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- The Role of Religion in History & Society
Religion Without Morality? Is That Possible?
Is Religion in some way or other necessary for morals for morality? Is it even useful if not necessary? The issue I will discuss pertains to the connection between religion and the usefulness of religion in regards to morals. First, I will cover the connection between religion and morality; second, I will explore religion's usefulness in moral standards; third, I will assert; that although religion is useful in establishing morality or morals it is not necessary. In conclusion, I will prove that there is not a need for religion in order for there to be morality.
There are some seemingly valid arguments for the necessity of religion in order to maintain morality in society. If we speak specifically about 'Bible Principles' stated in the common bible for christian religion's and taught at Christian churches, persons can say that these teachings give a standard for moral actions required by God to be good.
Indeed these teachings are valid and useful in a moral society. The lessons in the bible teach society to respect each other and hold each others lives and property in high regard. The reasons for following these guidelines are motivated by the threat of hell fire and brimstone, eternal damnation, and losing their 'eternal life', which are a punishments no true believer takes lightly. In actuality, the willingness to follow a religious teaching comes from a moral standard of wanting to be good. This standard comes from and inborn nature and also life experiences , which shape our moral thoughts for what is good. For a person to be interested in the teaching of the theist prospective, he or she would have to have the desire to be good(moral). The desire to be good would, certainly, have to come first. If he has no desire to learn what is good and to be good, then he would not join this sort of group at all.
There is a common ground that an atheist and a theist share, both have a personal set of moral standards they follow. The motivation of these standards comes from the cause and effect of actions. For example, an atheist or theist knows if they steal they will risk some sort of punishment. The motivation to do good can come from God, law enforcement, guilt, or society's views of them.
Morals are driven by a person's belief in what is right or wrong. These beliefs are established by society to maintain order. Without moral standards existing, people would act only in their own best interest, no matter what the affect their actions would have on others. These standards are created by the society that sets them. For example, because it is immoral to eat a cow in some parts of India does not make it immoral to do so in America. Also, it is common in Europe for a child to drink wine at dinner time, in America that practice would be unacceptable.
Morals are also set by self interest. We tend to do what is morally right in order to please others. This is our pay off. If we please others, they will think we are great, which in turn serves our self interest. As I have proven, morals are a social and personal issue based on a feeling of what is right or wrong by itself.
Religion is a separate issue, dependent on moral issues considered to be right or wrong. Religion is a useful tool for a moral society, not a requirement. Religious teaching can re-enforce positive moral attitudes using God's punishments and rewards. If people are taught that an all knowing, ruling God is always watching and waiting to judge with consequences or rewards for that behavior, this would motivate people to do what is morally good., what God says is good (thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not kill, etc.). This is one way to control the behavior of people in a society. A tool that is useful, but not necessary. Theist have punishments and rewards also, if you break a law there is a threat of a fine or imprisonment. If you act as society dictates, using a positive moral standard with regard to proximity, you are accepted and held in high regard.
In conclusion, it would be reasonable for us to determine that religion and morals or morality are two separate states. Morality can exist without religion, but religion cannot exist without morality.