1. Ray, rude-ass yankee says

    Interesting interview, Seemed to me Cooper harped on Nugent’s spouses death over much, and put emphasis on the “good” religion supposedly does which Nugent kept shooting down. At lest the interviewer let Nugent answer as much as he wanted, rather than a faux “news” type shout-over. Loved the accents from my ancestral land. The bit about sports as religion was funny.

  2. Seth says

    The interviewer’s mewling questions on religion were almost always answered before he asked them. He even said ‘Picking out the good bits and leaving out the bad bits, isn’t religion a good way to live?’ Which effectively conceded Michael’s point that morality is exterior to religion and indeed religion parasitically steals all of its supposed morality from the background ethics of the wider society.

  3. mikeyb says

    I find it interesting that the predominant form of Christianity – evangelical Christianity essentially teaches that the whole point of existence is believing or not believing in Jesus, since we are wicked depraved sinners, which will determine if we spend eternity in heaven or hell. Why these people don’t see that this effectively renders the importance of morality of any kind irrelevant is beyond me. If your David Berkowitz a serial killer but you convert to Jesus, you’re OK, but if you live a moral life but through circumstances beyond your control such as being born in the wrong faith – e,g, Anne Frank, you suffer two holocausts and the latter for all eternity. This sound perverse, because it is, but these are exactly the implications of believing in evangelical forms of Christianity. So how is that these mostly evangelical Christians lecture atheists or any one else for that matter about morality at all? Essentially, according to their beliefs, morality is utterly irrelevant to one’s ultimate destiny. Sure you supposedly become more moral when you believe in Jesus, but this is a secondary matter to the theology.

  4. mikeyb says

    Michael Nugent’s interview makes me think of a broader point. It seems that religion, at least monotheistic versions, are not about morality, but reading and interpreting texts properly, and obeying the commands as dictated be those texts. Morality is not about reasoning and using conscience to deliberate about what general principles to live by or what to do in a particular situation. No, the point is finding out what the divine commands are, whatever they may be and obeying them, no matter what internal conflict one may have toward them. Morality isn’t the point, obedience is. In some cases this may align with our inner conscience (love thy neighbor, thou shalt not kill, steal, etc.) but in other cases not, but the overriding principle is not trying to be moral but obeying commands. But this makes sense, in a small tribal society it is easier to come up with a set of rules and run a small kingdom and have people internalize them as god’s voice, than it would be to deal with the chaos of different ideas of what the good might be like the Greeks tried to do, with Aristotle, Plato and a whole host of other early ethical philosophers. So when new times come about when it is no longer fashionable to promote slavery and genocide, as well as a host of sacrifices of animals for sins, the texts are naturally reinterpreted to say that those odious practices were gods commands for a different time and place, and not binding to current believers. But the command mentality still prevails in religion, not morality in any modern sense in which it is understood.