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hippocampus1987

What worried [John Stuart] Mill, and worries me, are the moral claims, often espoused stoutly and dogmatically, that fly in the face of human well-being. As a child, I found the prototype of perversity to be the rule that you must do what God commands. Particularly worrisome was its application in the Bible story of Abraham and Isaac, a story served up in Sunday school to my six-year-old ears. Abraham thinks he hears God command him to take his beloved son Isaac into the hills and slay him with a knife and burn him as a sacrifice. Heeding the call, he takes Isaac into the hills. In the nick of time, an angel luckily announces that God wants him to spare Isaac’s life after all. To the child’s mind, it seemed obvious that the God in question was terrifying and untrustworthy, and that Abraham was a deranged nitwit. I was relieved that my father showed no sign of communicating with God or angels and was otherwise disinclined to theological enthusiasms.

— Patricia Churchland “Braintrust. What Neuroscience Tells Us about Morality”

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