Morals And Self-Control In The Absence Of Religion
Religions supply a predefined set of morals. The higher power, deity or deities is or are believed to reward moral behavior and to punish transgressions. People are motivated, instigated, coerced or manipulated to follow rules restraining their behavior, either with or without any insight in the benefits and necessity of the rules.
When people discard religion, they often discard the morals of this religion too, because they misunderstand the morals as an arbitrary restraint without any benefit. Experiencing moral rules only as religious ballast restricting behavior without understanding their protective benefits is a sign of ignorance, immaturity, selfishness or superficiality.
Becoming an atheist is not a valid excuse for the backlash and regression to behave as ruthless, inconsiderate and cruel animals driven by instinct. When someone leaves behind a religion and feels free to automatically leave behind all moral rules of this religion too, he becomes a psychopath.
Leaving a religion and remaining a moral persons requires to replace the morals of this religion by a new set of morals based upon responsibility and consideration. This means a conscious evaluation of every moral rule of this religion by asking the simple questions: Who suffers without this rule? If the rule does protect someone from being hurt or harmed, then this rule needs to be maintained and not discarded.
Without a religion, to be guided by morals of any kind requires
- the conscious insight and acceptance of the need of morals and of rules for behavior
- the awareness of and interest for the consequences of the own behavior upon others
- self-control to act in accordance with the accepted rules
A study connects self-control to religion, and this has important implication for people striving to behave morally without being religious. Since self-control appears to be eased by religious indoctrination, for any non-religious person it is very important to consciously focus on learning self-control.
"Study participants were given a sentence containing five words to unscramble. Some contained religious themes and others did not. After unscrambling the sentences, participants were asked to complete a number of tasks that required self-control -- enduring discomfort, delaying gratification, exerting patience, and refraining from impulsive responses.
Participants who had unscrambled the sentences containing religious themes had more self-control in completing their tasks.
"Our most interesting finding was that religious concepts were able to refuel self-control after it had been depleted by another unrelated task," "
This is a copy from my ERCP-blog