The Toxic Christian Harming Tolerance

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This topic contains 11 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  marulimarulaki 9 months ago.

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    My partner and I have some basic conflict concerning morals as the attitude behind treating each other.

    When we got together it seemed as if we agreed sharing atheism. Only later it became clear how our different upbringing has influenced our moral self-guidance.

    I grew up with the usual christian brain washing as a child. As a teenager I became an apistevist when I overthrew not only the primary beliefs but also the secondary ones concerning moral behavior. I choose the Epicurean moral idea of the focus on not harming but also on the right not to be harmed.

    There is some logic when comparing the consequences of harming acts with altruistic acts. Harming acts can be irreversible, while altruistic acts can maybe have a lasting effects, but there is no guaranty. Example: When someone is killed by drowning, the death cannot be undone. When someone rescues a person from drowning, this does not give the rescued person a long life. He can get killed in a car accident the very next day.

    My partner grew up as the parson’s son in a fundamentalist church. But he did not actively become an atheist as a consequence of his awakening rational brain. He was not gullible as I was. He had been unable to believe claims about non-existing deities as long as he remembers. But he agreed and agrees with all the christian morals as he was told, he never rejected and overthrew any of them.

    From his attitudes towards me and by remembering my knowledge of christian instructions I got aware that at the core of christian morals there is a toxic harming tolerance

    1. People who believe in and anticipate to be rewarded by a god after their death do not experience and consider being harmed as an unjustifiable wrong as I do. As the target they are willing to endure being harmed and they accept making sacrifices as the price to gain rewards in the afterlife. As the perpetrator they condone their harming as enabling the target to gain the reward in the afterlife.

    2. The teaching of the bible as I remember it has very little if any appreciation and esteem at all for the never harming innocent. Instead the god’s sympathy is for the repentant sinner who usually has done some harm. The forgiving god then offers afterlife benefits for a forgiving target.

    3. Gaining the god’s favor in the afterlife as given in the bible puts obedience to the god’s rule above human well-being. Harming is justified by disobedience and rejection of the god’s rules. Doing the demanded prosocial and altruistic deeds is considered as a sufficient compensation for harming

    4.  The perpetrators are not considered as fully responsible. They are considered as the mere tools executing the god’s incomprehensible will.

    My partner does not believe in the afterlife, but he has maintained the same harming tolerance.

    When he does not agree with my behavior he sometimes feels justified to hurt me knowingly. He seems to think that the sum of his proactive caring acts and behavior is an appropriate compensation for hurting me.

    I disagree with this. I consider it as an absolute and unconditional basic right in a relationship to not get hurt by the partner.

    I wonder if anybody else has similar experiences.



    marulimarulaki, You must have looked far and wide to find your partner. Seems atypical and incongruous to me.

    I don’t think it is possible to fairly assess your question without knowing more. I learned early on as a young lawyer that ya GOTTA HEAR BOTH SIDES before you judge of a relationship or issue.

    Are you gonna chime in on Ukraine?



    But he agreed and agrees with all the christian morals as he was told, he never rejected and overthrew any of them.


    3. Gaining the god’s favor in the afterlife as given in the bible puts obedience to the god’s rule above human well-being.

    I think I agree with Jake on not knowing enough of your circumstances for context. For example, does your partner actually fall back on scripture to support his argument? If he does, I’ll declare right here that there is no proven, divine source of scripture, as it was all written by ancient and merely human beings, most just assuming some kind of knowledge of God without first hand conversations with him.


    I disagree with this. I consider it as an absolute and unconditional basic right in a relationship to not get hurt by the partner.

    Not even a little hurt, like from a risky poke or joke? What’s the furthest he might be willing to go, are we talking like bruises or stealing or borrowing stuff without permission?

    All I can really say is “it depends on how hurtful and permanent it is”, and how “forgivable” you decide it should be. Sometimes we can’t know, until it actually happens. And even then, it might take time to make an assessment.



    Greetings, Marulimarulaki,

    Without knowing anything about you and your partner I couldn’t rationally comment on that.

    However, regarding all else that you have said, I will reply this way:

    Basing one’s conduct upon the whims of a Supernatural Being and whether this Being rewards or punishes people in an alleged afterlife, as stated in an ancient book of absurdities, contradictions, factual and historical errors, and moral atrocities is to put morality and ethics on a foundation of nothing. Religious morality and ethics and Christian morality and ethics in particular is truly Nihilism!

    Socrates once asked the question: Is a thing good because a God commands it, or does a God command it because it is good? If the answer is the former, than morality and ethics are arbitrary. And if the answer is the latter then morality and ethics exist independently of Gods and their whims.

    More on Christian morality and ethics later. I hope I am being helpful in my reply.


    @marulimarulakiWhen he does not agree with my behavior he sometimes feels justified to hurt me knowingly.

    What is the method by which he hurts you? Is it verbal abuse or is it physical? Both are forms of unacceptable behavior but physical abuse cannot be tolerated. Once is once too often. You are correct in saying that you consider it as an absolute and unconditional basic right in a relationship to not get hurt by the partner.

    If that standard is not being met then you are in an abusive relationship. Do not become an apologist for someone who exhibits such behavior, either verbal or physical towards you, as it will never get any better.




    Thanks for your replies which make me aware that I may have presented my topic in a misleading way.

    This is a public forum so this is not meant to deal with my personal situation.  I mentioned my partner only because my experience with him made me aware of some more theoretical considerations concerning different moral paradigms.

    What puzzled me was how vehemently he protested when I described him as a christian without a god in comparison with my being an apistevist. After reading stuff about atheism and morals I have got the impression that many atheists have moral attitudes which contain elements of christian values and morals.

    This is why I started to wonder and speculate about:

    What distinguishes the Epicurean morals of not harming and not be harmed from morals derived from religiously or spiritually derived morals?

    There are two possible moral paradigms depending on the choice of premises depending on the subjective identity:

    1. Epicurean individualistic morals:

    Epicurean morals are logical when two premises are accepted:

    • Every human being is an independent individual.
    • Every human being has an unconditional right to his personal well-being which is only limited by the right of others to not get harmed.

    Choosing Epicurean morals is logical for persons who themselves identify as independent individuals.

    2. Integrated tributary morals

    For many reasons of which religious upbringing is a possible one, many people including atheists grow up to identify as a part or element of something greater than themselves. This greater entity can be anything between deities, cosmic powers or the eternal genes. The two premises of the Epicurean morals are not applicable. There are alternative premises:

    • Every human being is a dependent and interdependent part of the higher level entity.
    • Every human being has a purpose to serve towards the higher entity. Rights to individual well-being are subordinated.

    Under these premises harming can be condoned and justified in reference to the higher entity.

    Sharing the same moral paradigm facilitates harmonious interactions. Adhering to different paradigms can create conflicts.

    My question was and is: Has anybody experiences with conflicts between morals following the individualistic and following the tributary paradigm.


    The main difference as I see is that Epicurean standards are of a higher standard to those of religions. The Epicurean philosophy strives to improve the welfare of the individual which in turn will benefit society. It understands that death is the end of life and life on Earth continues without us just as it did before we were born. It is a philosophy that must be reasoned through in order to be understood.

    Faith based morals are derived from commands that come from an “absolute authority”. They do not require reason, only obedience. The Dualism concept of a “mind and a body” is interwoven into it. This is one of the reasons religions still exists (along with the conceit of being “special” amongst other conscious species).

    Any moral standards that are followed out of fear of punishment or expectation of reward are “morally” weak. What makes it worse is the Christian idea of vicarious redemption where Christians get forgiven for their offenses without having to involve the victim they have wronged.

    P.S. good to see the use of the word apistevist again!


    Simon Paynton

    @marulimarulaki – it sounds like your partner has inherited a “transactional” mindset from his religious upbringing, where life is a series of + and – in the ethical or deserving column of an accounts book.  If I do something good, that earns me the right to do something bad.  That’s not how a healthy life should be.  Unconditional love should be generous rather than parsimonious and transactional.

    As for your point about the conflict between individual and group-level paradigms – in theory, I don’t think there should be a conflict, although as you point out, there is.  If the Epicurean believes that each of us is independent, then she is wrong, because humans are cooperative, and therefore interdependent.  From this cooperation stems our egalitarian nature and our assumed right to be left alone to mind our own business – none of us has the right to dominate or limit the freedoms of another who is doing no harm.  Large groups require allegience from their members, and self-sacrifice for the sake of the well being of the group.  But that’s not the same as gratuitous harm.  Both of these situations are a result of human cooperation.


    Simon Paynton

    a “transactional” mindset

    In contrast to the small-group situation of unconditional sharing with those in need, I believe that the transactional tit-for-tat mindset that we use for dealing with people we don’t know very well arose in the same large groups that gave birth to organised religion.  So it’s not surprising if religious people favour the conditional, transactional mindset as well as the Jesus-oriented small-group mindset.

    If you would like to read more of what I have written on the subject, my e-book is here.  You might like to check out:

    Egalitarianism, p. 134

    Unconditional love, p. 178



    @Fronkey Farmer:

    I agree with your description. My focus is a bit different. I try to figure out the psychological dynamics which cause some people to be religious while others are not. I mean I am looking at identity, motivation, emotions and at Darwinian fitness.

    @simon Paynton

    I downloaded your ebook but I have not yet looked at it. I see things differently from how you put it in this thread.

    Transactional mindset.

    As I have understood, the christian mindset is to give and do and sacrifice for the reward in the afterlife. As this is hard to do with such a long delay until gratification, they become often hypocrites. The marshmallow test is not for Christians. Christian who harm often justify it by rules given by their god.

    For Epicurean morals, there is a very rational transactional principle: The exchange between the individual and the social environment has to be balanced and fair. The rule to not harm includes also the rule not to exploit and not to take advantage. The right not to be harmed includes also the right to avoid being exploited and the right not to make one-sided sacrifices. This includes for example women’s absolute right to not have children. An individual has no obligation to the survival of the species.

    Unconditional Love:

    Unconditional love is an unfair christian concept. Only children need and deserve unconditional love. Unconditional love for a jerk in the false hope of earning a reward after death devastates a woman before death. Grown ups with self-respect, self-esteem and self-worth do not give love when they are not treated correctly. Unconditional love also encourages and reinforces jerks to remain jerks.

    Also unconditional love is not something decidable. It is possible to decide to behave as if loving without any conditions. But it is not possible to decide how much or how little love one feels for a partner.

    Emotions like love are volatile, they are a reaction to experiencing behavior, and the behavior is to some degree determined by attitude which can change. When a man’s behavior represents his attitude of appreciation and respect, this triggers feelings of emotional closeness. When his attitude is contempt, this triggers feelings of emotional distance and alienation.

    Independence and interdependence

    Epicurean individualistic identity means cognitive independence. Independent thinking then enables individuals to enter survival interdependence by rational decisions for a fair exchange.


    Simon Paynton

    @marulimarulaki – I take your points.  I think that your Epicurean individualism corresponds with my small-group interpersonal morality of egalitarianism, liberty, helping, and fairness.

    My implication is that unconditional love is for someone who deserves it, and of course, it has to be given voluntarily, or rather, involuntarily.  But we can treat people as if we love them unconditionally: helping, educating and “partner control” (attempting to control someone’s behaviour in a cooperative direction) rather than “partner choice” (getting rid of them).



    @simon Paynton

    Love for someone who deserves it is in my definition of the word not unconditional because deserving is a condition.

    “your Epicurean individualism corresponds with my small-group interpersonal morality of egalitarianism, liberty, helping, and fairness.”

    That may well be as one of two settings for people who bluntly spoken are by the herd instinct attracted to interact with miscellaneous and random persons. Those are the ones whose identity I call integrative tributary. I welcome suggestions for a better term. Which brings me back to my distinction between an identity as an independent individual in contrast to someone with the identity as a part of something greater, as a part of the herd.

    For an individualistic Epicurean, the herd of haphazard people offers no benefits. For me and probably many other individualistic Epicureans cognitive similarity creates attraction, which in turn motivates to apply a beneficial tit-for-tat strategy. I get good feelings from agreement and consent. When people agree with me they may lie, but it really feels good when I hear or read something which I could have said or written. Therefore for me the rational conclusion is to choose carefully with whom to have contact and not waste time and resources with the herd.

    Beneficial tit-for-tat strategy means to start initially and proactively any interaction sequence with friendly prosocial behavior and to continue as long as the other reacts in kind. But as soon as the other defects, the reaction is either to get back at them or to end the contact.

    BTW. I skimmed over the first 85 pages of your book. Usually I stop reading anything when I encounter bible quotes and reference to a god. But there is nevertheless some food for thought in it so I decided to go through the rest of the book.

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