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EdEarl

You don't need religion to have morals.

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dimreepr,

 

 

From Wiki,

 

"Religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence."

 

I learned in college about the Dogon in Africa. They had a big thing about granaries and their shape and the womb and the primordial mother and such. The shape of the double edged drums they built with the strings laced thru holes all around the skins at the ends connecting the two ends in a manner where you can squeeze the hourglass shaped drum in the crook of your elbow against your body and change the pitch of the drum. My mom brought me one back from Africa and its sitting on my bookshelf.

 

Regilion as I am using the word is generic and pervasive, understandable and real. It has nothing to do with the cruelity of sacrifice or slavery or homophobia or the stupidity of creationists. Or even God for that matter. The greeks had a whole bunch, the Hindu religion has even more, the idol worshipper that Mohammed bound together had many, and Mohammed said that there is only one, and he has no associates (like a son for instance). A system of beliefs that relate humanity to an order of existence is somewhat required when you talk about morals. Without a binding system of common organized beliefs you don't have nations and religions or moral values. It would be a crap shoot. Dog eat dog world. The strong would survive and the weak would perish. You would have a bunch of warring idol worshipping tribes. I know this, because that was what Mohammed was faced with. He had the Christians and the Jews with their organized system of beliefs and his people were without a guiding plan. So he took the ledgends that his people had, he took the stories of the Bible and rewrote them, keeping the main character, the universe itself, and making him the judge of us. He called himself a simple messenger and said the universe had talked to him like it had the other phophets in the bible, but he had received the final word, the clear word, the unadulterated truth of the situation, from the angel Gabriel, and he usurped the power of the universe and equated belief in his words with belief in Allah and being a believer would put you on the right path and being a disbeliever would place you in error and not worthy of a heavenly reward, but much boiling stuff poured down your throat for eternity. He said the Jews had gotten the message wrong because they charged interest, and the Christians had gotten it wrong because Jesus was a mere prophet and Allah himself has no associates and is not three (father son and holy ghost) but one...An organized system of beliefs that gave his people an order of existence.

 

No different is the secret of the Vedas and the eminations from this and that sub god of the one. An organized system of belief. And the tracking of ones soul from stone souls to metal souls to vegatable souls to fish souls to bird souls to animal souls and through men and women and Germans and english and americans and indians and persians and mohammedian and hindus and christians and harbers in aevloution process and then a realization process that unwinds all the sankaras that built up over the evolution process that allows one to tie together the mental world and the subtle world and the gross world and obtain a god state where you are aware of and connected to the master's soul, at which point your journey is complete...An organized system of beliefs that gave people and order of existence.

 

People used to sacrifice their enemies to ensure the rains. They used to hold slaves. Women where chattle. There was no Geneva convention, there was no U.N. or Olympics or Red Cross BEFORE religion. Moral values require an organized system of beliefs that tie a human to the thing that was before their birth and will be after they are gone. Otherwise its a hedonistic, dog eat dog, anarchistic crap shoot.

 

Religion needs no impossible god or group of gods. Just needs an organised system of beliefs that ties a human to the greater existence that we are all obviously a part of.

 

Just can not get to morals, without first establishing an organized system of beliefs against which to judge good and evil behavior.

 

Regards, TAR

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""Religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence.""

 

 

"Regilion as I am using the word is generic and pervasive, understandable and real. It has nothing to do with the cruelity of sacrifice or slavery or homophobia or the stupidity of creationists."

 

It does when the 'collection of beliefs' include "you should kill people, keep slaves, persecute gays and believe in the Book, or suffer eternal torment".

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Perhaps humans are born with a sense of moral values. I'm sceptical about that, but suppose it's true.

At any rate, this sense seems to be not very strong, Hence it needs to be "enforced" by some powerful source of authority.

 

Such authority was provided, In very primitive times, by tribal leaders. Who simply said "If anyone steals anything, I'll kill him" That's simple and clear cut. But it became impracticable when tribes grew in size - to 1,000 or 10,000 or more. With so many people around, how can leaders be expected to keep track of who's done what - whether some particular person has actually stolen something and needs punishing - or whether it's just lies made up by neighbours with a grudge. This was obviously a problem.

 

The solution to the problem, was to invent an alternative source of authority, which would act as a deterrent to stealing and crime in general. The deterrent was Religion. Skipping the polytheistic phase, and getting to medieval times, Religion lays down a general stipulation - that theft, and crime of all descriptions, is sinful. It goes against the will of God And God will punish sinners by sending them to eternal punishment in Hell. Pretty effective stuff, perhaps.

 

However, this stuff became less effective in modern times. Especially since the 18th century. The Enlightenment and the advance of science, all the new inventions - especially the steam engine, and I9th-century electric telegraph - gave Man a strong sense of his own power. This was bound to weaken belief in God and Religion.

 

Nevertheless, the fundamental need - for a source of external deterrent authority to enforce morals - didn't go away. Religion might no longer be adequate, in a scientific age, to supply this deterrent, but a new force was developed - the Police Force. Surely it's no co-incidence, that the Metropolitan Police Force, and "Scotland Yard", were born in the 19th Century, in the most scientifically and industrially advanced country of the time - Britain.

 

This British invention has since been copied all over the world, and no wonder - it offers a civilised modern means of deterring crime, and encouraging moral behaviour, without risking the potential barbarities of Religion !

 

So I think OP's post is basically on the right lines. You don't need Religion to have morals. Just an efficient Police Force.

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Morals are simplistic attempts to codify ethics. Morals generally are short, one or two sentences; therefore they are incapable of nuance. They are suited to the meanest understanding and therefore inflexible.

 

Ethics are complicated, and involve judging relative values, of course after assigning them. Analysis is required. There's no magic voice from the sky or some magic book to tell you what to do. You might mess up. People might not agree with you, and they might get mad. It's scary.

Edited by Schneibster

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Dekan,

 

A police force with principles and morals and ethics, that goes by a common complex system of beliefs as to what is right and what is wrong.

 

Consider yourself sitting at a red light at 3 o'clock in the morning. You hear nothing coming on the cross street. You see nothing coming on the cross street. Red light cameras have not yet been installed. There are no police around, everybody is asleep. Do you go, or wait for the light to change? Which choice is the moral decision? Should a pedestrian emerge from the shadows, and step off the curb, as you pulled out into the intersection, would he/she think you were being a good citizen or a bad one?

 

We "fear" what others think in somewhat an analogous fashion to not wanting to burn in hell.

And we need no police to tell us when our behavior would please or displease our parents, or the mayor, or the pastor, or our friend from Italy, or our cousin Matilda in upper New York state.

 

There is not such a fellow as Zeus. There are not enough police to watch everybody, all the time. It appears the only logical determination is that we watch ourselves, judge ourselves, and care very much about the judgement of cousin Matilda, as well.

 

Regards, TAR2

We "go by" our own judgement, but know we are not alone, and there are other "judges" out there. If we account for ALL the judges we know are out there, and consider that even all of them, taken together, are also judged...the question remains...by whom are we all judged.

 

15 or 20 years ago I solved this riddle. God is proxy for our collective judgement. Take it figuratively or take it literally, it is still true. Even if there is no Zeus sitting on a big throne on Mt. Oympus in the clouds.

26 people died in 24 hours in the Ukraine. Police and opposition. Obama said, if you don't stop the violence, the U.S. and its European alies will impose sanctions. They called a truce and sat down and talked.

Just heard two more have died, regardless of the truce. That's not right.

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tar is right. Being gay and proud of it, I don't need religion.

 

So I am atheist.

 

Religion turned of my abilities as best-in-class medium so what good is it?

 

None.

 

Impostor of Jon Donnis


I think you and I have very different definitions of agnosticism. Agnosticism to me doesnt mean neutral or moderate, as it's used in popular philosophical culture. It means the literal sense of not having knowledge, or nor stating that the question is not knowable. That why the concept of an agnostic researcher doesnt make sense to me; why would one research something that they deem as unknowable?

 

Dumb.

 

Oh, and yes, agnostics can be gay as can atheists.

 

Ask me.

 

I am one.

 

Impostor of Jon Donnis

Edited by Cap'n Refsmmat
it's a faaaake

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If I may wrestle this thread back on topic:

Tar

The definition of religion or the posing of ethical conundrums isn’t the point and doesn’t answer the question here. If we accept the innateness of a basic moral code as in fairness, reciprocity, respect of authority and empathy; then the answer is clear and the title of the thread is accurate.

Dekan

Do the police or any authority, culture or society teach empathy? Or indeed, how would you go about teaching it? I agree these innate senses don’t seem to carry a great deal of strength and is why cultures develop many different ways of framing their ethical codes, however, many similarities are seen across almost all of these different approaches; besides the need for authority isn’t in question here.

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The definition of religion or the posing of ethical conundrums isn’t the point and doesn’t answer the question here. If we accept the innateness of a basic moral code as in fairness, reciprocity, respect of authority and empathy; then the answer is clear and the title of the thread is accurate.

 

I agree.

 

What exactly is so moral about religion?

 

Look at how homophobic all the religions are! :mad:

 

Religion and morality are autocontradictory.

 

Impostor of Jon Donnis Psychic Medium

In reality a bit, like all other bits of the universe, consists, so far as I know at present, of innumerable atoms whirling and dancing one about the other. \

 

It is no more solid than a snowstorm.

 

Were you to eat of Alice-in-Wonderland’s mushroom and shrink to the dimensions of the infra-world, each atom

with its electrons might seem to you a solar system.

 

Where is morality and religion in the microcosm?

 

Nowhere.

 

As below, so here.

 

Within, without.

 

Impostor of Jon Donnis

Edited by Cap'n Refsmmat
it's a faaaake

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dimreepr,

 

But in terms of fairness and reciprocity and all, we unfortunately have a good test of human nature going on in the Ukraine right now. I thought Obama's chiding caused a truce and the parties would sit down and work a comprimise. The deaths are 4 times as outragous during the truce than before it. Now Obama is picking sides and calling for the Government of a Soveriegn Nation to pull their troups out of their own city. The moral lines are somewhat scattered and askew.

 

I don't even know what the disagreement is about. Just know it shouldn't be working out this way. The opposition shouldn't have attempted to take over another building during a truce, and the Police should not have been told to fire on their brethren. But where is the automatic human morals, what do they become when loyalty is in the mix?

 

Even without knowing what is going on, I have a guess, just from hearing that there are split loyalties, some to the West and some to Moscow. I have not yet had the opportunity to ask an aquaintance at work, who is from the Ukraine, for his take. Nor am I sure I should ask him. And I have not researched it to gain any facts, so its just a guess, but I think the situation not unfamiliar in human history, in fact not unfamiliar in the history of my own country as we threw off the British yoke.

 

I was speaking, a year ago, to a woman in my company from Latvia, as well as the gentleman I mentioned from the Ukraine, about language. Under the Soviet Union everybody learned Russian in school. Once the Soviet Union split up, Ukranians went back to learning Ukranian and Latvians went back to Latvian.

 

But even in our history in the U.S. we had Tories, loyal to the crown.

 

Unity and respect for authority is a good thing, morality wise.

Hegemony and oppression is a bad thing, morality wise.

 

Seems like this Ukranian situation, here in the 21st century, where we think we have risen to some high moral ground, points out that there is a large grey area where the difference between right and wrong has something to do with whose side you are on and what "common" code you are going by.

 

Such is probably also the case with demostrations against Globalism (which I never before understood).

 

I thought is was a good thing, for everybody to get together and work under a common set of rules. Thought it natural and good to work in this direction, to go in that John Lennon direction, for the sake of peace, and understanding, tolerance and forgivness and love, and "human nature".

 

But it appears that this is not such a simple thing after all and there is good in both listening to your parents AND in rebellion against them, and correlarily some "bad" in each, depending on who you wish to please, and who you wish to upset.

 

But which is right, to stand by Western priciples and voice outrage and make threats against the Ukranian government, and be the self appointed police of the police, or to stand aside and let Ukranians decide who they are to be loyal to and who is going to run the place under what set of rules.

 

I think we might have a similar problem in Syria. The King is not running the place that way we would rather he did. But he is the King of his people, and his country. And the rest of the world is neither his subject, nor is he the rest of the world's subject.

 

If morality is natural and automatic then everybody already has it, and it is somewhat immoral to suggest that you have it and the other guy does not.

 

But you still can not say religion has nothing to do with it, because the way things seem to turn out, there are a bunch of people that think like you do and hold your values and morals, morays and laws, and there are a bunch of people who do not. How would this situation possibly arise if a common set of beliefs was not at some point agreed upon by the whole bunch that thought the other bunch was wrong?

 

"Anything goes" is not going to get a group of any size, from couple to gang to state, to nation, to Global size groups very far. You have to agree on the standards you are going to go by.

 

And sometimes stand your ground and fight for what you believe.

 

Regards, TAR

As I pointed out in an earlier argument I am a bad guy in the eyes of more people than I am a good guy, by virtue of my sex, my age, my country, my "lack" of religion, my political registration, my ignorance of certain facts, and any number of behaviors and affiliations and criteria you might wish to choose. So still I think I am a good guy. Even though I fail to meet most people's standards.

 

I wonder who, under this situation that puts me in a bad light, to billions, when you add up all the individuals and bunches that find me lacking in one way or another, I think is left to properly judge me as "good"?

Whose side exactly do I think I am on, that I can say I have good morals?

Edited by tar

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Tar, please clarify, your verbose style and my limited comprehension makes it unclear to me; are you suggesting religion IS necessary to have morals?

P.S. The Ukrainian trouble is due to the government wanting closer ties with Russia and the opposition wanting closer ties with the EU, AFAIK.

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Tar, please clarify, your verbose style and my limited comprehension makes it unclear to me; are you suggesting religion IS necessary to have morals?

 

You're my hero. If you're successful in this, you should try nailing jello to the wall.

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dimreepr,

 

I am suggesting that religion already was responsible for morals.

 

Now that we have them, we can do without the accompaning hogwash.

 

Much like you need the forms in which to pour the concrete. Once the cement sets, you can take the boards away and the sidewalk does just fine, without them.

 

Any particular person can arrange his or her own relationship with the universe, and decide for themselves who or what is to be the judge of them. But if you know the world, and I know the same one, by the same senses and in the same manner, and we recognize each other as sharing the thing, then it is a common thing, that we share.

 

Someone, somewhere along the way proposed we were in it, by and for something greater, and this notion persists, even in the non-religious.

 

But someone must have been the first to know the difference between good and evil... otherwise all would just be good, or all would just be evil, or all would just be nondescript.

 

I am saying that you can not "get to morals" without a path. And in the history of this world, that path was through religion. The holding of a common set of beliefs about what it was all about, and all for and what a mortal human's relationship with the place was "supposed to" be.

 

Regards, TAR2.

 

Can you have a sidewalk without a form? Well yes you can, most sidewalks don't have forms.

Can you have a sidewalk without a form? Well no you can't, you need the boards to form the shape the cement will take, when it sets.

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This is a chicken/egg question but wait, you’re an atheist Tar; therefore you believe the morals came from us, not god/s, ergo morals predated religion.


You're my hero. If you're successful in this, you should try nailing jello to the wall.

Nailing jello to the wall is the easy bit, Phi; just freeze it, drill a hole, insert nail and bang away. :);)

Edited by dimreepr

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I am suggesting that religion already was responsible for morals.

 

Can you have a sidewalk without a form? Well yes you can, most sidewalks don't have forms.

Can you have a sidewalk without a form? Well no you can't, you need the boards to form the shape the cement will take, when it sets.

But the evidence from our ancestors is that morals (of a sort) were there before religion.

Otherwise religion could never have got started.Imagine the first proto-priest saying

"You should worship God because He created the universe"

And getting the reply "So what?"

 

There's only some basis for that worship if there is a morality that says we should thank people who did things we like.

 

The formwork analogy is a good one.

But you have transposed the roles of religion and morality.

 

You wouldn't be able to set up a religion in a group of people with no morals.

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I am saying that you can not "get to morals" without a path. And in the history of this world, that path was through religion. The holding of a common set of beliefs about what it was all about, and all for and what a mortal human's relationship with the place was "supposed to" be.

 

 

 

This is pretty close to the common modern belief but it is illogical.

 

One bunch of cavemen with religion would have a very poor chance of competing or

even surviving in a hostile enviroment when other cavemen with a scientific bent were

forever eating their lunch. Superstition would have been self defeating and unable to

propogate before the advent of morals.

 

The ability to observe has always ruled and not religion or magic.

 

Science came first. It failed and its remnants became religion. By this time science

had already created agriculture and the means to survive so humans survived despite

the lack of science. Countless centuries passed (~28) without progress until modern

science arose to restart it.

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?

 

Illogical?

 

"You wouldn't be able to set up a religion in a group of people with no morals."

 

Agreed, in the sense that Moses would have made no progress with the group he brought the tablet to, if the group did not see the sense in the rules.

 

Disagreed, in the sense that if morals already exist, without religion, you would not be able to find a group without them.

 

So logically it is your argument in a bind, not mine.

 

Certainly the morals that religion promotes are sensible and workable (for the most part) or they would not take hold in a population. But they are choices that the individual imposes on his/her society, as much as they are choices that the society imposes on the individual.

 

Your argument is more saying that you can have religion without god, then saying you can have morals without religion. Which is my argument.

 

I am presupposing there is no God. I am presupposing there is religion, and working from there, in a logical fashion, to understand the role that religion has played in forming our morality.

 

There are very few instances of people we would consider moral individuals, that have not been influenced by the teachings of religions. If you say that they can be good, without believing that it is God that is their final judge, then fine, this works for me as well, but where did "we" get these ideas? We know we did not get them from the God of the Bible, because although the rules make a lot of sense, the guy writing our names in a huge book makes only figurative sense, and NO literal sense.

 

But without the figurative sense of either being listed in the book, or burning in hell, why would anybody feel that their behavior was being judged to such an extent as that it would matter to anybody after they died?

 

Why do we promote the "Olympic Spirit", if it is automatic and sensible to begin with?

 

We have to actually do the thing, to show others that it works if we all believe in it.

 

Tolerance and love, sacrifice for higher ideals, are things with a basis in the teachings of all the religions of the world. Subjegating ones own personal desires for pleasure and power to a greater, common power, that subordinates even the rich and the powerful, is central to democracy and communism, capitalism and despotism. The King's power is given to him by the people. We know this, because there is no God that would give him any power that is not also given to his subjects. But there exists in the White House, a throne, that gives tremendous power to ANYBODY that sits in it. So we, as Americans, all together give this seat its power, with the idea that there is a greater good that we serve, by doing it. It cannot be the God of the Bible that has created the seat, literally, so it must be the God of the Bible that has created the seat figuratively.

 

It is sensible and workable that we have leaders that by proxy do our bidding. But they must operate under a code of behavior that is imposed from above them, by the people below them. While this can obviously happen without a God, since there aren't any. It cannot happen without the ideal being defined. And religion's job is to define/grasp the ideal and then subjegate yourself to it.

 

And what better power to hook your ideals to, then the power of the universe.

 

Regards, TAR

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Wow Tar you’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel now, variable goalposts, reframing arguments to mean what you’ve decided; You can’t have it both ways, if you believe there’s no god the only logical conclusion is that morals came before religion.

 

Its culture not religion that forms our morals, religion may play its part but that part depends on the strength of religion in your personal culture, which means religion can play an important part, but equally it can play no part AT ALL.

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Cladking,

 

Much science and knowledge was written down and recorded and stored and shared for the benefit of humanity in some ornate libraries in Europe. By religious men, for religious reasons. Same guys that were concerned with establishing and maintaining our moral values.

 

Regards, TAR

 

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=Pictures+of+ornate+libraries+in+europe&id=4F7CF9412A71F3AFE3D77EE285EE5BC14DA61EA5&FORM=IQFRBA

Dimreepr,

 

Name a society where religion played no role.

 

Regards, TAR

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Mine.

 

 

BTW I said culture not society tut tut Tar.

Edited by dimreepr

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Ok just to fire in the final nail in your tenuous argument. If morals predated religion then mankind existed without religion but with morals; so in answer to your question I would cite, THAT society.

 

And if you, for some strange reason, require the final say be my guest.

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"Disagreed, in the sense that if morals already exist, without religion, you would not be able to find a group without them."

And I can't find such a group; so you have just supported the idea that religions are caused by morals, rather than the other way round.

 

From time to time you might get small groups without morals. They won't last.

Other than that, are there any groups without morals?

 

 

"Certainly the morals that religion promotes are sensible and workable (for the most part) or they would not take hold in a population."

Nope, that's the wrong way round .

If religion opposed the morality of the community, the religion would never start.

 

"I am presupposing there is no God. I am presupposing there is religion, and working from there, in a logical fashion, to understand the role that religion has played in forming our morality."

Again, you are putting the cart before the horse.

Without morals you can't have a society. and (as I have explained before- though you seem to have ignored it) you can't have a religion without some sense of moral society.

The proto-priest says "I will intercede with the Almighty to make your crops grow, as long as you feed me and provide for me"

And one of two things happens.

in a society with morals they accept the deal.

In an amoral society they hold a knife to his throat and tell him he's damned well going to intercede and, when he's finished, he can get his own dinner.

 

Religion isn't possible in a society without morals.

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You don't know what morals they had, nor what religion. Any religion you cite, was predated by the ideas that created it. The ideas had to come from someone's mind. We have only things that work to go on. If the ideas work, then they are good. Moral if you like. But our particular ideas did not evolve without the aid of religion. Perhaps your argument says that religion is good.

 

My library, and where I got the idea.

 

(unaddress post was aimed at dimreepr)

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post-15509-0-82137400-1393158129_thumb.png

Edited by tar

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