"Religion gives you better morals"
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29-08-2013, 01:48 PM
"Religion gives you better morals"
A friend of mine (let's call her Jane) is a Mormon, well, kind of. I think she's almost atheistic, or at least deistic. But I was surprised in a conversation I had with her a few weeks ago.

We were chatting and she said that she had gotten into an argument with her mother about the 10% of all money earned that is requested from the Mormon church. It seemed the penny had dropped with Jane at how much of a rip off this was. She told me she realised how much money her church much have taken from her over her working life. So, we talked about it, I told her about religious institutions being the most wealthy businesses and how they didn't have to pay taxes. I told her: "There was a fiction writer who said one day 'If I wanted to be rich, I'd create a religion'" and I asked her whether she knew who said that. She didn't. So, I told her it was L Ron Hubbard and asked her whether she knew who he was. I said he was the guy who came up with Scientology. She seemed surprised at this, and slightly disgusted. We talked a bit more along this vein saying how she didn't particularly believe the Bible.

Then she said, "Well, I think growing up in a religious environment is a good thing. It gives you good morals, especially as a child." (This is what surprised me, it seemed that despite 'losing the faith', she still seemed to view much of it in a good light).

Inside, I completely facepalmed then explained to her that that statement is not the case, and used myself as an example - didn't grow up in a religious environment, a pleasant person and ethical. She had to concede. She told me that she thinks if she hadn't grown up in a religious environment, she'd have gone off the rails and been a bit of a "wild child" so it was good for her.

The conversation was interrupted (we were at work) but I thought about it for a while afterwards. I wondered how many young people who grow up in a religious environment are at all rebellious against their religion. Religion can be restrictive, such boundaries can surely lead to the feeling of needing to break out of it yet the prospect of going to hell if you do much draw you away from rebelling and hence the idea that "religion stops you being naughty" or however you want to put it. Without such boundaries, there is no need or want to rebel, there isn't anything to rebel against in that sense. My ethics and morals come from me and my experiences, rather than what I'm told will keep me from hell.

Has anyone else had any similar conversations or has any further thoughts on this one?

"God is a thought who makes crooked all that is straight." - Nietzsche

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29-08-2013, 02:01 PM
RE: "Religion gives you better morals"
Quote:Joshua 11:20

King James Version (KJV)

For it was of the Lord to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them, as the Lord commanded Moses.

She should read the fucking thing. She would learn better.
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29-08-2013, 03:14 PM
RE: "Religion gives you better morals"
I don't really have many people I could discuss their beliefs with, so I can't really compare all that well. However, I'm curious as to what your friend means by "wild child." If someone where to be raised without religion, and given good reasons for why to behave certain ways, I think that would do a far better job of making them moral people than simply being told they need to keep their deity happy. I also think that it is fairly common in religion to brand perfectly reasonable activities as sinful, so her idea of a "wild child" may be that of an abnormal, but perfectly healthy and productive child. To be fair, religions also warn against actually dangerous activities, but I think most do so in a worse fashion than could be done without religious reasoning (For instance, I think a child well aware of the dangers of drug use and peer pressure would be less likely to start using drugs than one only told that drugs where sinful). I'm curious as to whether your friend considers the possibility of such lessons being taught without divine influence, or if perhaps she underestimates her own ability to learn such lessons without the religious background she has.
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29-08-2013, 03:51 PM
RE: "Religion gives you better morals"
Perhaps a good way to measure morality would be through imprisonment. People with high morals would have personal issues with committing crimes, and conversely people with low morals are comfortable committing crimes.

So, with that in mind:
[Image: 20120329-jik8621tiu73r4rm4jr2xindbj.jpg]


I'd say that religion does not give you better morals.

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29-08-2013, 04:03 PM
RE: "Religion gives you better morals"
My religion requires:
  • Human sacrifice
  • Animal sacrifice
  • Child beating
  • Mutilation of sexual organs
  • Honor killing
  • Torture of suspected witches
  • Execution of apostates

I am very moral only when I do all these things.

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29-08-2013, 04:29 PM
RE: "Religion gives you better morals"
(29-08-2013 03:51 PM)Jeffasaurus Wrote:  Perhaps a good way to measure morality would be through imprisonment. People with high morals would have personal issues with committing crimes, and conversely people with low morals are comfortable committing crimes.

So, with that in mind:
[Image: 20120329-jik8621tiu73r4rm4jr2xindbj.jpg]


I'd say that religion does not give you better morals.

My mom says the reason for this is due to Atheists not having morals UNTIL they get to jail, which then they convert to Christianity. If that were true, then I think it's more a lack of education than a lack of god.
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29-08-2013, 05:42 PM
RE: "Religion gives you better morals"
Young children have no ethics and morals. They do what mommy and daddy say. There's a name for this, something along the lines of "having an external moral compass".

That's why I can kind of see what she means by religion giving good morals, but religion per se is not really necessary; some guidelines unrelated to a deity should suffice, like the ones parents provide. Maybe she simply imagines an environment without religion as one in which anything goes? Perhaps she just hasn't been exposed to enough people.

Plus, what everyone else said about religion not being really moral at all.

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29-08-2013, 05:54 PM
RE: "Religion gives you better morals"
Interesting... Religions give us better morals, huh?

Well, that would explain the fuck out of my near amorality.

On a related note...
http://www.scientificamerican.com/articl...l-behavior

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29-08-2013, 06:30 PM
RE: "Religion gives you better morals"
Religion may give you better morals, if you create your personal religion and your morals with it. Most people don't have to think about morals too seriously, religious people are at least theoretically obliged to give it lip service. Which makes for interesting conversations.

Organized religion is just another name for tribalism, which is just another name for being immoral to everyone else but your small tribe. Of course it makes people moral, but only to their fellow tribesmen. Say you don't belong to the tribe and they'll throw you out of the house before you're 18.
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02-09-2013, 12:21 AM
RE: "Religion gives you better morals"
Religion gives us better morals? I'd ask her to really stop and evaluate her thinking. If she has ever not taken a passage in the Bible literally, then that means she is using her own moral intuition to evaluate the Bible. Her intuition is primary, and her reasoning is circular. She chooses what is good in 'the good book'. If you were to get your morality purely from religion, then you'd see things like being put to death for performing labor on a particular day of the week as morally justifiable.

To make things clear, religious morality will have you...

Condemn people for imaginary crimes like witchcraft.

Kill people for the sake of your god's vanity.

Believe that you are to be held accountable for the actions of others long since dead.

Believe that your faith is more important than your family.

Believe that not subscribing to the right ideology will get you tortured for all eternity.

Believe that owning other people as property is perfectly fine.

Believe that woman are not the equals of men.

Willing to sacrifice your child in propitiation of your own 'sins'.

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