Using Religion to Define Morals

Discussion in 'Religion & Philosophy' started by Mirage, Sep 6, 2009.

  1. Mirage

    Mirage Administrator Staff Member V.I.P.

    What are your thoughts on using religion to define morals?

    Generally there are a few ways that society comes up with morals.

    1. The popular/dominate religion of the region dictates what is right and wrong.
    2. People decide for themselves what is beneficial or unbeneficial for their specific society and then label those things as right or wrong.
    3. A combination of them both.

    So, which do you think does a better job of defining morals? Religion or society, and why?
     

  2. Wade8813

    Wade8813 Registered Member

    Really, it depends on whether or not right or wrong really exist, and if so, what they are.

    I can't say one system is better or worse unless I know what it is I'm comparing them against.
     
  3. Mirage

    Mirage Administrator Staff Member V.I.P.

    I imagine you'd be comparing them against each other, right?

    And I guess the religion option has a whole host of flaws that would be immediately apparent. Such as the fact that there are quite a few religions that have some crazy laws. People who are not religious would tend to steer clear of showing any support for religion defining morals due to the fact that different religions would define morals differently, many in ways that they don't agree with. That would go for religious people as well though. For example, I'm sure somebody who followed one particular religion wouldn't be too happy with a very different religion being used to define morals in their culture.

    That being said, society hasn't always been on the right side of moral issues either. That might be quite the understatement as well, depending on your own personal beliefs.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2009
  4. FutureTrackStar

    FutureTrackStar Registered Member

    - Are you advocating that Right behavior is merely human convention, similar to driving on the right hand side of the street rather than the left?

    - You are asking which methodology is better at defining Right behavior? So you have:

    Religious methodology vs. societal methodology

    Enlighten me... with what ruler do you expect me to measure the two of them, so as to compare them?

    Or are we comparing apples and oranges?

    :)
     
  5. Mirage

    Mirage Administrator Staff Member V.I.P.

    Well, at this point I'm not implying anything. I simply posted the question to get a discussion going.

    You do raise a good point though, and one that I would agree with. There is no way to contrast the two. Religion would give us definite right and wrong. Society would just give us relative right and wrong, defining morals by what felt good and what didn't. Relative only to the feelings of each individual.
     
  6. FutureTrackStar

    FutureTrackStar Registered Member

    - And so we have arrived, once again, to the question of absolute Right vs. relative Right (which I am always happy to debate).

    Let's consider a particular extreme action X (such as forgiveness or murder), performed by man A, toward man B, at time t. Religion would describe such an action from a third person point of view as either "Right" or "Wrong" (sometimes depending on the man's mental state). Relativism, however, would say that X could be either Right or Wrong for both man A and B. I'm wondering, however, how relativism describes actions from a third person perspective. It always says something like, "That action is wrong for me" or "it's wrong in my opinion". But I'm curious about how Constantine, EI, et al., would describe action X from a third person perspective.

    I suppose they might say, "That's impossible, you can't view anything from a non-first-person perspective". To which I would reply, "Is the truth of that claim exclusive to your own perspective, or is that an absolute truth regardless of perspective?"
     
  7. Cyberleader

    Cyberleader Registered Member

    Definitely - "People decide for themselves what is beneficial or unbeneficial for their specific society and then label those things as right or wrong".
     
  8. FutureTrackStar

    FutureTrackStar Registered Member

    - So, are you claiming that Right vs. Wrong is a social convention, that is, something put into us by education?
     
  9. Cyberleader

    Cyberleader Registered Member

    Instinct, common sense and as a result education, yes - in that order. A community makes laws and rules as it sees fit based on experience and foresight/hindsight.
    'maiming or killing a member of a group will affect the effectiveness of the group as a whole - hence the maiming or killing of a group member by another is forbidden'.
    We can define our own morals without the need to legitimise them with religion or use religion to make society adhere to them or validate them IMO.
     
  10. Mirage

    Mirage Administrator Staff Member V.I.P.

    Actually, human instinct is survival of the fittest. Look at animals. They fight their own species all the time, often times to the death over things such as food, mates, etc.

    If we are basing our laws off of instinct first and foremost then if a girl tells you she won't go to the prom with you, should it be legal to kill the guy she's going with? Animal instinct would say that was just fine.
     

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