2018-05-01 02:06:52 UTC
Of course, except for an atheist nothing is absolute. In atheism moral
and ethics are not absolute rules. Moral and ethics are simply what is
agreed on by the majority of the population in a certain place on the
planet at any given time.
Thus, in atheism there is no foundation of moral and ethics except
what is socially accepted rules of behavior.
Let me give you an example. In most of the world the killing of
animals for food is not considered immoral, merely good business.
From the absolute point of view of God, however, to kill animals for
food is unnecessary cruel and immoral behavior.
As a thinking, moral human being one will naturally try to live a life
that causes the least harm to other living entities. In atheism, OTOH,
there is nothing wrong with eating what one feels like simply because
it tastes good.
Of course, even an atheist would frown on eating other human beings,
but eating animals is considered totally normal in atheism. Even in
most religions it's considered normal behavior to slaughter animals
for food. It is not considered the least bit immoral by the vast
majority of people in the world to slaughter animals by the millions
every day in high-tech death-camps.
The fact is, however, that if there is no God to establish absolute
rules for moral behavior, moral and ethics will be nothing but the
mental speculations of humans with different norms and standards.
So according to the relative standards of moral and ethics accepted by
most people of the world today, atheists can be moral people, just as
so-called religious people can be immoral.
In the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition, we learn that the four pillars of
religion are cleanliness, austerity, compassion, and truthfulness.
There is a systematic and well-rounded process to religion, whose
foundation is structured on these four pillars. Religion is not simply
a matter of faith, nor just a system of morals and ethics, although it
is often portrayed as such. It is more than faith, it is a science -
in Bhagavad-gita, Krishna calls it the science of the self.
As these four pillars are the foundation of religion, the Vedic
scriptures also teach that there are four main sinful activities -
illicit sex, intoxication, gambling, and meat eating. Why are they
"sinful?" Because they each attack and destroy a specific pillar of
religion. Cleanliness is destroyed by illicit sex; austerity by
intoxication; compassion by meat-eating; and truthfulness by gambling.
Thus it is clearly seen that modern, contemporary culture is
consistently trying to destroy religious principles by undermining the
four pillars of religion. For example, the vast majority of all TV and
movies out of Hollywood are based on the repeated and glorified
practice of the four sinful activities mentioned above, which destroy
religious principles. There is a constant propaganda going on to
normalize and make acceptable illicit sex, intoxication, meat-eating,
Thus, the modern global culture, which is being hailed as the pinnacle
of all human progress and knowledge, is actively seeking to destroy
the eternal religious principles mentioned in the Vedas.
Now, when we point that out to mainstream people, it is rejected and
scoffed at as being backwards and primitive.
Why this observation? Because as devotees of Krishna, we are trying to
emulate the Vedic culture and values. At the same time many of us live
in a society, where these values are regarded as primitive and
back-wards. In fact, as westerners we have grown up to see the
standards of the modern consumer culture as normal and even coveted
and glorified. It is even called the way of freedom.
Srila Prabhupada said, that the difference between him and his
disciples was that he was afraid of maya, they were not. This is to
show how important it is for a devotee to understand how harmful and
degraded the modern culture is. Things that according to the Vedic
standard are considered extremely sinful are considered completely
normal in modern society - cow-killing, publicly kissing and fondling,
scantily clad women and so on.
The global culture is merely an attempt to make the whole world into a
market place of McDonalds, Levis and Coca-cola. It is being hailed as
the info-age, but when examined closely, the info available is merely
a barrage of propaganda to make the general population into good and
loyal consumers and usurpers of nature. The goal of life, instead of
being knowledge of the self and an end to the existential problems of
life, is now centered around getting an education, then a job that
will enable one to spend money for sense-gratification.
The goal of life has become to spend money on consumer goods, and the
producers of these goods spend vast amounts of money to convince
people to buy their products. Basically the whole world is running on
trade. It is a business-culture governed by vaishyas not by brahmanas,
as a proper human culture is meant to be. So Srila Prabhupada ordered
us to create a class of brahmins to guide society, and the only way to
do that is by preaching sanatana-dharma - the eternal religion, and
that is exactly what Hare Krishna is doing all over the world.
One who is not envious but is a kind friend to all living entities,
who does not think himself a proprietor and is free from false ego,
who is equal in both happiness and distress, who is tolerant, always
satisfied, self-controlled, and engaged in devotional service with
determination, his mind and intelligence fixed on Me - such a devotee
of Mine is very dear to Me. -Bg 12.13-14
He by whom no one is put into difficulty and who is not disturbed by
anyone, who is equipoised in happiness and distress, fear and anxiety,
is very dear to Me. - Bg 12.15