Theists often ask the question of whether one can be moral without God.  It is of course an absurd question, but a more interesting question is this:  considering the widespread immorality of religious texts, can one possibly be religious and yet truly moral?  And if one is truly moral, would that not mean that he or she is not religious at all?

Tags: ethics, morals, theism, theist

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Kant wrote that morality is a function of intentions only, and not of consequences. If a persons intentions are good, then that act is a moral one, no matter if that person was correct or mistaken, or even insane.
So, a devoutly religious person who truly believes that submitting a non-believer to the inquisition for the purpose of saving them for eternity, is performing a moral act. (That person is is wrong, but his intentions are good). However, a person who risks his own life by pulling a child from in front of a speeding car has not performed a moral act - if he acted as he did without thinking (i.e. reflexively). If, on the other hand, he was terrified of being hurt himself, and felt no concern about the child, yet saved it because he believed that was the right thing to do, it would have been a highly moral act.

Morality does not imply correctness, nor beneficial result - only good intentions.

On the other hand, Gary Becker, a brilliant economist, felt that all altruism and morality is an evolutionary development that enhanced self-interest. Those of our distant ancestors who helped others were more likely to survive to pass on their genes, perhaps because others then helped them. So, Becker might claim that morality for its own sake is a myth ( I'm not sure of this - it's my interpretation). Indeed, if a "moral" act is not motivated by self-interest, why would any sane person perform it?

Religious people may feel it to be to their self-interest to do things such as giving their lives for their country. Secular people may also feel that way as a result of emotional motivations. I believe that either could be good soldiers.

Why do you feel that morality and religion are in any way coupled?

GaryB
I feel that morality and religion are coupled, but in a negative way. When someone professes to believe (for example) in a bible where "god" punishes the innocent and performs horrendous acts of hate, it is hard to understand how that person would be able to distinguish right from wrong. Basically, a moral person can plainly see that the religious books are immoral and should not be able to pledge allegiance to them.

As an example, can you imagine someone swearing allegiance to Mein Kempf (not sure about the spelling) but saying they are moral anyway? Would that wash with anyone other than neo-Nazis?
Agreed! Only neo-Nazis might do such a thing. For such people, doing things that all other people consider to be awful atrocities could be moral acts.
Ha, you posted the discussion title for me...

well, let's see, considering the latest in regards to theists, value-based, ugh, how do you say...
"Moral" pure-raced or what have ya...

refer to these latest revelations, no pun, seriously:
Texas school rejects little girl into school do to lesbian parents, hello.

A Catholic priest directed devastating Irish Republican Army (IRA) car bomb attacks in the Northern Irish village of Claudy in 1972 and his role was covered up by senior police officers, government ministers and the Catholic hierarchy, an official investigation has revealed.

=
The USA to become Northern Ireland in the future? Hrrmmm...
Religion = regression
plain and simple. IMHO, they, the bush/saud/etc. corps make no sense to common folks in this land...
I like the question! I never thought of it in this way before, but it's a good point that following religious teachings does require immoral acts as our current society would accept. Murder, discrimination, oppression... acceptable in religion!!
This is a key point for explaining why so many people claim to believe in gods but not are not active in their religion. You fit in well in society if you believe, but you do not fit in well if you actually act upon archaic religious rules.
In thinking about this question, and going through my mind about the most religious and supposedly moral people I know.... no one passes the test. Even the sweetest, most caring people I know use their religion as a reason to judge and act reprehensibly toward others.
"With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil—that takes religion." -- Prof. Steven Weinberg, University of Texas Department of Physics

I think that one statement sums up religious morality quite nicely. With or without religion, most people are good most of the time. We have an innate sense of morality built largely on the concepts of fairness and reciprocity, and for the most part, we follow our guts and it works out for us.

When a religion teaches something immoral (such as not using condoms), believers either follow the religion out of authoritarian obedience, genuine belief, or whatever else, or they follow their conscience and figure out a way to circumvent the immoral dictate. As I've often said on my blog, people who are good and religious are typically good in spite of the immoral dictates of their religion. That is, their moral compass is strong enough to rationalize doing the right thing despite the religious urge to do the wrong thing.

Incidentally, I wrote a detailed blog entry on the nature of Christian morality, but the same argument could be applied to any religion with a holy book and the concepts of absolute morality. You can find the entry HERE.
I think this explains the real moral function of religion:

http://goodatheistarguments.blogspot.com/2010/09/religion-and-moral...
i like this question also,, some people will link up betwen morals and religion, coz thats the simple way, well lot of scientist in this world are atheist, also theyre well educated, and good in morality.

in another case, lots of people with very extreme religious beliefs, do something bad such as suicide bombing, lack of woman's right, and another criminal.

i believe that in this world, there is no absolute right, also there is no absolute wrong, we are just human, also we need to make mistake just to learn about something. also we learn about moral from our mistake to fix. so god is nothing to do in this real life

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