Submitted by Charles Knighton
“The cross is, among other things, the ultimate moral ethic. It is about a relationship with the author of the moral law which none of us can keep…”
Adrian Sobers “By what standard?” editorial letter Barbados Advocate of Nov. 26
Mr. Adrian Sobers frequently takes it upon himself to regale us with the sublime nature of Christian moral philosophy while at the same time seeking to undermine competing moral philosophies. Though less so now than when I was younger, I find myself bemused when a seemingly keen intellect is unable to grasp the inherent evil undermining his own philosophy. Might we all take a step back, take a deep breath, open our minds, and examine what core precept forms the basis of this sublime philosophy through which we “fully understand what it means to be human” and where the “universal cry for justice and mercy are perfectly satisfied’?
Christian moral philosophy begins by damning man as evil, then demands that he practice a good which it defines as impossible for him to practice. It demands, as his first proof of virtue, that he accept his own depravity without proof. It demands that he start, not with a standard of value, but with a standard of evil, which is himself, by means of which he is then to define the good: the good is that which he is not. The good is not for him to understand, his duty is to crawl through years of penance, atoning for the guilt of his existence to a mystic God with some incomprehensible design. His only concept of a value is zero: the good is that which is non-man.
The name of this monstrous absurdity is Original Sin.
A sin without volition is an affront to morality and an insolent contradiction in terms: that which is outside the possibility of choice is outside the province of morality. If man is evil by birth, he has no will, no power to change it; if he has no will, he can be neither good nor evil; an automaton is amoral. To hold, as man’s sin, a fact not open to his choice is a mockery of morality. To hold man’s nature as his sin is a mockery of nature. To punish him for a crime he committed before he was born is a mockery of justice. To hold him guilty in a matter where no innocence exists is a mockery of reason. To destroy morality, nature, justice and reason by means of a single concept is a feat of evil hardly to be matched. Yet that is the root of Christian moral philosophy.
And please do not attempt to hide behind the cowardly evasion that man is born with free will, but with a “tendency” to evil. A free will saddled with a tendency is like a game with loaded dice. It forces man to struggle through the effort of playing, to bear responsibility and pay for the game, but the decision is weighted in favor of a tendency that he had no power to escape. If the tendency is of his choice, he cannot possess it at birth; if it is not of his choice, his will is not free.
And what is the nature of the guilt that Christian moral philosophy call his Original Sin? What are the evils man acquired when he fell from a state they consider perfection? Their myth declares that he ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge—he acquired a mind and became a rational being. It was the knowledge of good and evil—he became a moral being. He was sentenced to earn his bread by his labor—he became a productive being. He was sentenced to experience desire—he acquired the capacity of sexual enjoyment. The evils for which he is damned are reason, morality, creativeness, joy—all the cardinal values of our existence. It is not his vices that the Christian myth of man’s fall is designed to explain and condemn, it is not his errors that they hold as his guilt, but the essence of his nature as man. Whatever he was—that robot in the Garden of Eden, who existed without mind, without values, without labor, without love—he was not a man.
Mr. Sobers and his fellow travelers call this a morality of mercy and a doctrine of love for man. What I call it is of little importance. What is important is for people to take what they are taught and actually THINK ABOUT IT!