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"You cannot be moral without being religious" - Dhamma Wheel

"You cannot be moral without being religious"

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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EnirehtacNI
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"You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby EnirehtacNI » Sun Jan 30, 2011 2:22 pm

One day, my friend and I were discussing about this statement ("You cannot be moral without being religious") and concluded that we both have different points of view. She is interested in psychology and studied it for a while and is interested in peoples points of view. She is also curious with my belief in Buddhism and asks me regulary about what I think about things and this may be due to my different points of view.

So we discussed the statement for a while using all sorts of examples to justify whether we agree or disagree with it. I wholesomely disagree with the statement but she agrees with it. I know with these things you cannot be right or wrong but as long as you have something to back it up.

I used the example that humans are a social animal and that they would help each other out for the benefit of the group and for themselves. It might be a selfish concept but you can see that one human may help another out and be moral in the sense that they would be nice to the other and know not hurt them.

But she argues that early humans must of had their beliefs in some sort of god and therefore would be moral to satisfy this god and not themselves because humans are aggressive and predatorial.

So, what are your views on this statement? In what relation does the statement have with Buddhism?

Thanks for time,
:anjali:

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octathlon
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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby octathlon » Sun Jan 30, 2011 4:30 pm

Just look at all the moral atheists and you have your answer.

Northernbuck
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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby Northernbuck » Sun Jan 30, 2011 5:04 pm

If the argument is that you cannot be moral without being religious, then it also must be true that you cannot be religious without being moral. This part of the argument can be debunked simply by looking at televangelists or extremists; they all have religion, but without morality. If this part of the argument is true, then the first part is false; you can be moral without being religious.
But if this neutral feeling that has arisen is conditioned by the body which is impermanent, compounded and dependently arisen, how could such a neutral feeling be permanent? - SN 36.7

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octathlon
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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby octathlon » Sun Jan 30, 2011 5:37 pm


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Modus.Ponens
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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby Modus.Ponens » Sun Jan 30, 2011 6:31 pm

The statement is obviously wrong as there are counterexamples already pointed out. An interesting discussion is if people who are non-religious are more moral than people who are religious. It has to be divided into various cases acording to each religion. Acording to my experience, non-religious people tend to be more moral than christians, for example.
He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'
(Jhana Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)

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octathlon
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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby octathlon » Sun Jan 30, 2011 6:39 pm


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Modus.Ponens
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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby Modus.Ponens » Sun Jan 30, 2011 6:43 pm

He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'
(Jhana Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)

Northernbuck
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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby Northernbuck » Sun Jan 30, 2011 6:54 pm

But if this neutral feeling that has arisen is conditioned by the body which is impermanent, compounded and dependently arisen, how could such a neutral feeling be permanent? - SN 36.7

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Prasadachitta
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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby Prasadachitta » Sun Jan 30, 2011 6:59 pm

For me, "religious" is a highly undefined qualification. In my experience some people equate moral with religious in a way that makes it virtually synonymous. I think it is not sufficiently defined to have a meaningful or helpful conversation about it.

Gabe
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

Euclid
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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby Euclid » Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:57 pm

Definitely not true. I know that for a good period of my life I was anti-theist (and probably still am), wasn't interested / hadn't come across the Buddhadhamma, and I knew right from wrong, in the same way I do today.

Every person has an inbuilt moral compass, and that's why worldwide it's considered a bad thing to murder somebody. Something like that transcends geography or your religious flavour or (more or less) your culture.

VeganLiz
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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby VeganLiz » Sun Jan 30, 2011 8:16 pm

"My actions are my only true belongings." Thich Nhat Hanh

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octathlon
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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby octathlon » Sun Jan 30, 2011 8:56 pm


VeganLiz
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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby VeganLiz » Sun Jan 30, 2011 9:08 pm

Octathalon is correct, people can genuinely believe in God but do immoral things, things that are preached against their religion.

Striving towards their concept of perfection is one thing....being perfectly moral is another.
"My actions are my only true belongings." Thich Nhat Hanh

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EnirehtacNI
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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby EnirehtacNI » Sun Jan 30, 2011 9:56 pm

Hi guys! Thanks for all the replies. It's been very insightful. By the way I'm a she. My username is my name backwards except the NI part. :)

:anjali:

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retrofuturist
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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jan 30, 2011 10:19 pm

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Ben
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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby Ben » Sun Jan 30, 2011 10:27 pm

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“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

Northernbuck
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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby Northernbuck » Sun Jan 30, 2011 11:24 pm

But if this neutral feeling that has arisen is conditioned by the body which is impermanent, compounded and dependently arisen, how could such a neutral feeling be permanent? - SN 36.7

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Kim OHara
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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby Kim OHara » Sun Jan 30, 2011 11:25 pm

For a really entertaining - but still insightful - discussion of the topic, read Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett.
The fact that a book is fantasy doesn't mean that it's silly (yes, you can draw a Venn diagram to sort that out too :tongue: ).
:namaste:
Kim

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andre9999
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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby andre9999 » Sun Jan 30, 2011 11:43 pm


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Modus.Ponens
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Re: "You cannot be moral without being religious"

Postby Modus.Ponens » Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:14 am

He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'
(Jhana Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)


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