Does Religion Make People Moral?

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November 30th, 2017 at 6:25:06 AM permalink
Mosca
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
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You can guess my answer. Regardless, this is a decent read.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/28/opinion/does-religion-make-people-moral.html
November 30th, 2017 at 6:36:10 AM permalink
terapined
Member since: Aug 6, 2014
Threads: 39
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It amazes that some religious people think atheists have no morals
Just so absurd
I'm an atheist and have very high morals
Nobody needs religion to determine what is right and wrong. Its common sense
Sometimes we live no particular way but our own - Grateful Dead "Eyes of the World"
November 30th, 2017 at 7:20:48 AM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
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Perhaps the best proof that there is no deity of any kind, is the fact that religion works exactly like every other human-made system. That is, it has positive and negative aspects, and in the end it depends on the character of the person applying it more than on its stated principles.
If Trump where half as smart as he thinks he is, he'd be twice as smart as he really is.
November 30th, 2017 at 11:05:39 AM permalink
Wizard
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I'll start by saying I have known good and bad people in just about any cross segment of society you can think. I've known a few, out of hundreds, of Christians who were genuinely merciful and kind people, always striving to love his fellow man and be a good example to his/her faith. However, I have known plenty more of the Roy Moore types -- going around making a big show of their piety while privately doing whatever they dang well please. After all, as the bumper sticker says, "Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven." As long as you're forgiven, why not do whatever you want?

All things considered, I think the world would be a better place without religion.
Knowledge is Good -- Emil Faber
November 30th, 2017 at 11:30:13 AM permalink
Evenbob
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 111
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Religion can make people act in a moral
manner, but not actually be moral. Religion
can guilt them into doing the 'right thing',
but actually being a moral person is a
personal choice, not a religious one. Look
what happens in big cities when the power
goes out. Many people who go to church
become looters overnight. Their religious
morality goes out the window and they
become who they really are.
If you take a risk, you may lose. If you never take a risk, you will always lose.
November 30th, 2017 at 1:39:22 PM permalink
beachbumbabs
Member since: Sep 3, 2013
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Religion is, in my experience ,almost completely divorced from morality. It is an organization designed to relieve people of fear through faith, and to populate a powerful person or caste with sheep who finance it/them.

That's the design. Some religions do really teach and enforce morality, if morality is defined as decent treatment of other people and living things, even if it's not in your own best interests at the time.

To tell the difference, I look at how the religion's leaders conduct themselves. Most fail at personal morality, even if they lead a moral flock.
Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. -ersatz Buddha
November 30th, 2017 at 3:42:21 PM permalink
FrGamble
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 49
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That was indeed an excellent read to start this thread. It saddens me deeply that Turkey, once a shining example in the Muslim world of the possibility of a secular government with religious freedom is turning into what the author is seeing.

For me there are two questions here and both are obvious. Do you need God to have the notion of good or evil? Yes. Without some objective moral standard that crosses cultural and even religious lines the question makes no sense. It devolves into "Do you need God to live your own personal version of what is good and moral?" The answer to this one is of course not. In this case you are just making yourself into God and the arbiter of what is right and wrong. This is literally the first and oldest sin. If we are all talking about universal objective morals we can agree with then you need something to ground those morals in that is bigger than ourselves, our society, or our state. If we think what is good is only determined by ourselves, our culture, or our government than it can change and then good or evil just means what we say it means. It has no real intrinsic value and it makes this whole question ridiculous or simply replaces some other entity or ourselves in the place of God. Regardless something has to define what good is? Whatever you think "God" is or what has the authority to determine what good or evil is - this is obviously essential to have even the notion of good or morality.

The second and less philosophical and more interesting question is. Does religion make us good? No. In fact as this article points out and I think Babs alludes to religion can be corrupted and lead to evil actions just like individuals and governments. Of course religion is less corruptible and less dangerous than when governments turn to evil (which makes the Wizard's statement about on the whole what religion does very puzzling and non-historical). Regardless, religion and power should not and do not mix. If the leaders of a religion are not in a place of humble and obvious service, if they are being served and not the other way around it is sick and leads to all kinds of problems. I should know because I'm from a Church that at times has had armies and was synonymous with state power. These were the worst of times for my Church as you all continue to rightly bring up (albeit it mixed with historical myth).

Sorry for the long post but the author of the article says it best and I will end with this:
"An exceptional Jewish rabbi who lived two millenniums ago, Jesus of Nazareth, spotted this problem. Those practicing Pharisees who are “confident of their own righteousness and look down on everybody else,” he declared, are not really righteous. Sinners who regret their failures, he said, are more moral than the pious who boast."
“It is with the smallest brushes that the artist paints the most exquisitely beautiful pictures.” (
November 30th, 2017 at 4:16:53 PM permalink
Wizard
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Quote: FrGamble
In this case you are just making yourself into God and the arbiter of what is right and wrong. This is literally the first and oldest sin. If we are all talking about universal objective morals we can agree with then you need something to ground those morals in that is bigger than ourselves, our society, or our state.


I don't agree with that. I ground my morals in what is best for the greater society. We can see apes living by this construct, it is not that complicated. Since nobody has proven a moral force out there greater than society to me, I have to go with the advancement of society as the basis of a moral code.
Knowledge is Good -- Emil Faber
November 30th, 2017 at 4:39:52 PM permalink
FrGamble
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
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So you would seemingly be forced to admit that slavery was a good. If society is the moral force think about Nazi Germany, Stalin's Russia, and that is just modern history. You could also be asked to imagine a society that declares rape or the killing of infants to be a good, would that make it so?
“It is with the smallest brushes that the artist paints the most exquisitely beautiful pictures.” (
November 30th, 2017 at 4:58:36 PM permalink
Wizard
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Quote: FrGamble
So you would seemingly be forced to admit that slavery was a good. If society is the moral force think about Nazi Germany, Stalin's Russia, and that is just modern history. You could also be asked to imagine a society that declares rape or the killing of infants to be a good, would that make it so?


No. By society I mean all humans, not just the ones that share my nationality or skin color. Infants are human so I would defend their rights as well.
Knowledge is Good -- Emil Faber
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