This word oftentimes create quite a visceral reaction. There are many proponents who maintain that in order to be a moral person, one must be religious. They strongly contend that there is NO morality without religion. They are of the consensus that religion and religious belief is equal to morality.
Then there are people who assert that morality exists independently of religion. They proclaim that humankind can be moral without religion and/or God. They assert that humankind has the wherewithal and potentiality to have an inner based ethical and morality system. They contend that the idea that no religion equals no morality is an excuse. What do YOU think about this issue?
- well, even though you have posted this discussion as a religious forum, I shall respond against my better judgement. Only because I will tackle it in the realm of spiritual philosophy: By tuning into our true essence, (love and joy), we do not need to fall back on the precepts of religion. On a common sense level, we can guide our own ethical behavior based on the urge to protect the love and joy that percolates within ourselves and our neighbors, (friends, family, offspring.)
That being said: love is not a cure-all. We need to work with nature by knowing its laws which guides its creation. To not work with nature's laws (science) is folly.
Does religion enable one to behave in a proactive way in guaranteeing safety and peace for himself and his neighbors, (and his offspring in particular?) Yes. But, even religious individuals must comprehend the laws under which nature operates.
I will proceed with an example since good writing requires examples to back up opinions:
A baby, designed by nature, needs six years after it is born, to develop his psyche. Electronic devices is very detrimental for a baby, toddler and preschooler. Why? Because the child needs to deal with reality in the concrete world as it is develops its sense of order, or in other words, sense of how things in the world are ordered, or in other words, its sense of reality all around him and within him. A child in the 0-6 age range must be allowed to work from within to develop a connection his true self. To respect the inner nature of the child is not spelled out in the Ten Commandments, but we must become conscious of the spiritual embryo being built during the first six years. Love in the form of too much attention or the provision of electronic devices during this period is detrimental. Perhaps science, common sense and religion must all come into play for a truly safe, prosperous and positive life.
You have presented quite an excellent premise, Kathryn!
(I have a feeling many of our little ones are becoming addicted to technological devices. Some even use them in their beds at night and stay up till all hours under their blankets. Then, they wake up too groggy for school. Parents should Be Careful with these modern devices! I just heard of a 22 month old who would not sit with her grandfather to read a book, but only wanted her iPad. )
Technology is good..........IN MODERATION. So many children become so addicted to technology that they lose their social, reading, math, and writing skills.
I believe as follows:
Morals may be expressed and defined within religions, but that is not their origin. Morals come from the God given conscience, present in everyone.
Man's search for God, driven by their conscience and subsequent realization that they are not in a right relationship with Him, frequently results in seeking out or forming a religion.
Every person, regardless of religion, (even Scientism, which would cover many, if not most professing atheists and agnostics), have a conscience and therefore a sense of morals.
Inconsistencies in morals result when man employs his ability to rationalize, to sear his conscience, allowing for variations in his moral code consistent with his desires. Sear, but not silence, so people can fool themselves effectively to varying degrees, but not completely, (although some come very close).
What is your explanation for seemingly "moral" concepts that happen on a fairly regular basis in the animal world?
Did God give them a conscience as well?
Things like a herd circling to protect their young, even at the risk of individual harm?
Or animals sharing food among a pack?
Could it be that infants and toddlers... of which I will testify are selfish, anarchist, completely hedonistic creatures, learn social norms and emotional intelligence which act as their "conscience" later in life?
In addition, did God forget something while making the hundred- thousands, possibly millions of sociopaths that exist (yes millions)? They are guided by no internal conscience at all... they have none.
Hello Melissa. Here are the explanations to your queries that I believe to be true.
Animals are driven by instincts, not morals.
Infants and toddler's lives are full of wonder and discovery. Kids vary quite a bit in their development, so there is no set point at which they become aware and are influenced significantly by their consciences. They are learning how to get by and fit in at that point, and yes, looking out for themselves as they should be. They're right at that point, it really is all about them.
This is a much bigger discussion, but for the sake of a brief answer, it isn't that sociopaths don't have a conscience and know what is right or wrong, but rather that they consider themselves above accountability for adhering to it, apathetic to the suffering of others. Often they will use that knowledge of right or wrong and purposefully choose to demonstrate their perceived superiority by doing the opposite of what the rest of us would. These are the most seared consciences, to which they are at best indifferent, and at worst guided to do what is wrong (for one of many different reasons).
How can you tell the difference between a seared conscience, one that is honestly but mistakenly wrong and one that has correct morality?
Hello Wilderness. Not hard to anticipate where you are going with this, particularly considering your recent exchange with Mbuggieh regarding moral relativism vs absolutism. I recognize the approach and goal, but it relies on misdirecting the conversation away from the point I was trying to make, (and I think this applies to where you went with Mbuggieh as well). http://hubpages.com/forum/post/2472323
I am not proposing I have an answer to how man can overcome the wide differences in how they respond to, support or deny their consciences. In fact, mankind is, as the bible anticipated, heading into increasing moral confusion. Political correctness attempts to silence moral absolutism, but Mbuggieh is correct that regardless of what we do with it, it still exists. We choose to ignore it at our peril, but such is the progression society is taking in these days, and this will run it's course. Many pay a heavy price for their battle against their consciences.
You are correct that making proper use of our consciences to their fullest potential, as a guide to benefit society would require all, (or at least the majority), agree on what the moral standards dictated by them are. So who's standard do we follow? Who decides? Who is silencing what part of their conscience for their own reasons? You will want to know if I claim this moral authority. My answer is based on something you, and many here, absolutely reject. So to be clear, I am not proposing that we will be able to establish hard and consistent guidelines and all agree on morals. Instead I expect the opposite to happen as folks push back against moral standards in every direction, with "who are you to say" as their mantra. After all, if you believe there is no higher authority or accountability to that authority, why would anyone's view be more valid than anyone else's?
Do I believe that we can have a pretty clear picture of what the default of conscience, (without the influence of what we individually do with/to it), was intended by God to be? Yes, with His guidance, but that is meaningless to folks who for whatever reason are unaware of spirituality and God. Again, as the bible clearly tells us will be the case, it is just nonsense to the natural man, who denies God even exists.
Man will therefore not resolve this, but just as we have seen in our lifetimes, society will continue to degrade morality to allow entertaining all their desires, which requires shunning and denying accountability to their Creator and His standards. I am not saying there will not be religion, as people craft gods to their liking, even in the name of Christianity. As society increases their efforts to silence these truths in favor of a way that seems right to them, there is a "god of this world" who rejoices at his progress.
I expected you to catch where it's going - it was pretty plain. Reading between the lines, I gather that you and your interpretation of the Christian bible is the correct concept of what a good set of morals is. At least you are willing to state it, even if buried a little.
The question then becomes how to rationalize the concepts of Matthew 7:12 into forcing Christian morals wherever possible. Of all the possible morals one might have, this one is very nearly absolute - the bible is but one of many, many holy writings to contain it - yet few Christians will think about it as they go about their ordained business of converting the world, with force as necessary, into their mold.
One cannot just do what one likes. Justice consists in giving what is due to others. What is due to others is non-violation of their joy of life and peace of mind. Respect, if you will.
Agreed, although it is not that cut and dried, but very gray. And I won't go with giving respect that has not been earned.
Even those who scream against moral relativism practice it. Those who view a world in black in white end up in loony bins... usually they, ironically, are labeled as sociopaths or psychopaths. The reason being they KNOW what is right or wrong rather than FEELING what is right or wrong.
Those who preach absolutism often bring up rape and slavery as examples of moral relativism, yet few actually say similar things about a child stealing food to fill a hungry belly (absolutely wrong) or a child who runs away from home because they are being beaten and molested (absolutely wrong) Most curiously, they are the ones that are pro-death penalty...yet are also pro-life.
Like I said, true moral absolutism is impossible... unless you are just crazier than an outhouse rat.
Never thought of it that way, but I believe you're right. The absolutists do always seem to end up eating their words as specifics come into the discussion. And of course the opinion that you are so much superior to anyone else that only you can figure out what's moral isn't particularly healthy.
I don't think it's a question of superiority...although I believe there's a bit of arrogance in the thought process...
I honestly believe it's a question of living a very sheltered life.
And yes, I know this is coming off as insulting, but it really isn't meant to be.
But if people are never exposed to hard choices then they don't realize that they exist. It's great to think of absolutes when they are hypothetical, yet they fall apart when held up to reality.
So not really arrogance, but a sort of moral provincialism. I think lack of empathy is in there too, although it's sometimes hard to have empathy when the moral choices that of other individuals are a world away from anything you've experienced. While certainly not laudable...at least somewhat excusable.
The form of moral superiority that is truly repugnant is the "I've been there and I didn't make that choice." That moral absolutism shows a complete lack of empathy in a situation that a person has actually experienced. Either that's an inability to empathize or the choice not to. The former might be redeemable with therapy, but the latter is just asshattedness... which can't be cured. Either way, yes... completely superior, judgmental and arrogant beyond what society should be willing to tolerate.
I have to say I can easily imagine when there would be a time to kill and or steal and completely understand the greyness of most things, but off hand I can't imagine a reason or scenario why someone would need or be justified to rape anyone. If anyone can come up with a time when the rape of an adult or child could be justified I'd be interested in listening. Now I understand that age of consent varies for time and place, but I'm talking about unwanted sex of anyone. The best I could do is to speculate that someone might say that his particular genes need to be passed down to as many people as possible so the rape is for the good of society, but that would be the thoughts of a narcissistic or psychopathic person.
I can't in the real world... although a fiction writer I once read made a case for it in an unlikely scenario.
The scenario was rape vs. torture or death for a female prisoner... and I imagine such a thing could conceivably happen in some of the more violent societies.
I never thought I would find a reason that was understandable for a middle aged man to marry an small child either and ran across a historical case where a royal in his forties married another royal in childhood that prevented a war between countries... No I don't have a link. Anyway, the girl had a child at some unreasonably early age that cemented the peace.
Edit: On the same vein... in countries where it's illegal to execute a pregnant woman, rape to impregnate a woman to postpone a death sentence might also be considered acceptable.
I see, the good of the many out way the good of the few. Give the rapist one or two constant victims so he doesn't rape many or no one has to die?
Good try though.
Psychological trauma is curable. Death isn't.
If you think that thousands of dead people are preferable over rape, your opinion. Although I don't think their widows and orphans would agree. Nor would the children that were killed or starved to death during the war that would have happened.
Only one scenario, and I don't mean one that most of us would accept, just one that is still commonly accepted in many places. That of marital rape.
Either young girls into arranged marriages or some backwoods redneck that thinks a wife is property and sex is his due whenever wanted. Or maybe not "backwoods redneck" but just from a different culture.
Unfortunately both still happen, and both still still happen in the US. Truth be known, I don't think the second one is even particularly uncommon. True story, albeit some 30 years ago; a friend of mine was on the volunteer rescue squad. They got a call in the wee hours one night and upon arrival found a woman, naked, lying on the couch. Man (husband) pacing up and down the floor and had called the squad to force his wife to make love to him. (That story, among other similar tales, kept me out of joining the rescue squad even though trained.)
The mind set is apparent and being a very poor county 30 years ago doesn't excuse it and doesn't mean it isn't still very much alive. Occasionally we still run into a moral base, even in our own country, that is simply unpalatable - that we cannot tolerate.
I agree and it's much like the scenario I suggested in that there is clearly something wrong with the people who support those scenarios. I don't think any sane or reasonably, without major psychological defect, educated, reasonable person can justify rape. When was the last time we heard a convincing argument in court for a particular rape especially pedophile. I am aware that pedophiles like to attempt to justify their desires and behaviours, but again these are not reasonably thinking people.
I think it shows a problem with thinking that morals are always relative, though. Those people (the redneck group) actually think that way and find it quite moral. So do those that will wed a child.
So I generally fall back on the golden rule - if I don't want to be raped I should not be raping others. And assign that as a absolute moral rule, false though that is.
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