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 coolnomad
Joined: 5/4/2007
Msg: 66
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Morals without Religion?Page 3 of 6    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
Morals can in fact exist without a religion backing them up or setting them out for you.

All moral systems have to start somewhere and that somewhere is always an assumption, typically it is assumed that pain, hurt = bad and love, joy = good. Things branch out from there

I've seen the argument that atheists can't be moral.

that's just silly.
 RSwindol
Joined: 8/25/2005
Msg: 67
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Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/27/2008 4:38:15 AM

As far as the serial killer, he would realize that everybody dies, and if that death is "bad," then why would it be allowed? And of course, if there is afterlife, you might perceive that accelerating someones ascension might be good.

True, one might look at an early death as a good thing. But it that's truly the case, then why are they killing others and not themselves? Serial killers aren't about helping others. The sheer fact that they are serial killers implies that they are selfish, dominating and thoughtless to the extreme. So I seriously doubt that they are concerned with anyone other than themselves.
 romanticoptimist
Joined: 10/1/2007
Msg: 68
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/27/2008 5:38:11 AM
It occurs to me that is the "serial killer" who is a sociopath is acting on their own sense of "right and wrong", and thus being "moral" by several definitions presented. If a sociopath acts on their own sense of right and wrong, their own morality, it is bound to be at odds with the morality of those around them -- and of the morality of something written down in a book. That, to me, seems to warn that the assumption that a purely personal morality is superior to a "book" or societal morality is flawed. In fact, it comes across as if many of the presenters of this "my personal morality" feel morally superior to others because it's their personal morality. And, for those making the argument that humans have some built-in "want to do the right thing" morality, we don't.
 dunrich
Joined: 5/13/2006
Msg: 69
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/27/2008 9:13:23 AM

So my question is, Do people without a religion, truely have no morals?


Depends on the person does it not?

There are many factors involved in what moral standards we develop through life. Up bringing, society , all are factors. Moral choice can be influenced by a persons religious belief, but morals are not exclusive in any way to those with beliefs is my opinion.

It has helped me to become aware of certain failings I have had regarding my moral decisions though.
 dunrich
Joined: 5/13/2006
Msg: 71
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/27/2008 12:13:42 PM

Which is superior..?


In my opinion, if you are doing something just because you are following a law , or because there might be a consequence from doing it, then it is not a moral choice / decision being made at all.

In that regard, I would have to say that the one making their choice based on their own right and wrong, is being moral . The one doing something simply because it is a law, policy , because others do it are not making a moral decision at all.

Now, does religion play a part in our moral make up? It can definitely have a bearing on that. Hard not to have an affect on your decisions if you think there are things that are more important to you, higher authority kind of thing.
 dunrich
Joined: 5/13/2006
Msg: 73
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/27/2008 2:07:24 PM
I will not steal, yet i agree with those who steal from any company or individual who is worth millions or who make countless millions of profits, after all profit=theft and they have stolen from the consumer.


Yet those "corporations are owned by private citizens, retirement fund groups which people have invested their hard earned money in. Regular people at that. This is a moral choice/ decision?

Hey I hate the 407, would love to cheat them of their toll. Would not make it a moral choice to do that though, theft is still theft, whether you like the one you are stealing from or not.

I do not drive but cycle instead, again this self limiting action is based upon my moral code with respect for our planet and every living thing upon it.
Plenty of people that i know have no religion or spirtuality, yet they all have a sense of morals.



Does this particular choice make the poster more moral than let us say a farmer? The Farmer has to run machinery, drive as he may not live in a city where cycling is an option. Ambulance hurts the environment, does that mean the driver is immoral for doing so?

One moral choice for one individual , is no choice at all for another. For example, I like a drink 4 or 5 times a week. If I am low on cash though, can skip it quite easily . Not a very hard moral choice at all , is it? For an alcoholic though, the decision not to buy booze , buy food instead is a very moral decision.

I am addicted to nicotine, remember well, the temptation to buy a carton of smokes instead of food years ago when I was broke and my family was young.

That particular decision, moral choice was a little harder for me to make.

Moral choice, decisions, is an individualistic thing.

Religion does not mean a person is more moral, but it does cause one to think about things they might not have thought about. Whether they follow and alter their choice, is the moral question.

Belief has helped me, to a degree . Sure hasn't guaranteed it though!
 oldsoul
Joined: 3/10/2007
Msg: 74
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/27/2008 6:10:34 PM
Morals without religion? Of course. In my opinion, morality has nothing to do with religion.

There are very few things that are black and white in my world, but I'm afraid this is one of them.

So if someone needs a book or an outside source to tell them what I have always felt in my heart ever since I was a little girl, then I won't and will never "get" them and they will never "get" me.

And it's not a matter of feeling superior or inferior or anything ...it's just the way it is (and has always been) for me.

And to each their own.



JMO

 romanticoptimist
Joined: 10/1/2007
Msg: 75
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/27/2008 7:41:24 PM
{quote]I said: If a sociopath acts on their own sense of right and wrong, their own morality, it is bound to be at odds with the morality of those around them -- and of the morality of something written down in a book. That, to me, seems to warn that the assumption that a purely personal morality is superior to a "book" or societal morality is flawed.

sassy said: Sociopathy is, as you know.. a personality disorder. Therefore, to conclude from this example that personal morality is somehow inferior to that of an external one is ludicrous to say the least...Ididn't conclude thusly. Read my last sentence.

I said: And, for those making the argument that humans have some built-in "want to do the right thing" morality, we don't.

sassy said: We don't?? How can you say that? Beacuse you don't feel it? Because you see morally corrupt things happening in the world? None of that backs up your point... this world and its inhabitatnts are not perfect, but that does not mean all humans are born inherently wanting to do heinous things and need some book to restrain the impulse.
Again you have gone further than what I stated. Maybe I should have been clearer. All humans are not born with an internal moral code that causes them to choose right from wrong. Humans learn such right/wrong from a variety of sources - teachers, parents, philosophy, books (religious and non-), peers, culture, society, laws, and other influences. The simple fact that humans do "wrong" because they are "not perfect" demonstrates that this sense of right and wrong is neither inherent nor genetic.

An exernal sense of morality can definately lead to an internalized moral structure ultimately linking the person with their heart/conscience, but it doesn't always.. and I maintain that just because some may need the external structure to get there, it does not automatically follow that everyone does ;)
I agree. And some without any external structure will not choose "right' form "wrong". And some will. And some will claim their personal inner moral code is all they need and do "wrong". And some will do "right". Of course, philosophically, such discussions need to define "right' and "wrong" as well.

I said: In fact, it comes across as if many of the presenters of this "my personal morality" feel morally superior to others because it's their personal morality.

sassy said: I do not feel superior.. I feel secure in my morality, so when someone who I recognize as leaning heavily on an external source without feeling a deep conviction and who throw it all away when it doesn't suit their own self-interest.. judges me as having no morals, then yes, I find that hilariously ironic and I am MORE than entitled to this view considering how often I have had to deal with it.
Knowing you, as I do, the "some" would never include you.

Which is superior..? As I said before.. the answer lies in the results...
I completely agree.
 nightflight
Joined: 6/28/2007
Msg: 77
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/28/2008 11:22:04 AM
The amount of athiest countries are much less than you imagine. The predominancy of Hinduism/Mohamadism is vastly extended from China to the Mediteranean seas. Communism's back was broken at Vietnam and remains that way other than to the obvious. The Bejing games has brought out much more than the removal of the walls has ever done.
 romanticoptimist
Joined: 10/1/2007
Msg: 78
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/28/2008 11:47:25 AM

Secularism and humanism seem to have a better effect on morality that religious fanatism

But do they seem to have a better effect on morality than religious non-fanaticism? That would be an apples and apples comparison, wouldn't it?
 dunrich
Joined: 5/13/2006
Msg: 80
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/28/2008 4:57:52 PM

Most people are sane a nd rational and highly moral, it is only the lunatics and fanatics that let the side down in all walks of life.


Are we really?

Or quite possibly more people than we like to think, are not "moral" at all. They simply do the right thing as the consequences of getting caught are not worth it? There may be more out there predisposed to violent crime than we might like to know about.

For me, the coincidence of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolko meeting is just to great, it might not be such a rare thing after all . May be a lot more out there, morally predisposed to such behavior.
 gottalight
Joined: 12/15/2005
Msg: 81
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/28/2008 6:24:50 PM
There are plenty of interesting responses, but the phrase that hit me is one of the major ethical decisions that someone might make, with or without a religious perspective. I find that a lot of my views are developed in discussions with others, but I am able to attach firm rules to my ethics and moral perceptions. This is the sentence written by Dunrich:

Hey I hate the 407, would love to cheat them of their toll. Would not make it a moral choice to do that though, theft is still theft, whether you like the one you are stealing from or not.

This is a noble thought, and you have your inner peace. You have forgiven the transgression, and you do not seek vengeance of the uncomfortable transgression. On a reasonable scale of transgressions against you, this would seem minor. Would you feel the same if you were repeated robbed at gunpoint? Of course, that is a rhetorical question. There are situations that require a more agressive ethical standard to avoid abuses.

I posted a response to another thread which describes a socially valid and ethical morality which accomodates a wide spectrum of possible interactions, and assures that peace is the primary result.

If you have not adopted a standard philosophy, it would be a good time to define your own ethical perspective. You have three choices:

1) Forgiveness
2)Detachment
3)Vengeance

You should choose one, since you have not chosen a religion. The Christian choice is Forgiveness. You do not need to accept Christianity to accept that forgiveness should be the primary choice if you ever wish to be forgiven. I am not Christian, but adopt an independant form of Native American spirituality, and I accept forgiveness as the first choice, with Detachment following if forgiveness isn't a two-way street, and follow that with vengeance if trespasses against me continue after detachment.
 CheshireCatalyst
Joined: 9/14/2007
Msg: 82
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Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/28/2008 6:25:52 PM

For me, the coincidence of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolko meeting is just to great, it might not be such a rare thing after all . May be a lot more out there, morally predisposed to such behavior


The case of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka is not merely an issue of morality any more than other random senseless murders. If this is, to you, indication of many others who are "morally predisposed" to such behaviour, who are they? Well, I can only think of a very few examples. Paul and Karla's crimes are just as horrific as Francis Bacon's popes, or Jack the Ripper's victims, or the stabbing of a dozen strangers, including the pregnant wife of a famous Hollywood film director.

These are not issues of morality. Both of these characters had a prodigious thirst for sexual sadism - in other words - psychopaths. In addition to that, it's been suggested that both Paul and Karla had antisocial and narcissistic personality disorders which were complicated by exhibitionism and paraphilia (extreme sexual fetishism) - all conditions described by the DSM-IV - the dictionary/manual of psychiatric disorders. Fortunately, serial rapists and murderers are relatively rare beasts in the criminal landscape. I've read before that except for masochism, which is still relatively uncommon, other paraphilias are very rarely diagnosed in females.

I feel that it is improper to compare these cases with the amorality of secularist cultures. Are you are suggesting that the general populace is fraught with serious psychological conditions that are only held in check by religious indoctrination or the threat of criminal prosecution?

The frequency of these types of crimes would seem to lead us to believe otherwise.

Tootles........
 gottalight
Joined: 12/15/2005
Msg: 84
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/28/2008 7:55:12 PM
Hi Sassy,

I am going to attempt to avoid disagreement with you, and grant some flexability in your wording. Your clarity is obvious, but the choice of words might cause confusion.

Some of us choose to consult the bible or another external source on such matters.. whereas others consult their heart/conscience. Regardless, each of us makes the final choice in how we wish to define morality. Therefore, I submit that ALL morality is essentially personal/internal.

I agree that the decision to define a morality is essentially personal and internal, but to preperly define it, it must be externalized. The alternative would be someone who acts outside of their internal morality, and excuses hypocrisy. Any hypocrisy would never be recognized unless their morality is externalized. It is each persons own responsibility to properly define the parameters to be considered as one having morals. They might have guidelines, and those will typically substitute until they can define a set of parameters. This is a good basis for the argument that people who have not adopted a religion or philosphy have no morals. As far as I know, there is not a moral structure which inherently allows hypocrisy.
 gottalight
Joined: 12/15/2005
Msg: 86
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/28/2008 8:34:53 PM

But I see what you are saying, if the morality is strictly personal and internal.. then one cannot be held accountable and called out in a moment of so called hypocricy..

Exactly, if you cannot specifically state your "set of rules," you have averted any claims of hypocrisy. That is what I meant by externalizing your internal decision.

how you have made the jump.

It is a simple and logical conclusion. Morals are defined as a "set of rules," and I it easy to see that those who have not adopted a philosophy ( or religion) commonly do not create a visible set of rules. If you actually create your own set, you are a Philosopher or the founder of a religion, and have adopted your own Philosophy. I did not find the Philosophy that I posted earlier, I created it.
 rockondon
Joined: 2/21/2007
Msg: 87
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Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/28/2008 9:19:54 PM
In my opinion, the source of morality comes from a buffet of sources: our innate sense of right and wrong, religion, society, family, friends, laws, various philosophies, history, etc etc, and a given person's moral code is what they pick and choose from the buffet.
 dunrich
Joined: 5/13/2006
Msg: 89
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/29/2008 7:05:21 AM

If this is, to you, indication of many others who are "morally predisposed" to such behaviour, who are they? Well, I can only think of a very few examples.


OK, what is unique is that 2 individuals, not only shared this behavior, but met and actually verbalized their desires. Many other example can be used, usually both were males though.

Can not help wondering, how many might be morally predisposed to doing this, if they were sure they would not get caught? Whats the odds of 2 meeting, actually verbalizing their fantasy in this way. Then wonder, how many do this, yet did not have the "triggers" happen that would stop them from moving from fantasy to actually committing them?

Are these individuals really so rare? Or, are many simply silent, have the ability to keep quiet about what they like, because the consequences of getting caught are to great?

Sometimes I think there are more people who choose not to act on these impulses simply because of the consequence rather than a "moral" reason. Give the right triggers though, perhaps war, perhaps meeting someone the same ( as in Paul and Karla) and they are quite capable of shocking moral actions. At times I do think there are more people with out any morals than we suspect.

Nothing at all to do with their religious beliefs. Some people just seem to not have the same morals built into them. Put one under extreme stress, like a battle field, and they can display great kindness, another, commit terrible atrocities.

Perhaps, there is a genetic predisposition to moral choice, or lack of one?
 Vancer
Joined: 10/29/2006
Msg: 90
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/29/2008 7:35:48 AM
The nature of the beast changed when hunger's successes slowly conditioned itself to realize a door often closes behind it, and one door leading to great riches, was never better than the door leading to lesser riches, but more doors as well.
 CheshireCatalyst
Joined: 9/14/2007
Msg: 91
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Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/29/2008 9:20:04 AM

OK, what is unique is that 2 individuals, not only shared this behavior, but met and actually verbalized their desires. Many other example can be used, usually both were males though.

Can not help wondering, how many might be morally predisposed to doing this, if they were sure they would not get caught? Whats the odds of 2 meeting, actually verbalizing their fantasy in this way. Then wonder, how many do this, yet did not have the "triggers" happen that would stop them from moving from fantasy to actually committing them?


Paul and Karla’s behaviour falls into the furthest reaches of the bell curve. Most of Canada’s dangerous offenders are psychopaths – in addition to Paul and Karla, you can include Clifford Olson in that group.

There will be members of society exhibiting some of these behaviours (albeit, most of them are male as you have pointed out). The chance of a female psychopath with some of these behaviours meeting up with male counterpart is probably pretty rare, because these behaviours in females are rare. All the paraphilias of exhibitionism, fetisihism, frotteurism, paedophilia, masochism, and sadism, are almost exclusively male in their behavioural mechanisms, as is narcissism. Many of these behaviours exhibit a profound lack of empathy in others. Don’t forget that these individuals must also have the capacity to reject the moral absolutism that rape, torture, and killing are utterly wrong.

Furthermore, Karla encouraged Paul’s sadistic behaviour, and encouraged him to participate in the drugging and rape of her young sister. Karla and Paul both raped and later murdered girls while videotaping them. While on honeymoon in Hawaii, they allegedly committed a violent rape. I maintain that it’s a real anomaly that these two got together.

But I think you’re right in that there are probably quite a few “sub-clinical” psychopaths who are perhaps charming but don’t have empathy for others and don’t form emotional bonds. A significant proportion of persistent wife beaters, and people who have unprotected sex despite carrying the AIDS virus, are probably psychopaths. These sub-clinical psychopaths are your neighbour, your boss, and your blind date. But are they capable of the same acts that Paul and Karla committed? I would say “no” in most cases.

They still represent a very small minority of the population.

Be well........
 dunrich
Joined: 5/13/2006
Msg: 92
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/29/2008 4:23:57 PM
{quote]The chance of a female psychopath with some of these behaviours meeting up with male counterpart is probably pretty rare, because these behaviours in females are rare. All the paraphilias of exhibitionism, fetisihism, frotteurism, paedophilia, masochism, and sadism, are almost exclusively male in their behavioural mechanisms, as is narcissism. Many of these behaviours exhibit a profound lack of empathy in others. Don’t forget that these individuals must also have the capacity to reject the moral absolutism that rape, torture, and killing are utterly wrong.

What scares me? Maybe there are more females than we think that are morally capable of this behavior?

Traditionally , they have not been as prone as their male counterparts in risk taking . This is changing I think.

Had a very interesting conversation with a Psychologist years ago, prior to the Bernardo/ Homolko trial. She had studied this case at the request of the Police , determined that many of the things that occurred were directed by Homolko, not Bernardo. If I remember right she used the term jealous female traits , describing the hair being cut off.

When I showed amazement that such a thing could be done by a female, she assured me that just as many females were capable of immoral behavior as men. In fact, it was quite possible that several serial killers who had been at work in Ontario since 1959, might have eluded Police because they were so busy looking for a single male, or male with male counterpart. Possibly, females had been part of some of the murders.

It is not morals that have stopped some of this abhorrent behavior as much as it was the risk taking factor, up till now, has not been as prevalent in Females.

Anyway, I do not see how these psychopaths morals can be influenced one bit by religion or beliefs. Well, until they get caught, have a jail house conversion that is.
 CheshireCatalyst
Joined: 9/14/2007
Msg: 93
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Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/29/2008 5:07:47 PM
That is my point really, psychopaths are incapable of loyalty, shame, or guilt. So they aren't susceptible to morality or laws, as those are for other people. They don't conform to social norms at all, which is why their cases aren't issues of immorality. And the risk of being caught isn't likely to stop them either, nor are threats of imprisonment - they are not rational like you and I are.

But again, I feel that you are confusing "immoral behaviour" with something that is really deviant. Sure - women are capable of immoral behaviour - absolutely - happens every day. But, serial killers like Paul Bernardo aren't just "immoral." I've done things that might be considered somewhat "immoral," but they were very minor and never bordered on the issues we are referring to. With Paul and Karla, we are not just referring to thrill-seeking, irresponsible, self-defeating, impulsive and lawbreaking behaviour.

On an aside, Karla Homolka claimed that she cut off her victims hair to foil forensics - this was published information, so I'm not sure whether this could be attributed to a "jealous female trait." But who really knows? I'm certainly not defending her. Yes, she was the perpetrator behind many of their joint actions. But again, there is a great difference between a counterpart who enables another by not reporting evidence or even concealing evidence, and one who actively partakes in these crimes. Many times these events are characterized as post-traumatic stress or battered-wife syndrome in a woman, but Karla is another case entirely. She manipulated some of her psychiatrists and lawyers into believing that she played her role as a result of being a battered woman. Sure, she got battered, but that was incidental to her role in the serial rapes and murders. Again, this is not "immoral" behaviour - if that were all Karla were guilty of, she would never have become famous.

We don't know whether females were involved in any other serial murders if we have not caught a perpetrator. Sure, it's possible. We can theorize all we want about it, but we can't claim to have knowledge of the incidence of true female deviancy if we can't associate a female with the crime.

It is generally accepted that psychopaths cannot benefit from therapy, therefore, they cannot experience "conversions" either. A 1992 Canadian study that found treated psychopaths reoffend more than psychopaths who are not treated. A larger study, completed in Britain, showed the same observation. It may be that all psychopaths learn by undergoing treatment, is how to manipulate better by appearing more caring.

Hannibal Lecter could learn good manners, but not morality.

Be well.......
 Vancer
Joined: 10/29/2006
Msg: 94
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/29/2008 5:40:03 PM
Am I incapable of shame or guilt because I continue to indulge my taste for flesh, despite knowing it is satisfied through the systematic breeding and slaughtering of innocent lives.
It's all in the context.

*goes to eat a ham sandwich*
 The Black wolf
Joined: 4/7/2008
Msg: 95
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/30/2008 4:46:49 AM
I dont believe in god or other gods but in the same sense i have morals because i was taught to be very respectful and to be honest. Religion in the other hand just because if you dont have faith or believe in god it dont make the person not have morals its how they where taught as a child .

So why does religion have to do with having morals ? Or is it that if a person chooses not to believe in religion does that mean the person is bad come on now.

It boils down to how u where brought up as a kid to adult it's from the teachings from the parents not always a church .

If the parents dont teach there kids to be respectful or honest or dont show any kind of love yes that child will grow up with out morals or better yet a preacher a follower of god mind you goes ahead and molest a child messes that childs mind up but yet he is a pastor and yet does he have morals i think not.

So with this topic i would say this religion has nothing to do with morals its how you are raised and how you where taught.
 sarsss
Joined: 5/25/2008
Msg: 96
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/30/2008 12:00:20 PM
There is difference between those who think that they are religious and act as such and those who are and also there are many of those who are no religious and are still great and moral people.
 rockondon
Joined: 2/21/2007
Msg: 97
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Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/30/2008 12:08:53 PM
good point. Who is more moral - the person who does good things because s/he feels its the right thing to do, or the person who does good things because they seek reward/fear punishment in the afterlife?
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