October 22, 2006

The Atheist Jew Does Country

I know what many of you non believers are thinking: "Why am I torchering you with my voice?" I also know what many of you believers are thinking: "How typical that an Atheist would pick a song about an illicit affair, at the best it is premarital sex, but most likely involved adultery for at least one of the parties involved. You Atheists have no morals, your choice of song proves it."

Here is the thing. I've been married for over 16 years now, and I have never cheated once. Not even a kiss, let alone jamming my tongue down some chicks throat while mindlessly drunk. Sure, I've lusted over other chicks; In my dreams, watching TV, etc. I've even done other chicks in my dreams, in fact I've done lots of them. But it is morals and ethics that separates my fantasy world with the real world. I know that I made a commitment to my wife, and I also know that if I fooled around it would hurt her.

Morality isn't about God. The 10 Commandments were man made, and many of the commandments were obvious while many were a way to try to control the flock. Things that made us guilty, were written in stone, so to speak.

Guilt evolved in us. Dogs can feel guilt. If our ancestors jumped from one cave to the next right after intercourse, man would not be here today. A pregnant mother or a mother with an infant wouldn't make a great hunter. Man would have starved ourself into extinction. Something had to make the caveman stay for at least 3 years, and guilt of not caring for the momma, had to be a big thing.
It could easily be argued that anything that makes us feel guilty is an immoral act. The more guilty we feel, the more immoral the act was.

Don't get me wrong, if I could have a guilt free affair, I probably would. We only live once. But being an ethnic Jew, I've evolved a lower guilt threshold than many of you ethnic gentiles.

This post reminds me of one of my favorite comedy scenes. The one from Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear. I couldn't find the clip on Youtube, but I did find the dialogue:

Lt. Frank Drebin: You know, sometimes I envy you and Edna. You have the same person every day for over 30 years. You wake up, eat with her, sleep with her. Make love to the same woman.
[Ed looks increasingly disgusted as Frank goes on]
Lt. Frank Drebin: You spend every possible waking moment together, while I'm out running around with a bunch of 20-year-olds who only want a good time and cheap sex sex sex. Girls who can't say no. Girls who can't get enough. "More, more, more. It's your turn now to wear the handcuffs..."
[Ed starts foaming at the mouth... literally]
Lt. Frank Drebin: I just want love, Ed.
Ed Hocken: I'm sure you'll... find love, Frank.


  1. This is at the same time wonderfully courageous and slightly disturbing. Maybe it just wasn't your song.

  2. Morality isn’t about God you say but then could you say, “Morality isn’t about being good?”

    What is good and what is bad and what is neutral? Who or what defines these things? Could we just follow animal instinct or study animal behaviour and define our actions based on what is known to be natural? Some animals have many partners and some mate for life so that’s not helpful. Anyway that is looking back and not forward - Man has transcended the animal. Man has a keen awareness of guilt because of his vivid imagination, his awareness of consequences and his inner machinery, which have all contributed to human culture. This has evolved over time. Notions of goodness are formed as a result of mixing the natural and the cultural and noting the consequences. What makes you and those around you happy and healthy is good. This has led to unfortunate mistakes at times. The Aztecs thought human sacrifice assisted the suns rise in the morning so human sacrifice was good. It is evolving.

    It can be a bit complicated. How is a person to know what is good and what is bad? Guilt is fairly unreliable and often only seriously manifests itself when one is found out. Could this be the key to the existence of religion? There is value in having an eternal watcher, watching everything you do. Gods and Ancestors are watching you. You, the creator of gods, something no mere animal could ever do, are watching you. Be careful what you do for it will be imprinted eternally into the past and into your psyche.

    Enter stage left the writings of the ancients. The Bible and other scriptures are guidebooks for the human journey, often meant to be read between the lines. Other people have been there and done that and one can learn from their experiences. Things such as the Ten Commandments are not draconian laws made to make life miserable. Indeed the opposite is true. Follow simple rules and live a life free from the ravages of guilt and the unhealthy consequences of bad behaviour. You’ll probably get rich too!

  3. Actually guilt is only a small part of the equation. Bad behaviour has consequences that go beyond mere guilt. Extramarital affairs can result in disease if you’re not careful, illegitimate children again if you are not careful or the ongoing anguish of abortion. Murderous spouses or boyfriends or fathers on your trail perhaps. Ruined leisure time when all you can think about is your lover when you have to spend time with your wife – this is worse than it sounds, it is so much better to look forward to spending the weekend with a loving wife. Sexual performance problems perhaps when trying to impress that younger woman. Public ridicule ala Clinton. Loss of wealth when your marriage breaks up. Wayward children on the rampage because of wrecked homes. I’m sure there’s more. All for a bit of nooky.

    Whatever is generating the feelings of guilt is quite wise really.

    Sorry for taking up so much space. I'll shut up now.

  4. AA, sort of my point. There are reasons why guilt is ingrained in us. We wouldn't be here without it.

    Flamingo, who are you? Simon Cowell?

  5. BEAJ, I hope my comment was not taken in anything more than a lighthearted sort of way. :)

    I also liked your point about guilt. I think that guilt is certainly our own sort of immoral action detector. But of course, this does mean that there can be no absolute set of morals, as for some, having affairs and lying creates no guilt at all.

    So the question is, is guilt the sole determiner of morals, or are there others...meaning, are there morals that hold true for everyone, regardless of guilt.

  6. Flamingo, no offense taken. I'm equally joking around.

    There is a good piece on morality and guilty found here.

    And I disagree, there is no absolute morality.

  7. My favorite scene from Naked Gun 2 and a Half was right after Drebin has had an argument with Jane in some restaurant or clueb, and as she storms away Drebin shouts out "I haven't had this much sex since I was in the Boy Scouts!" Then Drebin sees everyone in the club staring at him and he says "What I mean is that I was dating a lot at the time."

  8. BEAJ, I agree with you. My comment wasn't meant to imply I thought that there was absolute morality either. You look at cultures all across the globe, in all times of human history, and it is hard to make the absolute morality argument stand up. Eskimo infanticide, capital punishment...etc.

  9. I think the purpose of morality is social cohesion. Guilt is only one tool to reach those ends.

  10. BJ, I think morality is innate, and has evolved in us. We were socially cohesive way before the biblical days.

  11. Oy, my ears. Don't quit your day job for any promised career in Nashville. On the other hand, I always liked the raw honesty of that song.

    Your point was interesting and well made. Social cohesion resonates very forcefully in my value system. It's too bad that the people who pretend that issue's important, behave so cluelessly in promoting it.

    Shame, really.

  12. But do you believe that people have a soul and free will? And if not, why should we ever feel guilty? We are just robots.

    I suggest you try being an Orthodox Jew, where your guilt level will go WAY down, below sea level!

  13. JP, what is a soul? Of course we have free will, but we are preprogrammed through evolution to feel guilt. Do dogs have a soul and free will? Why do they feel guilty when they do something that pisses off their master?

    Without guilt, most higher thinking social animals would not be here today. We would be extinct. Without guilt we would kill others without abandon, to the point that there would be no one left to mate with.

  14. I think that what AA means by "guilt" here is inherent knowledge of good and bad, something animals dont have. A dog LEARNS what pisses you off.

  15. Under the Mercy, animals such as bonobos have it too. You just refuse to acknowledge it.

    Most of what we know as bad and good is learnt as well. And our ability to catch on quickly is innate.