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Monday, 17 November 2008

Morality does not come from religion

"Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness' sake," advertisements will be appearing on Washington, DC, buses starting next week and running through December. The expected responses from infantile religious spokespeople have been prominently reported in the media and, as usual, they have been treated as if their comments are obviously true. (See also our earlier post.)

The Newsmax story said, “Some experts from religious groups criticised the campaign, saying that morality and the intention to do good is based on belief in God.”

Bill Donohue, president of the conservative Catholic League, responded in a press statement, saying, “Codes of morality, of course, have always been grounded in religion. We know that militant secularists are busy flexing their muscles these days, but is it too much to expect them to act rationally?”

Such responses are a sad reflection on the education system.

Morality must be, and always has been, distinct from religion. Otherwise the actions of the gods could never be judged as morally right or wrong. One example should suffice even for the likes of Bill Donohue.

The god of the Judaists, Christians, Muslims and Mormons is reported in the book of Exodus in the Bible as having sent an angel to kill the entire first born in Egypt, excepting only the chosen few. The festival of Passover is said to commemorate the event. But does this fable describe a moral action? Anyone who says yes it does, or no it does not, rather than that they cannot say because it was an act of God, demonstrates that actions can be judged as moral or immoral without any reference to religions.

It is necessary to challenge these religious claims because media bodies like the BBC report the comments and give religions status they do not deserve.

2 comments:

George Broadhead said...

The briefing on Humanism on the website of the Gay & Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA):

http://www.galha.org/briefing/humanism.html

has a concise paragraph about morality.

Anonymous said...

I will try to explain this in a way that does not sound demeaning. Some people have said or believe that todays current morals originate from religion.

A few examples of morality that coincide with modern law, are not to kill not to fight, don't steal, blah blah blah, this is as obvious as it gets. These are a direct occurance in our society thanks to religion, the codes of hamurabi or maybe even older sources lost in history. Point is a long time ago religion gave some regulations that played into ancient society, and the traditions survived the ages, making these relgious regulations a part of our modern society, regaurdless if the person following them is religious or not.

The first instinct a person tends to have when religion is mentioned, is that the person mentioning it is refering to the Bible, the Quaran, or the Torah.

In the same way some evolutionist believe that the modern plants and animals were effected by the enviroment, the weather, survival instincts, and interaction with other animals, caused the species to evolve and adapt leaving us with the current layout of life on Earth.... so then did todays current layout of morality evolve into what it is from several different contributors, such as religion, wether it be domesticating animals, like the ancient eygiptians did because they held them to be sacred, and did not abuse them because it was against there beliefs, to not killing due respects to the story of Kain and Abel, and what do we do with todays murderers? we shun them away from what we hold to be our garden of eden, or modern society, in the same way God did.

Even a Chef believes, that if he/she adds basil, onions, some tomatos and some salt and pepper to a can of tomato sauce, the chef no longer has a bunch of random ingrediants on his/her hands, they do infact have spaghetti sauce. We must also believe that what we hold true today, has come from a list of ingrediants that were added in through out the ages, and cooked over centuries to come up with what we abide by today.

For a moment let's pretend that in ancient times where religion was rooted, that the law makers (being religious leaders of that era) had said that Cat's and Dogs were much easier prey to catch (as opposed to oxen and mammoths)Let's sacrafice Cat's and Dog's on the alter, and since the oxen are so powerful they must be sacred, can we all agree to believe that over time this recipe MIGHT have turned into a modern diet of cats and dogs, and the domestiation of oxen? It's possible who knows.

Let us take it a step further and say religion didn'yt attempt to regulate sexual intercourse at all, not even a mere metion of it, instead natural primitive instincts played it's part and mating between blood relatives was not looked down upon. Would we be as shocked today to hear that some old guy somewhere in the world impregnated his own daughter?

We have to respect the fact that in medieval times the catholic church played a large hand in enforcing the laws, we also have to aknowledge that the priest were infact the law makers, and some of those laws still remain a natural part of our daily lives. We also have to go back to Jesus time and the Jewish leaders followed and taught and enforced there own laws, despite the fact that they were goverened by Rome. We can go back a little further to Moses and lay the same blueprint, or the codes of Hammurabi. or the Assyrians and Babylonians, religious laws can be dated back to the beggining of history, and the similarities in todays law, and morals, can be compared to ancient law's and morals. Religion played a big part in ancient times, larger then it does today. People followed it, God-kings and Kings fought bloody wars over it, even the Iraq war and terrorist activity today isn't a mere "you say God is spaghtetti monster you die now! BOOM!" it comes down to the fundemental beliefe that the winner of the war writes history, and history defines tommorows morals.

I am not saying that Atheist have no morals, but the morals... wether religious or not, the morals come from religion, ages before we were born, if we were evolved animals constantly on the brink of extinction, our morals would be to protect our hunting territory, get food, fornicate, protect food, protect offspring..... we wouldn't care if somewhere out there a family of bears was over hunting the salmon and it could effect the enviroment, Love is a human emotion, we are blessed to have it, our understanding of love is handed down to us through the churches and social gatherings of ancient times.

Next time you see a case of animal cruelty, or a bloody gang murder on the television, and it makes you feel ill to the fact that how such cruelty can be administered in a loving world. Keep in mind where that feeling truely originates from, date it back to your parent's teaching you how to love one another, and not take things for granite, go back further to your great grand-parents teaching your parent's the same life values, to the ancestors that attended church, to the priest who got his values from religion, all the way back to God, planning it all out eons before our thought process can even comprehend what we are discussing right now.

Wether we are Christian, Muslim, Athiest, Jewish, Pagan, Wiccan, or any other independent social group, wether, todays morals are founded on God, or Ben Franklin, Wether I'm wrong and your right, wether we are both clueless...

we share this planet, and we can all trust that Love is the key.. You cannot do wrong to me if you love me, and I cannot do you wrong if I Love you. I cherish your beliefes because I care for you and your well being, do so with mine.

Jesus said “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? (Matthew 5:43-47 )