Can you practice morality without religion?

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 28 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #272466
    Vknid
    Moderator

      What follows is simply my opinion.  I do not believe anyone should be forced into anything.  We all fall short, no one is above anyone else, and we all need the mercy and forgiveness God freely offers us.

       

      I was thinking about this because essentially this is what many try to do.  And I believe this is why morality (and often legality)  in the west is breaking down, particularly in the USA.

      For the most part our laws and common code of conduct (what is socially acceptable) is based on Christian morality.

      You can indeed separate the right and wrong from the Religion.  You can live a life where you say it is wrong to cheat on my wife so I won’t do that.  Or I won’t steal or hurt someone because that is not only wrong but also illegal.  But what happens ultimately is people start to question WHY is that wrong.  And without the Religious backing they there is no answer.  So morality decays as some decide to shift what was wrong to right or acceptable.  And then as a  few start doing this it causes more people to questions and to follow suit.  And before you know it your only barrier of right and wrong is legality and at some point that gets called into question as well.

      I believe the social decay we see in general in this country is in large part due to this.

      My conclusion?  Do we need God?  Absolutely.  Everyone wants to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Everyone is born with a God shaped hole in them but through free will you can choose what you like to try to fill that missing piece.

      Christianity gives you a code to live by.  It gives you reasons to follow that code.  But the secret is that they aren’t arbitrary rules just to see if you will follow them.  They are common sense guide lines to keep you safe and happy and content through good times and bad.

      So at the end of the day, divorcing yourself from God is ultimately divorcing yourself from morality.

      “Is not ours an age of mis-lived lives, of un-manned men? Why? Because Jesus Christ has disappeared. Wherever the people are true Christians, there are men to be found in large numbers, but everywhere and always, if Christianity wilts, the men wilt. Look closely, they are no longer men but shadows of men. Thus what do you hear on all sides today? The world is dwindling away, for lack of men; the nations are perishing for scarcity of men, for the rareness of men. I do believe: there are no men where there is no character; there is no character where there are no principles, doctrines, stands taken; there are no stands taken, no doctrines, no principles, where there is no religious faith and consequently no religion of society. Do what you will: only from God will you get men.”

      Cardinal Louis-Édouard-François-Desiré Pie ~ Christmas Homily ~ 1871

      • This topic was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by Vknid.
      • This topic was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by Vknid.
      #272469
      Mustangride1
      Moderator

        Yes you can have Morality and Ethics without Religion.

        Religion has also caused the most Death and Destruction on this planet. How moral is killing people in its name? How moral is taking peoples homes and belongings and enslaving them in religions name?

        It does not take religion, to be moral. It takes the ability to know what is right and what is fare. It could be by upbringing you learn that or it could be by just a gut feeling.

        When some “religion or religious leader” says anything I tend to look for what they or the church gets from it. Bottom line truth they are in it for the money.  Churches has Rules to be a member, I do not remember Christ ever saying you have to do this to be in my Cliche. I sure don’t remember him handing out Parking Passes based on Tithe or putting on Big Rock Concerts every Sunday to draw people in. And I sure know he did not have Mega Mansions to live in. I bet he would have also grabbed the Old Blue Hairs gossiping about everyone in the corner that paid the highest tithe and told them the sin they were committing was not worth all the tithe they paid.

         

        The same place God can be found in Christians (heart and soul) you can find the morals of someone who is not religious, cares about it or even knows about it. Being a good person is not based on religion but saying to yourself I will treat people the way I want them to treat me (even if they do not know that is in the bible) Morality is knowing right from wrong and that can simply be because of knowing the law or just knowing eternally what is right and wrong.

         

        But the biggest of all Morals. Being able to say you were wrong and being able to apologize to someone and mean it. Without remorse there can be no morals.

        #272471
        Vknid
        Moderator

          @Mustangride1

          I was about to disagree with you ,and on one point I do, but in reality we are saying much of the same thing.

          I very much distinguish between “organized religion” (which is typically a man made thing and thus subject to the whims of man) and actually believing in/loving  God and living by his word.

          It’s the organized part which causes the bad things you mentioned and those things are contrary to the teachings.  Those are not the fault of God but of people doing for themselves.

          Now here is where I disagree.

          “It does not take religion, to be moral. It takes the ability to know what is right and what is fare.”

          I will challenge you with this.  Who decides what’s right and what is fair?

          #272473
          DarthVengeant
          Premium

            I am not religious for the most part. I grew up in church and Christianity from both sides of my family. But, I found metal, and the devil got into me then. lol. My home decor is all metal, goth, japanese and anime. It’s not something a preacher would want to enter. :P. BUT, I consider myself a very moral person despite my aesthetic tastes. I also don’t go on sex crazed parties either, even though people think that’s what metalheads do. In fact, I don’t sleep around either, and never have. I also never liked metal or goth to find something to fit in with like most people do. I was told once that I can’t be conservative and a goth, and that just proved to me that those people were really in it because that’s what they were, they were doing it to fit in. Forced to like a fake ruleset to fit a narrative. Something I refuse to do. I’ll vote for Donald Trump and listen to goth all day if I please. I could give two shits what other people think of it.

            A lot of the things in the bible are simple morals that should be relevant to everyone frankly. You don’t have to believe in god to know thou shalt not murder (it’s actually translated wrong by most people. it is NOT thou shalt not kill) is a good thing to follow. Not cheating on your wife is a good thing, not just because the bible mentions it. Treating each other decently is not something you should only read in the bible. They are pretty much universal morals imo.

            The problem with the world today is that society has turned away from morality. The line you aren’t supposed to cross keeps being pushed further and further to where we now have flat out lunatics running around not knowing which direction is up from day to day because their pronouns keep changing to try and fit the narrative tick tock has mindwashed them to believe. They are doped up on prescription or non-prescription drugs because they can’t handle anything. The media bombards kids with division and immorality daily. We have kids going to drag queen shows that have “Not going to lick itself” written on the wall for them all to read. That is SICKNESS! Flat out. This is what happens when you ignore basic simple and logical morality. When society is nothing but debauchery. They keep pushing the line farther and father. You watch, pedophilia will be the next cause to fight for, it has already picked up ground if you look into it.

            People care more about what is trending on Twitter than they do about their kid being indoctrinated at school. People are being led around on a string by lies. The media has mindwashed the masses. The governments push these lies as facts. People are too blind to see it all. They are too caught up in it and caught up in their credit card debt, what’s the new car to buy, porn or sitcoms. To caught up in worrying about fitting in or being part of the heard. Well, I never have fit in and I don’t WANT to fit in. Fitting in is weak.

            #272480

            Can you practice morality without religion? – Yes.

            Can you practice morality without spirituality? – Nope.

             

             

            #272515
            Mustangride1
            Moderator

              Society has always decided what is right and what is wrong.

              No religion needed. Germany of the 30’s was not about religion it was about what society decided was.  Or heck even Slavery, was agreed by society to be OK but then decided NOT OK. Heck even in America we have laws based nothing on religion but on needs of society. Show me in the bible where slavery is ok, or executions of people from a different religion or non-religion even. Society said yes and then No and visa versa.

              Society is who decides and always will. Even in ROME before Christ society did.

              #272546

              Christianity is about more than rules, but the rules play an important part.

              One important part of the Christian message is that we cannot keep the rules.

              In Romans, Paul points out that even if people were judged by their own rules and not the rules God has given, people would still end up condemning themselves, because no one keeps his or her own rules.

              That is our problem. We know what is right, and we don’t do it. People know they shouldn’t steal, but people still steal. People know murder is wrong, but people still murder. People know they should love and care for each other, but people are still selfish and greedy. The people who most loudly scream about their pet virtue tolerance are the people who most strongly practice intolerance.

              Rules are important, and a society’s rules need to be just, and justice cannot be determined unless there is a standard. But just rules will not create a just people. If anything, just rules condemn us, as each of us break those rules.

              I think it was the Reformers who said that there are two or three good ways to use God’s laws: one way is to show us how sinful we are an how we need a Savior to rescue us from the eternal punishment for those sins, and another is so we can create just laws and know how to do good works to help each other. That last will always be a struggle, because even believers still struggle with the flesh and their sins, and as mankind gets worse and worse they will not only ignore the laws of God but they’ll says that what is evil is actually what is good.

              That is one problem with “Look inside yourself” morality. It is subjective. A man can argue with himself, blind himself, excuse himself, rationalize his actions, and so a man or even a society can do great evil while convinced they are doing good.

              “The heart is deceitful, and desperately wicked”. I know how untrustworthy I am. I am the last person I should trust to make rules.

              #272548

              First: Define morality.   Then: Define religion.

              Morality is based on values, on the idea of a choice between right and wrong. What is an objective definition of values and how do you define right and wrong?
              By what standard can we measure good and evil and define right and wrong?

              Obviously, simple obience to dogma (as demanded by religion) is insufficient. When your god demands obedience to one code and my god demands obedience to another, and then someone else comes along and says “god isn’t real”, you’re stuck.

              So what can we base right and wrong on? How can we objectively define values?
              Let’s start with something simple: material value.

              A diamond is valuable, right? What is the value of a diamond on the moon though?  Nothing, because there is no living being to value it.
              Likewise, if you are crossing the desert and you come across someone who offers you a bottle of water or the biggest diamond on the planet, what do you choose? The water. Because without your life, that diamond is worthless to you.
              Likewise we can observe the same in the animal kingdom. A dung ball is worthless to us, but means everything to the beetle risking its life to roll it across a field.

              The standard of value is that which benefits life. Both material and immaterial. The behaviors humans throughout all cultures value, honesty, kindness, hard work, etc are those which benefit the life of either the individual or the group. The things most cultures agree on are bad: theft, violence, murder, cheating are that which harm life.

              Now of course you can say: “if what benefits life is moral, how about I steal from someone? That benefits my life after all.”  But not so hasty. Human civilization advances through building and creating. Anything that benefits the unproductive at the expense of the productive is immoral, because it harms society and by extension human evolution. By this very reason we can also deduct that the welfare state and redistribution of wealth are morally wrong, and a simple observation of western society confirms this. Since the introduction of the welfare state, not only have virtually all measures of wealth, optimism, family unity and civilization dropped, but for the past 60 years, even the average IQ in western nations has dropped for the first time in history.

              We can measure the morality of a policy by its result. If it benefits life, it is moral.

              Do we need religion for this? No.

              But is it not true that the moral decay of Western civilization has correlated with the loss of religion?  Yes, this is also true. But a correlation does not establish a causal effect.
              If the decline of Christianity was directly responsible for moral decay, non Christian countries would be savage hellholes. And yet, Atheist countries like Japan, Czech Republic, South Korea and others flourish. Hindu India is flourishing and improving as well.

              Focusing on today alone is also shortsighted. Nazi Germany was 96% Christian, with Hitler famously banning all Atheist organizations in his first month in office, confiscating the free thinker society’s headquarters in Berlin and gifting it to the Protestant Church. In 1938 he bragged about having “stamped out the scourge of Atheism”. He repeatedly denied that humans evolved from primates and in Mein Kampf mentions his Christian faith over 130 times. Atheists were banned from the SS (the troops who supervised the concentration camps) and banned from various government jobs. Contrary to American WW2 propaganda (which focused on Himmler and Rosenberg, two Pagans who wanted to replace Christianity with a Germanic religion), Nazi Germany was very much a Christian country. More so than the US at the time.

              I would argue the moral collapse of the West is indeed partially due to the loss of traditional religion. See studies have shown that religiosity is mostly genetic. Most people are genetically religious. No, that doesn’t mean you’re born Christian or Muslim. It means that at some point in human evolution, religiosity proved to be an evolutionary benefit, i.e. when an idea larger than the just the rule of the current alpha male allowed people to form larger groups and gain a head starts on civilization. Religion helped people unify and achieve greater things together. Of course there are other unifying ideas out there like freedom, national pride, racial pride, family, culture etc.  And hence not all people are genetically religious. The full effect of this mutation isn’t understood, but in general it leads to higher trait agreeability and lower trait individualism.
              What it means in practice is a that religious people are more obedient and more eager to believe things without proof. This has been shown again and again in scientific studies with Atheists routinely exhibiting the highest degrees of distrust of strangers. Atheists tend to not be the most social types.

              What happens when a “genetically religious” person is raised without religion as most of today’s youth? They find new religions:  Wokeism, veganism, satanism, feminism, socialism, global warming…    Basically they’ll believe any stupid crap you throw their way. And then they will build a religion around that crap, complete with blasphemy laws, censorship, inquisition and witch trials. They continue to be religious, only worse, because their new religion will be provided by psychopaths on a power trip (the government).

              With all this talk about religion, what is religion really? As stated in the opening post, it provides people a code to live by. All religions do. What religion doesn’t provide is a rational argument for its code or proof of its god being real. Religion – by definition – is an authority system based on belief. Not reason, not logic, not science. Belief. Christianity and Islam specifically single out belief in god as a requirement for not being tortured for eternity. By definition, belief can only exist in the absence of proof. No one “believes” in gravity or the sun, because obviously they’re there. Religion cannot provide proof of god’s existence, because the very notion to do so would render the central moral virtue moot.
              Religion as a system is based entirely on authority. God doesn’t argue with people. He commands. (Except in Buddhism and Judaism to a degree, Buddha actually demanded his followers put his teachings to the test and question everything he said. And Israelite literally means “he who wrestles with god”. Moses famously argued with god). Christianity like most religions demands absolute submission. It’s laws are absolute, and you better not violate them or else!

              On a personal level, the act of submission essentially means adopting someone else’s values for your own. Whether one submits to god or government or the woke mob, it means you’re outsourcing the responsibility of defining morality, and of choosing between right and wrong. You outsource your morality based on either belief or fear.
              Depending on who gives the orders, this can lead you to living a moral life. But absent any proof, you run the risk of being not only wrong, but also serving the wrong people.

              But if you think for yourself, try to define objective values and judge your choices by their impact on your own life and others, that is when you cease to be a drone and acquire objective moral agency.

              #272568
              Mustangride1
              Moderator

                Excellent post.  Morality is in ones self I can not argue that is where it has to start. But again where do we learn it, is from society.  I have wondered if we were to take a person and put them in the wild by themselves no human contact ever, raised by Apes or Wolves etc. The brought them to society how they would view it? Then take them to another nation and see how they view after seeing 2 nations…. I bet that person would run back to nature saying “my species is batcrap crazy”.

                Morality is finding the Sanity in the insanity. It is the only thing that has kept us from just destroying ourselves.  If you really get down to it, it is what allows us by a set of standards to be able to live together, for without it, survival of the fittest would be the rule. Which is Natures law.

                Imagine a world like that, Cripples, mentally ill, those with any disability, the weak etc would never make it even to puberty, possibly not even much beyond birth. Slavery would certainly be part of life. The world without societal laws “norms and expectations” would be a very dangerous place to be.

                 

                #272571
                Flash
                Premium

                  Religions in many fashions, are for the majority, the foundation of all civilized society and morals. Prior to human beings believing in higher powers, you mostly had a savage/survival mentality.

                  People would potentially not just do anything they wanted, when absent any beliefs in God’s, merely because of fear or forced structure in a hierarchy.

                  As the belief in God, God’s, or higher power became more prevalent, humans began developing more civility. Now, that’s not to say it’s been without flaw.

                  Generally religions, especially like Christianity, although not exclusive to it, brought about a more modern morality in teaching all life is precious.

                  People bastardizing religion and making wars for it are simply false prophets and not actually of the religion. Claiming religions themselves are responsible for mass killings if their word is opposite, isn’t correct.

                  I agree with the OP. Without religions, and especially Judeo-Christian values that helped found America, we would not have nearly what we call morality. We are seeing it decay more in recent days sadly.

                   

                  #272649

                  “I agree with the OP. Without religions, and especially Judeo-Christian values that helped found America, we would not have nearly what we call morality. We are seeing it decay more in recent days sadly.”

                  You don’t believe other moral frameworks like let’s say Confucianism, Buddhism or the morality of let’s say Socrates, Aristotle or Nietzsche could have led to a prosperous and moral society? I tend to bring up Japan as an example, which as a mostly irreligious country has reached what is probably the highest level of human civilization. They have among the lowest murder rates, lowest rates of sexual violence, single motherhood, poverty, substance abuse, and they have among the best literacy and education results.

                  “Morality is finding the Sanity in the insanity. It is the only thing that has kept us from just destroying ourselves. If you really get down to it, it is what allows us by a set of standards to be able to live together, for without it, survival of the fittest would be the rule. Which is Natures law.

                  Imagine a world like that, Cripples, mentally ill, those with any disability, the weak etc would never make it even to puberty, possibly not even much beyond birth. Slavery would certainly be part of life. The world without societal laws “norms and expectations” would be a very dangerous place to be.”

                  This is an argument often made by opponents of “freedom”. That unregulated freedom is chaos and that a meritocratic or darwinistic society would inevitably be cruel. Robert Reich (sicko pedo communist) recently wrote an opinion piece where he essentially summed up the idea that civilization (code for socialism) is the opposite of nature. Which it is. It’s a redistribution of wealth from the productive to the unproductive.
                  Of course no one wants a purely darwinist society, where poor or disabled people die on the street. But a meritocratic society doesn’t have to be that way. As humans, we inherently understand that suffering is bad. A civilization must strive to reduce suffering, especially undue suffering. There’s nothing wrong with providing welfare to those who need help. But when you make welfare or altruism the central moral tenet and hallmark of society, when you turn failure into a business model, that’s when you produce a dysgenic effect on society.
                  A society is still subject to natural law. Natural law is the mechanism by which nature allowed life to evolve. We may decry it as unfair (which it objectively is), but so is gravity. Life on planet Earth isnt what we wish it to be. It’s not paradise. We can wish we had unlimited clean water, unlimited wealth to go around, no wars, no divisions, we can wish we could fly… but wishing don’t make it so. Nature makes the rules (or god if you will). We can only adapt to the reality, but we can’t adapt reality to us. Any attempt to do so will fail. Like the left’s attempt of creating an utopia where everyone is equal. Not gonna happen, because that’s not how our species evolved.
                  The best path would be to create a system where the mechanism of natural law and selection is still intact, while reducing the cruelty. In practice this would mean: People would have a choice. They can have welfare, but if they have it longer than x months, they would be sterilized or no more welfare. This way you avoid the “welfare queen” business mode, where people collect thousands in welfare or child support or both, while breeding like rats at the expense of the virtuous. Obviously this wouldn’t apply to the blind, disabled etc. A civilized socieity wouldn’t punish people for the circumstances of their birth. But the disabled are the exception, and a civilized people will not be bankrupted by shouldering some of the weight of their burden. So long as the overall societal model still rewards self-sufficiency and doesn’t reward parasitism, things would work out quite well.

                  #272669
                  Flash
                  Premium

                    I’m guessing you chose to skip the part where I said “Religions” helped morality. The Judeo-Christian example was merely for American example. None of those practices you stated are without religion. Japan, was an exceedingly poor example. During WW2 they were highly immoral, slaughtering Korean and Chinese with no justice cause. They raped countless victims and were devoid of any morality. Their current prosperity was a result from America’s generosity and morals, to rebuild them and help them integrate back into the world.

                    #272719

                    The notion that the US rebuilding (colonizing) after WW2 is the reason for Japan’s (or Germany’s for that matter) current day prosperity is propaganda and an insult to these nations. Both nations were extremely wealthy, scientifically advanced and highly developed throughout their history.

                    No offense, but I think you’re missing the mark when you cherry pick particular bad periods of a nation’s history and try to tie the cruelty to a particular aspect of their culture in isolation, with no regard to other factors at play (in Japan’s case imperialism and also a centuries old sweltering conflict with the Chinese). WW2 Japan is not neither the norm for Japanese history, nor is it in any way relevant to Japan being a majority Atheist country today.
                    By the same token, Nazi Germany, which was overwhelmingly and constitutionally Christian during the WW2 era, is not representative of German history overall (which for most of its history was one of the more peaceful nations in Europe compared to England, France or Spain), nor is it representative of German Christianity or Christianity overall.

                    If you want to look at the civilizational effect of Christianity, Islam, Atheism, or any other ideology on a society, you have to look at that people’s entire history, and also at changes that occurred during history. For example, the most Atheist country in the world, Czech Republic (over 80% irreligious), was majority Christian before WW2. Likewise, Japan was mostly Shinto before WW2. Quality of life and civilizational success of two countries improved after they became secular. Czech Rep went from an impoverished former soviet bloc country to now one of the most prosperous in all of Europe with lower poverty or violent crime rates than even wealthy Western nations like Belgium, Germany, France, etc.
                    On the other hand, the US has without a doubt gone downhill since it became less religious.

                    Hence the point I had initially made: It’s not possible to say “without Christianity / without religion society decays and a country turns into an immoral hellhole.” Because there are examples to the contrary. You can’t discount those, same as I can’t claim that Atheism brings automatic prosperity, because quite clearly, America, UK and other anglo countries are indeed going down the toilet.
                    Which means there must be other factors at play than religion that explain why these anglo countries are developing so badly and why countries like Japan or Czech Rep have developed so well.
                    I could instantly think of a few reasons why the west is collapsing: immigration, high taxes destruction of the nuclear family, feminism, socialism, obsession with race, etc.

                    Politics runs downstream of culture. All of these things are tied to cultural marxism / postmodernism. And I think this is where you find the answer. Most of East Europe is doing extremely well since 25 years compared to West Europe. Why? Because they rejected socialism. After the soviet bloc fell, they wanted nothing to do with it anymore. They rejected the woke, progressive, socialist nonsense that has infested the West. Countries like Poland (highly religious), Czech Rep (highly atheist) and Hungary (ca 50/50) are all prospering. No 3rd world immigration, no wokeness, no feminism, low taxes (czech has 15% max income tax), healthy nationalism and a strong family oriented culture.

                    I think their example proves my answer to the initial question posed: Religion is not necessary either on an individual or societal level to act morally.
                    It is entirely possible to act morally both as a religious and irreligious person. You just need a standard of morality that is objectively good. How do you know if it is? By the outcome.

                    As even the bible beautifully puts it: “by their fruit ye shall know them.”

                    #272721
                    Flash
                    Premium

                      Although quite an amazing word salad you formulated, you gave no evidence of Japan’s morality, for example, exclusive of religion. Thry have been Shinto and now more Buddhist, both with morality founded in spiritual, not atheist sense.

                      There is no major representation of morality upholding without spirituality and religion. The Czech Republic was amoral communists up to 40yrs ago, now they are considered rank #5 in the world in corruption with a 10% unemployment rate as well.

                      When Japan strayed from morality and into mere political power, that’s when their rape and pillage of South Korea and the Chinese coast happened. That is literally to this day the reason the US has issues with China. They can’t comprehend how we forgave Japan’s depravity as China sided with us during WW2.

                      Your examples are sadly flawed and do not refute the OP. Morality does not exist with any exceeding success, with religion or religious style spirituality. It doesn’t exist, it hasn’t existed, and morality is birthed from it.

                       

                      Take care✌️

                      #272977
                      Vknid
                      Moderator

                        Here is one of the best TimCasts I have seen.  This one is with Dennis Prager and they hit A LOT of deep topics.  One of them?  How society is only a few generations away from losing morality once it detaches from the origin of that morality.

                         

                      Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 28 total)
                      • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

                      Subscribe to our mailing list to get the new updates!

                      SIGN UP FOR UPDATES!

                      NAVIGATION