"You cannot be moral without being religious"

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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby alan » Mon Jan 31, 2011 2:18 am

Morality is usually defined within a religious context, so I understand the confusion. Might be helpful to redirect the question to ethics, and frame the question differently.
"Can someone be ethical without being religious?'
From this starting point I think the answer is obvious and beyond debate.
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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby nobody12345 » Mon Jan 31, 2011 2:50 am

Majority of mass murders in human history were commited by the people who are thoroughly religious.
So many people were tortured and burnt alive by the church.
And regarding your second question, I do not consider genuine Buddhism as a religion.
True Buddhism is beyond religion.
We do not ask/beg higher beings for blessings.
We do not seek savior who will purify our sins.
Instead, we do practice over and over and over and over again until we purify ourselves.
True Buddhism (Theravada tradition) is infinitely superior form of spirituality that no other religion can come close.
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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby ground » Mon Jan 31, 2011 3:23 am

Religion is a cultural system that creates powerful and long-lasting meaning, by establishing symbols that relate humanity to truths and values.[1] Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life. They tend to derive morality, ethics, religious laws or a preferred lifestyle from their ideas about the cosmos and human nature.

The word religion is sometimes used interchangeably with faith or belief system, but religion differs from private belief in that it has a public aspect. Most religions have organized behaviors, including congregations for prayer, priestly hierarchies, holy places, and/or scriptures.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion


So taken this Buddhism is religion. Even humanism is religion. Any conceptual system of "values" is religion.
Therefore yes, "You cannot be moral without being religious".

But in what context is this relevant?


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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby alan » Mon Jan 31, 2011 3:31 am

That makes no sense.
You don't seem to have a grasp on the subject matter.

*edited. I'm doing my best to be nice.
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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby ground » Mon Jan 31, 2011 3:49 am

:group:
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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby octathlon » Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:15 am

TMingyur wrote:So taken this Buddhism is religion. Even humanism is religion. Any conceptual system of "values" is religion.
Therefore yes, "You cannot be moral without being religious".

But in what context is this relevant?

See, now we're starting in on the definitions and arguing like I predicted in an earlier post might happen. This is a distraction and not necessary if you read the OP and answer in the same context in which it was asked:
enirehtacNI wrote:But she argues that early humans must of had their beliefs in some sort of god and therefore would be moral to satisfy this god and not themselves because humans are aggressive and predatorial.

So you see the question was asked in terms of belief in a god. And if the OP had meant to define it your way that morality is religion, then the question would have never been asked.
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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby Prasadachitta » Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:53 am

I was not raised in any form of organized religion. I was not given a formulated framework for understanding what morality is. Unless you count the modern secular humanist ethos which pervades the general climate of California alternative culture. I have always had what you might call a strong ethical compass far before discovering the teaching of Buddha Dhamma. My mother loved and cared for me. I reached a pretty mature age before I was confronted with the fact that people actually take such notions as a creator god literally. I think I was around nine years old. I thought it was utterly ridiculous. I mean, I was perfectly willing to accept that there could be ethereal beings or magical influences beyond my understanding. That being said I did not see how this possibility could be related to ethics. It was Buddha Dhamma which gave ethical practice meaning for me. My ethics have not really changed that much since before practicing Dhamma. That is to say, what I see as skillful and unskillful in the objective sense has not changed much. I now look deeper into the nuances of the play of my mind and see that there is ever deeper dimensions of skillfulness to be cultivated.

We absorb ethics as children without the need of a framework to justify them. We act ethically in dependence on subtle praise and blame which we get from others but learn to do to ourselves as well. This self blaming and self praising becomes hard wired and we only experience it as Vedena. In other words, we are comfortable acting in a particular way and uncomfortable acting another way.

Personally I think we waste a great deal of energy trying to find the ultimate framework of justification for ethics, whether we are Buddhists, non Buddhists, Atheists or Theists. I think its just best to notice the ethics we inherit then accept the ethics we trust then pay attention and find out for ourselves what brings stable peace and happiness. Doing this wholeheartedly may get you labeled "religious".

Take Care

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"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332
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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby ground » Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:01 am

octathlon wrote:
TMingyur wrote:So taken this Buddhism is religion. Even humanism is religion. Any conceptual system of "values" is religion.
Therefore yes, "You cannot be moral without being religious".

But in what context is this relevant?

See, now we're starting in on the definitions and arguing like I predicted in an earlier post might happen. This is a distraction and not necessary if you read the OP and answer in the same context in which it was asked:
enirehtacNI wrote:But she argues that early humans must of had their beliefs in some sort of god and therefore would be moral to satisfy this god and not themselves because humans are aggressive and predatorial.

So you see the question was asked in terms of belief in a god. And if the OP had meant to define it your way that morality is religion, then the question would have never been asked.


"Early humans" and their "belief in a god" was an illustration of the general thesis "You cannot be moral without being religious".
I do not consider present day humans to be "early humans". Religious contents are changing in the course of human development.

EDIT:
EnirehtacNI wrote:So, what are your views on this statement? In what relation does the statement have with Buddhism?



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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby Prasadachitta » Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:16 am

To address the OP directly...

But she argues that early humans must of had their beliefs in some sort of god and therefore would be moral to satisfy this god and not themselves because humans are aggressive and predatorial.


I think aggressive and predatory behavior was checked by the need for group cohesion which made humans function more effectively within nature. Out of this many forms of ethics naturally developed in dependence on how successful they were in sustaining and growing human communities. My thinking is that they developed well before conceptual constructs were developed to convey and justify them. I am not an anthropologist but I read some stuff so take my speculative opinion as you like.

Take Care

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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:41 pm

EnirehtacNI wrote:One day, my friend and I were discussing about this statement ("You cannot be moral without being religious") and concluded that we both have different points of view. She is interested in psychology and studied it for a while and is interested in peoples points of view. She is also curious with my belief in Buddhism and asks me regulary about what I think about things and this may be due to my different points of view.

So we discussed the statement for a while using all sorts of examples to justify whether we agree or disagree with it. I wholesomely disagree with the statement but she agrees with it. I know with these things you cannot be right or wrong but as long as you have something to back it up.

I used the example that humans are a social animal and that they would help each other out for the benefit of the group and for themselves. It might be a selfish concept but you can see that one human may help another out and be moral in the sense that they would be nice to the other and know not hurt them.

But she argues that early humans must of had their beliefs in some sort of god and therefore would be moral to satisfy this god and not themselves because humans are aggressive and predatorial.

So, what are your views on this statement? In what relation does the statement have with Buddhism?

Thanks for time,
:anjali:



I have heard and seen scientific documentaries postulating the presence of an organ of the evolved human brain, a phenotypical manifestation of a genetic mutation, which facilitates religiosity as a human survival mechanism. Ironically, one can easily observe that religiosity is both a potentially lethal phenotypical expression of such an evolved neurological expression in man, as well as one that facilitates cooperation and cohesiveness as the previous poster (gabrielbranbury) asserted, because religion has both joined groups together in cooperatives, and put them at odds with each other, when groups disagree regarding the righteousness of their beliefs, as is currently the case between Militant Islam and just about every other religion of the world, Buddhism included.

Buddha addressed what to do when confronted with aggression no matter what the source, including militant, aggressive religions in The Kakacupama Sutta: The Simile of the Saw, excerpted below:

"Monks, even if bandits were to carve you up savagely, limb by limb, with a two-handled saw, he among you who let his heart get angered even at that would not be doing my bidding. Even then you should train yourselves: 'Our minds will be unaffected and we will say no evil words. We will remain sympathetic, with a mind of good will, and with no inner hate. We will keep pervading these people with an awareness imbued with good will and, beginning with them, we will keep pervading the all-encompassing world with an awareness imbued with good will — abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.' That's how you should train yourselves.

"Monks, if you attend constantly to this admonition on the simile of the saw, do you see any aspects of speech, slight or gross, that you could not endure?"

"No, lord."

"Then attend constantly to this admonition on the simile of the saw. That will be for your long-term welfare & happiness."


resource for further study: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby EnirehtacNI » Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:25 pm

Good posting Gabe. Thanks for the replies again everyone. It's becoming quite interesting. :)

:anjali:
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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby alan » Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:36 am

"You can be ethical without being religious."
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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby octathlon » Thu Feb 03, 2011 3:19 am

alan wrote:"You can be ethical without being religious."

So everyone agrees except TMingyur, who says
TMingyur wrote:Any conceptual system of "values" is religion.
which view renders the question meaningless.
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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby ground » Thu Feb 03, 2011 7:12 am

The cessation of "morality" is the cessation of "religion".

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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby Euclid » Thu Feb 03, 2011 9:40 am

Well if you equate morality with religion, then the question loses any meaning, doesn't it. You may as well ask 'can you be moral without being moral?'
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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Thu Feb 03, 2011 5:07 pm

Euclid wrote:Well if you equate morality with religion, then the question loses any meaning, doesn't it. You may as well ask 'can you be moral without being moral?'


Or, "Can you be religious without being religious?" :quote:

On the other hand, "Is being religiously moral, morally religious if, and only if...you are .......?

Ok, What's the use? Time for my nap. :zzz:
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby Guy » Fri Feb 04, 2011 4:47 am

You wanted a Venn Diagram, this is the best I could come up with:

moralreligious.jpg
moralreligious.jpg (71.3 KiB) Viewed 324 times
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby ground » Fri Feb 04, 2011 5:30 am

Euclid wrote:Well if you equate morality with religion, then the question loses any meaning, doesn't it. You may as well ask 'can you be moral without being moral?'


Why is that?

'Name-&-form doesn't exist when what doesn't exist? From the cessation of what comes the cessation of name-&-form?' From my appropriate attention there came the breakthrough of discernment: 'Name-&-form doesn't exist when consciousness doesn't exist. From the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of name-&-form.' Then the thought occurred to me, 'Consciousness doesn't exist when what doesn't exist? From the cessation of what comes the cessation of consciousness?' From my appropriate attention there came the breakthrough of discernment: 'Consciousness doesn't exist when name-&-form doesn't exist. From the cessation of name-&-form comes the cessation of consciousness.'

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby tobes » Fri Feb 04, 2011 12:54 pm

There is a long illustrious history of moral philosophy in western thought which clearly, irrefutably, unambiguously demonstrates that of course, OF COURSE, you can be moral without being religious.

There is the classic text from Aristotle Nicomachean Ethics which I'm cherry picking from a long period of Hellenic contestation on moral questions.

We could talk about the Romans; Seneca et al

(We would leave out the medieval period when, in various times the three major monotheistic traditions all moved through Aristotle. That's right, even your dyed in the wool true religious morality has very robust Hellenic influences.)

We could talk about Kant and the moral law within, and its relationship both against and in harmony with religious forms of morality.

We could talk about Bentham and Mill: nothing but utility, pleasure and consequence here!

We could talk about the radicals, Nietzsche and the morality of overcoming morality.

We could talk for days and days about this, and at some point, surely wonder how on earth it is possible for someone to come up with the statement which governs this thread.

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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Fri Feb 04, 2011 2:15 pm

Wiki re. morality:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morality

Wiki re. Ethics:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethical_code

My problem with all of this is that the jurisdiction in charge determines what is moral and immoral. As Shakespeare put it in his MacBeth, a true moral play...: "What is good for the witches".....


Three witches are introduced at the beginning of William Shakespeare's tragedy, "Macbeth." A shadow of evil is cast around them through the setting of a thunderous storm that serves to foreshadow ensuing events in Macbeth's world. Speaking in rhymes and equivocal phrases, the connection between the witches and Macbeath is reinforced when Macbeth paraphrases their words. The witches prophesize three events in Macbeth's: that Macbeth will be Thane of Cawdor, Thane of Glams and King. Initially Macbeth does not want to believe the witches, but when he becomes Thane of Cawdor, he is more inclined to adopt the prophesies as truth.

Significance
It is after a battle with the King of Norway that Macbeth and his friend, Banquo encounter the witches. The witches foretell both men's future, however, Banquo appears less inclined to believe the witches, labeling them as "evil." Macbeth is tempted to consider the predictions as his lust for dominance and the throne are already ingrained. The men's views of the witches serve to divide the two, with one labeling the witches as "evil," and the other viewing them as "interesting." The sides of good and evil are chosen.

Function
The witches serve to influence, yet not control MacBeth reading his ambitious heart and dark desires and furthering his belief that all could be his if he carried out his intention of murdering Duncan. Spurred on by his want to please his wife, Lady Macbeth, he does the deed and murders the King. In an effort to conceal his guilt, Macbeth continues to commit other murders. Hecate, another powerful witch, appears before Macbeth's three witches and admonishes them for meeting with Macbeth without her. She reveals that Macbeth will return for counsel on his destiny, but that the security he gains in the knowledge and utter conviction that he is safe, will be his downfall.

Considerations
The play highlights the fact that men are in charge of their actions, whether outside forces exert pressure or not. The witches in Macbeth as well as Macbeth's ruthless wife, Lady Macbeth, seek to control him through his greed and ambition. However, if he did not already have those ambitions, they would not succeed in their influence.

Effects
The witches also prophesize about Macbeth's downfall. In the end, although he aware of the prophecy, Macbeth does battle with MacDuff, whose family Macbeth had mudered. MacDuff beheads Macbeth and Lady Macbeth succombs to a guilty conscience as to her own part in influencing her husband's greed. She takes her own life.


Read more: About the Witches in Macbeth | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/about_4574317_witch ... z1D01YVJLa
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
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