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Yes, We Can Be Moral Without Religion, But ...

While some might disagree, the general consensus of those who participated in the January 13th Discussion titled, “Do We Need Religion To Create A Moral Society?” seemed to be that, on an individual basis, one can certainly be very moral without reliance on a religious viewpoint.  But the consensus was far less clear on the role religion “should” play in the establishment and “enforcement” of morality.  While this issue was briefly discussed, time ran out before it could be adequately addressed.  I’ve therefore decided to have a follow up discussion on this specific question.  What role, if any, should organized religion play in deciding standards of moral behavior, and, once decided upon, what role should organized religion play in assuring compliance with those standards?

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  • Mark

    Sorry Guys, I'm gonna be out of town. Bad news for you, but good news for me. I got a Job! Six weeks of training in Atlanta.

    February 24, 2014

    • Kitty M.

      Mark, congratulations on the job!!

      February 25, 2014

  • Mark

    Just By the way - What Bob said - "Christians have demonstrated stunning levels of hatred and racism, as well as hostility to government policies that would correct the maldistribution of wealth that creates poverty." Those aren't Christians. At least not if you use the definition Christ himself laid down. Has anybody seen Michael Moore's "Capitalism, A Love Story"? God knows (Fun intended) that Michael Moore is no saint, but he interviewed several Catholic priests in that movie who stated that capitalism is one of the most corrupting forces in the world. You might ask - Who are they to talk? Hey Vernon - There's an idea for a topic - Is capitalism a necessary evil, and if not, what are the alternatives?

    February 24, 2014

  • Gned the G.

    In terms of remaining on topic and answering the posed question, it seems to me very simple, since there's a relatively free market in religion (that is, not a state-enforced monopoly but some degree of choice, including that members can choose to change churches or even religions), then the question of how much one's religion or religious institutions should dictate or enforce the particular "morality" taught by that religion is simply up to it and its followers, in other words a matter of individual choice. Too bad gov't doesn't work the same way!

    February 19, 2014

    • Bob P.

      Wish I could attend, but I have dance lessons every Monday night. On the comment above, twisting the issue into being a "free market in religion" argument is particularly perverse. That's because, for example, religion doesn't just apply its morality to its own followers, it attempts to force its idea of morality onto all others by way of government. Witness the current Arizona bill that would allow businesses to deny service based on their owners' notions of morality ... reminds one of the civil rights struggle that one would have thought wouldn't be revived against another segment of the population. Also note that the Christian religion has been used to get government to allow slavery and declare many wars.

      February 24, 2014

  • Bob P.

    Seriously, perhaps this would better be titled, "Yes, we can be moral with religion, but ...". Conservative Christians have demonstrated stunning levels of hatred and racism, as well as hostility to government policies that would correct the maldistribution of wealth that creates poverty. Many "conservatives" see the "free market" as the "hand of God in action", when it actually creates the problems we experience. . Many, if not most, deny the reality of human-caused global warming that is an existential threat to life on earth. This is unparalleled evil. Economic conservatives and libertarians are quite literally detached from reality

    1 · January 23, 2014

    • Edward S.

      Suprisingly blunt...I could not agree more!

      February 24, 2014

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