View Full Version : The Value of Wellbeing

01-25-2013, 04:51 PM
Anything that helps to alleviate suffering in this world, no matter how small is considered a good thing; whatever unnecessarily adds to suffering is considered bad. This is the value of well-being. As can be clearly seen from examples in the Bible, unnecessary suffering caused by a tyrannical deity that demands worship and praise at the expense of well being, and metes out punishment when it is not received, does nothing to promote human flourishing or alleviate suffering. What good parent ever causes their children to suffer needlessly, or inflicts cruel punishment upon them because they do not praise or honor them, yet this is what the Bible teaches as acceptable, with its deity being portrayed as a father who instructs his children in this manner. The parenting lessons one learns from biblical instruction are at best unjust and unfair with rules being meted out according to ones gender or status. A good example is that of David being excused of the crime of murder because of his status as king, and Bathsheba being punished by having her firstborn son stricken with sickness and dying because of David’s sin. If a high value is not placed on human well-being and fairness, moral integrity begins to decline.

Morality based on religious edicts is what allows people to treat others in a way that compromises their well-being and integrity. Merely because a religious book contains a deity who commands a certain set of values that believers feel must be obeyed no matter how biased the decree, is a skewed reason to accept it as valid. The full meaning of the term human rights is explicitly contained within itself…namely the rights of humans. At the most fundamental level all people are humans and have ownership of their own being with its intrinsic value. The well-being of each individual shares a commonality requiring only a basic understanding of what it means to be human. In order to survive one ought to feed and take care of their body this is the only way one can continue to flourish.

It’s always good to take care of children and it is never good to cause them harm, yet this is exactly what one sees in the Bible (example below). Any book that corrupts one’s thinking to such a degree as to make them believe a just punishment for a crime could involve the well being of a child being purposely compromised, should be classified as immoral literature. It is unconscionable to think that there could be any justice in afflicting a child with sickness and making them suffer in agony for days on end till they die. The consequences of such an action does nothing to promote the flourishing of well being, there is no value in the purposeful suffering and death of an innocent child.

2Sam.12:13-17 And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die. And Nathan departed unto his house. And the LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife bare unto David, and it was very sick. David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth. And the elders of his house arose, and went to him, to raise him up from the earth: but he would not, neither did he eat bread with them. And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died…

A common test for the existence of objective morality is the argument that “it is always wrong to torture a child for fun”…there is no sane person on the planet who would say otherwise, yet what we see in the above biblical verses is exactly that. On every count the above verses fail to promote the well being of the child and actively encourage its demise. The sickness that the child is purposely afflicted with for the sins of his father causes him to suffer for seven days till he ultimately dies because of it…this is on par with torturing a child for fun, with fun being the suffering which is arbitrarily desired by the afflicter, which in this case is Yahweh. What is so incredibly disturbing about passages like these is the fact that they are attributed to the deity who billions of people hold to be the merciful, moral law giver…this jealous god who says that the sins of the father shall be passed onto the children.

Exo.20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

Should not any intelligent, reasonable person begin to question the validity of their faith when they are compelled to justify an immoral act based solely on the whim of a deity? The first step is to acknowledge the corruptive influence of believing a text that goes against our innate moral intuitions and realizing it is destructive to coherent thought? To be put in a position of having to justify a universally held immoral action, decreed by a deity only serves to diminish the integrity of the individual doing the justifying and is not conducive to well being. My hope is that people will open their minds to the idea of letting their judgments be based on the value of the well-being of sentient life, not on the teachings of an archaic religious text.