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Religion, Spirituality and the Moral Domain

gavinduffy92
Posts: 7
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2/16/2015 10:54:27 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Hey guys,

Just curious to get your opinions on the emergent domain of 'secular spiritualism' vs. classic religious orthodoxy and how they relate to moral reasoning? It has frequently been posited that morality may only be deduced from a doctrine (or word of God) and that without so would leave humanity in a moral stupor. It would be interesting to hear some opinions on such topics as it relates to my thesis. Have also left my thesis link down the end if anyone has any interest in participating.

Thanks.

http://goo.gl...
dhardage
Posts: 4,545
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2/16/2015 11:03:25 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/16/2015 10:54:27 AM, gavinduffy92 wrote:
Hey guys,

Just curious to get your opinions on the emergent domain of 'secular spiritualism' vs. classic religious orthodoxy and how they relate to moral reasoning? It has frequently been posited that morality may only be deduced from a doctrine (or word of God) and that without so would leave humanity in a moral stupor. It would be interesting to hear some opinions on such topics as it relates to my thesis. Have also left my thesis link down the end if anyone has any interest in participating.

Thanks.


http://goo.gl...

Sorry, my firewall blocks access to your paper. I will say that morals are not based on doctrine but developed from the need to live together in large groups. They derive from the basic desire to survive and thrive and the natural empathy that most people have for one another so we don't want to see others get harmed either. This is, of course, very brief and general but it should demonstrate that morals don't need a 'divine' revelation to exist. That's just an argument for God that theists use to try and prove the existence of their deity. Have you looked at the morals of most gods? They destroy at a whim, are cruel and capricious, and have little no respect or concern for those they supposedly created. Our only purpose is to worship and entertain them. That's a pretty crappy set of morals to emulate.
gavinduffy92
Posts: 7
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2/16/2015 11:36:36 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Sorry, my firewall blocks access to your paper. I will say that morals are not based on doctrine but developed from the need to live together in large groups. They derive from the basic desire to survive and thrive and the natural empathy that most people have for one another so we don't want to see others get harmed either. This is, of course, very brief and general but it should demonstrate that morals don't need a 'divine' revelation to exist. That's just an argument for God that theists use to try and prove the existence of their deity. Have you looked at the morals of most gods? They destroy at a whim, are cruel and capricious, and have little no respect or concern for those they supposedly created. Our only purpose is to worship and entertain them. That's a pretty crappy set of morals to emulate.

Ah that's ok, appreciate the comment anyway. Some very good arguments there, but in the interest of scientific ethics relating to my thesis I have to refrain from sharing my personal opinion. However i will mention the popular theory within the evolution of civilized humans roughly 5000-7000 years ago, in the transition from small hunter gatherer social groups (app. 7-30 people) to larger social tribes with a governing authority enforcing moral standards (murder, theft etc.) for cohesion. It has been theorised that as these social groups became even larger, the government no longer had control over moral conduct of its people. Therefore a supernatural ubiquitous omnipotent being, an eye in the sky constantly policing moral standards was developed, an agent of social control who threatens eternal damnation in the afterlife should the people not behave accordingly in the present one. Just a thought, thanks.
dhardage
Posts: 4,545
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2/16/2015 12:15:33 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/16/2015 11:36:36 AM, gavinduffy92 wrote:
Sorry, my firewall blocks access to your paper. I will say that morals are not based on doctrine but developed from the need to live together in large groups. They derive from the basic desire to survive and thrive and the natural empathy that most people have for one another so we don't want to see others get harmed either. This is, of course, very brief and general but it should demonstrate that morals don't need a 'divine' revelation to exist. That's just an argument for God that theists use to try and prove the existence of their deity. Have you looked at the morals of most gods? They destroy at a whim, are cruel and capricious, and have little no respect or concern for those they supposedly created. Our only purpose is to worship and entertain them. That's a pretty crappy set of morals to emulate.


Ah that's ok, appreciate the comment anyway. Some very good arguments there, but in the interest of scientific ethics relating to my thesis I have to refrain from sharing my personal opinion. However i will mention the popular theory within the evolution of civilized humans roughly 5000-7000 years ago, in the transition from small hunter gatherer social groups (app. 7-30 people) to larger social tribes with a governing authority enforcing moral standards (murder, theft etc.) for cohesion. It has been theorised that as these social groups became even larger, the government no longer had control over moral conduct of its people. Therefore a supernatural ubiquitous omnipotent being, an eye in the sky constantly policing moral standards was developed, an agent of social control who threatens eternal damnation in the afterlife should the people not behave accordingly in the present one. Just a thought, thanks.

If that were the case we would not have or need civil authorities, just religious ones. That wasn't such a good thing in the middle ages when people were burned and tortured for being 'witches' or even 'unbelievers'

Secondly, that would mean that more secular nations would have higher crime rates than more religious countries and people in those countries would be more secure. That is not the case, as the daily news reminds us. Religion is the purported purpose for more atrocities every day, to include beheading innocent people who just happen to be of a different faith, and killing people for casting spells, just to name a few. The most secular nations in the world have the lowest crime rates and lowest per capita percentage of population in prison. In contrast, the US has one of the highest per capita rates of imprisonment of all developed nations. It's pretty clear that the 'eye in the sky' is a pretty fallacy used to support religion and not factual at all.
gavinduffy92
Posts: 7
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2/16/2015 7:19:29 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
If that were the case we would not have or need civil authorities, just religious ones. That wasn't such a good thing in the middle ages when people were burned and tortured for being 'witches' or even 'unbelievers'

Secondly, that would mean that more secular nations would have higher crime rates than more religious countries and people in those countries would be more secure. That is not the case, as the daily news reminds us. Religion is the purported purpose for more atrocities every day, to include beheading innocent people who just happen to be of a different faith, and killing people for casting spells, just to name a few. The most secular nations in the world have the lowest crime rates and lowest per capita percentage of population in prison. In contrast, the US has one of the highest per capita rates of imprisonment of all developed nations. It's pretty clear that the 'eye in the sky' is a pretty fallacy used to support religion and not factual at all.

I fail to see its support for a religious agenda, given the theory is based upon a man-made infusion of agency and explicitly posits a divinity as a social construct. The theory is primarily based on the idea of whether someone would do something deviant knowing they could not get caught by an agent of the state. Therefore the ubiquitous divinity was developed (whether naturally or contrived i do not know) acting under a similar mechanism to the 'looking glass effect'. I would not be so naive as to generalise this to a modern society where many monotheistic principles are in a clear disagreement with what it is to be a decent human being. I was simply trying to offer a possibility as to the development of the institution as a whole, apologies if that wasn't clear.

Being a secular humanist myself, i have to agree with you that there is absolutely no truth to the claim the being a member of a religious faith makes you more moral. My paper argues the contrary actually, that given the mass propagation of reason since the enlightenment, secular ethics are and should be at odds with religious doctrine. (I feel like we have somehow been in disagreement when actually i agree with everything you have said lol)
dhardage
Posts: 4,545
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2/17/2015 8:48:11 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/16/2015 7:19:29 PM, gavinduffy92 wrote:
If that were the case we would not have or need civil authorities, just religious ones. That wasn't such a good thing in the middle ages when people were burned and tortured for being 'witches' or even 'unbelievers'

Secondly, that would mean that more secular nations would have higher crime rates than more religious countries and people in those countries would be more secure. That is not the case, as the daily news reminds us. Religion is the purported purpose for more atrocities every day, to include beheading innocent people who just happen to be of a different faith, and killing people for casting spells, just to name a few. The most secular nations in the world have the lowest crime rates and lowest per capita percentage of population in prison. In contrast, the US has one of the highest per capita rates of imprisonment of all developed nations. It's pretty clear that the 'eye in the sky' is a pretty fallacy used to support religion and not factual at all.


I fail to see its support for a religious agenda, given the theory is based upon a man-made infusion of agency and explicitly posits a divinity as a social construct. The theory is primarily based on the idea of whether someone would do something deviant knowing they could not get caught by an agent of the state. Therefore the ubiquitous divinity was developed (whether naturally or contrived i do not know) acting under a similar mechanism to the 'looking glass effect'. I would not be so naive as to generalise this to a modern society where many monotheistic principles are in a clear disagreement with what it is to be a decent human being. I was simply trying to offer a possibility as to the development of the institution as a whole, apologies if that wasn't clear.

Being a secular humanist myself, i have to agree with you that there is absolutely no truth to the claim the being a member of a religious faith makes you more moral. My paper argues the contrary actually, that given the mass propagation of reason since the enlightenment, secular ethics are and should be at odds with religious doctrine. (I feel like we have somehow been in disagreement when actually i agree with everything you have said lol)

My apologies, I did misunderstand your reply. That said, I must disagree with your hypothesis. Religion has always been about control of some sort. Attempting to control natural forces so crops would grow and the population would not starve. Attempting to control people so they would do as the priest wanted. It's never been about acting moral, it's been about doing what the divine entities wanted as interpreted by their representatives here on earth. I suspect, if you had a time machine, you would find this to be true as far back as religion goes, even to the most primitive animism and nature worship.
gavinduffy92
Posts: 7
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2/17/2015 10:23:23 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
My apologies, I did misunderstand your reply. That said, I must disagree with your hypothesis. Religion has always been about control of some sort. Attempting to control natural forces so crops would grow and the population would not starve. Attempting to control people so they would do as the priest wanted. It's never been about acting moral, it's been about doing what the divine entities wanted as interpreted by their representatives here on earth. I suspect, if you had a time machine, you would find this to be true as far back as religion goes, even to the most primitive animism and nature worship.

I would argue that there is no higher form of control than the governance of moral action. I am building off of Haidt's Moral Foundations Theory and suggest that religious doctrine is infused in every aspect of religious people's daily lives -belief, practice, sexual orientation, diet, chastity etc. And that each of these aspects are controlled in a moral framework i.e. it is morally wrong to be homosexual, it is morally wrong to disobey the Sabbath, it is morally wrong to consume pork, sex before marriage, not praying five time a day....

Maybe it was just a long winded way of saying that organised dogma was a way of subverting the masses, but I simply believe that the mechanism for doing so was by embedding this moral sense through cultural indoctrination.

Also not sure what you meant by attempting to control natural forces?
dhardage
Posts: 4,545
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2/17/2015 11:38:37 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/17/2015 10:23:23 AM, gavinduffy92 wrote:
My apologies, I did misunderstand your reply. That said, I must disagree with your hypothesis. Religion has always been about control of some sort. Attempting to control natural forces so crops would grow and the population would not starve. Attempting to control people so they would do as the priest wanted. It's never been about acting moral, it's been about doing what the divine entities wanted as interpreted by their representatives here on earth. I suspect, if you had a time machine, you would find this to be true as far back as religion goes, even to the most primitive animism and nature worship.

I would argue that there is no higher form of control than the governance of moral action. I am building off of Haidt's Moral Foundations Theory and suggest that religious doctrine is infused in every aspect of religious people's daily lives -belief, practice, sexual orientation, diet, chastity etc. And that each of these aspects are controlled in a moral framework i.e. it is morally wrong to be homosexual, it is morally wrong to disobey the Sabbath, it is morally wrong to consume pork, sex before marriage, not praying five time a day....

Maybe it was just a long winded way of saying that organised dogma was a way of subverting the masses, but I simply believe that the mechanism for doing so was by embedding this moral sense through cultural indoctrination.

Also not sure what you meant by attempting to control natural forces?

That is rather simple. Every hear any one pray for rain? Pray for warm days? Pray that no locust swarm strikes or no disease to attacks their crops? Anytime such a prayer is uttered it is an attempt to get some control over nature, in this case via the intervention of a more powerful being.

I have not studied the matter sufficiently to make a valid analysis so I cannot thoughtfully comment on your statement about the mechanism of cultural indoctrination.
gavinduffy92
Posts: 7
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2/17/2015 12:50:36 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
That is rather simple. Every hear any one pray for rain? Pray for warm days? Pray that no locust swarm strikes or no disease to attacks their crops? Anytime such a prayer is uttered it is an attempt to get some control over nature, in this case via the intervention of a more powerful being.

I have not studied the matter sufficiently to make a valid analysis so I cannot thoughtfully comment on your statement about the mechanism of cultural indoctrination.

Ah i see, not sure how that related to the 'social' control being discussed but I accept your point.

That's fair enough, I can respect that. Takes a rational mind to say so.
dhardage
Posts: 4,545
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2/17/2015 1:23:01 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/17/2015 12:50:36 PM, gavinduffy92 wrote:
That is rather simple. Every hear any one pray for rain? Pray for warm days? Pray that no locust swarm strikes or no disease to attacks their crops? Anytime such a prayer is uttered it is an attempt to get some control over nature, in this case via the intervention of a more powerful being.

I have not studied the matter sufficiently to make a valid analysis so I cannot thoughtfully comment on your statement about the mechanism of cultural indoctrination.

Ah i see, not sure how that related to the 'social' control being discussed but I accept your point.

That's fair enough, I can respect that. Takes a rational mind to say so.

If the shaman (priest, whatever) was thought to be able to summon rain, storm, pestilence, or prevent same, he would have great social power. It would give him leverage to induce the population to do as he wished and obey any laws he chose to impose.
Harikrish
Posts: 11,011
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2/17/2015 4:44:21 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/16/2015 10:54:27 AM, gavinduffy92 wrote:
Hey guys,

Just curious to get your opinions on the emergent domain of 'secular spiritualism' vs. classic religious orthodoxy and how they relate to moral reasoning? It has frequently been posited that morality may only be deduced from a doctrine (or word of God) and that without so would leave humanity in a moral stupor. It would be interesting to hear some opinions on such topics as it relates to my thesis. Have also left my thesis link down the end if anyone has any interest in participating.

Thanks.


http://goo.gl...

Psychologist have scientific data that clearly separates spiritualism from religious fundamentalism.
Kathleen Taylor, Neuroscientist, Says Religious Fundamentalism Could Be Treated As A Mental Illness

Quote:
An Oxford University researcher and author specializing in neuroscience has suggested that one day religious fundamentalism may be treated as a curable mental illness."

Moving to secular spiritualism. We have over 2,500 years of Buddhism which practiced secular spiritualism with the individual in focus, his inner peace, spiritual development and enlightenment in the absence of a relationship with the divine. Morality was an extension of the pure life required to change ones karma to enhance the position and privileges in the next life. It encourages a life of moderation and a suppression of material gratification. It is a way of life that is more conducive to a sustainable planet. Buddhism satisfies the spiritual, moral, and intellectual needs of the individual and allows him to transcend his physical limitations.
It is a dynamic progressive pursuit unlike Christianity where the individual is perpetually nailed to the wooden cross of his beliefs.
gavinduffy92
Posts: 7
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2/17/2015 5:58:22 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
If the shaman (priest, whatever) was thought to be able to summon rain, storm, pestilence, or prevent same, he would have great social power. It would give him leverage to induce the population to do as he wished and obey any laws he chose to impose.

Ah yes, the proxy cult of personality. Shepherds who feed off the ignorance of their flock. Have recently been reading a little about historical Mesoamerican societies, in which the local shaman priests seemed to have unknowable influence over these populations. Interesting stuff!
gavinduffy92
Posts: 7
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2/17/2015 6:05:36 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Moving to secular spiritualism. We have over 2,500 years of Buddhism which practiced secular spiritualism with the individual in focus, his inner peace, spiritual development and enlightenment in the absence of a relationship with the divine. Morality was an extension of the pure life required to change ones karma to enhance the position and privileges in the next life. It encourages a life of moderation and a suppression of material gratification. It is a way of life that is more conducive to a sustainable planet. Buddhism satisfies the spiritual, moral, and intellectual needs of the individual and allows him to transcend his physical limitations.
It is a dynamic progressive pursuit unlike Christianity where the individual is perpetually nailed to the wooden cross of his beliefs.

I personally think we are already in danger of the over prescription of mental illness; even though the rational thinker in me wants to agree with that professor, the psychologist in me is sceptical as to the new DSM V and the current state of psychiatry and clinical psychology.

As for Secular Spiritualism, I think you might be the first person I have ever met to have understood what it means. Really couldn't agree more!