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Morality and Religion

 
 
Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2010 09:03 am
I am sure this is going to be the hundredth thread dealing with this issue, but I think that I still have to say something on it.
Today I was given a newspaper by a member of local Christian sect. As most of the literature of that kind, it emphasises the necessity to believe to be moral, that "unbelievers are generally less moral than believers"... So I should like to discuss whether it is really so, or rather I should like to share my own experiences.
Obviously so-called religious people think they are more moral because they obey to a certain set of rules given by their teachers and books. But why do they? Is it that the existence of God, Judge or the law of karma make them behave morally? If yes, then another question is why? So as to get a place in paradise or better rebirth? If that's the case, then their morality is nothing but a humiliation of a weak before a powerful, that is cowardice and in my opinion has nothing to do with morality. If not, then why do we need the belief in so much?
What I should like to share is that I discovered that to be moral there is no need to believe in anything. The only thing needed, is to follow one's heart, one's nature. Doing this I realised that abstinence from sex or from alcohol, drugs, meat, killing, stealing has happiness within itself, because it raises human over this world of struggle, this world of suffering. It's not even abstinence, "abstinence" is a rude word, because it implies so-called struggle against desires. But when we realise our true nature and the value of others, there is no even choice, we just live. Perhaps what I am saying here sounds much like a sermon, but I have a difficulty to put it more clearly. Perhaps I should illustrate that with an example. Many believers accuse atheists that they are lechers. I am not a believer, but I found that for me to have pure relationships with a girl is much better than trying to get in her bed, and these pure relationships is not a compulsion which I lay upon myself because of belief, it's just that it is better for me to behave like that. I do that because I feel it is much more pleasant than use another person for my so-called necessities. Therefore I call that following one's own nature.
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fresco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2010 09:48 am
@Eudaimon,
Religion is to morality as the police are to a driving code.
0 Replies
 
mark noble
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2010 09:53 am
Hi again Eudaimon,
I agree on all fronts. I am a meist - Me-ist. And I concur that 'that' we do not control, controls us. I did, nevertheless discover morality, or rather - the psychology of, within the pages of the book of proverbs. I simply removed the God attributes, and saw the results of many generations of analysis of human nature. Good point on the lechery - I, all to often, encounter the "It's ok to look" stance - No! It is not - for we ARE what we think. I have a good way of proving this too, and use it as and when I explain. Thus - If a paedophile is interested in a child, in only his/her thoughts, and never acts upon said urge, does it make him/her any less of a paedophile? NO! - Simply cross reference this process with all factors of immorality (morality too, but unimportant to your thread).
Thank you Eudaimon, you have a great day.
Mark...
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  0  
Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2010 10:02 am
@Eudaimon,
Eudaimon wrote:

I am sure this is going to be the hundredth thread dealing with this issue, but I think that I still have to say something on it.
Today I was given a newspaper by a member of local Christian sect. As most of the literature of that kind, it emphasises the necessity to believe to be moral, that "unbelievers are generally less moral than believers"... So I should like to discuss whether it is really so, or rather I should like to share my own experiences.
Obviously so-called religious people think they are more moral because they obey to a certain set of rules given by their teachers and books. But why do they? Is it that the existence of God, Judge or the law of karma make them behave morally? If yes, then another question is why? So as to get a place in paradise or better rebirth? If that's the case, then their morality is nothing but a humiliation of a weak before a powerful, that is cowardice and in my opinion has nothing to do with morality. If not, then why do we need the belief in so much?
What I should like to share is that I discovered that to be moral there is no need to believe in anything. The only thing needed, is to follow one's heart, one's nature. Doing this I realised that abstinence from sex or from alcohol, drugs, meat, killing, stealing has happiness within itself, because it raises human over this world of struggle, this world of suffering. It's not even abstinence, "abstinence" is a rude word, because it implies so-called struggle against desires. But when we realise our true nature and the value of others, there is no even choice, we just live. Perhaps what I am saying here sounds much like a sermon, but I have a difficulty to put it more clearly. Perhaps I should illustrate that with an example. Many believers accuse atheists that they are lechers. I am not a believer, but I found that for me to have pure relationships with a girl is much better than trying to get in her bed, and these pure relationships is not a compulsion which I lay upon myself because of belief, it's just that it is better for me to behave like that. I do that because I feel it is much more pleasant than use another person for my so-called necessities. Therefore I call that following one's own nature.


If it is true that non-believers are less moral it is because those believers belong to a community, and community is morality... It is impossible for an individual alone, living alone, outside of a community to be moral...Morality, as a form, as all forms, is a form of relationship... To belong to any community one must be moral, and people may hide their immorality, but they are only as much members as they accept the community morality...
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2010 10:17 am
Morality implies a universal standard, and what gives the lie to the claim of religious authority to morality is that religions do not agree, nor do their moral codes. For example, the "old testament" enshrines several attitudes that are considered heinous in the modern, "civilized" world. Jehovah calls upon his followers to slaughter women and children, and sets precisely rules for the abuse of slaves--that Jehovah condones slavery at all is obnoxious to our contemporary values.

I personally find the notion of morality to be absurd. I know of no objective standard which can be advanced to justify what is called morality, nor any universal truths. Were it so that there were universal truths underlying morality, then all religions would believe in exactly the same moral codes, and clearly they do not.

Religious devotion and universal truths are not necessary to the adoption of ethical standards which reflect an individual's ideas of justice and rectitude, and pragmatism can afford a basis for ethical behavior for communities. For example, murder denies to the victims the justice upon which a successful community will rely to assure peace and prosperity among its members. Prohibiting murder affords a principle of equality of personal security to all members of a group adhering to a social contract, and does so without appeal to imaginary friend superstitions or egregious claims about universal truths. Human historical experience also shows that prohibitions on or penalties for murder can be effective in curbing or preventing ruinous feuds which can destroy a community.
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2010 05:15 am
@Fido,
Fido wrote:

If it is true that non-believers are less moral it is because those believers belong to a community, and community is morality... It is impossible for an individual alone, living alone, outside of a community to be moral...Morality, as a form, as all forms, is a form of relationship... To belong to any community one must be moral, and people may hide their immorality, but they are only as much members as they accept the community morality...

But I am speaking not of that kind of morality. Thou knowst Hegel emphsised the difference between "Moral" and "Sittlichkeit", the first was considered, if I am not mistaking, as a set of rules given by society, and the second -- as inner human regulator. For example, masturbation is not a crime against other persons, but I find that disgusting and immoral, "unsittlich". Conventional morality indeed is impossible without community which imposes that, but if we understand morality as following one's true nature, not doing harm to oneself, why do we need society.
0 Replies
 
Francis
 
  2  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2010 05:18 am
Eudaimon wrote:
masturbation is not a crime against other persons, but I find that disgusting and immoral,

I find your disgust and morality highly questionable, and inhuman to say the least..
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2010 05:21 am
The level of coherence among the new members from the philosophy forum is appallingly low.
Francis
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2010 05:23 am
@Setanta,
Come to notice that they seem to be mostly religious nuts..
0 Replies
 
oolongteasup
 
  2  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2010 05:25 am
@Francis,
Quote:
masturbation is not a crime


the feeling is mutual and so palpable you can almost touch it

Quote:
relationships with a girl is much better


morality is to religion as glib is to tongue
0 Replies
 
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2010 05:31 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

I personally find the notion of morality to be absurd. I know of no objective standard which can be advanced to justify what is called morality, nor any universal truths. Were it so that there were universal truths underlying morality, then all religions would believe in exactly the same moral codes, and clearly they do not.

How about following oneself?
This is not a strict argument for "universal standard" but having read lots of books from different traditions, I found that in the very foundation they have the same. This is disillusionment with the pursuit for happiness within worldly things, pleasures etc. and understanding that beyond this world of desires, brutality there lies something peaceful, pure, that which brings real happiness not found in worldly things.

Setanta wrote:

Religious devotion and universal truths are not necessary to the adoption of ethical standards which reflect an individual's ideas of justice and rectitude, and pragmatism can afford a basis for ethical behavior for communities. For example, murder denies to the victims the justice upon which a successful community will rely to assure peace and prosperity among its members. Prohibiting murder affords a principle of equality of personal security to all members of a group adhering to a social contract, and does so without appeal to imaginary friend superstitions or egregious claims about universal truths. Human historical experience also shows that prohibitions on or penalties for murder can be effective in curbing or preventing ruinous feuds which can destroy a community.

But that's again not what I mean. Dostoevsky said somewhere: "I don't want to live in a society where it is prohibited to kill. I want to live in a society where it is permitted to kill, but no one does that". THAT will be true morality.
Francis
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2010 05:38 am
Eudaimon wrote:
that which brings real happiness not found in worldly things.

Are you saying that my happiness is a second class one or fake?

If it is what you learned from the books, I'd advise you to get a life and learn from it..
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2010 05:45 am
@Eudaimon,
Eudaimon wrote:
How about following oneself?
This is not a strict argument for "universal standard" . . .


What ? ! ? ! ? It's not an argument at all for universal standards.

Quote:
. . . but having read lots of books from different traditions, I found that in the very foundation they have the same.


Have the same what?

Quote:
This is disillusionment with the pursuit for happiness within worldly things, pleasures etc. and understanding that beyond this world of desires, brutality there lies something peaceful, pure, that which brings real happiness not found in worldly things.


Your use of the word understanding implicitly suggests that "there lies something peaceful, pure, that which brings real happiness not found in wordly things." Apart from being canting twaddle, it is a case of proceeding from a premise which has not been demonstrated. The locution " . . . this world of desires, brutality . . . " is exactly that lack of coherence of which i have complained. What what that supposed to mean? Additionally, guessing at the meaning, it is nothing more than another un-demonstrated premise from which your remarks proceed.

Quote:
But that's again not what I mean. Dostoevsky said somewhere: "I don't want to live in a society where it is prohibited to kill. I want to live in a society where it is permitted to kill, but no one does that". THAT will be true morality.


It is immaterial to me what you mean. Whatever it is that you mean, and it is not clear what you mean, you can hardly expect people to discuss it in a rational manner until you have presented it in a coherent fashion. Your quote of Dostoevsky (not cited, not attributed so that anyone can find the context) is meaningless in the discussion, because it doesn't have a context. It is also a pretty silly statement, given that the concept of morality would either preclude killing, or be indifferent to any claims of virtue for refraining from doing that which is permitted.

Morality implicitly (and in the case of claims of religious authority, explicitly) derives from universal truths. It is laughably absurd to suggest that morality can derive from individual opinion or preference. This is not to suggest that i agree that there is any morality founded on universal truths, only that if one's ethos is individually derived, it's not morality.
oolongteasup
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2010 05:46 am
@Eudaimon,
Quote:
happiness within worldly things, pleasures etc. and understanding that beyond this world of desires, brutality there lies something peaceful, pure, that which brings real happiness not found in worldly things.


yes, ive just transcended my worldly desire to discuss
0 Replies
 
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2010 01:08 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta, thanks for this detailed reply, I shall try to make clearer what I mean.
Setanta wrote:

Eudaimon wrote:
How about following oneself?
This is not a strict argument for "universal standard" . . .


What ? ! ? ! ? It's not an argument at all for universal standards.

Well, in this quote from my post thou hast separated the first part from one sentence and added it to the previous sentence.

[/quote]
Quote:
This is disillusionment with the pursuit for happiness within worldly things, pleasures etc. and understanding that beyond this world of desires, brutality there lies something peaceful, pure, that which brings real happiness not found in worldly things.


Your use of the word understanding implicitly suggests that "there lies something peaceful, pure, that which brings real happiness not found in wordly things." Apart from being canting twaddle, it is a case of proceeding from a premise which has not been demonstrated. The locution " . . . this world of desires, brutality . . . " is exactly that lack of coherence of which i have complained. What what that supposed to mean? Additionally, guessing at the meaning, it is nothing more than another un-demonstrated premise from which your remarks proceed.[/quote]
I think I got entangled in that web of premises and locution Smile, so if that's going to make my reasoning more logical what I am basically saying is that my behaviour is derived from my own feelings and that when I looked deep inside myself I found that mostly that what I have always understood (and I dare think all people understand) as moral good is not something imposed by law, or god or whatever, I understand that it's the behaviour which provides happiness.
Of course, now one may ask: "what is happiness", but that's where I think discussion must stop because happiness cannot be explained. One must understand despite that. It's like in poetry where words only make hints about inexpressible feeling, which the reader have to understand himself.

Quote:

Morality implicitly (and in the case of claims of religious authority, explicitly) derives from universal truths. It is laughably absurd to suggest that morality can derive from individual opinion or preference. This is not to suggest that i agree that there is any morality founded on universal truths, only that if one's ethos is individually derived, it's not morality.

What about eudaemonism?
0 Replies
 
Krumple
 
  2  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2010 01:39 pm
@Fido,
Fido wrote:
If it is true that non-believers are less moral it is because those believers belong to a community, and community is morality... It is impossible for an individual alone, living alone, outside of a community to be moral...Morality, as a form, as all forms, is a form of relationship... To belong to any community one must be moral, and people may hide their immorality, but they are only as much members as they accept the community morality...


Do you even read or think about what you write? Seriously?

Non-believers don't belong to a community? What? Yes they do, it's called society. So your whole argument is that believers belong to a community and that makes them moral where as a non-believer does not belong to a community and that makes them immoral? Okay you seriously need some brain cells inject into your head because I can not see how you can not realize that non-believers are apart of a community.

I also find it laughable that any time a theist who claims a religious denomination like Christianity or Islam as being more moral than an atheist when both of those religions site violence onto non believers. You can't get any immoral than stoning someone to death for simply not accepting the religion. If you try to say that is moral, then you are nothing but an immoral person. If you try to say that those customs are not the work of religion that is also a lie. Religion is the catalyst for those types of thoughts.

Religion has a long track record of creating unnecessary violence so it holds no position to call itself moral or a higher morality than non-believers. It is nothing more than a lie and last time I checked, lying is considered immoral.
0 Replies
 
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2010 03:33 pm
Any morality based on an authority which is beyond appeal is corrupt.

A
R
T
0 Replies
 
mark noble
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2010 03:51 pm
Hi Eudaimon,
I understand you. I mostly agree with you too.
And Krumple, I agree with you also, but I don't think we should tar all people from religious divides with the same brush. There is a big difference between a devotee and fundamentalist, after all.
Have a brilliant day Eudaimon. I'd wish you one too Krumple, but I know you don't like it.
mark...
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2010 03:59 pm
@mark noble,
Both the devotee and the fundamentalist share the same mental vulnerability that lets them be morally manipulated. How do you think a fundamentalist is conditioned to be the way they are? How does one become a fundamentalist?

A
R
T
mark noble
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2010 04:07 pm
@failures art,
Hi Failures,
Why do you clasiffy them as mentally vulnerable? Isn't everyone vulnerable mentally?
Nice to meet you, by the way.
Have a lovely day, sir.
Mark...
 

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