Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Things Religion has stolen - Morality.

Morality does not belong to religion.
Religion is not required for morality to exist or to have morality on a personal level.

Christianity in particular does a wonderful job of taking what are natural occurrences of human existence and turning them to it's advantage. It commandeers sex to be used for its own ends - not for pleasure but procreation, banning almost all forms of non-reproductive sex. It's a wonderful way of ensuring that plenty of new followers regularly pop into existence.

It commandeered marriage, something that we believe existed before literature and somehow made it inextricably linked to itself. Most people now think of marriage as a religious ceremony, but it is not. Religion just likes to poke its nose into your life and control what you do and owning the copyright to marriage is an excellent way to do that.

But back to morality. Lets look at where morality actually came from.

Put succinctly current thinking is this...

Coming out of the last ice age early humans had begun living in groups. This had a number of huge advantages: the ability to share resources, group for warmth and stay safe from predators. These groups were the beginning of society in many ways. Hierarchies developed with leaders and followers, but the best and most successful members of the tribes were those that behaved in such a way as to uphold the common good. Female mates would be attracted to those that could provide stability and potential security for them and their offspring. This was achieved by upholding the common good and those that dissented, caused problems, stole, murdered would be ostracised from the group. In this event, that individual's chances would rapidly diminish, their chances of survival, their chances of finding a mate and their chances of easily finding food would reduce significantly.

So people, even Stone Age men behaved in a moral fashion within the group. This was the birth of morality, borne of intellect and necessity, no god or gods involved. No need for a god or gods to be involved. As societies grew, so did the scope of this morality to be more inclusive and the human intellect provided a capacity for altruism to extend beyond the bounds of social groups from within.

Note that some people and groups even today do not exercise this practice and are insular and selective in their altruism based on race, colour, geography or nationality.

Man's intellectual need to justify his own existence gave rise to mistaking perfectly natural phenomena for mystical or spiritual events - this was the early beginning of superstition and mysticism. Our unwillingness to accept death led to the development of shamanism and ceremonial burial - the idea of spirit realms beyond our own.

For me this is obviously the birth of religion and the idea that this is the common ancestor from which modern religions have descended makes a lot of sense to me. It explains a lot of the similarities in ritual i.e. most of us inter or burn our dead, not many make them into food, stuff and display them, make clothes from their skins, drag them behind vehicles, throw their parts into the sky etc.  The lack of diversity in these ceremonies suggests to me a common or at least similar source.

So for those of you that believe Religion is required for Morality, you are wrong.

Look at the morality endorsed by your Holy Books and you will see that YOU are more Moral than your God.

There are and were many non-believers who do and have not committed any evils.

Secular morality is in fact superior as it does not have to incorporate and justify the clearly evil content of a holy book such as the bible (more on this later).

Paul Clarke 03.08.2013

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