Do you think religion compels morality, or does morality determine religion?
Obviously the relationship is somewhat multi-directional for most people, but I'm wondering which you think is more powerful. Do people usually choose a religion that aligns with their preexisting morality? Or do they generally adapt their morals because of their religion?
It is rather a difficult question to answer without writing a hub, however, I will put forward my answer briefly.
Basically, you are saying which comes first Chicken or egg?
Morality- If you understand the principle that every human being is linked from before birth to the Spirit of God, you will then understand that every human being is also linked to God's principles of Morality and the existence of God the Creator!
Once a human being is born their environment, experiences and nurturing as well as their genetic make-up determines their pathway in life. Each individual has the ability inside of them to accept or reject God's way of morality and faith. However, if the individual chooses to reject God's pathway (the narrow path that leads to eternal life) those initial traits then remain dormant in the subconscious and only surface again when a tragedy or crisis or some trigger brings those traits back into memory. You can see then, how religion (created by man), feeds the inner subconscious needs of man to continue his link to the unknown Creator God.
Atheist will say they do not believe God exists yet will spend their lifetime trying to convince themselves, and others, of this!
Therefore a person is able to have moral understanding without knowing God.
What I am trying to say is this:
Morality can be used as a tool to hide behind, morality is useless without the affinity to God.
True Morality and Faith (as opposed to religion which is man-made) come from our relationship with our Creator God, through His son Yeshua (the ultimate Torah Law) and God's written Commandments, which is our guide to morality and faith (rather than religion).
Morality and faith is meaningless without God who is the conductor of both!
Therefore it is irrelevant as to which comes first 'morals or religion', as both lead to nothing, without God!
Man's morality may differ considerably from God's expectations from mankind.
An atheist may exercise moral behaviour, (not all atheists are criminals or deviants!) Atheism is also a religion but has little to do with God except to rebel against him by denying his existence!
In 2 Timothy 3 God tells us of the lawlessness in the end times, it mentions all the characteristics of most people in these days - and it is so accurate! It also indicates that morality doesn't exist anymore and religion is false!
Society rejected God's laws now we see the consequences!
I think morality determines spritual path - be that religion, or lack thereof - but that lack of spiritual/religious path does not mean lack of morals.
I believe that morals are somewhat personal - what you would do, I possibly wouldn't and vice versa. I think that if one is looking for a religion, or spiritual path, they will try to find one that fits their morality, if they are given the benefit of looking into religion, rather than having one forced upon them - either as a child or as a vulnerable soul.
Some people may find them inseperable, having been brought up in the religion they are currently in, and therefore having had their morals drawn from their Holy Book of choice for their religion.
However, people with morals not based in religion are not necessarily searching for a religion either. I know of many an atheist and agnostic who has more morals than some of the religious folk I also know. For me, I have morals, and am agnostic - I like to learn about religions, but have not found one for me.
Morality and Religion can be separated, and one can exist completely without the other.
Most people already have developed a sense of their morality before they decide (if they decide) to adopt religious beliefs.
In my opinion morality and religion are two completely unrelated things. Morality is just a different word for common sense. We are all born with a sense of morality. My two year old has a concept of when she is doing something wrong and so did my older children even when they were little. I have no religion and lead a "moral" life. I don't see how the two actually connect at all. I think the men who created religion wanted to make everyone think they were somehow connected thus leading people to believe they must have religion to be "good" and "moral".
the short answer to your question is 'neither'. "Peeples" answer is reflective of those with the intelligence to discern the difference between religion and morality as choices that one makes in life.
I would just like to add to her remarks that religion is not a choice for most people, as they are indoctrinated from birth into some form of religion, sect, or cult, and that indoctrination is constantly reinforced throughout their adult lives, unless they choose not to believe those 'teachings' of their respective religions as superfluous to logic and reality, which most of them are.
Morality, or the lack of it, is innate in all of us at birth, and comes to full fruition when we reach our age of reasoning. That is when we learn the consequences of our actions, and know that harming others is not only 'moral' it is the best (right) thing to do in order to peacefully survive in society.
Morality was never 'invented' by the religions, but all religions preach their own versions of it as, if they did.
Neither religion, nor morality, have anything to do with God. We are taught, or learn the hard way, which path to follow in life, but ultimately the choice belongs to the individual alone.
I believe that while religion and morality go hand in hand, they don't have to. I'm friends with atheists who live normal, decent lives and aren't on a crusade to persuade others to their way of thinking. They don't begrudge others their religions and keep their feelings to themselves. At public gatherings where a blessing is offered, for example, they remain silent and respectful.
Certainly there are the atheist activists...the ones who speak up to take the manger scene off the town common...but I'll bet there are more atheists among us than we realize. They just don't wear it on their sleeves, and they're not automatically amoral.
This is the old 'chicken and the egg' conundrum, isn't it - which came first?
To my mind I think to gain leverage over their fellow men/women, you had someone tell his mates and neighbours the 'gods spoke to him - alone'. 'WHICH bloody gods?!' (shades of Monty Python, 'King Arthur and the Holy Grail). 'Just shut up and don't ask stupid questions or they'll fry you with a lightning bolt - see that withered tree? It used to be Burt Lancaster, still talks to itself!'
Without that 'Simon Says' edge, it might have been harder to talk your mates and neighbours into doing your bidding.
How were Stonehenge and all these other monuments - prehistoric and later - built but for this mental 'hold'? They could have just as easily turned round and said, 'You dreamed it up, you build it!'
What stopped prehistoric man turning 'bolshy'? He spent all day finding or growing his food, stopping others from walking off with his 'worldly possessions'. He had to get on with it and let the 'priesl' and his acolytes run the shop.
'Just say yes and get on eith it!' became a mantra for the lower orders. Kings were 'created' by the priests, so they could tell THEM what to do, and in turn tell the 'common herd', 'Go on lads, shift yourselves - I'm in the same boat'. There's always someone over you, over him etc, watching over your shoulder. It's called government these days and you don't have to go to church any more for being pointed out as a witch or whatever. If you think the FBI's something new, you should have been around in Europe before WWI. Franz Joseph had the biggest network of spies on his own subjects aside from Tsar Nicholas!
The game hasn't changed, just the rules. It's still on the statutes here that if you steal an apple you get strung up, although nobody's been done for that these last few hundred years - the Australian government DOES have a say about migrants from Britain, so there's no more prison ships to Botany Bay!
I think that people have morality within them from birth. I think that the religions will attract a person to hold to a certain moral code. Religion is an organization designed to foster a cooperative spirit among people who share the same moral beliefs.
I think that people will leave religions because they really do not believe in the morals of the religion or find something that is more suited for them.
For example, once I got older I realized that eating meat was wrong because of the cruelty to animals. In addition, being a vegetarian is healthier according to scientific studies. The religion I grew up with was fantastic when I was younger, but I got older and I had to find the right path for myself.
The path I chose (Vaisnavism or devotees of the Great God Vishnu), has helped me to accomplish my goal of becoming a vegetarian, and providing information about why, meat eating is no the best path.
Karma is also important to think about when sharing ideas about morality and religion. Activities from the past life helps to determine who we are today.
I hope what I have shared will help you on your path. Best wishes.
Dhira Krishna das
A person is either moral or they aren't.
It has nothing to do with religion or a belief in gods.
The most moral people I've known in my life have been atheists for the most part. Consider that an atheist does the right thing simply because it is right while many use religion to justify doing the wrong thing even though they know it is wrong.
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