Does mankind need religon to have morality?

by highdose 39 Replies latest jw friends

  • ziddina


    Ummm, I was thinking about the whole range of religion - but primarily the three dominant Middle-Eastern religions in practice today.

    Sorry I 'snapped' at you - apparently I was channeling my inner "She-Devil"...


    The "harvest festivals" and seasonal celebrations weren't initially as connected with "Thou Shalt Not's", as those infamous Middle-Eastern religions I just mentioned. Therefore, when you were talking about "morality", I viewed that as the domain of controlling religions that attempt to force a unify or conglomerate peoples together...

    Great for conquest; absolutely horrible for REAL "morality" - the sort of morality that allows true freedom of worship - or freedom to NOT worship.

    The idea of "morals" - "morality" - has been forcefully co-opted by many elements - from the Jews [whose "morality" allowed them to massacre the Canaanite city-dwellers and take their lands...] to the Catholics [famously displayed in their Inqisition - which was clearly NOT really "moral"] to the Muslims [their "morality", like the Catholics/Christians, was a means to conquer and unify - and gain power - over large groups of people], to the lunatic "Moral Majority" and other fundamentalist, conservative religio-political movements in the U.S. today...

    But going back to the animals... Although ancient Middle-Eastern men [who wrote the bible and other 'holy' books...] had a dismissive, arrogantly superior attitude towards animals, had they actually OBSERVED animals - especially in the wild - they might have realised that animals do have codes of conduct.

    We don't need "religion", we need codes of conduct. "Religion" tends to bring in unnecessary bells, toots and whistles - pomp, ceremony, rite and ritual are NOT NEEDED for codes of conduct.

    Unless one takes the position that SOME people need frills to obey codes of conduct - "moral" codes. But I really think that religions - ALL religions - are extraneous...

    Zid the She-Devil... 1950 style she devil

  • PSacramento
    IMHO, PSacramento didn't have to read the New Testament to 'know' that it's wrong to stone homosexuals or to stone disobedient children. If he's a good Christian, it's because of his morals, not the other way around.

    Indeed, I don't recall needing religion to tell me that there was something wrong with violence, even when as I child I USED violence to get what I wanted, like we all did.

    We are ALL borne with an innate sense of right and wrong or perhaps fair and unfair.

    [ducks and runs for cover]

    No need, your point is well made BUT brings up the point of WHERE morals come from.

    Philosophers have tried to answer that question for quite a bit, to say the least and science isn't really that equipped to deal with that question IMO.

  • donuthole

    I would answer the OP with a reluctant yes. I think for the majority mankind has shown that external controls of behavior are needed. Human governments establish laws which control actions in a similar manner to religion. They also have an enforcement mechanism, as do religions. Without either society falls apart. In early times the religious law and the secular law was the same. In modern times they don't always line up, but still many of the concepts carry over. For instance both a church and a government will mandate that it is wrong to murder or to steal.

    I do believe that mankind has the capacity to have an inherent moral compass, a capacity for knowing good and bad, but that it is not developed by most to serve as a reliable guide for conduct. In its place a tutor can be a necessary evil, be it a government or religion.

  • AGuest

    Greetings, dear HD, and peace to you!

    I would have to answer "absolutely not, mankind does NOT need religion to have morality." Religion purports to teach established (moral) "law"... or establish additional laws... that purport to tell people how to be "righteous" or live "clean" (moral) lives. But such laws are for the lawLESS... and the government could just as well establish and teach such laws (indeed, most governments get/got their laws FROM religion). However, the "laws" that religion often tries to teach... are those which even the teachers themselves cannot fulfill.

    The "laws" in the Bible (i.e., the Old Covenant) are not... and were not... for everyone: they were for Israel... and those who go with them ONLY. The rest of the world was left to it self and, indeed, the nations often did the things of the Law on their own. Without the Writings to remind them.

    Today, Israel's "laws" are supposed to be written on their hearts... so that they don't NEED religion (hence, the destruction of the temple).

    I think, though, by your initial comment, that you equate religion... with God. That is an error. God has NOTHING to do with religion. He only had something to do with ONE religion... Judaism... and that ended about 2,000 years ago. Since then, He does not deal with any religious group... but only with His those who are part of His fleshly "temple" - the Body of Christ. He is not involved in the affairs of the world... or individuals outside of that group (yet).

    And so, such ones don't need religion to have morality. But they are not alone - again, when people of the nations do BY nature the things of the Law... they ARE a law... unto themselves. Israel, unfortunately, didn't possess that "nature" naturally... and so had to be given a written Law.

    As for the lawLESS... those for whom laws ARE established... they don't adhere to them anyway... and religion can't change that. People do good/are moral... because they WANT to be. Because they are motivated by love. People who DON'T... don't because they don't WANT to. THEY are motivated by a LACK of love.

    Joseph, the son of Jacob (Israel) knew... before Israel had a written law... that Potiphar's wife wasn't his to have. He KNEW it was wrong... without any religion or religious leader or book to tell him that.

    I hope this helps and, again, peace to you!

    A slave of Christ,


  • i_drank_the_wine

    Answer to post in 1 word: No.

  • flipper

    " Does Mankind Need Religion to Have Morality ? " No. Period mark. Exclamation point

  • Curtains


    Sorry I 'snapped' at you - apparently I was channeling my inner "She-Devil"...

    no problem.

    I had a very busy day yesterday and was out late last night so need some coffee - hopefully the grey cells will get going and I'll be able to come back to this interesting thread and the points you raised. At the moment though my take on religion is similar to donuthole in his post above.

  • talesin


    No, but it sometimes helps. How many times do you do something you wouldn't otherwise because, "It's the Christian thing to do." ?



    ( ps to bohm,,, we had exactly the same answer~! *faints* it's a good thing :D )

  • talesin

    even when as I child I USED violence to get what I wanted, like we all did

    ummm, NO,, speak for yourself, please, but I have never used violence to get what I wanted. I had lots of it done TO me, though.


  • still thinking
    still thinking

    No...I do not think we need religion...AT ALL tried to show animals as having a form of morals....I am not sure I totally agree...Are they morals? Or just survival?

    Lions killing other lions offspring, but not their own...Isn't that just making sure his genetics continue?

    Birds doing mating dances....(ie not forcing themselves)....well birds really don't have much choice. They cant exactly hold the female down. They need the female to be somewhat willing. .... Mind you, The young male ducks I have in my back yard actually gang up on the females so she can't escape...sometimes I think that is assault.

    I have some chickens...and I have to say my rooster, although being quite a show off with the the end is just an opportunist.

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