, Research Paper
The Problem with Religion and Morals
The likes of many philosophers including St. Anselm, Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine have written that organized religion is the only source of human beings leading a moral life. One of the defenses of organized religion is that it is the basis of society’s morals and therefore it is necessary to prevent social barbarism. This statement is utterly untrue, for there are many open-minded families, throughout the world who live perfectly good lives, with perfectly good morals, without practicing a recognized religion.
Without religion, but with reward and punishment, we train our children to eat with a fork, bathe themselves, and properly use the toilet. In the same way, we train them not to lie, cheat, steal, or sleep around and in general to follow the Golden Rule of Karma, “Treat others as you want others to treat you” because “what comes around goes around.” Children know whether their parents live thus or only talk a good game; they imitate what they see, and they are disciplined if they do not. Parents do not need to direct their children towards participating in church processions in order for the youths to have good morals. A family does not need to take their children to church so they can see how the other children there are learning how to behave, rather then learn themselves. In fact, enforces behavioral patterns and lifestyles so intensely, that there is no room left for individuality. The parent who uses religion to teach his(/her) child morals uses it to continue their own lethargy in teaching the child themselves at the expense of the child’s own individuality. Whereas, when a person teaches his(/her) child the basic morals that he(/she) needs in order to contribute to, and be accepted by, society, a child can take those prerequisites and become who he (or she) really is and wants to become. The child can also accomplish his(/her) dream without having to hide anything from or be ashamed of what his(/her) parents think about it, for the parents accept whatever is for the good of the child, not what the church thinks is for the good of the child.
What other morals does society need? Parents and schools do not need church promises of carrots in heaven and sticks in hell, and, without parental and school training, sermons go in one ear and out the other. Organized religions often teach children about the evils in history, condemning some of the children to repeat these evils. More battles have been fought and more people have been killed in cold blood, even to this day, for the sake of religion than any other single reason.
St. Thomas Aquinas preached in his compilation The Basic Writings of St. Thomas Aquinas that “whatever lacks knowledge cannot move toward an end, unless it be directed by some being endowed with knowledge and intelligence,” is basically true, but he goes on to state knowledge must be installed by “God” (Aquinas, 23). This is a complete cop-out, to think that he or anyone else just became intelligent by the work of “God” and not by their own self-interest (Aquinas, 23).
Many children have been raised thus, knowing their mother’s disbelief in religion and their father’s utter detestation of it as false, the medium of power for the
professional religious, and the world’s greatest source of hate. Yet their morals are of the strictest quality, and to this day, and may often call upon their parents for advice when needed.
It is customary to blame criminal behavior on the negligence and abusiveness of the criminal’s parents. What criminals have resulted from the non-religion of well behaved and loving parents? The professional religious’ program to co-opt morality is part of their program to promote and maintain their power.
The appeals of all religions are six-fold: They provide an explanation for the world, which is disprove by science; They provide a means to control the world by prayers, ceremonies, and sacrifices; They provide a promise of immortality, so this life should be composed primarily of self-restriction; They provide a ceremonial relief from the feeling of moral guilt; They provide a social venue to join with others in ceremony, and a social identification with those of the same religion who are distant. Most of all, they provide a feeling of security, a feeling that something is providing protection, and a feeling of being in communication with that something.
These feelings are commonly referred to as spirituality. Civilized people need morals for a successful society but are better off without the superstitions, hates, prejudices and priestly power of religion. Morals of your particular life need to be found within yourself and not imposed on your character by the public. The many philosophers who spend much of their lives focusing on getting closer to God and spreading his morals need to realize that they are all gods themselves and that’s where they can find civil morals.