Did religions create morals or did morals create religions?

Interesting Question: Which came first, religion or morality?

Morality can be defined as a system of ideas about right and wrong conduct. Looking back at the history of mankind, its clear that our moral values has changed with time. The purpose of morals is to establish a practical justice system and law&order in a given society at a certain period of time, the design of that system changes as people change and in my opinion they should/will continue to change. Simply morals should adjust to the new needs of each society as it develops to the better, if it wasn’t allowed to change then taboos and prejudices will be mistaken with moral values.

The process of change in morality goes through 4 phases:

  1. Realization of the need to change
  2. Resistance, and holding onto tradition, culture, and the past
  3. Negotiation and reasoning,
  4. Change occurs

Preventing our priciples from evolving/advancing happens to be the core reason behind pushing people away from religion today, simply because some teachings violate our logic and morality. Religions are supposed to deliver a set of morals and ethics, i.e. rules of right conduct to guide people to the ‘right’ path, and as they claim to civilize people and to maintain a civilisation… But what “IF” people solely armed with their intellectual abilities were able to develop far more civilized societies than the ones being described in religious books, and chose to advance to it. Then these same books will act as a barrier to civilization, and will continue to pull us back from any kind of progress if its teachings are continued to be followed. Hence this makes religious books nothing more than historic books that portray the life of those who preceded us. True religion did have a great impact on people’s lifestyle back then, same as logic today does to the far more open logical individuals. Simply back the religion was a mean to facilitate and stabilize moral conduct, today we are far more developed individuals in all aspects, we ‘can’ rely on our logic and humanity to facilitate & stabilize moral conduct among people.

All religious preachers are aware of this fact; it’s quite evident with the new religious phenomena called “dismissing outdated teachings” or “moderation and modernization in religion”. Whatever namings are being used in different religions, clearly they all aim to either remove or cover up the old backward moral codes that does not suit our current advanced lifestyle and mentality, nor does it makes sense if its continued to be exercised, frankly allowing it or as in some cases forcing those ancient principles onto people sounds like insulting our very logic.

For instance Christian books were edited over and over again a ridiculous amount of times to make it more updated, advanced and appealing to the new Christian generations. However, Islam is far more complex, since its forbidden to change anything in the Quran Hence Muslim preachers find it more difficult if not impossible to preserve the Quran as it is , while attempting to explain those “outdating teaching” to the new Muslim generations, who already clearly see the differences between the advanced lifestyle they’re living and the backward lifestyle they’re being pushed into. Whereas, Judaism especially the Judaic Talmud (Old Testament) has its fair share of insane inhuman teachings directed against ‘gentiles’ to serve the supremacy desire of the Jews. Jewish religious leaders have a different approach to cover up those teachings; simply they don’t allow such materials to be in the hands of gentiles in the first place to avoid criticism. The Talmudic versions available to the public are all edited. You can only have full access to those books in specialized Jewish institutions and libraries….Different methods are followed by different religions to cover up those outdated moral codes, but they all collectively aim to insult and degrade our logic, to create a passive sheepish cult.

“The objections to religion are of two sorts – intellectual and moral. The intellectual objection is that there is no reason to suppose any religion true; the moral objection is that religious precepts date from a time when men were more cruel than they are and therefore tend to perpetuate inhumanities which the moral conscience of the age would otherwise outgrow” -Betrand Russell.

If a book claims its universal written to guide people in ‘all’ times, yet it clearly fails to do so, and it happens to be the root cause for why prejudice, hate, taboos, indifference, close-mindedness and backwardness still exist today, then dont you think its about time to address the validity of your religion? You got nothing to loose, after all if it’s truthful, it will only make your faith stronger, correct?

Frankly tho out of those 3 Abrahamic religions, Christianity is the only religion that took remarkable practical steps towards modernizing its teachings and thus preventing it from clashing with the progresses of our modern time. This is quite evident in the fact that today the Christian teachings are not involved in any sort of major hate crime, violence or any immoral or backward act. Simply because there leaders were aware of the negative impact a backward religion can have against civilization, so to prevent people from losing faith, they had no choice but to update and adjust their teachings. Today they’ve succeeded in cleaning up their war-ish bloody history However, both Islam and Judaism still have a magnificent crime record, both need to sacrifice allot and cut out those controversial teachings from their books, if they’re willing to keep up with the 21st century requirements.

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Ironically, the main reason that causes people to reject religions today is morality, something all religions happen to support and preach, the only drawback is that they don’t recognize morality does evolve along with our mentality to the better …Unlike the popular conviction that the reason why people are rejecting religion is because of the principle of ‘blind faith’ or due to the errors and contradictions that exits in those holy books that are supposed to be perfect if its claimed to be written or inspired by a divine power, those things only re-confirm why relgions are mythical but arent the main reason….. Religious peepz can argue like no tomorrow to protect their faith, or to come up with creative arguments to cover up these issues. However, when a religious debate strikes a moral subject, we all tend to put our humanity before religion –interesting!

People have different approaches to adapt to evolution of morality; some may drop religion as a whole and rely on their strength of character to guide them, while others might preach “moderation and modernization in religion”. The main point is we all do recognize it even if most religious people won’t admit it.

Simply morality did exit all over the world in ancient times, during periods of time when people were not even aware of the existence of others in different parts of the globe, and also during times where language and cultural barriers kept people isolated within their own societies. Yet the exact same basic morality was remarkably consistent and similar in all human societies.

Clearly Morality is a way of social evolution, humans are highly social species with distinguishable intellectual abilities, even before complex languages existed or the theory of religion was even created, humans were able to co-exist and function together in different forms; from a family, to a clan or tribe and finally as a nation. Co-operation and respecting people’s rights meant progress and prosperity being achieved at a faster rate than one individual operating on his own. Social roles, responsibilities, moral conduct and civil laws has all evolved due to its necessity for survival. This has been misrepresented as god given morality. There’s nothing godly about it, it’s a simple instinct of survival. Evidently morality has indeed evolved before religion.

Marc Hauser, professor of evolutionary biology at Harvard University, has just published a paper about additional studies showing that people’s moral intuitions do not vary much across different religions all around the world. From an evolutionary perspective, that means that human morality is very old — old enough to pre-date any religion that exists today. Furthermore, basic morality is highly resistant to religious influence — most people easily reject religious rules that violate their basic moral intuitions. Rather, religions all tend to confirm and support human morality, because that essential morality sustains our schemes of social cooperation.”

Hauser concludes that:

” Religion cannot be the ultimate source of intra-group cooperation. Cooperation is made possible by a suite of mental mechanisms that are not specific to religion. Moral judgments depend on these mechanisms and appear to operate independently of one’s religious background. However, although religion did not originally emerge as a biological adaptation, it can play a role in both facilitating and stabilizing cooperation within groups, and as such, could be the target of cultural selection.”

In short: “Morality is independent from religion, while religion is dependent on human morality”- John Shook

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Extract from @!?@(Evolution of Morality):

Morality is typically associated with human behavior and not much thought is given to the social conducts of other creatures. The emerging fields of evolutionary biology and in particular sociobiology have demonstrated that, though human social behaviors are complex, the precursors of human morality can be traced to the behaviors of many other social animals. Sociobiological explanations of human behavior are still controversial. The traditional view of social scientists has been that morality is a construct, and is thus culturally relative, although others argue that there is a science of morality.

Though animals may not possess moral behavior, all social animals have had to modify or restrain their behaviors for group living to be worthwhile. Typical examples of behavioral modification can be found in the societies ants, bees and termites.

Psychologist Matt J. Rossano argues that religion emerged after morality and built upon morality by expanding the social scrutiny of individual behavior to include supernatural agents. By including ever watchful ancestors, spirits and gods in the social realm, humans discovered an effective strategy for restraining selfishness and building more cooperative groups. The adaptive value of religion would have enhanced group survival.

What do YOU think?

4 phases:

a) Realization of the need to change,

b) Resistance, holding on tradition, culture, past..

c) Negotiation, reasoning,

d) Change

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About maria911

-A Humanist -A Truth Seeker -An Engineering Student
This entry was posted in Religion. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Did religions create morals or did morals create religions?

  1. Chris says:

    Awesome post ! I really love to read your writings. The clearness in your post is simply impressive, I’ll be catching up with your blog from now on, look like its new, keep it up!

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