Does mankind need religon to have morality?

by highdose 39 Replies latest jw friends

  • Bungi Bill
    Bungi Bill


    Furthermore, introducing the G.O.D. word into things makes it possible to get people to commit acts that otherwise would be viewed as atrocities:

    - such as sacrificing children on the altar, or burning heretics at the stake, to mention just a few.

    Morality and religion are two completely separate issues, as witness the all-too-numerous persons about who are very religious, but yet no more ethical than anybody else.


  • darthfader

    Personally I prefer Enlightened Self-Interest:

    I see no need for religion in this world...

    We have one life... it it fragile... it's harder to build bridges than to blow them up...

    (edited to add:)

    Science has therefore been charged with undermining morality, but the charge is unjust. A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hopes of reward after death.

    "Albert Einstein"

  • Curtains

    yes mankind needs religion to have morality but perhaps not so much if we have a governmental setup that punishes wrongdoing justly. Religion tends to equate punishment with justice and this works for many people. I'm afraid I'll put my opinion out there and suggest that mankind needs the sorts of deterrents religion provides - people don't act justly all of the time and we cannot leave it up to them to do so. I'm afraid i don't have that much confidence in mankind as would be required to do without religion. But I do think religion has a postive effect on morals generally.

  • ziddina
    "Does mankind need religon to have morality?"

    No, because "morality" pre-dates religions....

    Zoologists have long noted that there is an unwritten "moral" code amongst most groups of 'higher' animals that exist in groups...

    Animals such as:







    Killer Whales








    and so on...

    Have an 'internal' moral code - though it is somewhat different from ours, one can see the basis for evolution of human 'codes' of morality among animals. Most of the groups above don't tolerate murder - within the group, but hunting prey is NOT considered 'murder'. "Rape" is pretty rare among the higher life forms - why do you think that male birds and rutting ungulates have to go through so much trouble to impress the ladies?? Child abuse is rare - though male lions WILL kill the females' offspring - IF the cubs belong to another male. They never kill their own offspring....

    All told, I think that in many areas, animals are more moral than humans... Which eliminates that whole idea of needing "religion" to be moral.

    Zid the She-Devil

  • Curtains

    good points Zid

    animal groups have a leader (although each leader has to earn his role) and I think there is a similarity between the subservience and respect animals show to their leader and the subservience and respect humans show their Gods. However animal leaders have to maintain their postiions and are held responsible for failures (they are ready to fight for the group and give their lives) whilst Gods don't.

    But my point about mankind needing religion holds because humans have greater freedom and power than animals.

    curtains another She-Devil

  • SweetBabyCheezits

    I probably come across as an evangelist for this guy's work but I've yet to hear a more logical, clear explanation regarding morals. Highly recommended.

  • ziddina
    "But my point about mankind needing religion holds because humans have greater freedom and power than animals. ..."

    That's a very hominid-centric attitude...

    My point is, morality PRE-DATES religion. Human morality evolved from the simian moralities; you can see the basis for our so-called "morals" in ape behavior...

    For that matter, it is highly likely that human morality ESPECIALLY pre-dates religion - given the tendency that humans have to be MORE violent towards their own kind. Some form of "morality" would have had to have limited human aggression towards their own tribal members, in order for humanity to have a chance to evolve upwards...

    And data from paleo-archaeological studies strongly indicate this.

    Morality especially precedes the biblical codes. The Sumerians and Egyptians both have moral codes that pre-date the bible.

    And I don't think you're any sort of she-devil at all. I think you're a pretender. Especially since you're claiming some "need" for "religion".

    I strongly doubt that you even understand the origins of the biblical image of a "devil".

    Zid the She-Devil

  • ziddina

    Sweet Baby Cheezits - good videos!!

  • Cadellin

    I think this is a hugely important topic. I just recently read (well, listened to--audiobook) Sam Harris's The Moral Landscape, which asserts that science can (and should) be the basis for morality or ethics. Harris bases his claim on the idea that there is such a thing as human well-being, and that it can be produced or destroyed through various ways of living. His definition of well-being is basically a state of emotional, mental and physical health. Because "health" can mean different things to different people, he describe morality as a landscape with multiple peaks and valleys, the peaks being different means to the same goal of well-being, the valleys being really bad states (poverty, disease, repression, abuse, fear, malnutrition, etc.)

    If we can agree that well-being is possible in humans, then, Harris asserts, we should also be able to agree that certain practices can either increase well-being or decrease it, and that that can be quantified, measured. He uses the extreme example of the enforcement of the burqa in certain Moslem communities, positing that locking women in a sack is a practice that potentially decreases well-being, particularly as the rationale for doing so lies in certain deprecatory beliefs about females in general. If well-being is a fundamental human goal (and he puts a lot of emphasis on mental well-being or, I should say, positive states of consciousness) and the well-being of conscious creatures is the ultimate aim in everything we do (and he's not totally homocentric in this), then science SHOULD be very concerned with explicating those conditions and practices which enhance well-being, and equally strident in opposing those practices which lead to "valleys."

  • Curtains

    Zid I think we need to clarify what we mean by religion. To me religion is closely linked to survival and death. Rites of passage, rituals of mourning, of harvest, submission to a leader - all these I see as aspects of religion and to me are implicated in the development of moral codes. What do you mean by religion?

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