In my ongoing attempt to explain the Christian law to my children, and gain a clearer perspective on it as well, I thought I would try present an ancient view that I often shows up in public discourse and then compare it with a common Mormon view and a classic Christian response.
[The original writer’s name has been changed because I am not claiming to represent his views accurately. (Yes, I am deliberately twisting an ancient view to fit the present conversation what can you expect, I’m Mormon.) ]
Cal the Realist: I am getting fed up with Christian moralizing. The truth is that you Christians who pretend to be engaged in the pursuit of truth, are – especially in your rejection of gay marriage and naturally driven sexuality- are appealing only to the popular and vulgar notions of right and wrong, which are not natural, but only conventional. Conventional law and nature’s law are generally at odds with one another and hence, and if a person is too conventional to say what he actually thinks, he winds up warring against himself and solidifying his own mental slavery to the conventional law.
Christians perpetuate slavery to convention by telling people that they should reject sin and live in righteousness. But most sane men understand that to endeavor to live according to the “righteousness” described in the Christian law is patently unnatural. This is because all men are naturally disinclined to obey the Christian conventions. Thus, socially ostracizing those who have the courage to disregard the conventional rules – as the Christians do with gay people – is a recipe for stagnation of civilization. This is because the Christian law is in a pathological war with the law of nature.
You may say that your Christian law is based on nature, but as the lives of your saints show us, nobody who carefully obeys the Christian law has any real power in this world. According to the Christians, everything your body tells you it wants is sin, and following the law is almost always the unnatural path: turning the other cheek, avoiding all litigation, proclaiming peace through forgiveness of enemies. Christians themselves are loathe to tolerate this sort of “righteousness” in their leaders.
For instance, by the rule of nature, to suffer injustice is the greater disgrace (this is the way of nearly all social animal species). The suffering of injustice is not the part of a man, but of a slave, whose life nobody wants to live; since when he is wronged and trampled upon, he is unable to help himself, or any other about whom he cares. But, according to our laws and conventions — to commit injustice is more disgraceful.
The reason why there is this massive disjunct between conventional laws and the natural law, is that the makers of laws over the majority are the minority who are naturally weak in power. They establish conventions, make laws, and distribute praises and criticism with a view to allowing the weak to dominate the strong in spirit, the broken to dominate the whole.
Christian moralists say that dishonesty is shameful and sinful; meaning, by the word sinful, motivated by the natural desire of a man for more property, prosperity, sex, pleasure, and friendship than his neighbor. It strikes me that those that moralize this way are the weaker sort of person knows they are inferior and know that if we viewed their advantage from the point of view of global equality – what some would call social justice or distributive justice – their advantage would stink to high heaven. The poor masses, whose happiness and life is gladly sacrificed to support the prosperity of the few- would rise up in vastly superior numbers and take away the property or the weaker rulers. And therefore the common pursuit of wealth , is conventionally said to be shameful and unjust, and is called injustice, especially among the wealthy upper classes that unfairly get the biggest share of the global economy.
Natural law flies in the face of convention and teaches us that among men as well as among animals – and indeed among all civilizations, cultures, and nations – the belief in what most people call justice or righteousness is part of a scheme by the ruling party to protect property and allow those who most benefit from the economy to rule over the inferior in economic station. History plays this out. The Europeans (and their cultural descendants) who have historically spoken the most loudly about justice and the Christian law are also those whose governments act with callous indifference to both justice and the strange Christian virtue of love. They act only for the benefit of their own nations, and show the capacity to murder and enslave those that do not belong.
The Europeans did not act according to justice in perpetrating imperial colonialism, racism and the numerous genocidal murders that took place under the nose of kings and popes. These Christian rulers were not acting according to justice and to call their actions loving is the height of folly. They acted according to their nature and then- perhaps reasonably – justified themselves with their mythology of salvation. Today, presidents, kings, popes, and magnates do not act according to some positive law that wise men invent or prophets receive from the oracles of God. They act according to the law of their nature, the natural law that determines who is great and who is pitiful. Greatness in this world justifies itself through the social immortality of the conquerors, not the submission of the conquered to some law handed down from heaven.
Civilization and culture use the Christian law to control the individual- to keep them focused on the rights of the group to be free from the inclination of their natures. All forms of society take the best and strongest from their youth and tame them like trained animals-saying to them that they must be content to obey the law, to reject sin, and to act according to heavenly justice, even though the leviathan forces that control this curriculum act according to their own whim and nature. But history shows that when a revolutionary character can exert sufficient force of will, he shakes off the puritanical rules and breaks through, and escape from all this moralizing. He generally proceeds to dissect and ridicule all our formulas and spells and charms, and all our laws which are against human nature. The strongest, brightest, and most noble slaves would rise in rebellion and take control lord over us, and the light of natural justice would shine forth.
The Christian law is also dispelled by the principles of prosperity. Every sane person glories in what they most excel in — whether it be their talent or their beauty, or their ability to gain wealth — and orders their priorities around pursuing those goals that they seemed naturally made to pursue. Yet double-speaking Christian legalists will praise Jesus, Mother Teresa, Ghandi, St. Francis or other so-called saints who act in a manner diametrically opposed to the sort of lives that Christians naturally live.
Christian morality, as a part of education, is probably a good thing, and there is no disgrace to a man while he is young in pursuing such a study; but when he is more advanced in years, the whole thing becomes ridiculous, and I feel towards Christians as I do towards those who imitate children and speak in baby talk.
I love to see a little child, who is not of an age to speak plainly, talking in gibberish. There is an appearance of grace and freedom in being the sort of clown which is natural to his childish years. But when I hear some child carefully articulating this or that moral philosophy or fighting for the Christian law I am offended; the sound is disagreeable, and has to my ears the twang of slavery. But when I hear a man talking in baby-talk, or see him playing like a child, his behavior appears to me ridiculous and worthy of ridicule.
I have the same feeling about the proponents of the Christian law. I admit the study of Christian morality appears to be appropriate for a childish nature– a method of learning ideals and propriety, and part of a liberal education, and him who neglects understanding the law and the philosophy behind it I regard as an inferior man, who will never aspire to anything great or noble.
But if I see him continuing to see the world in such a naive way as the Christian law seems to depict it, I want to laugh at him. For, as I was saying, such a one, even though he has a strong character, becomes weak and naive in a slavish devotion to the law. Christians become careless about the things of which you ought to be careful. As the ancients said “the law is the king of all, of mortals as well as of immortals” And the law is that has the most might must be right because it allows us to oppress and do violence with highest hand. This is the way of the most successful and powerful in this world. According to the law of natural right, the natural resources and labor of the weaker and inferior properly belong to the stronger and superior who have somehow gathered the money to have such servants.
You should abandon your foolish Christian rebellion against natural laws just as a child should abandon their nursery rhymes. Leave your war against the law of nature and pursuit of so-called piety, “righteousness” and justice. Too much moralizing and contemplation of perfect action is the ruin of human life. If a person continues to question and fight against their own nature into adulthood, they are necessarily ignorant of all those things which a person of honor in the world ought to know. The person who takes the Christian law seriously will be inexperienced in the laws of the State, and in the language which ought to be used in the dealings of man with man, whether private or public, and utterly ignorant of the pleasures and desires of mankind and of human character in general.
Any person who endeavors to be a righteous person– someone who seeks to purge their life of sin by obedience to the law –does seem to have a noble soul, but they are also remarkably childish in their demeanor and agenda. This is the problem with taking the Christian law too far — those that do are defenseless in the real world. A person who is childishly devoted to the Christian conventions of justice is almost never convincing in an actual court of justice, because they cannot be dishonest enough. Nor can they give any reason or proof, or offer valiant counsel on another’s behalf because they are blinded by their self-righteousness.
A man of sense and honor will ignore the “sin”and “depravity” that is naturally bestowed upon him and fight back against those that would condemn him. If he acts as the Christians, and pretend to be a keeper of the law he will appear a fool to a sensible man, and will be helpless in the world, without power to save either himself or others. He will be vulnerable to those who will use superior firepower and technology rather than Christian love to gain their victories.
So, my friends, take my advice, and stop railing against the laws of nature. Ignore the childishness of Christian morality and learn the ethics of business and success, and acquire the reputation of wisdom. Leave to others the niceties of the law, whether they are to be described as follies or absurdities: For they will only bring you slavery and poverty.
Cease, then, listening to double-speaking theologians, politicians, lawyers, preachers, demogogues, and moralizers, and start working to emulate the man of substance and honor, who has achieved prosperity, wealth, power, honor and happiness in this world through his own might and power. Emulate those who embrace themselves as souls worthy of all the honor and pleasure they can obtain in the world. Recognize the truth that these are the greater and happier of the sad lot of humanity, and no hypocritical devotion to justice or law should deny them what nature itself has given them.
The law that Christian oracles posit is naturally inferior to the law of nature that bestows the spoils upon victors alone, no matter what principles they practiced to win their victories.
[Mormon view to come . . ]