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Morality and Religion

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by cgannon64, Aug 1, 2003.

  1. cgannon64

    cgannon64 BOB DYLAN'S ROCKIN OUT!

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    I'm reading C.S. Lewis' The Problem of Pain, and this interesting paragraph came up:

    I'd like to hear what posters think of this - Athiests, Catholics, Christians, Muslims, whatever. What do the OT posters think of the connection between religion and morals? Is it a fair connection, or a necessary one? Does the "cold, sad self-righteousness of sheer moralism" as C.S. Lewis states truly arise? Does religion need to be checked by morals, or vice versa? In my humble opinion, a religion without morals would easily lead to many acts of great sin and evil done in God's name (and I know that some religions with morals have done this, but that was a fault of man) - and morals without religion let the dictation of what is moral fall in the fallible hands of man.

    What do you posters think? What is the proper connection betwen morality and religion? Should it be as it is now? Should morals be a seperate entity than religion? Can they be unbound from their current state without causing terrible damage to each of them?

    EDIT: I'm going to bed, I'll wake up with a crop of people yelling at me or agreeing with me. Better than coffee. :p
     
  2. bioartist

    bioartist aspiring epidemiologist

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    I believe that religion needs to be checked by morality, but morality without religion poses no major problems. I'm an atheist and have a pretty good set of morals, if I do say so myself. It's not necessary for me to have a religion to justify them.
     
  3. Shadylookin

    Shadylookin master debater

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    you can have morality without religion, but you can't have religion without morals(unless your religion is about doing whatever feels good to you)
     
  4. Pontiuth Pilate

    Pontiuth Pilate Republican Jesus!

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    Sorry, I'm cold, sad, and self-righteous. :p But sane.

    The perfect Christian doesn't NEED to be moral. He can just sit on his butt and wait for the Second Coming. You don't need any moral fiber to be a Christian. Accepting Christ as your Lord and Savior excuses all your previous sins as well as the sins you will doubtless continue to commit, since you haven't changed your behavior one bit. Just pop off to confession and then go back to your lechering, embezzling, or other ungodly activity of your choice. If you have no willpower, self-esteem, or moral code, then Christianity is an even better solution to your mortal problems than the bottle or the needle.

    The reason Mr. Lewis seems to be a moral person is because he's not a Christian at all. You don't see HIM stoning witches or tearing open the bellies of massacred pregnant ladies who don't accept your God in order to mercifully slaughter their unborn children, do you? You don't see him give away all his possessions to the poor and become an itinerant prophet, do you? No, he sits down and writes himself a book.
     
  5. Turner

    Turner Deity Retired Moderator

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    One would think that religion and morals would go hand in hand. I do agree that one does not need religion to be moral. If nothing else, after this life I can stand up and say that I had morals and tried to live up to them.

    The Catholic church comes to mind, not that I'm picking on them, but there seems to be a lack of morals lately in the Church. Perhaps it's just what's getting noticed, that the few are ruining it for the many, but what with all the child molestation cases running around, hit and run case in Phoenix, the priest who recently told mourners that their recently deceased was going to hell. . . that doesn't sound very moral to me. And this from the very people who are leading the practicioners of the faith.

    But I'm not trying to pick on Catholics here, just using recent events as a point. I'm sure any religion has it's share of immoral clergy.

    In my mind, religion is the first step in being a moral person. Does that mean that I think that religous people are inferior? Well, no. But in being taught morals by religion, one can pass beyond religion into being a moral person untied by religion. Much as one must learn algebra to go to Calculus. Poor example, to be sure, buy you get my point.
     
  6. newfangle

    newfangle hates you.

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    I believe that religion surpresses the inherent set of morals found in all humans. Billions of years of development have determined what we view as right and wrong. Religion only attempts at undermining the very things that make us human (i.e. our morals).
     
  7. bioartist

    bioartist aspiring epidemiologist

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    I agree. Most of my morals come from my years in daycare, which was run by a Catholic family. Religion can be a great base to teach morals from, but morals can also be taught - and learned - seperately from religion. They taught me be how to be a decent human being, but try as they might, they couldn't get me to believe in God ;)
     
  8. dannyevilcat

    dannyevilcat DESTROYER OF FURNITURE

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    I'm perplexed that morals and religion are considered so intertwined with each other. Religion has never has a legitimate claim on morality or on it's origins. Fear and empathy are some of the most base human characteristics, and they are all that is required.

    Religion is not the fore-father of our morality, and it takes no extra effort to be moral without religion.

    About the only connection I can see is that some religions wrote it down and preached that not being moral leads to hades/hell/gehenna/whatever, as if the concept of self-preservation isn't enough.
     
  9. Stapel

    Stapel FIAT 850 coupé

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    As I have posted before in other threads:

    I don't need religion to have good morals! Think about this statement (it is meant to watch things in perspective, it is not my opinion):

    "Only immoral people need religion to learn morality"

    Another thing: the most cruel immoraql acts have been conducted in the name of various religions. It is a simple fact that religions has caused many people to act horribly.

    And it happens now. When my parents had decided to divorce in 1980, a representative of the church, where my mother had been going all of her life, asked her to move to another village.

    These great christian moral values.....
     
  10. Pikachu

    Pikachu Emperor

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    Religion is moral. Religion defines the moral standards and tells us why we have to try to live up to them. Moral is the only reason why we need to know about religion.

    What is the difference between Islam and Christianity? It is not about faith, because we believe in the same God. The only difference is that we have different moral standards. Buddhism has no gods, but are still a religion because it has its moral.

    Of course it is possible to have good morals without calling yourself religious, but why do those people have good morals? Because it is good, I guess, but why be good when you can be selfish? By choosing to live by good moral standards you chose to let a greater good be important to you and that is a religious decision. God is good. If you chose to be good, you chose to serve God, and then you practically are religious.
     
  11. Dralix

    Dralix Killer of threads

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    If you believe this, then I don't think you understand how confession is supposed to work or what a "perfect Christian" is.

    Please. Some people are moral because they think it's the right thing to do. It has nothing to do with god. Don't tell me that I'm practically religious because I live my life the way a good religious person should without dragging god into it. Morality and religion have little to do with each other.
     
  12. Gothmog

    Gothmog Dread Enforcer

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    “morals without religion let the dictation of what is moral fall in the fallible hands of man”

    Well unfortunately God doesn’t speak clearly to man (IMO as an agnostic), so the dictation of what is moral is left in the fallible hands of man by default.

    It is dangerous IMO when any group, religious or not, decides that it is the infallible arbitrator of faith and morals to the human race.
     
  13. Lostman

    Lostman Thread Killer

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    I think religous morality is one of the biggest oxymorons every put out there. Throughout time religion has been the excuse for death and destruction. Is it moral to kill somebody because they have different beliefes? Is it moral for priests to sexually assault children?

    I think not.
     
  14. cgannon64

    cgannon64 BOB DYLAN'S ROCKIN OUT!

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    :rolleyes: Please. Yes, the Christian teaching is that upon your death you must be truly sorry for all your sins and they will be redeemed. But tell me, if you live your life deciding, "OK, I'm going to sin as much as I want and then beg for repentence in the end" do you think you'll be truly sorry? NO. The only way I can see someone being truly sorry from the depths of their heart and their soul is if they tried to be moral and failed.

    You can't trick God.

    Sorry, but what the hell are you saying? If the witch part is in reference to my title, its a joke about the Mafia game and you of all people should know that. As for the second part...why would a Christian kill an unborn baby of an Athiest, Muslim, etc? You're making NO sense whatsoever...:crazeye:

    I'm sure Mr. Lewis gave money to charities. But, as a writer, he couldn't give away all his possesions. Which leads to my second point...

    Maybe you don't know alot about C.S. Lewis. Let me explain. He was born a Christian, converted to Athiesm as a young man, then converted back to Christianity as he matured. Then we went on write many books, including the amazing Chronicles of Narnia, which is a perfect way to introduce children to the morals and ideas of Christianity. He also wrote the Sci-Fi Triolgy, which serves as something very similiar for adults. And then we wrote a multitude of books about Christian theology, about his views, the Church's views, common misconceptions of non-Christians, etc.

    He has inspired millions of Christians, sold best-sellers, and prompted many debates. He is a legend among Christians and Catholics alike for his sensible arguments for Christianity. Not only does he inspire just about every Christian who reads his book, but he has probably converted some non-Christians as well - IIRC, the beginning of Mere Christianity and his book Surprised by Joy are all about his conversion, telling how he did it logically and his experiences.

    Are you telling me this man didn't help the world? Are you telling me St. Peter would say to C.S. Lewis, one of the modern geniuses in Christian thought, "No, you didn't give enough to charity."

    :rolleyes: Don't be silly.
     
  15. cgannon64

    cgannon64 BOB DYLAN'S ROCKIN OUT!

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    I see alot of posters here rejected the idea of "cold, sad self-righteous moralism". I expected them to - after all, I know many Athiests that are perfectly moral people.

    I'd be interested to know how those posters were raised. Were they raised Catholic, Christian, Muslim, or any other religion? Were they raised as Athiests but taught moral codes? If so, which religion did their moral codes lean towards (Christian, Muslim, etc)? Or were they raised in a free-for-all enviroment where morals were to be learnt on their own?
     
  16. Dralix

    Dralix Killer of threads

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    Just because someone was raised with a certain religious upbringing does not necessarily mean that it was the religion that their morals came from. It could be that they were raised by innately moral people who happened to be of a religious persuasion. Or it could be that they themselves developed their set of morals on their own, again in spite of, not because of, any religious upbringing.

    As for myself, I was raised Catholic and lost the faith in high school. I do not think my Catholic parents or Catholic schools are responsible for my morality. I think it's my own "moral compass" if you will.
     
  17. WillJ

    WillJ Coolness Connoisseur

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    Morals can be taught, religiously or otherwise, but I think most people are born with a set of morals, at least when it comes to treating others. It's probably a biological instinct to know that you shouldn't kill your own species, and somehow people generally feel bad when they treat others unkindly.

    Religion (and kindergarten, your mother, etc.) can enforce these values. I have a feeling that they probably can't really and truly teach them: If you don't have them, you won't learn them; you might not do bad things in order to avoid punishment, but nothing more.

    At least, that's my theory.
     
  18. gael

    gael Ard Ri

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    I think a large part of religion was created to enforce or amplify basic human social inhabitions. Complex societys created even more of these inhabitions and social conduct and religions have evolved to regulate and enforce them during times when these 'morals' were at the brink of disolving.
     
  19. bigfatron

    bigfatron Emperor

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    To answer your question, I was brought up by an atheist mother attending a vaguely Church of England school. My morals are a combination of my own feelings, my mother's morals and rebellion against the actions of others that I perceived as hateful and wrong, particularly the tendency of the powerful to bully the weak and defenceless.

    I do not believe there is a direct connection between religion and morality, however it is certainly true that many religious people have spent much time trying to determine a proper moral code within the framework of their religion. That effort cannot be discounted.

    In many cases this has led to a genuinely worthy and impressive moral code, although often tainted by a degree of illogicality and discriminatory behaviour. Occasionally it has led to grotesque perversions of what any right-minded person would perceive as moral.

    While I am genuinely impressed by Lewis as an advocate for Christianity (and I still love the Narnia books and the Silent Planet trilogy) I cannot accept his assertion that morality without religion is cold, since it holds only if one assumes that the Christian God exists, that the morality of the church correctly reflects His will, and that the morality of God is appropriate for humankind to follow. None of these assumptions appear obviously valid to me.

    As a final thought, I don't believe people are universally born moral either - I meet enough blatantly immoral people in my daily life to not accept that - some people need to be taught morality, some people,will simply be immoral whenever they think they can get away with it.

    Criminal and civil law are there to discourage the worst of this behaviour, but the honest truth is that some people are sociopathic and just don't care.

    Frankly I am sceptical that fear of eternal damnation will achieve any more with such individuals.
     
  20. Gothmog

    Gothmog Dread Enforcer

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    I tend to think that most of our 'moral values' are picked up through observation of those who love us at a very early age. That built in ability decreases exponentially until we reach puberty, so most of it happens in our first few years. Thus, the important thing is not what is preached but what is practiced.

    Things that we are taught by rote fall under the heading as WillJ put it "you might not do bad things in order to avoid punishment, but nothing more.". There are also moral values that can be reached logicaly or rationally, such as 'do unto others'.

    Oh and I was rased by practicing Jewish agnostics. :D , though my grandfather was a Zionist.
     

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