Do we need spirituality or religion to be good socially responsible people ?
Religion is declining in many countries around the world and hardly exists in some countries.
It would fair to say that scientifically acquired knowledge has taken a bite of religious practice over the years. The premising suggestion that there is a god looking at everything mankind does or should do is vanishing out the human consciousness.
Should we emulate the social directives written in ancient manuscripts established by those ancients for their civilization ?
Is it possible that mankind can control and guide itself now with all the acquired knowledge we have attained, toward the ending betterment of humanity ?
I think yes we can it is possible and I also think it would be advantageous as well over rigidly devised religious doctrines derived inherently from ancient civilizations..
The JWS is one religion that strives to adhere to some of the social directives written in the bible by the ancient Hebrews, as in the directives for the use of blood.
There must be two witnesses to someone who is behaving against their set laws of behavior before affirmative action is taken against that individual.
No open questions or contriving debate of these set laws or a punishment of apostasy would be implemented.
There's more to be sure, some of these set laws were actually good for a socialized working society, the ten commandments as an example.
Laws which were usually backed by the god(s) just to show their strength and prevailing necessity to adhere to these laws.
........not bad really for 3000 years ago.
To answer the question in your title - I would say NO. Why?
1. Statistically, countries with lower rates of religious adherence tend to be more socially responsible on a number of indicators and have lower crime rates in many categories etc...
2. Society has become progressively more socially responsible as it has become more secular, despite religion (religion always seems to be the last one to come round to these social changes) - i.e, slavery, women's rights human rights, anti-discrimination, assisted voluntary euthanasia etc
3. The problem with the idea of "morality from authority" (which is basically the Christian view, that you can't have any moral absolutes or values without a God telling you what they are) is that it is based on the unproven assumption that God is moral and not just a human construct anyway reflecting human/society values. If God is above his own law and can authorise immoral behaviour then it defeats the purpose of morality form authority (for example: God says murder is immoral, but uses murder as a tool to enforce his morality)
4. I think principles like that found in the hippocratic oath - "first, do no harm" if applied to form a moral framework offer just as much guidance as any spirituality.
Good points Doubtful1799
Great points Doubtful1799,
Knowledge of God is not required for anyone to be a good person because all sorts of people are found equally among both the groups—theists and atheists.
Ethics and religion are two quite separate matters.
There are plenty of religious people around whose knowledge of ethics could be written on the back of a single postage stamp! Conversely, I know of a number of ethical people who will not have a bar of religion.
Finkelstein: "s it possible that mankind can control and guide itself now with all the acquired knowledge we have attained, toward the ending betterment of humanity ?
I think yes we can it is possible and I also think it would be advantageous as well over rigidly devised religious doctrines derived inherently from ancient civilizations."
Since Buddhism is not about obeying a god who tells us what to do, but about human self-improvement until one reaches 'Buddahood,' I would agree that humans can learn to control and guide themselves, and that for 2500 years, humans have been advancing down that path.
And, it may be noted, ancient philosophies like Stoicism, have also taught that humans can self-improve.
What a pity that Jesus was neither a stoic or a Buddhist.
People and Governments who put their trust in the production and export of petrol and diesel suddenly find as though sand is eroding under their feet. After Paris Climate Agreement (signed by 195 countries on April 22, 2016) Governments all over the world are now vigorously planning to move on to electric vehicles because of the dangers caused to the climate by the use of fossil-based energy such as petrol and diesel.
This is all what is required. Humans can choose any path they want, but should change the course when they find need to change.
Many JW people and more likely other religious people have an inbred fear that if you leave religion you will automatically fall into immorality .And it`s not something that is easily dispensed with or shaken off.
My wife was a bit apprehensive at first thinking the worst.However as the years passed that fear went out the door
After 56 years of marriage at a KH and left the religion about 25 years ago after 33 years of active service no such fear exists anymore.
Remember that it was religion that flew the planes into the twin towers. I think it's obvious that you can be a better person without religion. I'm not sure about spirituality, it's such a nebulous term, but I still think that if you use the purely human attributes of compassion and empathy then you can be a socially responsible person without relying on any outside influence.