Love Thy Neighbor: The Evolution of In-Group Morality, By John Hartung

Conn_in_Brooklyn
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Love Thy Neighbor: The Evolution of In-Group Morality, By John Hartung

So I decided to re-read "The God Delusion" the other night and I came across Dawkins' discussion on John Hartung's Essay (titled above) which appeared in Skeptic Magazine in 1995.  The paper is about In-group morality and out-group hostility with an analysis of group selection versus individual selection mixed in.  His Adstract reads:

Quote:
The world's major religions espouse a moral code which includes injunctions against murder, theft and lying. Or so conventional 19th- and 20th-century Western wisdom would have it. Evidence put forth here argues that this convention is a conceit which does not apply to the West's own religious foundations. In particular, rules against murder, theft, and lying codified by the Ten Commandments were intended to apply only within a cooperating group for the purpose of enabling that group to compete successfully against other groups. In addition, this in-group morality has functioned, both historically and by express intent, to create adverse circumstances between groups by actively promoting murder, theft, and lying as tools of competition. Contemporary efforts to present Judeo-Christian in-group morality as universal morality defy the plain meaning of the texts upon which Judaism and Christianity are based. Accordingly, this effort is ultimately hopeless.


Ultimately, I find this analysis persuasive and accurate, especially when Hartung discusses how it was Paul, not Jesus, who universalizes salvation through Christ Jesus (something our very-own Brian Flemming brings up in "The God Who Wasn't There&quotEye-wink, arguing that Jesus' intentionality was in line with the in-group thinking of the Old Testament - i.e. the laws, Ten Commandments, even the dictate "Love Thy Neighbor" only ever applied to the Israelites, even right up until the "birth" of Christ (I'm not so sure that "birth" ever happened ...).  Another aspect of this essay that I enjoy (and think is intellectually important) is that  the analysis is essentially the natural history of religion - looking at religion as a natural phenomenon.  I find that looking at socio-historical and religious traditions through the lens of the neo-darwinism/sociobiology/evolutionary psychology is an incredibly useful tool for understanding and contextualizing  the basic beliefs of Jews and Christians.

Has anyone else read this essay?  I know the first step in my deconversion was looking at religion as a natural phenomenon - in otherwords, divorcing the notion that its "true" from my analysis and looking at it through a more objective lens - perhaps if more theists, esp. Jews and Christians, looked at the context in which their religion evolved (whether they choose to see it as social, cultural, historical or natural/literally evolutionary), they would see it less as "true" and more as simply a phenomena that grew up with us out of the dawn of humanity ...

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Conn_in_Brooklyn
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p.s. Hartung on Women, God,

p.s. Hartung on Women, God, Morality and the Bible (Tanakh):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czhRLNzjL08

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QV6kmYxI6Bk

 

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todangst
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Conn_in_Brooklyn

Conn_in_Brooklyn wrote:

p.s. Hartung on Women, God, Morality and the Bible (Tanakh):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czhRLNzjL08

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QV6kmYxI6Bk

 

I'll have to take a look... I can't remember who said it, but it was once said that once Paul established his religion of brotherly love, it necessitated that there be outsiders who were hated and only deserved destruction... the one is predicated on the other

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

Books on atheism.


Conn_in_Brooklyn
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todangst

todangst wrote:
Conn_in_Brooklyn wrote:

p.s. Hartung on Women, God, Morality and the Bible (Tanakh):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czhRLNzjL08

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QV6kmYxI6Bk

 

I'll have to take a look... I can't remember who said it, but it was once said that once Paul established his religion of brotherly love, it necessitated that there be outsiders who were hated and only deserved destruction... the one is predicated on the other

As a sociology student becoming mroe and more interested in evolutionary psychology/anthropology, I'd love to look in depthly at Paul's project of universalizing salvation, whilst at the same time, preserving that out-group hostility embodied in religious infedelity and damnation.  Also, the evolution of sheol to hades to hell and back again (esp. amongst moderate jews/christians) ... 

Let me know when you've looked at'em so we can have a chat about the issues. (I've seen your posts here and there and am extremely impressed with the lucidity and elegance with which you express yourself ...)

I'm off myspace.com so you can only find me here: http://geoffreymgolia.blogspot.com