Where does morality come from?

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cdtm
Specifically, morality in our current society?



Everyone hates on religion. It's easy to point to the failings of various religious institutions, such as covering up certain crimes. But I'd argue religions institutions are infinitely valuable for instilling a moral framework on a populance, for which there is no alternative.



I'm reminded of a story I read about an author who was writing of the holocaust, and s family who survived it. The author was speaking with a Rabbi, and admitted the family was made up. The people did not exist, but was a vehicle to express experiences that many real people DID experience.


The Rabbi thought about it, looked at the author, and said "What you are attempted may be noble. But the fact is, what you are doing is called LYING."




Who else could tell this author that, and make him give pause? Who else would he listen to?




Who keeps us honest, if there are no moral leaders? If morality is for every individual to work out for themselves, then is it any wonder Enron could happen, or various Epstein could be out there, doing as they do?




Oh, sure, religion won't stop all of them. There will ALWAYS be psychopaths, especially in positions of power. But the fact is, the general public used to be heavily influenced by religious leaders, and the morality they learned had very real positive impacts on society. There is absolutely no alternative moral authority out there. No one to teach right from wrong, and therefore no one caring about right and wrong.

Lord Lucien
Parents and family influence. Teachers. Other authority figures. Pop culture. News. Pretty well anyone and anything that has a lesson on behaviour and the consequences/rewards for defying/conforming to the expectations and demands of a system structured on maintaining order and consistency.



Or God, if you're feeling lazy.

cdtm
Originally posted by Lord Lucien
Parents and family influence. Teachers. Other authority figures. Pop culture. News. Pretty well anyone and anything that has a lesson on behaviour and the consequences/rewards for defying/conforming to the expectations and demands of a system structured on maintaining order and consistency.



Or God, if you're feeling lazy.


Parents: "I won't impose my values on my kids."


Teachers: "It's not up to us to raise those kids."


Pop culture: "How much money can we suck from those kids parents?"


News: "If if bleeds, it leads."




Yeah, no.


And "god" is a means, not an end. The main point, is people actually looked to religious leaders for moral guidance. If they were inclined to steal, that doubt in the back of their mind that god is watching them may give them pause. Or, if they're of a religion that doesn't believe in an ever present force watching their every move, the respect they have for their institutions leaders is usually enough. That author I mentioned, and the Rabbi's rebuke, is a thing that actually happened. The author cared about his Rabbi's opinion.



And that's the crux of it. No one really cares about right from wrong anymore. WIn at any cost, lie and don't get caught, do whatever it takes to get ahead, all' fair in love and war... All those moldy old sayings are things people actually believe, it seems.



I mean, how could Weinstein happen, if his peers admit they all knew. They should have acted against him, criticized him, put a stop to his sexual predator actions, done SOMETHING. No one did. No one cared.


Contrast with another Rabbi who found one of his own molesting children, and he went to the authorities. He didn't care what that did to his reputation in the community, or worry how anti smites might point to one deviant Rabbi and try to smear an entire community. For him, morality was everything, and he would NOT give a member of his own community a pass on it.



That's what we need, a moral authority that people respect. Traditionally, that has come from religion. No one else has comparable moral respect. Not teachers, not the media, not pop culture, and certainly not "permissive" "enlightened" parents.


You say religion is a "lazy" path to morality. Ok, I say, if not religion, then what?



Because no one turns to any of the things you mentioned, for moral guidance.



That's the fatal flaw of anti-religious movements. They point to flaws of religion, but refuse to recognize their utility. That's because they never thought to ask HOW to instill moral values. Ask WHY anyone would care about right from wrong. And then WHAT needs to be done, to ensure people start re-thinking telling that lie, or stealing that money, at EVERY level of society.

Patient_Leech
Originally posted by cdtm
Everyone hates on religion. It's easy to point to the failings of various religious institutions, such as covering up certain crimes. But I'd argue religions institutions are infinitely valuable for instilling a moral framework on a , for which there is no alternative.

The problem is that religion/God/holy books etc have gotten important moral issues wrong, like homosexuality. Also it's notoriously dogmatic and hard to amend. So why trust it?

Originally posted by cdtm
You say religion is a "lazy" path to morality. Ok, I say, if not religion, then what?

Science, b!tch.

Suffering is not preferred. So it makes sense to arrange morality around that. Why need it be more complicated? I just finished reading Sam Harris' book The Moral Landscape. A very good read on the subject...

Originally posted by cdtm
Oh, sure, religion won't stop all of them. There will ALWAYS be psychopaths, especially in positions of power...

He actually has a section in the book about psychopaths. Basically, you wouldn't consult an imbecile to design architecture for a building or perform a surgery or something. So why would you consult a psychopath in moral matters? Clearly that person is an outlier and severely confused.

Lord Lucien
Originally posted by cdtm
Parents: "I won't impose my values on my kids."


Teachers: "It's not up to us to raise those kids."


Pop culture: "How much money can we suck from those kids parents?"


News: "If if bleeds, it leads." Your thread titles asks where we get our morality. These places are where. Not "To whom do we turn for guidance" but "where do we get our morality". We're taught it, directly and indirectly from the things we encounter every day over the course of our lives---it's ingrained hard especially during childhood.


Morality itself is not a thing in the universe; it's an extremely arbitrary and complex set of semi-codified behaviours that we select for. Preferences for actions that generally are of a benefit rather than a detriment. Good and evil are fictional constructs we designed to define the tribal other. Where we learn to identify the traits of the evil "other" are from those we trust, are exposed to, and already identify with--parents, peers, teachers, community leaders, tribal chiefs, etc. It goes back to the earliest millennia of homo sapiens and is still with us.


No gods. No divine font of morality. Just fragile upright apes and the things they like or dislike.

Patient_Leech
Originally posted by Lord Lucien
Your thread titles asks where we get our morality. These places are where. Not "To whom do we turn for guidance" but "where do we get our morality". We're taught it, directly and indirectly from the things we encounter every day over the course of our lives---it's ingrained hard especially during childhood.


Morality itself is not a thing in the universe; it's an extremely arbitrary and complex set of semi-codified behaviours that we select for. Preferences for actions that generally are of a benefit rather than a detriment. Good and evil are fictional constructs we designed to define the tribal other. Where we learn to identify the traits of the evil "other" are from those we trust, are exposed to, and already identify with--parents, peers, teachers, community leaders, tribal chiefs, etc. It goes back to the earliest millennia of homo sapiens and is still with us.


No gods. No divine font of morality. Just fragile upright apes and the things they like or dislike.

Good post.

Carguy232
Morality Mohammad (PBUH)

ilikecomics
Morality comes from a plurality of sources, that all intermingle to give you a greater whole than the sum of the parts. As a postulate to that claim, these various sources of morality are intermittent quality, i.e. literature offers a greater diversity of ideas, that evolve over time so if we weigh literature with a heavier weight, than other sources, when building our morality, it too can evolve with the times, whereas religion offers conclusions and dictates, both of which together lead to stagnation, which means telling modern people to live by bronze age standards.

Ive also always thought that morality is based on survival, in it's nascent stages, not necessarily truth.

An example of that from the bible are all the dictates from Deuteronomy, that say if you fall to follow these you should be stoned to death. So when it says dont eat shrimp or have long hair, that's not because god hates shellfish or hippies, it's because both of those things (eating shellfish and having long hair) promote disease.

This is mirrored in cultural taboos. An example of this is incest. Before birth control incest would lead to deformed kids, enough of these sickly children could collapse the gene pool and end the civilization, now there's birth control a moral argument doesnt exist for why incest is morally wrong, it just seems "icky"

To me, these isolated pieces of information show how morality can come from religion, specifically via doctrine, or through cultural diffusion, which as i said includes a plurality of relevant and ever evolving ideas. Once this is understood that you can get morality from places outside religion you have to ask yourself what the cost of religions existing in the modern world is at all and if they can provide something unique.

Here's a quote to add to my point.

"With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil - that takes religion."

Steven weinburg

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