Have we lost our moral compass?

baldrick

Novice Member
A completely non-religious friend of mine suggested that maybe the increased absence of religion in our lives/society is causing some of our problems.

Whilst we can all ride around on our high horses, laughing at people who believe the world was created in 7 days we also have no guiding principles to our existance because we know that when we die we get burnt/buried and that's the end of it.

Go back a couple of centuries and everyone lived in fear of eternal damnation should they sin in life and maybe they made decisions with that in mind?

The guy who was just jailed for selling those fake bomb detectors, might he have made different decisions if he believed he would be judged by a higher power and consigned to a never ending suffering in Hades domain?

Obviously you now have people (maybe you always did) whose religious convictions lead them to slaughter innocents in furtherence of their beliefs so the argument is definitely double edged.

Personally I think there is some validity to the notion and that it is a very interesting albeit academic discussion as people are not going to suddenly start believing in a religion just so they can have a moral safety net and nor should they given some of the most morally bankrupt are those who work in the name of religion...

Thoughts?
 

shodan

Distinguished Member
Some people are just arseholes, religion doesn't change a thing.
Well said Dave, but you could've kept it more brief by stopping after the first five words....:D
 

baldrick

Novice Member
Some people are just arseholes, religion doesn't change a thing.
True, but would some be less so if they thought it might negatively impact them in the future?
 

Dave

Distinguished Member
True, but would some be less so if they thought it might negatively impact them in the future?
I don't think so, there are always consequences to our actions and some people simply don't give a **** about them.

Whether that's eternal damnation or a spell in prison makes no odds.
 

alphaomega16

Distinguished Member
Dont people kill other people over religion, your argument is invalid.
 

DarenD

Well-known Member
Go back a few centuries and didn't people slaughter each other in the 1000s in the name of god and religion?
 

kav

Distinguished Member
A completely non-religious friend of mine suggested that maybe the increased absence of religion in our lives/society is causing some of our problems.
No. Religion usurped morality for its own ends. Morality existed long before any of our religions did and exists for good evolutionary reasons. Nowadays religion has claimed ownership over morality and consequently many people believe - incorrectly - that morality stems from religion. This is patently untrue.
 

captainarchive

Distinguished Member
Personally I think there is some validity to the notion
The notion has no validity because people shouldn't be motivated not to do bad things for fear they might get punished by some supernatural being. People should know doing bad things is wrong, it's not rocket science.
 

baldrick

Novice Member
To be honest I was thinking about all the dubious 'business' decisions that have lead to where we are today. Single minded focus on bottom line and damn the fact thay you're making entire communities redundant, false selling products, putting profit over safety/environment etc...

In Dancook's thread about helping his girlfriend someone mentioned that they had a bust up with their boss because he was forcing a heavily pregnant woman to work overtime and didn't see an issue with it.

Put it another way did your average man on the street make different decisions when he thought it impacted his eternal existence?
 

IronGiant

Moderator
Put it another way did your average man on the street make different decisions when he thought it impacted his eternal existence?
probably, but it simply meant that he was doing the right thing for the wrong reason. just IMHO.
 

baldrick

Novice Member
probably, but it simply meant that he was doing the right thing for the wrong reason. just IMHO.
So is it better to do the wrong thing for the right reason?
 

IronGiant

Moderator
So is it better to do the wrong thing for the right reason?
Of course not, it's better to do the right thing for the right reason :smashin:

ie it is the best thing to do for your fellow man, not because you will be rewarded in the afterlife with a packet of sweeties.
 

baldrick

Novice Member
Baldrick , are you trying to sell us God ?
Not at all. It staggers me how so many people can believe that there is an all powerful sky man who decides on the path of their life yet don't get a little disheartend when said man makes their life a never end misery!
 

baldrick

Novice Member
Of course not, it's better to do the right thing for the right reason :smashin:

ie it is the best thing to do for your fellow man, not because you will be rewarded in the afterlife with a packet of sweeties.
But many people seem unable to do that in the absence of 'someone' telling them to do it for whatever reason...
 

IronGiant

Moderator
My moral compass points in the right direction without any intervention from a higher ephemeral authority. Mine was magnetised by my parents, as I imagine most people's are. Of course mine might not be pointing in the right direction when looked at by everyone :D

I have no problem with people having their compass "set", it just doesn't need a religion to do it.
 
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CAS FAN

Distinguished Member
To be honest these days things are far more civilised than the days when most folk believed in religion. Back then murder, rape, theft and violent crime were common place, where as now they are pretty rare in the developed world. The difference now is that we hear about pretty much every serious crime due to the 24/7 media from TV, radio and the Internet especially.

I am not religious at all but I have very strong morals and am a kind person. Hearing about any serious crime (such as the April Jones murder which is topical) really saddens me and I can just not fathom how anyone could ever do such a thing. On the other hand there are some very religious people (catholic priests etc.) who have committed horrible abuse on children and a lot of people have historically used religion as a reason to kill or something to cover up other horrible abuse.

So no, I don't agree with the points raised in the OP's post at all.
 

kav

Distinguished Member
Not at all. It staggers me how so many people can believe that there is an all powerful sky man who decides on the path of their life yet don't get a little disheartend when said man makes their life a never end misery!
The meek shall inherit the earth, dude.
 

signs

Banned
To be honest these days things are far more civilised than the days when most folk believed in religion. Back then murder, rape, theft and violent crime were common place, where as now they are pretty rare in the developed world. .
Unless a member of cast in either coronation street or eastenders ;)
 

CAS FAN

Distinguished Member
Unless a member of cast in either coronation street or eastenders ;)
Haha yeah. I guess that proves the point. Go back a few hundred years and that behaviour would have just been classed as normal. In our society now it's looked down on rightly as the abhorrent and horrendous behaviour that it is.
 

xox Godders xox

Well-known Member
Arguments that religion somehow makes us more moral are just nonsense.

We are less religious yet contrary to what the scaremongering media would have you believe we are currently living through the most peaceful and non-violent period in human history.

And where are the current violence hotspots on the planet? The still highly religious middle east and the parts of Africa that are also highly religious.

Also many very secular and atheistic societies (Norway, Sweden, Japan etc) have relatively low crime rates and do well in the various quality of life and "happiness" indices.

That's not to say religious societies are always bad and non-religious societies always good but the premise in the OP is quite obviously nonsense in my view.
 

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