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Joined: 6/14/2006
Msg: 26
Morals without Religion?Page 2 of 6    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
Another atheist...and one whose morals are not governed by some tales in a book, but who can still understand that there is a way to treat others and life.

I would argue that, if you need a religion or a book to guide your morals, you do not have any of your own.
Joined: 10/14/2006
Msg: 27
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 3/8/2007 1:56:38 PM
I see absolutely no reason to imagine that without religion there would be no morals, and thus that people without religion can't be moral.

The anthropological fact of the matter is that there are certain core values that enable human society to function, in a *healthy* manner, and without which society either cannot coalesce (sp?) or begins to break down.

It is basic human nature to want to group together. It's basic human nature to do what needs doing to make such groups/societies possible. And a very large part of what makes it possible revolves around how we treat each other. And *that* is the source of law and morality.

Living in a healthy society, and securing the beenfits of such for oneself and one's offspring, is all the incentive one needs to cultivate and cleave to morality.
Joined: 9/18/2006
Msg: 28
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 3/8/2007 2:06:34 PM
I believe that religion has helped cement morals into the community - even for those not presently religious and in spite of all the bad things religion has done as well as the good. I have no connection to the religion I was raised in - no interest in it and none of the beliefs I had when young nor do I cite it as part of my moral code. However, at a deep and subconscious level, some of my morality is still consistent with that early 'training' and had to have a permanent impact on me. I am not saying that one cannot be moral with zero religious upbringing but, on the larger scale, it certainly has had an impact on a lot of 'non believers'.
Joined: 4/27/2006
Msg: 29
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 3/8/2007 2:22:37 PM

I don't agree with that. My moral views may at times overlap with religious ones (though usually only on the most base level) but this is likely a result of what JMars mentioned... Certain core values that are essential for a society to will find them in many faiths and among non-believers as well.
My views on sexuality have are pretty far removed from the Christian ones (i was raised catholic), so no, I don't think the religion's had any permanent imprint on me, and is the only reason I am still a decent human being.
At the same time, I can fully ascribe to the 'do onto others...' mantra, and not just because Jesus said so.
Joined: 3/24/2005
Msg: 30
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 3/8/2007 3:31:09 PM

I've said this before... morality is subjective


And you contradict yourself with (in my mind) a concise truth here.... VV:

I know instinctively when something is right and when something is wrong

One of the many troubles we've seen for 1400 - 2000 years of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, is that men and women are seen as inherently evil (at worst) or unredeemingly weak and immoral (at best) if left to their own devices, (or religiously cut-off, to use see it from their view).

"I know instinctively ...." indeed. But, then, Christians and others see this view as personal hubris or grandiosity, instead of what it REALLY is -- taking responsibility for the GOODNESS inherent in all of us, and using it to live up to our calling at birth, rather than to use the religious way of historical existential guilt that one can only make resigned peace with our evil, compromised nature.

With respect I am still trying to work out what you are saying here... some people use a religion to guide their moraliy, others don't. Like me they rely on conscience - my conscience (my mind). It is subjective to myself - not in general to everyone else - and this is what I was saying.
Joined: 1/18/2007
Msg: 31
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 3/8/2007 6:15:23 PM
Are you for real? The fact that people can exist in a society for the mutual benefit of society by following rules and laws has nothing to do with religion. I live in a city, and I don't steal or kill because I wouldn't want someone doing it to me. We follow the law and pay our taxes and respect our law enforcement.

What I want to know is what is the percentage of people who are on welfare, or social deviants or miscreants - in fact burdens to society - who are also religious.

Religions hasn't always existed, especially Christianity which is less than 2007 years old, but in my opinion is the most fragmented.
Joined: 3/3/2007
Msg: 32
view profile
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 3/10/2007 6:56:11 AM
a man once told me i couldn't be a good man because i was an athiest... i respect the fact that people need religion in their lives, i'm just not one of them. I believe i have morals and there are things i have never and will never do. morals don't change, they are for life.
I know many athiests and some of them are better men at the core than many people i know that go to church on a regular basis. But truly alot of that kind of view comes from people thinking that being an athiest makes you a devil worshipper, and an evil person(a true athiest can't be a devil worshipper).
Joined: 2/9/2007
Msg: 33
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 3/12/2007 4:39:27 AM
Fear of being cast immoral or unpopular (pear pressure?) probably starts us down the path to compulsive behavior, moral or immoral. Religeon was where I got my first taste of fitting in and I'm gratefull for it. I can method act and fit in at nearly any bar or listen sincerely to a good sermon. I know I'm an advanced animal but we're getting there. One day in the not too distant future internet will be everywhere and a generation later we'll see some dynamite social evolution. If we don't blow it up first.
Joined: 3/9/2005
Msg: 34
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 3/12/2007 9:39:06 AM

In short all these people are doing is discrediting your very existence by saying that what you feel is "right" doesn't count.

Do you belive this is a deliberate act of character asassintaion or a covert attempt to beguile others to thier point of view?

I think it is deliberate, but a lot plays off the intent. A pastor, priest, preacher, minister...etc, has to drill this constantly into his/her congregation. His/Her livelihood depends on it. A religious leader has to remind people why they "need" religion. Depending on the church and the area it may be more of an attack against those of different faiths or of no faith. In short...these guys are on the offense and trying to keep people paying their salaries...think what would happen if people realized that they can be spiritual without a leader.

For the common "believer", it's a reminder that they are different. Its a lifestyle, with it's own lingo, jargon, rituals, habits, meeting places...etc. Outsiders are refered to as non-believers or un-believers or something, that excludes them. For most people, being "different" means being better or having to constantly justify their lifestyle. I'd say that these people work from a more defensive stance.

What's bad is that this conflict doesn't occur only between believers and non-believers. It occurs between believers as well. It becomes a matter of "do you believe enough?" or "do you believe what we believe". Another thing is that people wave the "I'm doing it for God" banner just like others wave the "I'm doing it for the Children" banner.

So in short, yes the character attacks are deliberate.

One half needs everyone to understand that they are right and people should listen to them. More importantly, they need their followers to believe that they will whither and die outside the confines of the church.

The other half need to justify why they have been doing what they've been doing all along without question. Most of them probably have very little experience of living normal productive lives without the "need" of a religion.

Spend some time around one church for a while and let people get to know your name. It'll give you a pretty good taste of what peer pressure is. Just's okay to be pressured into religion, because "they are doing it for God".
Joined: 10/26/2006
Msg: 35
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 3/12/2007 10:13:18 AM
Interestingly, there's been a strong growth in humanist and secular humanist organizations that are providing non-religious social outlets for people of similar values. Agnostic and atheist congregations if you will.
(don't ask me why I was able to get this article from a jobs site but not from the Globe and Mail site)

A few quotes:

As American atheist Don Hirschberg once wrote, "Calling atheism a religion is like calling bald a hair colour."

The largest international secular-humanist organization, based in Amherst, N.Y., is the Centre for Inquiry, with branches across the U.S., South America, Africa, Europe and Asia. Its first Canadian centre is having its official opening in Ontario this weekend, with a CFI in Vancouver planned for later in the year.

The centre is also organizing social services, such as a regular meeting of Secular Organizations for Sobriety, which is an alternative to Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous. Another program, Religious Recovery, tries to ease the transition for people who are leaving organized religion.

Mr. Kurtz pointed out that a decade ago there were two humanist groups in Africa, while today there are 54.

Mike (but what would the choir sing?)
Joined: 9/3/2006
Msg: 36
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 3/14/2007 12:38:23 PM
yes there is, take "modern religions" only perhaps 2600 yrs old, does this mean that the people who lived before this were without morals?
i myself wouldnt say im religous or agnostic or atheist to be honest i couldntgive a rats a*** aboutlabeling myself however i am very moral. But this comes from knowing myself and being true to it, understanding life as what it is outside of media and the b.s put infront of us etc.....
personally in a sense you cold say religion as the greatest faker of morals - our god better then yours lets go to war or punish!!!! look through history some, no most os the biggest wars, conflicts, ethnic cleansings, persuctions cause of great human human suffering has been related directly to conflict of religion and beliefs, im right your wrong attitude.
now can you tell me honestly wiping out millions of lives under the name of religion is moral???????
Joined: 11/30/2006
Msg: 37
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 3/15/2007 2:11:46 PM
lets examine what morals religion teaches.

religious leaders (preists) are well known for child molesting. both young girls and boys.
religions protect these perverts while at the same time condemning homosexuality as a sin.
religions use extortion to gain converts, beleive as we do or our god will punish you with death or worse.
religions treat women as second class, they have no rights to control their own bodies, are there just to make babies for their husbands.
religions teach and practice intolerence on a huge scale.
although killing your neighbor is wrong religions usually side with one or even both sides in an armed conflict. Praise the lord and pass the amunition.

yep ...your right.... you can't have morals if your not religious.
I guess that makes me immoral...thank the powers that be.
Joined: 7/27/2006
Msg: 38
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Morals without Religion?
Posted: 3/15/2007 5:39:30 PM
I go with "Inclusive Fitness"...its all evolution at work.

Once you get past the first four...

ONE: 'You shall have no other gods before Me.'
TWO: 'You shall not make for yourself a carved image--any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.'
THREE: 'You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.'
FOUR: 'Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.'

...the rest seem like pretty good moral/social practices to keep you in the gene pool...
(Always get a kick out of lumping your neighbor's wife in with the donkey...)

FIVE: 'Honor your father and your mother.'
SIX: 'You shall not murder.'
SEVEN: 'You shall not commit adultery.'
EIGHT: 'You shall not steal.'
NINE: 'You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.'
TEN: 'You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's.'
Joined: 2/24/2007
Msg: 39
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 3/16/2007 6:57:44 AM
People without a recognised religion certainly will have morals , but they may choose not to act instinctively with you , I resent the inference that moral standards come from religious ethics ...... - religious doctrines may help you to live with your moral code - but the innate sense of what is right and wrong is a miracle of life - perhaps from god ?- that works in everyone of us , albeit on different levels , right from the time when we start to observe the world around us..people should take personal responsibility and not rely on the cop out that they are not members of organised religions to behave immorally ie : by which I mean acting in thoughtless and selfish ways that hurt others...
Joined: 1/8/2007
Msg: 40
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 3/17/2007 12:28:38 PM

ethical motive: motivation based on ideas of right and wrong

Morality is a system of principles and judgments based on cultural, religious, and philosophical concepts and beliefs, by which humans determine whether given actions are right or wrong. These concepts and beliefs are often generalized and codified by a culture or group, and thus serve to regulate the behaviour of its members. Conformity to such codification may also be called morality, and the group may depend on widespread conformity to such codes for its continued existence. ...

ethics, the codes, values, principles, and customs of a person or society.

Modes of conduct that are taught and accepted as embodying principles of right and good.

The accepted standards of right and wrong that are usually applied to personal behavior.

not sure if this post would follow with the question asked. Since basically all you have done is post "someone elses" opinions of morals and not your own ideas and thoughts on them.

Could be considered a new religion if someone was to follow the guidlines of what others have said IS what religion means to them. so what do we call this one?

googlisym? sorry
Joined: 10/26/2006
Msg: 41
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 3/17/2007 5:34:40 PM

what do we call this one?

Basic definitions, which were lacking in the thread until that point.

Mike (and what did you contribute with your post?)
Joined: 7/31/2006
Msg: 42
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 3/17/2007 6:52:02 PM
I'm going to make a leap here, and just go with the presumption that, by "religion," I'm referring to some form of institutionalized religion, i.e. going to church and/or being formally schooled on the tenets of a religion. And, if someone did not have that in their life, I most definitely think they still have morals. What they DON'T have, is irrational guilt, each and every time they step off course or adjust their mindset due to new life experiences.

I wasn't brought up going to church. I remember questioning whether God existed when I was 5-years old. And then I remember talking about it with my sister, and we would say, "shshshsush, because if he DOES exist, he'll hear us talking about thinking he doesn't exist and he'll be upset." (Why did I have to grow up?) But, anyway, I tried reading the Bible myself when I was about 18, and got extremely bored when they started talking about all of the descendants. I couldn't even pronounce their names inside my own head. But, then when I was 30, I tried it again. And I found it very interesting that so many of the lessons, I had learned myself, in my own life experience, and felt those things in my heart before I was even exposed to them in the Bible (i.e. forgiveness - and how liberating it is to forgive, rather than hold grudges - - I love the story of Joseph).

It made me think about people who were "taught" what was right and wrong, through religion, and simply told, "don't do this, but do this," and expected to just follow those instructions blindly. So, it's almost as if they must just have faith in the God of their religion, and by being faithful, they will, by default, abide by the morals. But, do they really UNDERSTAND the morals? They just take them at face value. So, did they ever live the lesson that made them feel in their heart WHY it was right? I don't know. But, I have morals, and I didn't need religion to create them. Oh, and it's enough that I have to answer to myself and my own heart, not a higher power, to do the right thing.. . . and occasionaly I might still answer to my parents. Hee hee. BUT, if God does exist, I think he loves me.
Joined: 2/21/2007
Msg: 43
view profile
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 3/17/2007 7:09:13 PM
Religions don't necessarily provide a good moral compass.
Some examples of religious morality:

Creating hell and banishing people there for eternity for not returning your love.
Causing billions to suffer for eternity, and most of them for the following crime: never having been taught the "true" religion
Okay fine, I will make a heaven, but only if you torture and kill my only son first.
Slavery is acceptable
You should kill your child if he strikes you (Exod. 21:15).
If you work on the Sabbath, you should be put to death (Exod. 35:2-3).
If you curse, you should be stoned to death (Lev. 24:14-15).
Happiness is smashing children upon the rocks (Psalms 137:9).
Women should be subjugated by their husbands (1 Pet. 3:1-7).
Its okay to kill 42 children for making fun of your baldness (2 Kings 2:23-24)
Moses says its okay to kill every woman and child, but you may keep the virgins for yourselves (Numbers 31:17-18)
Moses also commands his people to kill their brothers, sons, and neighbors who worshipped improperly. (Exodus 32:27)

I could go on about claiming one's religion as the one true religion and all others are wrong (which is bigotry and hubris), prejudice against homosexuals and taking away their rights, trying to force one's beliefs into the school system, lying to the public in various ways (fraudulent claims like the paluxy footprints and NASA and the "missing day," pretending that Intelligent Design isn't religion-based, etc) etc.

In addition, deeply religious people typically have a strong ideological commitment. Such commitments can lead people into questionable morality if they think that it will support what they consider to be a higher cause. If one's entire world view is threatened by finding disconfirming evidence, they are very highly motivated not to see it. This is intellectualy dishonest, and therefore immoral.
Like most atheists, I welcome disconfirming evidence when it comes along and change my beliefs to support the evidence, not the other way around.

Most christians are great moral people, but I believe they are moral despite religion, not because of it.
Joined: 3/10/2007
Msg: 44
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 3/18/2007 5:53:30 AM
Religions were created to keep people moral. It instills fear on human followers to be a "good person". And what does fear turn into? Ummm Anger and hatred. So in the end there is war and those who call themselves religious are hypocrites. We all know that this line of thinking is not working. For people who are more evolved, spiritually, we do not need religion to be a moral person, as we believe in karma and that all of us are of one, so we could never hurt ourselves. We do good things, cause it feels good, and more good comes to us. We also do not judge others.
Joined: 6/14/2006
Msg: 45
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 3/18/2007 10:42:22 AM
Religions were created to keep people moral.

Sorry. Wrong.

Religions were created for people to be able to understand things that they did not have the knowledge to comprehend. e.g. He died because God needs him. How did we come to be? Oh, we were made by an omnipotent, omniscient being who will banish us to an eternity of pain and anguish, surrounded by fire and evil if we do not believe in him.

I do not do good or follow morals because of religion. I am entirely non-religious, yet still moral. However, not all of us who are non-religious beleive in Karma. You are speaking only of YOUR beliefs. I don't do good because of the whole concept of "what goes around comes around". I don't follow my morals because I am worried I will build up "bad karma" and have something horrible happen to me. I am moral because I believe in it philosophically, without basis in any spirituality.

I said before that I do not need a book to tell me right from wrong. I will add that nor do I need the threat of consequences to know what is right and wrong. I know because that is how I was raised (by a non-religious father and a C & E Christian mother who never MADE me go to church)
Joined: 7/27/2006
Msg: 46
view profile
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 3/19/2007 6:51:42 PM
Do people without religion have morals? Sure. If you have lived in a human society you have them. Beliefs are transmitted regardless of whether the receiving individual happens to be religious or not. A person is going to evaluate beliefs based on their own personal filters, which might be religious or might not be. I think the whole meme idea applys to morals, strong memes around murder=not good seem to replicate well regardless of a person's individual filter set. While I would not consider myself a religious person, I can certainly see a chain of beliefs passed on thru generations (many via religion) that I have bought into. So religion works well to replicate morals, but you need not be a religious individual to be "infected".
Joined: 2/20/2007
Msg: 47
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 3/21/2007 10:53:19 AM
Dear Bright1Raziel: "Do people without a religion truly have no morals?" I would have to say this is an express issue of separation in Church/State. Of which, in this age of humanity, there is none.

I truly believe that those of "moral code" and carrying the inference of some kind of organized religion, i.e. Catholicism, Lutherans, etc. turn out to be some of the most corrupt and evil in our world today. Since I am very close with this issue, I've seen alot of people shit on every walk of life during the week, and then go to church to absolve themselves, and start a brand new string of infractions the very next week.

Hypocrisy rears it's ugly head with the assumption of non-religious people having no morals.... And those who are devoutly religious, for the most part, live their lives in denial..... So, with that said I leave you with William Shakespeare.... "To Thine Own Self Be True!"
Joined: 3/20/2007
Msg: 48
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 3/24/2007 1:15:57 AM
all your 'religion' is, is your belief system which has given you comfort in whichever form your mind works, it is how you look at your world - be it the religious, scientific, pagan, transcendental mystic or whatever, you perceieve things and subsequently interpret these same things based entirely upon what it is that you believe.....and any 'morals' are a subjective thing, for some things noble in some cultures are abhorrent in others, subsequently they are relatively transient & fleeting, these subjective definitions
Joined: 11/8/2006
Msg: 49
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 3/26/2007 8:48:53 AM
Mountain drew quoted:
Religions were created to keep people moral.

Then wrote:
Sorry. Wrong.

Definition of religion from the Myrriam-Websters online dictionary:

Main Entry: re·li·gion
Pronunciation: ri-'li-j&n
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English religioun, from Anglo-French religiun, Latin religion-, religio supernatural constraint, sanction, religious practice, perhaps from religare to restrain, tie back -- more at RELY
1 a : the state of a religious b (1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
2 : a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
3 archaic : scrupulous conformity : CONSCIENTIOUSNESS
4 : a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith

Notice the etymology of the word

Etymology of the word religion: from Wikipedia

The etymology of the word "religion" has been debated for centuries. The English word clearly derives from the Latin religio, "reverence (for the gods)" or "conscientiousness". The origins of religio, however, are obscure. Proposed etymological interpretations include:

From Relego
Re-reading–from Latin re (again) + lego (in the sense of "read"), referring to the repetition of scripture.
Treating carefully–from Latin re (again) + lego (in the sense of "choose"–this was the interpretation of Cicero) "go over again" or "consider carefully".

From Religare
Re-connection to the divine–from Latin re (again) + ligare (to connect, as in English ligament). This interpretation is favoured by modern scholars such as Tom Harpur, but was made prominent by St. Augustine, following the interpretation of Lactantius.
To bind or return to bondage–an alternate interpretation of the "reconnection" etymology emphasizing a sense of servitude to God, this may have originated with Augustine. However, the interpretation, while popular with critics of religion, is often considered imprecise and possibly offensive to followers.

From Res + legere
Concerning a gathering — from Latin res (ablative re, with regard to) + legere (to gather), since organized religion revolves around a gathering of people.

Definition of religion
Religion has been defined in a wide variety of ways. Most definitions attempt to find a balance somewhere between overly sharp definition and meaningless generalities. Some sources have tried to use formalistic, doctrinal definitions while others have emphasized experiential, emotive, intuitive, valuational and ethical factors.

Sociologists and anthropologists tend to see religion as an abstract set of ideas, values, or experiences developed as part of a cultural matrix. For example, in Lindbeck's Nature of Doctrine, religion does not refer to belief in "God" or a transcendent Absolute. Instead, Lindbeck defines religion as, "a kind of cultural and/or linguistic framework or medium that shapes the entirety of life and thought… it is similar to an idiom that makes possible the description of realities, the formulation of beliefs, and the experiencing of inner attitudes, feelings, and sentiments.”[3] According to this definition, religion refers to one's primary worldview and how this dictates one's thoughts and actions.

Other religious scholars have put forward a definition of religion that avoids the reductionism of the various sociological and psychological disciplines that reduce religion to its component factors. Religion may be defined as the presence of a belief in the sacred or the holy. For example Rudolf Otto's "The Idea of the Holy," formulated in 1917, defines the essence of religious awareness as awe, a unique blend of fear and fascination before the divine. Friedrich Schleiermacher in the late 18th century defined religion as a "feeling of absolute dependence."

The Encyclopedia of Religion defines religion this way:[4]

In summary, it may be said that almost every known culture involves the religious in the above sense of a depth dimension in cultural experiences at all levels — a push, whether ill-defined or conscious, toward some sort of ultimacy and transcendence that will provide norms and power for the rest of life. When more or less distinct patterns of behaviour are built around this depth dimension in a culture, this structure constitutes religion in its historically recognizable form. Religion is the organization of life around the depth dimensions of experience — varied in form, completeness, and clarity in accordance with the environing culture."

Thus religion does define for it's followers a mode of conduct, laws & rules, i.e. morals or morality

Defintion of moarality: wikipedia
Morality refers to the concept of human ethics which pertains to matters of right and wrong — also referred to as "good and evil" — used within three contexts: individual conscience; systems of principles and judgments — sometimes called moral values —shared within a cultural, religious, secular or philosophical community; and codes of behavior or conduct morality.

Definition of morality: Myrriam-Websters
Main Entry: mo·ral·i·ty
Pronunciation: m&-'ra-l&-tE, mo-
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -ties
1 a : a moral discourse, statement, or lesson b : a literary or other imaginative work teaching a moral lesson
2 a : a doctrine or system of moral conduct b plural : particular moral principles or rules of conduct
3 : conformity to ideals of right human conduct
4 : moral conduct : VIRTUE

Thus religion is indeed a set of beliefs constructed by a set of given human beings who desire to group together under a defined set of conduct, rules & laws .
Joined: 2/27/2007
Msg: 50
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 3/26/2007 9:54:38 AM

Thus religion is indeed a set of beliefs constructed by a set of given human beings who desire to group together under a defined set of conduct, rules & laws . often impose those beliefs, and conducts on others who might not share their delusions, by forced education, intimidation, violence, threats of outcasting, torture, and death and destruction.

Ain't the peace loving herd of God grand?
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