment, John. The rhetorical question of where morality comes from if not God is an argument, of sorts, in favour of divine command theory and comes down firmly on one side of the Dilemma. It shows a refusal to even consider the other side, whereon God gets His morality from somewhere else. it’s a simple position, whether or not it’s right or merited.

  5. Thanks for your reply. I should have been more specific. I realize that the Euthyphro dilemma explores whether behavior x is good because God wills it or if behavior x is good because it meets other criteria. Theists like Dominic often say that behavior x is good because God wills it and say that, without God, behavior x (e.g. murder) would have nothing to distinguish it as good or bad. So, it seems like the logical response is to show that a behavior can be judged as good or bad using some other standard of reference besides whether God wills it or not which could lead someone to explore the other horn of Euthyphro’s dilemma. I will be researching and thinking about the ways that behaviors can be judged without a “God wills it” reference, so I was curious to see if you had any thoughts, based on your experience, about the usefulness of that area of research.

    Incidentally, I was taking a more critical look at the U.S. Declaration of Independence yesterday and was thinking about the impact of a lack of belief in God on the whole notion of inviolable, creator given, unalienable rights argument. I’m sure many people have objected to Atheism because it would make unalienable rights weaker as a result of not being divinely ordained, so I decided to research how unalienable rights could be protected without reference to a god and discovered your website while doing so.

  6. John – Interesting research. Thanks for sharing it with everyone.

    My first thought is that “divinely ordained” is somewhat of a misnomer anyway. After all, didn’t the Bible say slavery was OK? Yet that is not an accepted concept in today’s America. In fact our Constitution, and the interpretation of it by the courts, has been constantly fluid and dynamic since before the ink was dry on it. Perhaps to some people the absence of a “creator” would reduce the “unalienable” rights that we have, but to those folks we must continue to point out that our rights in the Constitution don’t exactly mirror the Bible (or any religious text) as well as they might think, and it’s ever changing nature (compared to the static texts of religious books) reflects a major different between those documents.

    After all, people call the cops and sue in courts when their rights are infringed. They don’t go see a priest about it. That should tell them something about their mindset regarding rights…

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