Is morality better with or without religion

That’s still a reward, and I’ve heard quite a few people claim that it’s not really charity/altruism if you enjoy it.

Agreed, that was my point. It is hard to have perfect charity. Even someone who doesn’t believe in God/Karma and does the good deed completely anonymously will get pleasure out of doing it. But I think this would be the closest to pure charity. Just the Joy of helping or giving.


In your context “religion” infers Christianity (Probably of the indigenous, American, Protestant, variety of this, the 3rd year of the 15th Crusade.)

I think your question depends on where you are and your culture. “Religous morality” may be a better alternative to “the morality of innate and local society”. And in some cases, vice versa.

Not only are they separable they are two separate acts.
No one is asking that he not benefit from it. That is not a requirement to make his act a charitable one. The first act , finding the cure, is motivated by slef interest and as I said. No problem with that. Once he has found the cure and cured himself he has another choice to make. He can use his discovery to become even wealthier and sell the cure to the highest bidders or he can make sure that those in need have access to it. It’;s a separate act with a separate motivation. Choosing to help others over profit is an act of compassion and charity.

What Buddha taught was very similar when dealing with our relationships with each other. I guess that means you’re free to worship either one or both :smiley:

No one has made that a requirement either. The point is for the seeking of glory and reward to not be the primary mover for the act. In the story of the good Samaritan he made no effort to conceal his identity when he paid for the wounded traveler. He met the need in front of him. The factor is the motivation. Will I help even if there is no reward for me? More than that will I help if there is some loss to me or some risk of loss. Will I let the opportunity to help slip by without some personal gain?

We can’t all be Mother Theresa that’s for sure. Again, self sacrifice is not a requirement. It’s dealing with the moment. If there’s an opportunity to help how do we handle it? The Bible says " to he whom more is given more is required"
and Ben Parker says “With great power comes great responsibility”

It’s pretty normal to enjoy some personal benefit along with what we do for others. That’s kinda how a job works isn’t it? I think what Jesus was saying was that by not specifically seeking personal reward all the time and still doing good for others we come to a fuller realization of our connection to others.

Who are the quite a few?

Reading through these statistics I cannot help but wonder how many of these religious prisoners became religious after being incarcerated. Then, there is the issue of once a Catholic always a Catholic. In any case, I do not believe that the prison system is a valid representation of the evil and immoral people in society.

There really would not be much of a difference in the morality of society without religion. Instead of committing atrocities in the name of an unseen sky dweller, people would find another means of justifying their violence and irrationality. The non-religious seem to view the religious as people who are unable to begin even the most simple of tasks without asking, “What will God think of this?” That is just a misconception. Most people who are religious tend to turn to their god when they are in a time of need. Anything ranging from getting the last cupcake to being healed of a terminal illness seems to be fair game for prayer and “finding God”. Otherwise their gods are usually forgotten. Kind of like the 6th man on a basketball team; no one cares that he is sitting there until someone busts an ankle.

The only evidence of religion making things worse that I was able to find in this study has to do with the disturbingly high rates of STD’s, teen pregnancy and general sexual dysfunction that is experienced in the United States. Just because people are committing murder in a largely religious society does not mean that they are committing murder in the name of religion.

Personally, I think that morality is better off with religion, at least until we raise the general rate of literacy. I do not think that religion, as it is largely practiced in America, would be necessary if people were more educated. Until that day of literacy comes, however, I have no problem knowing that the only thing keeping my neighbor from clubbing me over the head is his belief that he may be on the receiving end of an electrified tentacle.

I think an important point to consider prior to attempting to give an answer would be whether or not one assumes that the nature of man is towards selfishness.

I am still attempting to answer this and so do not think I can give a properly considered answer on the question of the potential mutual exclusiveness of morality and religion.

What does anyone else think?

If you’re looking for opposing views, I’ll give you the fundamentalist Calvinist argument. Anyone who isn’t a Christian is incapable of doing any good acts. The thinking is that humans are so sinful, that anything you do to “balance” it doesn’t make you any less black in God’s eyes, kinda like murdering 1000 people instead of 1001. You need salvation, period.

Yeah, I’ve heard this before. A nice angle that doesn’t really work when you play it out.

Love and kindness offered by those not under the approved salvation method isn’t really love and kindness, and those who are under that method can continue to commit acts that are unkind and not loving but are forgiven. I’m surprised in all this time they haven’t noticed that’s not what Jesus teaches.

This begs the question of what a moral person would be in the first place. A humble Christian or a Nietzschean superman? Myshkin in Dotoyevsky’s *The Idiot * or *Howard Roark * in The Fountainhead? Which? Why should I prefer one over the other?

Sigh. Please forgive the screwed up coding. “Howard Roark” should be plain text, and “The Fountainhead” should be italicized.

The former is probably universally believed. The latter is a subject of debate. Some argue that if you sin at all after salvation, then you aren’t one of the elect, you just think you are. You read that right–I’ve met at least a few Calvinists online who claim they’ve never sinned since salvation. Then there are others who say you can murder and steal and still be one of the elect. It’s all up to individual whims, of course.

If you selectively looked at only Jesus’s roles, you might walk away with that impression; then again, he’s got so few speaking parts that a lot of assumptions can be made. But, if you try to develop a comphrensive theology from the entire Bible, in my studies, Calvinism out of all the schools of thoughts is one of the few (if not the only) that makes the Bible almost consistent, mostly by magically selectively interpreting the meaning of “y’all” to “the elect”. It’s no wonder that the vast majority of Christians don’t study the Bible.

Maybe that’s why other people called it heresy. It’s just a sanitized spin on “if you ain’t one of us then you are scum”. <snarky, but maybe true>

Sorry, I am only a barstool Philosopher, I am not capable of debating in your terms. :wink:

To do a completely selfless act for no reward other than the good feeling you get for doing a good deed in my own personal philosophy is a higher achievement than doing a selfless act for Heavenly reward, Karmic reward or Recognition.

I wonder about self sacrifice for the greater good. People who accept death for themselves to save others they do not even know might be the highest achievement in being moral.
*But any example could be nitpicked: * If I found myself in a situation where someone had to grab a ticking bomb and run it as far away as possible or hundreds would die and I grabbed the bomb and died saving these strangers with no happiness in doing so, this would be a very moral act. A great sacrifice.
But could I not also be condemned for taking away the Husband of my wife and the Father of my children? Will life not be harder for them in a single parent home with reduced earnings?

Jim {Barstool Philosopher, I like that term}