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 romanticoptimist
Joined: 10/1/2007
Msg: 75
Morals without Religion?Page 3 of 6    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
{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.
 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
view profile
History
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.
 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.
 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
view profile
History
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?
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 98
view profile
History
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/30/2008 3:30:27 PM
I think it is possible to have morals without religion, and religion without morals. However, most religions seem to speak about having morals, and so if you don't adhere to a religion, that makes it very easy to not bother with morals. There is just no need for you to have them and be happy. It might cause problems in society, but if you can get away with it, why not?

In my experience, I've encountered lots of non-religious people who seemed immoral in business or dating. Often such people would tell me that "religion was a crutch". They seemed to discuss subjects in an amoral fashion. They seemed very interested in ensuring that they would not get arrested, and that their reputation was such that it would enhance their success in their dealings with others. But they really weren't that bothered about morals, only about getting what they wanted.

On the other hand, I've encountered religious people who seemed to abandon their morals in business or in dating, but when I talked to them, they said things such as "you cannot be in business without being corrupt", or other such sentiments.

What I find more interesting, is that non-religious people seem to be very disturbed at the idea of lacking morals. It raises an existentialist question in me: Are we immoral by nature? After all, we do lots of immoral things. So what bothers us so, at the idea that we are immoral?

When we kill in self-defence, aren't we just murderers? On the other hand, if we let someone kill us, aren't we just letting someone murder us? So aren't we murdering ourselves?

That is why I believe that morality is not simply a set of rules on how to behave with others, but it is something much deeper. Immorality is when we murder for profit, not because we NEED that money to survive, but because we will get an extra benefit from that money. However, the harm we will cause to others by that action is far greater than the harm we will cause to ourselves to not act. Effectively, immorality is putting a small gain for us ahead of a large gain for others, and morality is considering others, and acknowledging that we need to be willing to accept a small loss for us in favour of a large gain for others.

Immorality scares us, because without morality, there is no limit as to what we will do. Without morality, we would be willing to do anything to satisfy our own desires, even though we gain little by it and it seriously hurts many people at the same time. We can even be immoral by doing something that will satisfy our desires in a small way right now, that will cost us greatly in the long term.

However, we only fear immorality, because we know how easy it is to be immoral. Morality is not instinctive in us, and we fear that we might be immoral and suffer by it, either us, or our family and friends, or our society.

Religion tells us to consider G-d, and so it makes us consider others outside of us. Without religion, there is nothing that specifically tells us that we MUST think of others. Only law and other such institutions tell us to be considerate of others, and those instructions are usually accompanied by threat of punishment, so often it can seem to us that we are only being moral to avoid punishment and hurt to ourselves.

The way I see it, without religion, we are left bereft of a reason within ourselves to be considerate of others, and only to be considerate in ways that we believe will help ourselves, which is still only being considerate of ourselves, so we are not truly considerate of others. So if we abandon religion, it seems that we need to still acknowledge that we have a need to acknowledge the existence of others, and that we have an obligation to be considerate of others, and that this consideration is something intrinsic to our existence.

It seems to be a very deep question.
 clarence clutterbuck
Joined: 4/13/2008
Msg: 100
view profile
History
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/30/2008 6:22:37 PM
I believe that human morality is unrelated to religion and is the result of our having evolved the ability to empathise with others and feel their pain as if it is our own. this is not an ability that is confined to the human species. Rats, chimps, gibbons, wolves, racoons, dolphins, walruses and other animals display altruistic behaviour that stems from their ability to empathise.

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," far from being a purely God given command, is more a neat way of encapsulating the principle of reciprocal altruism that is hard wired into our brains. Most of us practice it every day when we are driving our cars slowly in heavy traffic and signal the driver waiting in an adjoining side street ahead to pull out and take our place in the procession. We get a small thrill of satisfaction for being so nice, and feel an equal appreciative spark when the favour is returned. Thousands of these small altruistic acts keep the traffic flowing and benefit us all. I must admit I sometimes feel a small pang of conscience when I could be courteous to another driver and miss the opportunity through inattention or selfishness.

The driving example demonstrates a common daily micro-act of altruism. I assume it applies to almost everybody, but could be mistaken. Is there anyone out there who never willingly gives way to a fellow motorist?

As regards sexual morality and religion, I think it is logical to infer that religious rules about sexual conduct were formulated by community leaders in order to engineer their societies in what they regarded as a desirable direction. Scribbling them down in a book and adding GOD SAYS would have gone a long way towards ensuring compliance, and the addition of OR YOU'LL GET STONED! would have been a useful addition for persuading the dissenting few.
 romanticoptimist
Joined: 10/1/2007
Msg: 101
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/30/2008 6:33:45 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?
Such a presumptive dichotomy.

Jesus once told a story about two sons who were told to do something by their father. the first said, "Yes, Father" and didn't do it. The second said, "No, Father" but changed his mind and did do it. Jesus asks, "Which son did the father's will?" He doesn't seem to focus on any presumed motive for the action, but rather the action itself. So I would conclude that whoever {b]does right is acting morally. And I agree with DA, there is no "more moral" - except in your presumptive dichotomy..
 denissson
Joined: 11/10/2005
Msg: 102
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/30/2008 7:48:51 PM
You all make me laugh, every one has got morals, some people juat have a little more morals than others. I have met non christian who have farely high morals, and i have met people who call them selves christians that have quite low morals. But i haven't met any one who didn't have no morals at all.
The true christian faith teaches a very high moral standerd, there may be other faiths or religions that teach high morals but none as high as the christian faith.

The person who dose good because he/she feels it is the right thing to do is the true christian.
The person who dose good because he/she seeks reward or fears punishment in the afterlife, well it would seem to me that their heart aint right and if that is true then their good deeds probably won't do them much good. But wait that is not my call, God will be the judge.
 gottalight
Joined: 12/15/2005
Msg: 103
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/30/2008 8:40:18 PM

You all make me laugh, every one has got morals,

If you had higher morals, you might not wish to post who are you laughing at. Perhaps everyone does have morals, but by definition "morals" are a set of rules. I can see that many answers on this thread do not adhere to english language definitions of words, and typically would prefer to debate in cryptic codes. I have found many in the entire forum likewise, and it makes for difficulty in communication of ideas and concepts. Perhaps someone might wish to send me a dictionary which demonstrates the cryptic language.

Only those who have a religion or a philosophy have a written set of rules to qualify as a moral standard. Everyone else, should be capable of writing the rules themselves, or they themselves do not have the conviction necessary to call what they do have a "moral code." A set of rules can be flexible, but the more flexibility your set of rules has; the more likely it is to recieve an accusation of hypocrisy. If you never write it down, your ability to recognize your own failures will be diminished, and you might develop a habit of pointing and laughing at others.
 gottalight
Joined: 12/15/2005
Msg: 105
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/30/2008 8:56:55 PM
I had wished to respond to your earlier post regarding the very same belief. Since you again wish to bring it up, I would that anyone reading your contention attempt a logical analysis. I am sure that most will see the logical connection. Unfortunately, not everyone is capable of logic.
 dunrich
Joined: 5/13/2006
Msg: 106
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/30/2008 8:57:02 PM

He doesn't seem to focus on any presumed motive for the action, but rather the action itself. So I would conclude that whoever {b]does right is acting morally. And I agree with DA, there is no "more moral" - except in your presumptive dichotomy..


I disagree. The parable of the Prodigal son, tends to show that God does take circumstances into an account, The one son who always made the right moral was not treated the same as the one who made terrible choices, but finally made the right one.

The Parable about the servants and the talents also indicates that God realizes some are more capable than others, the one that hid his talent, did not do very well.

Making a 'right decision, is easy when you are content, well fed, no stress. That hungry person out there, makes a moral choice not to steal, well that is more moral I think than my self making the same choice , with a full belly . There are many who seem to go through lives with out any abnormal stress, it is easier for them to make moral choices.

Far more than those who have been in the Hell that this earth can be at times. My opinion, there is a difference.
 TakeMeTheWayIAm
Joined: 7/19/2008
Msg: 107
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/30/2008 9:32:10 PM
Whenever I describe how much I've given to charity and volunteered on self-help forums people are surprised that I'm an atheist. Personally I think they need to find out what it means to be a secular humanist.
 gottalight
Joined: 12/15/2005
Msg: 108
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/30/2008 9:38:27 PM

Whenever I describe how much I've given to charity and volunteered on self-help forums people are surprised that I'm an atheist. Personally I think they need to find out what it means to be a secular humanist.


You would probably be surprised how much the real Jesus supports your actions. He said "you must be hot or cold," and atheism is the cold he spoke of.
 TakeMeTheWayIAm
Joined: 7/19/2008
Msg: 109
Morals without Religion?
Posted: 8/31/2008 3:43:46 AM
Jesus also fed the poor and clothed the sick and cared for the lepers. He didn't pray for them, he got in there and did the work himself.

The major annoyance I have with people in organized religion is that they delegate the world's problem via prayer to God rather than doing the work themselves. When you get back from your year in Africa personally feeding the poor then you can come back and I'll listen to your story about hot and cold. Otherwise I'm not interested. There are too many pseudo-Christians who pray lots and do nothing.

Make a sandwich and hand it to the homeless person who lives under the bridge. You can make that a hot or cold sandwich, it doesn't really matter to me.
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