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My ideas are constantly changing as I learn. Sometimes they even change midway through writing a post.

Thursday, December 16

Moral Handicaps

I'm feeling particularly interested and inspired about the subject of morality lately. When I was a teenager and contemplating becoming an atheist, I worried that becoming an atheist would mean that I wouldn't be moral. I thought I could just live according to the Bible, but I wasn't sure it would be very inspirational if I thought it wasn't true. I'd have to figure out what parts were true or not. I wondered what would make a good morality. I thought that an ideal world might be one where each individual was responsible for himself - for taking care of himself and doing right - and any "extra" energy/time they had could be used to help people who had genuine hardships with meeting their basic needs. It was a slightly different focus than the heavy push I got to "help people" when I was a child. I thought each person had the responsibility to do their best for themselves, economically, without expecting help. Giving help (I meant monetary) should only be for those with a genuine hardship - physical or mental handicaps.

I think now that people can also have moral idea handicaps. They might be so impoverished of knowledge of good that, although it seems like they are resisting good, it's actually the case that they don't even know what it is. Even if they do have some idea of what it is, they are totally lacking in the knowledge of how to do it. They can't sacrifice - they don't want to hurt themselves - and they don't know how to think of good as not a sacrifice but as so exciting and good and fun to do that nothing actually is a sacrifice. (By sacrifice, I mean feeling that one has forced oneself to do something).

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