Morality and Religion

Spencie

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 17, 2011
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The Mothership
Morality is doing what is right regardless of what is told, and religion is doing what you are told regardless what is right. Your opinion on this?
 

Macaddicttt

macrumors 6502a
Apr 22, 2004
992
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San Diego, CA
Morality is doing what is right regardless of what is told, and religion is doing what you are told regardless what is right. Your opinion on this?
Disagree completely. Morality is doing what is right. Religion is a way of figuring out what is right.

Now do some religious people act as you describe? Yes, but you over generalize.
 

Don't panic

macrumors 603
Jan 30, 2004
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having a drink at Milliways
Morality is doing what is right regardless of what is told, and religion is doing what you are told regardless what is right. Your opinion on this?
although i don't disagree in principle, it is too much of e generalization.
it assumes that encoded moral codes (whether based on religion or not) have no intrinsic 'value' and have no connection with 'what is right'. that is not true.

often something is told because it is right. although religions often push it too far.
 

Spencie

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 17, 2011
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The Mothership
So do morality and religion work together? I don't really think so. Do people use religion to find what is moral? What is moral has already been found, and most people should follow it
 

Macaddicttt

macrumors 6502a
Apr 22, 2004
992
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San Diego, CA
In what way(s) does religion help you to figure out what is right and/or what is wrong?
Here's a simplistic example that someone might say:

"I believe that God has endowed all with equal dignity, therefore I should defend everyone's right to live, male or female, old or young, disabled or able-bodied."
 

AP_piano295

macrumors 65816
Mar 9, 2005
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Here's a simplistic example that someone might say:

"I believe that God has endowed all with equal dignity, therefore I should defend everyone's right to live, male or female, old or young, disabled or able-bodied."
And when you say all you mean all humans right?

At what level of intelligence do these rights apply, are humans the only living organisms (on earth) which deserve these rights? Why?
 

0dev

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Dec 22, 2009
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127.0.0.1
Morality is doing what is right regardless of what is told, and religion is doing what you are told regardless what is right. Your opinion on this?
My thoughts? It's true. Simple.

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Here's a simplistic example that someone might say:

"I believe that God has endowed all with equal dignity, therefore I should defend everyone's right to live, male or female, old or young, disabled or able-bodied."
Except those evil gays! :rolleyes:
 

Sedulous

macrumors 68020
Dec 10, 2002
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This is an interesting issue. Sometimes doing the "right" thing involves doing something immoral. Fundamentally I think it boils down to a need to preserve society. Humans do quite poorly without groups. Without mutually acknowledged "norms", I think it would difficult to understand and cooperate with each other and the group/society would fail. Even in nature there are examples of this working within other social groups of animals.

The problem arises when two groups with different sets of moral codes come into contact. If there are conflicting "morals", and particularly if elements within the moral code inhibit consolation, then the groups may either remain separate or fight.
 

0dev

macrumors 68040
Dec 22, 2009
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Morality is relative and religion is following what others have said is moral in the past.
According to the Bible, it's sinful for a man to have long hair or to get tattoos. On the other hand, lots of people in the Bible get stoned, so that's cool :p
 

CalBoy

macrumors 604
May 21, 2007
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Here's a simplistic example that someone might say:

"I believe that God has endowed all with equal dignity, therefore I should defend everyone's right to live, male or female, old or young, disabled or able-bodied."
Here's the big problem with using religion or god as a method to determine what is right or wrong: it short-circuits the why of morality. This ultimately only makes it useful to answer the easy questions. If a question arises which doesn't have an easy answer, religious tenets must come to rely on their [very] fallible human agents.

For instance, it's all dandy that every human is endowed with equal dignity if we're talking about murder, which takes away the dignity of a person unequivocally.

But what happens if you're faced with a choice between violating the dignity of many to a minimal degree in order to save the complete dignity of a few? For instance, vaccinations produce side effects to a small, but measurable, degree. A very, very small percentage will suffer grave medical consequences, sometimes even death. In return, some others will avoid lethal disease and have the dignity of their lives enhanced by leaps and bounds.

So, how does god answer that conundrum? Does he use a calculator and callously add up the totals before condoning one choice like a mere mortal? Does he throw darts? Do nothing and let humans figure it out for themselves?

In the end it all boils down to human biases and interpretations. Religion, though, avails itself of the god excuse. It doesn't have to explain its rationale to anyone because it has god on it's side. The moment it chooses to publish official reasons using consistent logical analysis, it steps into the realm of philosophy, where an omniscient force isn't necessary for the discussion of human affairs.
 

NickZac

macrumors 68000
Dec 11, 2010
1,758
1
Morality is doing what is right regardless of what is told, and religion is doing what you are told regardless what is right. Your opinion on this?
Morality can function independently of religion, and right next to it as well. From what I have read, the concept of morality came long before the earlier religions. The problem is that what defines morals may change from it being used in a standalone context versus a religious one. A religious person may see religion as morality, or they may see their religion as doing/believing what is right regardless of what external societal pressures are placed upon them. Another person may see those exact religious views as the anti of morality.

Let's take this example...Some traditional Christian viewpoints have opposed abortion on the grounds that it is taking another human life. They may see supporters of abortion as immoral because they are promoting the taking of a human life. Another viewpoint would be from a less traditional Christian, who supports abortion on the grounds that free will means women should have control over their own self-autonomy. They may see the anti-abortion crowd as immoral because they are restricting basic human rights. So we have the same issue that is viewed very differently and so what is 'moral', is subjective.

What we all define as 'good' versus 'evil' will vary, at least somewhat. And because of this, you will have some people that totally agree with your statement, some in the middle, and some who absolutely disagree with it.
 

Macaddicttt

macrumors 6502a
Apr 22, 2004
992
2
San Diego, CA
And when you say all you mean all humans right?

At what level of intelligence do these rights apply, are humans the only living organisms (on earth) which deserve these rights? Why?
I was merely giving an example, not necessarily stating my own beliefs. But as I alluded to in the other recent religion thread, the why is the belief in God. Science cannot tell you why to make a distinction between humans and other forms of life, but it can provide some good evidence for it being a good idea.

Except those evil gays! :rolleyes:
Yep, that's what I meant. :rolleyes:

Glad we can have serious discussions on this forum.

Here's the big problem with using religion or god as a method to determine what is right or wrong: it short-circuits the why of morality. This ultimately only makes it useful to answer the easy questions. If a question arises which doesn't have an easy answer, religious tenets must come to rely on their [very] fallible human agents.
I disagree. It can "short-circuit the why of morality," but it doesn't need to. It would be my opinion that any religion worth following would have good reasons for its morality besides, "well, that's just what we believe."

Like science, religion creates a framework within which you can make moral choices.

In the end it all boils down to human biases and interpretations. Religion, though, avails itself of the god excuse. It doesn't have to explain its rationale to anyone because it has god on it's side. The moment it chooses to publish official reasons using consistent logical analysis, it steps into the realm of philosophy, where an omniscient force isn't necessary for the discussion of human affairs.
I would be against any religion or application of religion in which someone answers a moral argument with "God is on my side." And I would disagree about philosophy necessarily not relying on an omniscient force. It might or might not, depending on the philosophy, and both could be valid.
 

CalBoy

macrumors 604
May 21, 2007
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I disagree. It can "short-circuit the why of morality," but it doesn't need to. It would be my opinion that any religion worth following would have good reasons for its morality besides, "well, that's just what we believe."
In practice, however, "can" almost always turns into "does." The reason is obvious: political actors advancing their own agenda will take the path of least resistance.

Tell me, what basis in reason does the Catholic Church use to condemn homosexuality that doesn't rely solely on the Bible? Can your faith, without referencing itself, justify prejudicial legal treatment against gays and lesbians?
Like science, religion creates a framework within which you can make moral choices.
Science doesn't provide a framework for making moral choices; it provides a framework to discover knowledge.

Religion provides no framework beyond self-perpetuation.

I would be against any religion or application of religion in which someone answers a moral argument with "God is on my side."
Then feel free to provide a thorough answer to my question above about homosexuality and your church.
And I would disagree about philosophy necessarily not relying on an omniscient force. It might or might not, depending on the philosophy, and both could be valid.
Philosophy relies on the construction of sound and cogent arguments to arrive at a conclusion. If an argument invokes a supernatural force to resolve itself, it ceases to be sound or cogent. It is impossible to construct an argument that flows logically and rationally that incorporates god (or some proxy of god) as a premise.

In fact, I challenge you to write a sound and cogent argument using god to answer my question about homosexuality.
 

Macaddicttt

macrumors 6502a
Apr 22, 2004
992
2
San Diego, CA
In practice, however, "can" almost always turns into "does." The reason is obvious: political actors advancing their own agenda will take the path of least resistance.
Even if true, that is no reason to discredit religion in its entirety.

Tell me, what basis in reason does the Catholic Church use to condemn homosexuality that doesn't rely solely on the Bible?
I have no desire to debate tenets of any particular religion in this thread, but there are plenty of arguments out there from the Catholic perspective that don't rely solely on the Bible.

I don't really care if you see this as a cop out, but my only intention in entering this thread is to point out that religion can play a legitimate role in shaping one's conscience and morality. If you want to say that in this particular instance, Catholicism is not living up to the role of religion in morality I outlined above, feel free. That does not discredit, though, what I outlined above.

Science doesn't provide a framework for making moral choices; it provides a framework to discover knowledge.
Knowledge that you can use to make moral choices.

Religion provides no framework beyond self-perpetuation.
Cite?


Philosophy relies on the construction of sound and cogent arguments to arrive at a conclusion.
So does good theology.

If an argument invokes a supernatural force to resolve itself, it ceases to be sound or cogent.
I agree. But invoking is not the same as making a sound or cogent argument for the likelihood of the existence of God, and using that same sound or cogent argument to make other arguments about morality.

All religion is not the caricature that you paint it as, where some supernatural force from somewhere merely decrees something and it is thus the basis of morality, devoid of any basis in reality. Religion should be used to describe the world as it actually is.

It is impossible to construct an argument that flows logically and rationally that incorporates god (or some proxy of god) as a premise.
Not if you can provide a sound or cogent argument for the existence of God being logical. Morality always, always will resolve down to a belief. Belief in a God is no different than the basic belief that any action is better or worse than any other action.
 

CalBoy

macrumors 604
May 21, 2007
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Even if true, that is no reason to discredit religion in its entirety.
It absolutely is. Religion is, around the world, a corrupt political force. It allows for dominant personalities to turn into shepherds, rather than teaching people to develop ideas based on their personal experiences. These shepherds have proven, time and time again, to be as fallible as all other humans, and let the power they enjoy corrupt them to do a host of evil things. From raping children, to covering up those rapes, to lending tacit support to slavery, to colonization, to the oppression of women, religion has been a benefactor of the corrupt.

There is no reason we should be lending any credence to a concept that has so clearly failed us as a species. It embarrasses us all.
I have no desire to debate tenets of any particular religion in this thread, but there are plenty of arguments out there from the Catholic perspective that don't rely solely on the Bible.

I don't really care if you see this as a cop out, but my only intention in entering this thread is to point out that religion can play a legitimate role in shaping one's conscience and morality. If you want to say that in this particular instance, Catholicism is not living up to the role of religion in morality I outlined above, feel free. That does not discredit, though, what I outlined above.
Not only is it a cop, it is precisely what I expected because there isn't a non-religious answer to my question. All roads lead to Rome (or Mecca as it were). That's why the only opposition on the issue comes from those who are religious.
Knowledge that you can use to make moral choices.
...and?

Show me a religion that isn't preoccupied with self-perpetuation, and I'll show you an extinct one.
So does good theology.
You had an opportunity to demonstrate that, but you didn't so I'm going to ask, cite?
Religion should be used to describe the world as it actually is.
No, that's what science is for.
Not if you can provide a sound or cogent argument for the existence of God being logical. Morality always, always will resolve down to a belief. Belief in a God is no different than the basic belief that any action is better or worse than any other action.
There is a big difference. We are all going to bring our own biases and perceptions to a moral discussion about whether or not an act is right or wrong. These biases drive our priorities and shape our understanding of what is significant.

Belief in god, or any supernatural force, requires an affirmative belief based on an absence of evidence. That's exactly the opposite of how we arrive at our moral judgments because our moral judgments are based on our experiences, our biases, our desire to arrive at what we think is right. These are concrete things we can point to in ourselves.

Believing in god requires nothing concrete.
 

iJohnHenry

macrumors P6
Mar 22, 2008
16,505
15
On tenterhooks
Here we go again.

Morality is doing what is right regardless of what is told, and religion is doing what you are told regardless what is right.
Yes, the first one. ;)

Disagree completely. Morality is doing what is right. Religion is a way of figuring out what is right.
You give too little credit to the individual to make his/her own judgments.

OK when most were illiterate, but not in today's World.

In what way(s) does religion help you to figure out what is right and/or what is wrong?
Simply put, it doesn't. It's just dogma.
 

Macaddicttt

macrumors 6502a
Apr 22, 2004
992
2
San Diego, CA
You give too little credit to the individual to make his/her own judgments.
I think you misstate my position. I give full credit to the individual to make his/her own judgments.

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It absolutely is. Religion is, around the world, a corrupt political force. It allows for dominant personalities to turn into shepherds, rather than teaching people to develop ideas based on their personal experiences. These shepherds have proven, time and time again, to be as fallible as all other humans, and let the power they enjoy corrupt them to do a host of evil things. From raping children, to covering up those rapes, to lending tacit support to slavery, to colonization, to the oppression of women, religion has been a benefactor of the corrupt.
That's akin to saying governments throughout history and around the world have committed atrocities, therefore there should be no governments.

Not only is it a cop, it is precisely what I expected because there isn't a non-religious answer to my question.
That is not true. If you were really concerned about this issue, you could find all sorts of different non-religious arguments to answer your question. But it doesn't even really matter, since even if you found one, you'd disagree with it and then state that there are no non-religious answers to the question.

Show me a religion that isn't preoccupied with self-perpetuation, and I'll show you an extinct one.
Being concerned with self-perpetuation does not necessitate that it is only preoccupied with self-perpetuation.

You had an opportunity to demonstrate that, but you didn't so I'm going to ask, cite?
You chose one example that you are prepared to disagree with no matter what. Why not take an example that you would agree with, that lines up with religious thought, to prove that religion can fulfill the outline I set up above? Probably because you are completely closed to the very idea that religion can be a good thing.

No, that's what science is for.
And religion concerns itself with the part of the world that science cannot by definition explain.

Believing in god requires nothing concrete.
It requires nothing concrete, just as belief in a right and a wrong requires nothing concrete. That doesn't mean that it's impossible for belief in God to come from something concrete.

Your position is an absurd one, requiring proof of God, and when someone provides you with logical reasoning for belief in a God, you disagree and then go back to saying that you need a proof of God. It's akin to climate change deniers who require proof, and when some is given that they disagree with, they again ask for proof, when both sides know full well that no proof will ever be enough. And I have a fairly modest goal, too. I seek not to convince anyone that God exist, but merely that religion can be a good thing, even if it isn't always.
 

CalBoy

macrumors 604
May 21, 2007
7,829
36
That's akin to saying governments throughout history and around the world have committed atrocities, therefore there should be no governments.
Not really, because governments are much more varied than religion. Today we do condemn those governments which caused past atrocities, such as dictatorships, oligarchies, and anarchies. We don't condemn religion, even though it has held the hand of dictators and created more than one of its own.

As a matter of history, modern governments are almost exact opposites of their former selves. They proved capable of changing everything about themselves to serve the needs of their citizens. Religion hasn't changed with the times. Maybe if it had, it wouldn't be quite the diseased social institution it is today.
That is not true. If you were really concerned about this issue, you could find all sorts of different non-religious arguments to answer your question. But it doesn't even really matter, since even if you found one, you'd disagree with it and then state that there are no non-religious answers to the question.
There aren't any non-religious arguments. Trust me, you don't grow up as a gay person without figuring out who's throwing stones at you. That's also why you can't link to a non-religious argument here.
Being concerned with self-perpetuation does not necessitate that it is only preoccupied with self-perpetuation.
No, but it gives me plenty of pause when this same group is trying to dictate morality to others. There are no pure motives on this planet, and I'm not going to suspend disbelief and suppose that religion is the one human force capable of putting its own preservation above the needs of others.
You chose one example that you are prepared to disagree with no matter what. Why not take an example that you would agree with, that lines up with religious thought, to prove that religion can fulfill the outline I set up above? Probably because you are completely closed to the very idea that religion can be a good thing.
Because, as I wrote the first time, the easy parts aren't a point of contention. The hard questions are where this approach fails, and that's why I challenged you with a hard question. I'm sure I agree with the Pope in 99% of circumstances. That doesn't mean I think his approach is valid. And that's what we're talking about.

So, either answer the question or fess up and admit that you can't.
And religion concerns itself with the part of the world that science cannot by definition explain.
Really, you're accepting the god of the gaps?
Your position is an absurd one, requiring proof of God, and when someone provides you with logical reasoning for belief in a God, you disagree and then go back to saying that you need a proof of God.
We actually haven't had this discussion, because I haven't asked you (nor have you provided) for a logical reason to believe in god.

Belief in the unsupported is in fact illogical. There's no way to get around that obstacle (although I have great faith in your ability to twist and bend enough to try to refute this).

And for the record, when you use an indefinite article, god shouldn't be capitalized because it isn't functioning as a proper noun.

It's akin to climate change deniers who require proof, and when some is given that they disagree with, they again ask for proof, when both sides know full well that no proof will ever be enough. And I have a fairly modest goal, too. I seek not to convince anyone that God exist, but merely that religion can be a good thing, even if it isn't always.
The difference is, you don't have any proof. Just your personal beliefs.
 

citizenzen

macrumors 65816
Mar 22, 2010
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It absolutely is. Religion is, around the world, a corrupt political force.
True.

But even if the institution is corrupt there millions of people around the world who are better human beings today because of their personal faith or religious practice.
 

HarryPot

macrumors 6502a
Sep 5, 2009
934
359
I think religion is more a way of living your morality.

Wether it has other rules, those are just really part of the religion, and how that religion thinks those rules will help you live a moral life.

As for the comments that say that morality is relative, I disagree. I think morality is indeed a set of rules, laws, etc. (whatever name you want to give it) that will always help in reaching for a better society.
 

citizenzen

macrumors 65816
Mar 22, 2010
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As for the comments that say that morality is relative, I disagree. I think morality is indeed a set of rules, laws, etc. (whatever name you want to give it) that will always help in reaching for a better society.
Here we disagree.

My morals are relative. Time and place can change a lot of things.