Morality and religion - Wikipedia
Does morality thrive in the absence of religion? which combined the results of some forty studies and probed the relationship between religion and juvenile. Barbara Stoler Miller points out a further disparity between the morals of religious traditions. Although scientific opinion on the relationship between religion and morality is somewhat ambiguous, popular opinion seemingly is not.
The dismissive quality of religious thought has prevented this understanding by attributing our good nature to supernatural beings. This article will investigate why morality is embedded within religious thought and practice, and why the evolution of morality is incomplete without our cognitive predilection for gods.
We begin with the main reasons for the close relationship between religion and morality.
What is the (actual and perceived) relationship between religion and morality? — Will Gervais
Gods and morality share a place in the unknown. Conceptual Similarity Between Morals and Deities The gods that determine our fate beyond death are typically mystical, benign entities with a penchant for influencing the will of humankind.
At the dawn of civilization, morality must have appeared in a similar light; a formless force for how to live in peace. In the present, children lack the wisdom to learn morals other than through instruction, leading to a level of reverence for these mystical and highly beneficial laws.
The equally benevolent yet intangible qualities of morality will lead one to ascribe it to that which shares the same character gods. This conceptual similarity can even prompt the irreligious to associate morality with other forms of direct infusion, whether terrestrial, alien, or supernatural; such is the pervasiveness of religious thought when our minds attempt to comprehend the unknown.
Religious Morality Improves Social Cohesion The more a group shares and follows a common moral code, the more they will cooperate with each other. This cooperation brings success in conflicts with competitors, meaning that moral dispositions have become naturally selected facets of the human condition.
However, we all cheat from time to time, and often the only thing that stops us from cheating is supervision by our peers. If one believes a god, spirit, or dead ancestor is watching over us, we will act as if under a permanent degree of supervision. This enhances our moral rectitude, giving religious groups an advantage over non-religious rivals.
This advantage has left an enduring footprint on the human brain. We have evolved a superstitious trigger for moral behavior, which works for atheists and theists alike. An experiment by Shariff and Norenzayan showed that when people were unconsciously primed about concepts related to gods, spirits, and prophets during a task to unscramble sentences containing those words, they were more likely to be generous in an economic game.
Morality and religion
Another experiment by Jesse Bering showed that participants were less likely to cheat when they were told a ghost was in the room with them. Thus, humans have evolved to increase their pro-social behavior by increasing their susceptibility for belief in judgmental deities and spirits.
Religious belief is inextricably linked with our sense of morality on an unconscious level. Religious belief intensifies our willingness to display moral behavior, and the need to follow a moral code reduces the scrutiny that we apply to supernatural propositions. Religion uses morality to justify the claim that animals are excluded from divine rewards.
Religious Morality Grants Us Dominion Over Life Our evolutionary struggle for superiority over the beasts of the Earth has left us with a disposition for identifying and exaggerating our traits and abilities.
Morality and love are seen as that which makes us special and distinct from an inferior animal kingdom. Religion finds itself in similar territory when claiming we have a unique purpose, a soul, and an afterlife that is off-limits to non-humans. To justify these claims, morality is co-opted by religion.
What Is the Relationship Between Religion and Morality? | Owlcation
Morality is seen as a gift from the gods; a piece of their ultimate perfection that can be assimilated. In so doing, we become more like a god, and less like the animals beneath us. We become special, superior, and closer to our archetypal image of perfection. All other life becomes inferior, immoral, imperfect, and immaterial. Through religion we display our propensity for attributing the most perfect aspects of our lives to something that is perfect in origin.
Morality and love are deemed to be sent from the gods because we want these human traits to be perfect. It is our way of enhancing ourselves; a form of self-apotheosis.
This may appear to be a selfish and disrespectful belief to hold, but it is one that satisfies our evolved desire for superiority over the species that compete with us for survival.
Furthermore, it is a position that supposedly fits with the evidence. Animals will often kill indiscriminately for food, kill their own young, and leave their weaker offspring to die. However, it would be imprudent to say that animals are bereft of moral behavior. Primates, lions, and other pack animals co-operate in groups, look after their own, and appear to feel pain and anguish at the loss of a family member or ally. The fact that our morality surpasses that of other species makes it easier to assume it has supernatural origins.
Religious displays show the individual adheres to the morals of that religion. Religious Morality Increases Prestige To be thought of as a good person is to have an advantage in matters of trade and friendship.
It matters not where you believe your morality comes from; only that people recognize and approve of your moral code. For instance, if we look at the ten commandment. Not killing, stealing, etc is better for humanity so things like this are common in most religions. Religion want people to associate what is good for humanity with what is good for their religion, that is why other commandments deal directly with worshiping their god.
Thing is, there is also a contrast with morals about outside groups. If you read further in Exodus, you can see where it claims to justify killing. Because killing others outside the group, benefits the group, it is seen as moral. If we look at the conquests of the bible, we can see how they often involved killing entire cities and taking their possessions, justifying mass murder and theft.
There are also cases where all but the virgins were to be killed and they would be forced to marry the unwed soldiers. Because these were good for the group, they were considered moral actions. Some state cases like Hitler.