Moral Actions 2

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Algebe's picture
Moral Actions 2

Are there any good or noble actions that are not tainted by religion?

Religions are based on rewards and punishments. At the root of religious morality is the belief that good deeds buy you the points you need to get into Cloud Fairy Land, while bad deeds doom you to eternal agony in Satan's BBQ Pit. That means that every good deed motivated by religion is a selfish hyprocritical act, and that religious people are using others for their own benefit. As an atheist, I can expect no eternal benefit from any good deeds that I do. My only motive to do good is my conscience.

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...'s picture
What is morality other than

What is morality other than the understanding that some acts produce good results, and other acts produce bad results? Take religion aside, and take morality on its own. How did you first learn that hitting other people is bad? Probably because when you hit other people, they hit you back. Morality isn't born in isolation. You may not be expecting eternal benefits for your good deeds, but you do expect temporary benefits. Whether it is a thank you from a stranger, or even if its just your own conscious making you feel good about yourself, that's dopamine being released, that's pleasure. Or vice versa, fear of hell might not motivate you to be moral, but fear of the law might, fear of social rejection, fear of your actions hurting you.

But here's a counter question. Religion teaches me to do the right thing, even when no one is watching. Religion teaches me stealing is wrong, even if no one gets hurt. Religion teaches me that hate is evil, even if those thoughts never leave my head. Does your conscious still motivate you in those circumstances? Does it motivate you to do the right thing, even if no one finds out you didn't? Does it motivate you to give your last glass of water, to the person that just killed your loved ones?

My conscious doesn't motivate me. I'd rather get even than get hurt. Rather preserve my pride, than wash someone's feet. Rather steal the apple, than let myself die. Rather fight back, than turn the other cheek. It takes strength to live a moral life. If you can do it on your own then I'm happy for you. But I do need God for situations like that. Because I am by nature selfish.

Nyarlathotep's picture
John 6IX Breezy - Religion

John 6IX Breezy - Religion teaches me that hate is evil, even if those thoughts never leave my head.

You forgot: it teaches to stone unruly children to death.

Algebe's picture
"Religion teaches me to do

"Religion teaches me to do the right thing, even when no one is watching."

When I was at primary school, our scripture teacher told us the story of how Moses murdered an Egyptian. The teacher said he looked left and looked right and thought no one had seen him, but he forgot to look up. The message was that somone is always watching everything we do. Isn't that what your reilgion teaches?

...'s picture
That there is nothing hidden,

That there is nothing hidden, correct.

Algebe's picture
So a religious person can

So a religious person can never make an anonymous donation or do a good deed without the possibility of reward, or a bad deed without the possibility of recrimination. The Eye in the Sky is always watching.

MCD's picture
Awesome post. You wrote:

Awesome post. You wrote: Religion teaches me to do the right thing, even when no one is watching.

Cool...so like when christians learn the rules about owning human beings as slaves and how hard they can beat their slaves as explained in Exodus 21? Were you referring to that as teaching them 'the 'right thing".

Or perhaps another moral lesson such as when god dictated in Numbers 31 that Midianite men, women, and children are to be slaughtered ... but the virgin girls were to be kept by the victors as the spoils of war.

There are many more examples of moral lessons being taught to believers in the bible.

...'s picture
Now that you mention it, I

Now that you mention it, I have to go slave shopping tomorrow.

valiya s sajjad's picture
That's very well put John 61X

That's very well put John 61X

valiya s sajjad's picture
"My conscious doesn't

"My conscious doesn't motivate me. I'd rather get even than get hurt. Rather preserve my pride, than wash someone's feet. Rather steal the apple, than let myself die. Rather fight back, than turn the other cheek. It takes strength to live a moral life. If you can do it on your own then I'm happy for you. But I do need God for situations like that. Because I am by nature selfish."

I meant this piece of argument from John 61X... very well explained

Nyarlathotep's picture
I do have to agree with you

I do have to agree with you somewhat John 6IX Breezy. If you need this iron-age fairy tale to live a moral life; then go for it.

chimp3's picture
Morality is like a foreign

Morality is like a foreign land that crusaders and pilgrims traveled to. When the ship landed the religious set foot on the land and claimed it in the name of god.

chimp3's picture
I have read the Bible and the

I have read the Bible and the Koran. I don't't recall Satan ever directing people to slaughter babies, eviscerate pregnant women, or slice the heads off of people.

DancingFool's picture
As an atheist I guess that

As an atheist I guess that makes me more moral than christians because I do the right thing knowing that there is no god watching me and keeping score. I have a Catholic friend who knows I don't believe and he says he is mystified because I am the most moral person he knows. I explained that when I do good I feel good about myself and if I do wrong I am disappointed in myself. He says that makes me wrong, self centered and sinful. Apparently feeling good about oneself isn't allowed to the catholics. He says I should do good for the glory of and in fear of the lord. That's where we part company. If I'm doing something out of fear then I haven't learned anything except to present a false face. I am as moral as I can be because I want to be, not because I'm cowering in fear of some celestial boogieman.

Algebe's picture
If I do something evil, I

If I do something evil, I know first that Jesus won't forgive me (because he's too busy being dead), and second that I'll never forgive myself. That's enough to keep me on the straight and narrow.

Alembé's picture
“The measure of a man's real

“The measure of a man's real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.”

― Thomas Babington Macaulay

chimp3's picture
I love my children and

I love my children and grandson . What kind of society do I want to leave behind for them? One in which rape, murder, theft are permissable? Or, one in which people cooperate and strive for human well being? Simple human reasoning is all that is required to ask and answer such questions.

.

SecularSonOfABiscuitEater's picture
Theism practices integrity,

Theism practices integrity, but for a goal. It's not genuine because the good deeds are expected to have a payoff. That isn't exactly selfless.

Non Believers (or at least I do) naturally practice integrity because we practice the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have others do to you.

The concept does not require religion as it has a secular definition on it's own:

Integrity - the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.

science follower's picture
The golden rule didn`t start

The golden rule didn`t start with Jesus, it was laotze Confucius in China, He parody this saying, As for morals, They keep on evolving I was once a professing Christian, But I have changed over to Agnostic. And I feel that you don`t need a God or God`s to be moral.The late Christopher hitchens debated apologist William lane Craig and mentioned this.I try to be good and kind because I feel that`s the best way to survive in this life.I don`t need religion of any sorts to instill that in me.O r a promise of some kind of rewards.The whole thing in Judea-Christian motivational teaching is to bring guilt to the individual.Example the 10 commandments and all of there 613 laws found in the Torah.And then with Jesus teaching on the sermon on the Mount.As for getting even I`m to old to start now at 61, I am not a fighter I like to use reason, But as all of you know sometimes that`s just not enough.So my advice is to try to dialogue with the person or persons.TRY to keep a low tone in arguments.And most of all have respect.

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