Picking up from where Fiyenyaa left off, I’d like to talk about the origins of morality, in terms of religion.
Many people attempt to claim that religion is a good thing because books such as the Bible provide a sense of morality. There are several problems here.
It is difficult to claim that there is any form of universal or objective morality. All we see are moral statements that, more so than others, tend to be culturally universal and broadly-accepted. For example, let’s consider the commandment “Thou shalt not kill”.
To deal with the obvious first, I hope that there isn’t anyone that genuinely believes that the Jews and other people of the Earth thought for 196,000 years of humanity’s existence that it was fine to kill others within their social group and were shocked when Moses came down and suggested that, in fact, God doesn’t like this.
The important thing we have to recognise here is that religion is, in no way, the source of this ‘morality’. These are concepts that came about through the process of humanity’s interaction with the sociological and biological realities of the world they inhabit. They transcend and outdate religion. Religion, in saying that one should not kill, is only entering into a discourse that reflects society’s engagement with the realities of their existence. It is not saying anything that is original or ground-breaking and, in fact, it really just saying things that secular reasoning had determined tens of thousands of years prior.
Holy Scriptures such as the Bible have very little original to say, and people who point to parts of it and say “but we can all agree this is good” ignore the fact that the reason we can all agree this is good is an entirely secular one to do with human sociological patterns that, in fact, renders the morality of religion entirely useless.
As always, I welcome all comments. Also, forgive the fact that this isn’t as detailed as I originally intended; uni calls.