By now, you must have heard about the sentencing of Conrad Murray for the involuntary slaughter of Michael Jackson. Whether or not, you were a fan of Michael, you probably had some opinions about the culpability of the now infamous Dr. Murray.
I reviled the man from the moment that the details of Michael’s death became clear. Not because I am a fan of Michael, which I am, but because medical malpractice is a horrific crime in my eyes. Doctor’s are given a sacred trust. Sacred, because they hold the power of life and death in their hands. Whenever I think of this subject, my mind summons up images of Alec Baldwin’s in Malice. Ah the hubris, but I digress. From the moment that a Dr. takes on your treatment he is both an agent of science and God. To take such a responsibility lightly is beyond contempt.
Contempt is all I have for Conrad Murray. I agreed wholeheartedly with the judge who stated that Murray’s behavior was suspicious, highly questionable and a clear violation of the doctor/patient relationship and code of ethics. People will continue to debate Michael Jackson’s role in his own demise for many years to come. It is irrelevant to me whether or not he had a drug problem. At worst, Dr. Murray served as an enabler which is criminal conduct and did not exercise his moral obligation to help another human being when he couldn’t make the appropriate choices for himself. The fame of being MJ’s physician and the $150,000 a month salary that he received goes a long way to providing the incentive for a person of his ilk.
My outrage sparked thoughts about morality, an amazingly simple concept that people trod on everyday for their own gain. Disgusting, right? Indeed.
And because my mind works the way it does, it took me to the niggling question that has been bothering me for many weeks, “Do people need God and religion to ensure that they behave in a moral fashion?”
I contemplate this question in response to what seems to be a rising tide of atheism and agnosticism and wonder about it’s ramifications. Many people have given me a resounding NO as their answer. Their logic being that we all know the difference between right and wrong. The belief in God and/or subsequent punishment is not required to make one adhere to a code of morality. Really? It sounds great but where is the proof? Everyone wants proof, right? That’s why agnostics hold their ground. It seems to me that their is sufficient proof that the further man moves away from God the more rife with immorality the world becomes.
I am open to arguments to the contrary. In fact, I welcome them because I would like to believe in the inherent goodness of man. I would like to believe that man is sufficiently intelligent not to require threats of hell and damnation to keep us in line. I would like to believe that we do not need the Bible, Torah, Koran etc. to tell us how to live. As much as I would like that, I remain unconvinced.
I am not religious although I believe in God. I had a wonderful time debating Saint Anselm’s Ontological argument in college. I have yet to commit to any religion although I was raised with Catholics and Baptists. I never found a religion with which I could agree with enough of the basic tenets to join. Not wanting to be hypocritical, I abstained. I suspect that Dr. Murray is one of the religious hypocrites I so despise.
One of the things that irritates me is the “programmed” responses of people to questions about their faith. In the words of one of my Catholic friends, “We are taught NOT to question God and to accept the teachings of the Bible.” Period, end of story. Good luck with that, is my response. This seems in direct contradiction to me with the reason God gave us brains. I question my mother too, but respect and love her no less. Such extreme behavior is ignorant in my book, or it’s simply a bastion of the needy, neither of which I cotton to. Yet, many religious folk tend to be completely irrational in their beliefs, entrenched and immovable. Even so, we can argue that religion serves as guideposts which humanity sorely needs. It’s clearly not enough because man’s bestial nature all too often gets the best of him anyway…
Based on my experience of human behavior, I would say Yes, we need them. I wouldn’t want to live in a world of atheists but that’s just me. Dante anyone?
Imagine if you would a world without religion, or God. Do you think humanity would still behave morally without them? If so, why.