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  1. Aled James Taylor
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    Aled James Taylor Contributing Member Contributor

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    There is no morality in religion.

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by Aled James Taylor, Nov 16, 2013.

    Morality is doing what you know to be right despite what you are told. In religion, you do as you are told despite what you know.

    Morality comes from a sense of fair-play and an empathy for others. But in religion, anything derived in a personal way can be perceived as, 'fallible human thinking, compared to God's perfect wisdom' or 'the product of a sinful nature' or 'attacks by the devil'. So conclusions drawn from personal qualities can be belittled and disregarded.

    Religion suppresses personal morality and replaces it with obedience to rules and principles.

    We see a lack of fair-play in the attitude of many religious believers towards other religions, often working for their suppression and eradication. We see a lack of empathy when the religious oppress those who are different to themselves (particularly homosexual people).

    Think of all the paedophile priests. What kind of morality do you think their religion provided for them?

    The idea that you must have religion in order to be moral is nothing more than a lie.
     
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  2. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    Aw. Thanks so much for making the assumption that because I am a Christian. I am a sheeple and a terrible person. Despite the fact that I volunteer and help people and animals a lot. I can't give a lot of money because I'm poor, but I give the time and money that I can.

    I certainly do not think this.

    Also, I don't "oppress" gay people with the enormous power I have in the Catholic Church. (I'm that important! I'm that rich!) I'm pro-choice and pro-gay marriage , so this is quite the misinformed statement.

    You know what? If you condescend to people of all religions, you condescend to about 80% of the world. Morality, anyone?

    I didn't start a thread demeaning atheists/agnostics for their beliefs, so why are you demeaning me?
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2013
  3. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I don't think you need religion to be moral, but to claim that no morals come from religion and then point to pedophile priests makes me think you are not taking the issue seriously.
     
  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Firstly, please know, I am very much a secular person.

    This argument presupposes one agrees with that definition of morality as exclusive. I don't. Morality, to me, is the set of guidelines for right and wrong given by a larger society (cultural, religious, secular, etc.) and accepted by the individual as the "Rule Book" by which to play. Under this paradigm, the only difference between morality based on religion and morality based on secular consensus is minority v. majority rule at its point of emergence. That those who derive their morality grow to be the majority later on is a separate issue and has nothing to do with point of genesis.

    I absolutely feel that morality can be derived from the religious epistemology, but it can also, just as easily, be derived from secular sources. There are those that argue that without an ultimate price to pay (one's immortal soul), there can be no morality that holds, hence the idea that only religion can truly source morality, but this tends to ignore the uncounted atheist and simply secular individuals who live entire lives never running afoul of cultural rules. The fact that there are pedophile priests does not negate the morality available in religion, but only points out the human foibles to which all people are prone.

    Saying that religion guaranties morality is of course nonsense, but saying that it lacks it altogether is equally nonsensical.

    Also, this argument contains, in its verbiage, the painfully common mistake that Religion = Christianity for sake of argumentation. There are other religions being practiced worldwide, that together trump Christianity in number of adherents.
     
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  5. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Religion can promote behavior that happens to also be moral and empathetic. It can, however, also be manipulated and twisted to result in behavior that is the opposite. I think this is well understood, and there's a standard meme that goes "If you can't determine right from wrong, what you lack is empathy, not religion."

    Religion and morality are really not inextricably linked. Many, many people have been murdered and countless atrocities committed in the name of religion. Although they can go together, they are separate things.

    (There have been a couple of very odd stories in the news, about soup kitchens actually REFUSING the help of atheist groups that wanted to volunteer there. This has happened in SC and in KS, and I'm sure there are other instances as well. But it is puzzling -- why would a group of people whose goal is to help people, actually disallow people from participating? This is a very small, and relatively inconsequential example, but it is indicative of a larger mindset.)
     
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  6. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    @chicagoliz
    After reading your post and adding your thoughts to my own, my argument becomes the following: I argue that morality is itself an epistemology, thus it is not something that can be derivative or subordinated to another epistemology. With this new idea in mind (thank you, liz) I now say that it is pointless to argue whether Religion does or does not contain, grant or issue it. Morality is its own theory of knowing and begets itself. It can be had or not had with or without Religion. The mistake is in trying to determine the source of a source.
     
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  7. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I also have always wondered about the inherent morality that is assumed in religion -- if the only reason that a person engages in some sort of good work is because he believes that he will be rewarded later (e.g. in Heaven) for having done so, and the only reason that a person prevents himself from engaging in bad behavior (whether that's murdering someone, or simply stealing his possessions), is that he will be punished (e.g. by going to Hell), but without this fear of reward and/or punishment would have not engaged in the good behavior and would have gone ahead and engaged in the bad, can we say that that person is truly moral?

    Yes, we can say that because of religion, this person did do something good (for example, fed a hungry person), and that because of religion, they were prevented from killing his neighbor and taking his possessions, and therefore society did benefit.

    But can we say that this person is just as moral (or moral at all), or more moral, than someone who does not believe in any religious doctrine, yet decided to feed the hungry person because they felt that it was the right thing to do, and it felt good to be able to help the person at that time, and they felt bad that there was a person suffering from hunger? Can we say he is just as moral or more moral than the person who refrains from killing his neighbor and taking his stuff, because he realizes that he would not want someone to murder him and take his possessions, and believed that the neighbor had just as much right to live as he did, and that he would feel badly for being unjustly enriched, in taking the possessions to which he is not entitled?

    Outwardly, we can say that religion here did something good. But it doesn't really tell us anything about the morality or lack thereof of its adherents. And of course, there is no reason that the person who felt from within his own soul that it was simply wrong to kill his neighbor and that it was the right thing to do to feed the hungry, could not also be a follower of some religion.
     
  8. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    The word "morality" is loaded with idealism. Calling someone moral is nothing more than a projection of ideals that you, the individual, (or we, the society) have decided on. As an atheist, any moral system derived from religion is, for me, a man-made system. Therefore, it is no better or worse than any other man-made system.

    I'll add more thoughts later.
     
  9. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    For those of you in your mid-forties, like me, do you remember a time in these types of conversations when a clear distinction was made between morality (what the greater society dictates) and personal values (what the individual dictates)? Is that simply a thought train that has fallen out of favor argumentatively? (honest question, no snark)
     
  10. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can't say that I specifically recall these sorts of conversations, but I do see a much greater emphasis now on the melding of morality with religion. I do, however, recall a greater emphasis on religious people actually doing good works that benefitted those in need, rather than imposing some sort of rule from above.
     
  11. Tharian
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    Tharian Contributing Member

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    Some people need to differentiate morals from ethics. Anyway, OT.

    The human is by evolution a social being. Even if you don't believe in evolution—Gods forbid—you will most likely agree with this statement. Being social entails the staying together with fellow humans in order to survive. We have, therefore, an innate sense of empathy for one another. I think we can all agree on the proposition that murder is bad. Killing amongst ourselves is not good for the species, because it lowers our chances of survival. I just wanted to point this out; even though many ethics, if not all, are progressive and subjective, we do have some morals 'set in stone'.

    Now, to say that there's no morality in religion is utter folly. The conception of morality we know today has come forth from many philosophies, which have come forth from many religions. Yes, one can argue that Plato was pretty much the founder of e.g. Catholicism, but let's not dwell on that. It is irrelevant to debate whether or not we could've done without religion or if we would've been off for the better or worse. The what-if's are not pragmatic. Having said this, I agree with OP's general notion that the ethics in religion are not contemporary anymore.

    'Know' should be 'think'. Because claiming a stance on morality as fact is the same as claiming you need religion to have empathy.

    Religion has taught us many good things and many wrong. If we are to strive for progression in our ethical system, as humanity, we have to pick out the good and neglect the wrong. The main message OP is trying to deliver is that we should strive after man-made, modern paradigms. The notion that there are also religious people who do good is irrelevant, because without it they'd probably still do good. As long as our system is adjusted accordingly to the flaws of the past and the knowledge of the present.
     
  12. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    Someday I'd like to spend more time studying logic, to give me a better perspective of the fallacies introduced by one sided arguments. Event X occurs in this case A, therefore it's true in all cases, can be seen as poor logic. This logic is the harbinger of intolerance and prejudice.
     
  13. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    But, it can increase the chances of survival and reproduction of one particular group of people over another. Humans have lived in subgroups for as far back as scientists can track. And there have been battles between these subgroups. So, while it may be almost always considered "immoral" to kill someone in your own subgroup, it has not always been so for killing a human who belongs to another group.
     
  14. Tharian
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    Tharian Contributing Member

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    Indeed, but the basis, or at least one of them, rests in the immorality of killing amongst your subgroup. Over time subgroups have joined, and thus morals have adjusted; up to the point where murder is always deemed wrong.
     
  15. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Any morality that is created outside of God is wholly subjective and relativistic.

    Sure, you argue that as a result of socio-biological pressures, there has evolved among homo sapiens a sort of “herd morality” which functions well in the perpetuation of our species in the struggle for survival. But there does not seem to be anything about homo sapiens that makes this morality objectively true.

    It seems that once everyone in a population 'get on board' with a certain contrived piece of morality, that's it. It is considered moral.

    If morality is centered only around a evolutionary push towards survival, then does anything really matter?

    Is incest immoral because it doesn't aid in 'furthering the species'? If that is true and objective, than homosexuality falls in the same category.

    When an entire society on Earth created a 'morality' that made it perfectly good to arrest and dispose of Jews and Gypsies, it took an outside, 'transcendent' morality to question it and deem it 'wrong'. Similarly, we have an objective morality in the strong foundation laid out by God in which the entire world is held to account. It is a morality that supersedes all other imagined and created human moralities.

    @Aled James Taylor laid out examples of immorality within the Christian-theist community to prove that there is no morality in religion and this, of course, is a fallacious argument because that presupposes that people are infallible, which they are not, and makes no bearing on whether there is an objective morality.

    1 John 1:8 says, 'If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.'

    Without God there is no good or evil, because such things don't exist outside of God.

    Our current set of 'morals' in 2013 include murdering babies, so I don't put too much stock in it.
     
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  16. Aled James Taylor
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    Aled James Taylor Contributing Member Contributor

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    It is not my intention to claim that any religious person in not moral but that their morality exists despite their religion and not because of it.

    If you consider morality to be a set of guidelines or rules then you are talking about obedience not morality. It could be argued that such obedience is better than your own sense of morality but that is a different argument.

    Referring to an ultimate price to pay is only to resort to threats and I think it immoral for individuals or institutions to cause people (especially children) to live in fear.

    The reference to paedophile priest demonstrates that their religion has failed (on a biblically epic proportion) to grant even ordinary morality to those who are most closely involved with matters of faith. How can you overlook this failure?

    I agree that we have to 'pick out the good and neglect the wrong' but how should we do this? If our religion itself is the standard by which we make moral judgements, then it will always come out as 'good' (our 'yard stick' to us, will always measure a yard). If we were, in some way, to stand over religious teaching and judge some to be good and others not, then that religion is not our moral guide. We could, as many do, choose for ourselves what is good and what is bad and then select from religious teachings those parts that support our view. Religion would then be used to illustrate natural morality but it could also illustrate prejudices, traditions and any motivations we might have.

    It isn't difficult to work out that it's wrong to kill but the Bible has many examples of people being put to death for things that are today not even considered to be a crime. Even if you are born again Christian then you do not follow the lifestyle set out (supposedly by God) in the Old Testament law. The Bible is not your moral guide.

    All morality is created outside God. For me, morality is centred around a sense of fair play and empathy for others.

    If you think it sinful to be homophobic then why not oppose the oppression of homosexual people perpetrated by Christians?

    There may or may not be an objective morality but this is not the point. The point is that religion has failed to provide anything like it even thought it claims to do so.

    Abrahamic religions do not encourage empathy for others or support fair play and often work against these things. There is as much morality to be found in these religions as there is art in a painting by numbers set.
     
  17. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Ah, so we've come to the crux of the problem. Ignorance.

    You've posited a theory regarding a set of morals you haven't even familiarized yourself with. How are we supposed to take you seriously?

    The 'Golden Rule' is found in Luke 6:31, 'Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.'

    Empathy?

    These are the words of Jesus found in Luke Chapter 6:

    "Listen, all of you. Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Pray for the happiness of those who curse you; implore God’s blessing on those who hurt you.

    “If someone slaps you on one cheek, let him slap the other too! If someone demands your coat, give him your shirt besides. Give what you have to anyone who asks you for it; and when things are taken away from you, don’t worry about getting them back. Treat others as you want them to treat you.

    “Do you think you deserve credit for merely loving those who love you? Even the godless do that! And if you do good only to those who do you good—is that so wonderful? Even sinners do that much! And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, what good is that? Even the most wicked will lend to their own kind for full return!

    Love your enemies! Do good to them! Lend to them! And don’t be concerned about the fact that they won’t repay. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as sons of God: for he is kind to the unthankful and to those who are very wicked.

    “Try to show as much compassion as your Father does.

    Never criticize or condemn—or it will all come back on you. Go easy on others; then they will do the same for you. For if you give, you will get! Your gift will return to you in full and overflowing measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use to give—large or small—will be used to measure what is given back to you.”

    Also, read up on the Old Covenant vs. the New Covenant so you may understand the Bible in its full context, and not just from a Google search.
     
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  18. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    How in the world did they know what Jesus said anyway?
     
  19. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    Not the exact quote, but it's what is quoted as being the words of Jesus.
    What about Hinduism? Buddhism? Any polytheistic religion? Are those as "bad" as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, or is it just those three?


    And you are confusing "religion" and "doctrine". People make up a religion, so insulting an entire religion is insulting billions of people.
     
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  20. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    So do you think all Germans are evil because of Hitler? (Crap, I'm German....can I be nothing right?)

    Because it was a couple of millenia ago. If there was no religion, they would still do it. Should we still have slaves because it was legal at one time? No.
     
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  21. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is a great forum. Seriously. All the members want to improve their writing skills and get a chance to do so by debating hot topic issues. Remarkably, in a reasonably civil manner.
     
  22. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    Do you think this is true, or that's what someone of Jesus' stature would likely say?
     
  23. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Same way we know what George Washington said, we recorded it.
     
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  24. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    I actually love debating now, lol.
    It's quite likely. A lot of what he said was actually quite controversial for his time.
     
  25. ChickenFreak
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    Of course it is, but to take it to the opposite extreme and say that religion never helps anyone to be moral, is going too far.

    Now, I of course believe that religious writings *are* the distillation of the human-created moral principles of past cultures. They embody a moral tradition, and parts of that tradition are good. The parts that are bad tend to fall away. So to me it's illogical to distinguish between religious morals and human-created morals, because as far as I'm concerned they're all human-created morals.

    Some humans are helped in their moral decisions by the existence of past tradition and a group of like-thinking people. Some people prefer to do the analysis on their own--though those people, too, are starting with a huge body of past tradition. They're just not feeling....I guess I'd call it the "obedience" factor. I find the obedience factor worrying; I feel that it tends to result in dysfunctional morals being more easily forced on others. But I have no statistical proof of that, so I really don't know which system works better.
     
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