Monday, February 20, 2012

Morality vs Religious Faith

by Dee Newman

We are told that without religion we are no more than egocentric two-legged beasts – that without a belief in a monotheistic all-knowing Creator and Supreme Being everything is permitted, that life is pointless and human values worthless: In short, morality and religious faith are one in the same.

In reality, the supposition is blatantly false; it could not be more inaccurate. Aside from the fact, that “Believers” (as direct instruments of their faith) believe they are allowed to do practically anything on “His” behalf, including blowing up thousands of innocent men, women and children – a belief in God (I submit) renders one’s motives and moral integrity severely impaired, if not morally corrupt.

I once wrote:
Though they may be sufficient to keep you in line,
Reward and punishment are never divine.
For there's nothing more deceitful or insincere
Than honor or favor based upon profit or fear.

So, if you adhere to a straight and narrow path
Simply because you fear the fate of pharaoh's wrath,
Or worship a deity so that you might live in
Some celestial city for the freely forgiven,

You might as well sell the devil your soul
For all his apparel, his revel and gold.
For if fear's your motive or gain's your aim,
However you so live, the verdict's the same.

For in truth, the only truth there is to live by,
Isn't a tooth for a tooth or an eye for an eye.
It's never let your fear, your desire, or your greed
Ever interfere with another's dire need.

Although actions, for sure, speak louder than words,
If your motives aren't pure nothing else will be heard.
So, whatever your fate, your reward, or your plight,
Choose love over hate, never wrong over right.

A belief in God cannot avoid distorting our motives. It prevents us from acting selflessly (morally) by compelling us to consider how we may be judged by our Creator and what prize or penalty we may receive,  rather than, simply “doing unto others as we would have them do unto us” no matter what our consequences may or may not be.

In short, morality and religious faith are antithetical.


mythopolis said...

Well said, to my way of thinking! Here is an interesting link to an article on well-being and atheism:

Stickup Artist said...

It would be the highest achievement of humanity to love and give while expecting nothing in return and not be offended if unthanked or unrecognized. Shouldn't we be nice and kind without expecting rewards in this life or any other? It seems to me that some people just can't be happy unless they are getting over.
"It's never let your fear, your desire, or your greed
Ever interfere with another's dire need." That is beautiful. Now that should be one of the 10 Commandments!

JBS said...

I like the poem you wrote.
It fits true Christianity just fine.
The paragraphs at the end of the post, though, make me wish I could put into words an explanation which might be understood.
I'll give it a shot and try to keep it short and simple.
Nothing I do is based on any hope or fear of reward or punishment.
I know my own heart and its propensity toward selfishness, greed and generally, sin. I have been judged and found wanting. But I have been pardoned, forgiven, permanently. So what-I-do is my way of saying "Thank You". I am not required to do anything. The fact that I remain alive reveals that there is work to do in service to others. Just as you point out, the Golden Rule is the Way to live.
I don't perform perfectly, or even very well much of the time, but I am free, so my natural bent in this freedom is to do the best I can to make others' lives as good as they can be.
I define 'religion' as I think Jesus does, as "that set of rules by which I know I'm ok...and you're not". He came to tear that down. But it persists in many guises to this day.
I like the close-up photographs of the mosses. They are quite nice.