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 Suju
Joined: 11/8/2006
Msg: 51
Morals without Religion?Page 3 of 6    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
Geneseo wrote:
[AND...to 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. ]

It is the sad truth as revealed throughout humanities history ... Would that the powers that be (be they religious or political), learn from past mistakes ... Alas, they have not evolved enough yet ... If they ever shall have the will to do so

P.S.: I've added politics and-or political parties to the equation for they too have sets of conducts, rules & laws, i.e., morals
 rockondon
Joined: 2/21/2007
Msg: 52
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Morals without Religion?
Posted: 3/28/2007 11:14:28 PM
Vampire bats have a pretty nasty reputation.
Yet, on nights when one vampire bat consumes a surplus of blood, it will often regurgitate some of this blood for another bat that failed to feed.

And when thinking about the lives that dogs save every day, it makes one think that morality is relatively inherent in a lot of (perhaps all) species.
 Simon1234
Joined: 9/18/2005
Msg: 53
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Morals without Religion?
Posted: 3/30/2007 6:31:23 AM
Most of us bring our moral values to religion, rather than religion bringing our moral values to us. In other words, we interpret the holy texts of our religion based on our previous moral thinking.

Personally, I'm of the persuasion that God loves what is good because it is good, not, what is good is what God loves. I based my morality on reason and I hold to the social contract theory in a secular sense.

So no, Religion is not a necessary condition for morality.
 tarotreader
Joined: 3/20/2007
Msg: 54
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 3/30/2007 12:12:13 PM

If anything, life has taught me that the more religious a person is, the less they can be trusted.


This, sadly, is the case when it comes to my son's father and his "new family". Up until he got married he wasn't a perfect dad but he was pretty darned good. He always had time for our son, they spent a lot of time doing things together, and our son adored him. Unfortunately after he got married and they got very active in the church, he suddenly has no time for our son anymore. It got worse after they had a baby of their own. Our son started getting into trouble, I'm sure as a way to try and get his dad's attention. I finally asked his father if he would be willing to take him in to live with them, because I thought he needed to spend time with his dad? He said yes so I moved our son to his dad's house. He was there less than 3 months and got into trouble again, at which time I got a call from the new wife telling me to come pick him up, his dad didn't want him there anymore. That will have been 3 years ago this June. That was the last time my son has seen his dad. I have tried to arrange time for him to go visit his dad...during school breaks, holidays, etc...but I am always told no, they have plans and can't take him. The more they push him away, the more promises his dad makes and breaks, the more trouble our son gets into, the more trouble our son gets into the more they push him away. These people claim to be good, devout, christians, they go to church, donate 10% of their income, the wife sings in the church choir and attends all functions and, in their opinion, live by the highest moral standards. My question is, where are those high moral standards, that unconditional christian love and acceptance, when it comes to not only a troubled teen but HIS troubled teen...a teen who seems to be getting into trouble because suddenly he is no longer a part of his fathers life? His dad was a born again christian prior to this but it wasn't until he and his wife became active members of the church that he made such a complete change...almost like he's been brainwashed. Our son was in juvenile detention for an accidental shooting, he asked me to call his dad and ask him to come here to see him, he said, "Mom, I really need my dad right now." I called and his response was, "I'll see if I can make it?" Our son was in detention for over 2 weeks and he never showed up, never called to see how he was doing, nothing. That, more than anything else, hurt my son the most. After he got out his dad has promised to call him every weekend and hasn't called once. If the roles were reversed and our son was living at his dads and all this happened you wouldn't have been able to keep me away, I would have been camped out outside the jail, waiting for any chance to see my baby. Funny thing is, they claim it's my fault our son is in trouble because "I" don't go to church. Ummm...yeah.
 Tame Tigress
Joined: 11/16/2006
Msg: 55
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 4/13/2007 2:38:16 PM
Shocking Fact: Morality was discussed and conduct outlined in human society long before any of the religions that exist today were founded - that's right folks - human societies had morals before Jesus, before Mohammed, before Buddha, etc... In fact all of these religions "borrowed" moral beliefs from early philosophers (ie, Socrates, Plato, etc).

For example: the philosophy of sex centered around philosophical arguments regarding the basic characteristics of the human soul.

Some believed that the human soul was a permeable entity - meaning that it could be contaminated by outside elements - the early Judeo-Christians interpreted this to mean that it was necessary to protect the purity of one's soul. Now there's a bunch of complicated reasonings regarding orgasm and trancsendence that I won't get into here, but the bottom line was that only by limiting sexual contact could someone minimize the contamination of their soul - hence sex was limited to a single lifetime pairing and only for the purpose of procreation. (Betcha didn't know that! Ah , the benefits of higher education)

Others believed the human soul was impermeable - meaning that it could not be contaminated by outside elements - hence sex itself could in no way damage the purity of one's soul - these were the same beliefs that were "resurrected" (tongue in cheek) in the "free love 60's" in the USA & elsewhere. And of course many people continue to think this, but they don't realize that this topic was discussed thousands of years ago.

Still others believed that the human soul was permeable, again meaning that the soul could be contaminated - however this group believed that it would be beneficial to contaminate the soul to destruction in order to transcend this mortal existence. Many of these beliefs surface in some of the sexual fetish activities today ie BDSM.

So there ya go folks! Humans do not require religion for morality. Major Religion came after moral philosophy. Sexuality, Justice, Mercy, etc... all concepts developed and debated at length by PHILOSOPHERS prior to organized religion.
 Tame Tigress
Joined: 11/16/2006
Msg: 56
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 4/13/2007 2:39:06 PM
Drat!! Double Post!!
 sagehuggins
Joined: 4/1/2007
Msg: 57
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 4/13/2007 3:03:22 PM
is this the same as can you be spiritual without a religion then defo
 RSwindol
Joined: 8/25/2005
Msg: 58
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Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/26/2008 5:19:18 AM
Moral: of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong

It is ludicrous to assume that someone who denies mainstream religion or has no religion at all does not have morals. One doesn't need religion to tell them that something is right or wrong.

Everyone has morals. The question is, how convicted are they to their morals? How easily swayed are they? And what did they base their morals on? Are they sheep who simply agree with others and can't form an ethical opinion on their own, or did they use logic and understanding to decide what is actually right/wrong, good/bad, just/unjust? And I would just like to point out that if one person's morals do not agree with another person's morals doesn't mean that they do not have morals.

I have more respect for someone who sticks to their morals and does the right thing because they feel it's the right thing to do than I do for someone who got their morals straight out of a book and only do the right thing in fear of going to hell. This is where integrity (another important characteristic) come into play. Integrity is one's adherence to morals. Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is looking. It's practicing what you preach. Unfortunately, far too many "religious" people (most of them that I know) fall short in this department.
 bear45408
Joined: 7/30/2007
Msg: 59
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/26/2008 10:30:30 AM
Clearly people can be moral without religion. I'm a believer, and a moderately religious person, but I would have to admit that this is an insulting question to anyone who may not be relligious. Morality comes from the way we think, and how we understand what is right and wrong. It is internal, not external.

If you are only moral because your religion tells you what is right and wrong, and not because of what you know for yourself, what kind of person are you? And if your religion tells you to do what is wrong, as in the case of extremists, and you do it without questioning, are you moral? I say that you are not.

Despite claims to the contrary, I see morality and religion as quite separate things. Religion may be a way to teach morality. But it is not the only way. And sadly, religion may be a way to teach immorality or to excuse it. Thankfully these are the exceptions. (Almost said "Thank God", but I guess not. )
 taurus516
Joined: 11/3/2004
Msg: 60
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Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/26/2008 10:40:29 AM
Religion does NOT give one any exclusivity on being moral and certainly, judging from how many ministers, priests and other church officials end up facing such things as child molestation charges, does being religious automatically makes one moral.

Morality is NOT a divine universal construct, but a device built into our genetic structure much the same way an animals' instincts are. It is used for the sake of sociatal operation as we are social creatures and subject to evolutionary changes as the species evolves.

What has this to do with whether or not someone is religious?
 gottalight
Joined: 12/15/2005
Msg: 61
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/26/2008 11:50:37 AM
RSWindol,

Thank you for reviving this thread. I see it is an old one, so I will only address those who joined in, and will not be attempting to revive old discussions. The topic of the OP is clear in the title. Your questions are very good.

Everyone has morals. The question is, how convicted are they to their morals? How easily swayed are they? And what did they base their morals on?

I figure if this topic is addressed by many people, there will eventually be a conflict of meaning. I looked up the definition, and it appears that the proper context is an abstract derivation of an adjective, but defined generally as: " Rules or habits of conduct," but more specifically, the rules imply the knowledge of right and wrong.

Defining right and wrong are difficult enough. Most issues are usually defined within the structure of a society, and morals tend to be based on the rules of society when a religion is absent. Some individuals have values that would allow then to disagree with the imposed morality of both society and religion, and proceed to disregard imposed moralities. Most people are incable of forming the set of rules by themselves, but are able to perceive abstract values. Since religion is generally considered a passive enforcement, I would say that very few people actually have morals. Most people are not so well organized that they actually have a rule for conduct in far too many situations, so their set of rules is incomplete even if it exists.

I have a few simple and general rules, and they keep me on track. I don't always obey them. My religion is not defined, but is stated as a form of spirtuality. When I am in doubt, I usually consult with others, and I recall the words of some great philosophers. Mostly, I try to offer compassion to those who would not understand, and proceed to do what I believe is right. By definition, it would seem that I have no morals, because I cannot define what is right, and what is wrong.
 Friendlione
Joined: 6/23/2006
Msg: 62
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/26/2008 12:57:48 PM
It's really interesting to ask. Many of the most vindictive people that I have ever known claim to be religious. Some of the kindest individuals are often atheists. I'm no atheist. However, I believe that men have morals regardless of a spiritual belief.

Only the ignorant or short-sighted require religion for the purpose of providing reasons to behave reationally. "If you copulate with that woman, it is adultery and you'll burn in hell for eternity." Hey, it works for the people that aren't able to figure out that regardless of hell, adultery is wrong and would hurt the wife, undermine credibility, and destroy honor. Even without a spirit realm these are not things that an intelligent man would want.

Is killing wrong because the gods say so? Or...would it be wrong anyway because of some other logical reaso, which leads the way for the development of morals?
 RSwindol
Joined: 8/25/2005
Msg: 63
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Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/26/2008 3:08:29 PM

By definition, it would seem that I have no morals, because I cannot define what is right, and what is wrong.

I think it should be less about defining what is right and wrong, but more about being able to categorize actions in one of the two subjects. It is said that some serial killers live their lives in a complete gray zone instead a world of good and bad. They cannot distinguish the difference. I say FOOEY! I think they know the difference. They just have no remorse or concern for human life, and therefore just don't give a damn.

But who knows? I could be wrong.
 sassyaquarius
Joined: 4/10/2006
Msg: 64
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/26/2008 3:24:30 PM
There is so much irony in this for me.. because really, whose morals are stronger? The person who is living from a deep inner conviction? Or one who is following the letter of the law someone else has laid down?

The question is rhetorical.. because the answer lies in the results.

Many times people have said that it must be nice for me to be able to do whatever I want since I am not religious... which makes me snort and laugh hysterically! To say this shows a true lack of understanding.. I need no one else to tell me what my moral code should be and I live by mine totally and completely because it comes from within. To do any less would hurt me deeply and make me question who I am as a person.. honor and integrity are important to me in all things.

It seems that those who live by an external moral code are always looking for loopholes.. ways to transgress while still being within the realm of what is "forgiveable".. consulting the "good book" for justification, once found, they rub their hands together gleefully like a child who has found a hidden stash of candy... yet these same people look at ME like I have no morals, the irony, lol...

Just noticed this:
I have more respect for someone who sticks to their morals and does the right thing because they feel it's the right thing to do than I do for someone who got their morals straight out of a book and only do the right thing in fear of going to hell. This is where integrity (another important characteristic) come into play. Integrity is one's adherence to morals. Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is looking. It's practicing what you preach. Unfortunately, far too many "religious" people (most of them that I know) fall short in this department.
Snazzy post :)
 gottalight
Joined: 12/15/2005
Msg: 65
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/26/2008 3:25:57 PM

I think it should be less about defining what is right and wrong, but more about being able to categorize actions in one of the two subjects.


Actually I had been directing the post towards morality by consensus when I realized that the definition of "morals" was flawed in that it assumes a person can distinguish wrong from right. 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 percieve that accelerating someones ascension might be good. So I really believe that it is a question of perception, and that good and bad don't have explicit definitions. Mostly, morality is a vague fiber that is used to hold together a community.

In today's society there are many views of morality, and some are sponsored by the state, and others are sponsored by religion. To address the specific question of this thread, it is clear that morality exists without religion, and is usually enforced more often by the state, but typically is more oppressive in religions. I happen to be a Libertine, and find the morality of both to be offensive.
 coolnomad
Joined: 5/4/2007
Msg: 66
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Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/27/2008 4:29:18 AM
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.
 sassyaquarius
Joined: 4/10/2006
Msg: 70
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/27/2008 11:54:03 AM

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.
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...

By the same logic, one could use all of the henious things done in the name of God to illustrate that external morality is inferior to the internal.. is this something you would agree with???

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

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 ;)

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.
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.

Which is superior..? As I said before.. the answer lies in the results...
 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.
 Andy6942
Joined: 8/4/2008
Msg: 72
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/27/2008 1:47:30 PM
Personally i have no religion, yet i have a well developed moral code. I try not to hurt anyone, either phsyically or emotionally. 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. 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. THOSE THAT "LEAD" US AND WE ARE SUPPOSED TO LOOK UP TO AND EMULATE HAVE NO MORALS WHATSOEVER, (corrupt politicians,buisiness leaders, priests etc as shown by events over the last few decades). For good morals look in the gutter. The world is upside down.
 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.
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