A former member
Post #: 4
Neal Wagner
Research Essay
English 1301
May 30, 2010
Faithless Morality
Billions of people on Earth hold fast to their religions and holy texts, believing that the codes of moral behavior described in them, are the complete formula for a morally sound society. But, are humans capable of having productive and safe societies without faith and the moral codes described in these religions? Does a religious nation have lower crime rates and a better life? The opposite is obvious in statistics, which show religious people and societies as more immoral than non-believing ones. Again, the majority of people, swept up in colorful vertigo, are certain that life without God, “His” texts, and faith is doomed to moral anarchy. Though shocking, these common views are absolutely false.
Contrary to global opinion, the “Holy” texts of the world are not the apex and source of morality. The basis of morality involves simple rules like not stealing or murdering. Morals are instinctive and thus, predate religion. Sam Harris explains, “Indeed, studies of primate behavior reveal that these emotions (in some form) precede humanity itself. All of our primate cousins are partial to their own kin and generally intolerant of theft and murder (21)”. Upon reading these texts, one can find that these doctrines promote violence, even after plagiarizing the “golden rule”. How is a text, that is advising killing, being considered the indisputable moral code and word of God while “chimps” won’t even tolerate that behavior?
Statistics show that non-religious societies are actually more morally sound and safer. When citizens, or other members of a group, are influenced by taboos, religious dogma and propaganda they are more probable to be aggressive. “Two separate studies of non-African countries show that most nations with the highest rates of homicide are religious, while those with the lowest rates are generally not” (Zuckerman 81). There are hundreds of statistics along these lines in research done in the “red” and “blue” states of America, and all over the globe. The overwhelming amount of evidence concludes that high infant mortality rates, crime, and poverty reside in religious countries and people, while the opposite (low crime and more money) is nearly always in non-believing places and people. This unnoticed and un-acted upon realization is an embarrassment to humanity as a species. Crusades, an Inquisition, and a current, technologically advanced holy war apparently have not illuminated this ultimate problem to a degree where change occurs. When really considered, this is becoming yet another, threat of extinction.
But can all this really be true? Most people look at the death of millions alone in the last hundred years, and attribute these grim truths to atheism and a lack of morality. One author, Dinesh D’Souza, claims that dictators like Hitler and others, are maniacs responsible for the death of over a hundred million in their attempt to make an atheist society (1). This is a common rebuttal to claims that religion causes disaster. But, Hitler described his piety in several speeches. In one, he is speaking of Christ’s actions. “How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison…as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people. (quoted in Harris 40). Though very deranged and extreme, Hitler claimed Christianity and “out did” St. Augustine and St. Aquines in their biblically protected lunacy. The trend in history’s mass murders is religion and dogma, not faithless skeptics. These masses are full of faith and believe in their leaders; they do not question the validity of their sacred books.
In deeper analysis, the modes of thought in making these life decisions about morality are tainted by many factors. First, masses prescribe to basically what other masses do. It is easier to do what they do other than to think for themselves. When bad things happen on this planet, people usually say that God was giving the people a choice and testing them. They almost certainly will say that no one can judge or know about Gods ways. In Sam Harris’s book, “Letter to a Christian Nation,” he writes, “You are using your own moral intuitions to decide that the Bible is the appropriate guarantor of your moral intuitions. Your own intuitions are still primary and your reasoning is circular” (49). Harris’ point is that when deciding on which religion’s moral code to adhere to, a person is already using some kind of moral compass. That compass, more times than not statistically, is a better ingredient for human happiness. By scientifically approaching what it means to be a natural, moral being and how sociology affects that, future generations will dissolve murderous ideologies and mass religious delusions.
What many have to see is that religion had its place in helping men find admirable virtue, but just because it can help some people, it cannot define good and evil and accurately show them how to ultimately make decisions (quoted in Nielson 337). As a species, man has had a brilliant and imaginative mind, capable of incredible survival. This imagination, like all life on Earth, is also evolving. When a useless limb gets in the way long enough, a dramatic change will occur. Either the unit will cease living or severe the attachment. It is a collective decision for mankind to either ditch religious based morality, which doesn’t work, or face the consequences.



Ruben
user 3605585
Denton, TX
Post #: 1
Good Job!!!! Bertrand Russell was very concerned about morals and suffering. He said something like this. I'll put it in my words: Avoid suffering. Don't cause it and help to relieve it because the universe is totally indifferent.
Steve K.
user 10522559
Irving, TX
Post #: 69
Interesting and well written essay. I like the spirit of it, though I do have some criticisms. I assume you are looking for them, since you put this assignment out for people to read. I hope you take (or leave) these as constructive, since I am a professor and published author in the field of Biology. See below:

You wrote:
“The opposite is obvious in statistics, which show religious people and societies as more immoral than non-believing ones.”

--Do you have citations to support this?

You wrote:
“Morals are instinctive and thus, predate religion. Sam Harris explains, “Indeed, studies of primate behavior reveal that these emotions (in some form) precede humanity itself. All of our primate cousins are partial to their own kin and generally intolerant of theft and murder (21)”. Upon reading these texts, one can find that these doctrines promote violence, even after plagiarizing the “golden rule”. How is a text, that is advising killing, being considered the indisputable moral code and word of God while “chimps” won’t even tolerate that behavior?”

--I disagree with this, even though some scholars don’t. Modern primate ethology does not support such a benevolent role for chimps or other primates. They murder, cannibalize, and commit similar atrocities as much or more than their civilized human counterparts (read James Miles’ “Born Cannibal” for numerous references). I do however believe that some forms of cultural morality, or at least aversion to destructive behavior, are rooted in our evolutionary legacy.

You wrote:
“Statistics show that non-religious societies are actually more morally sound and safer.”

--Quote me a study that claims one society is more “morally sound” than another. Morality is not quantifiable by a single statistic, if at all. Secondly, I think you mean “studies show…” not “statistics show…”. Statistics are simply analytical tools used to support an idea or hypothesis put forward in a study.

You wrote:
“The overwhelming amount of evidence concludes that high infant mortality rates, crime, and poverty reside in religious countries and people, while the opposite (low crime and more money) is nearly always in non-believing places and people. “

--If there is overwhelming evidence, you should cite it in your essay. And, even if such is the case, the data are correlative, and don’t establish cause and effect. Also, how do “...mortality rates, crime, and poverty reside in…people”?

Anyways, like I said, that’s my critique, take it or leave it. If you haven’t turned it in, I would advise you flesh out your sources and polish it a bit before doing so.

Good luck.
I N P.
Planogal
Plano, TX
Post #: 15
I hope your instructor recognizes the merits of your paper for the organization, structure, response to assignment, and subject development, without letting personal opinion adversely affect the grade. Or maybe s/he actually understands the argument and views it objectively!
Powered by mvnForum

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy