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Matthieu Miossec

Doctoral Student - Genetic Medecine (Congenital Heart Disease),

TEDCRED 100+

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Morality is better informed by science than it is by religion

Religion has a long history of claiming absolute knowledge over questions of morals. Often today, we hear preachers on the street tell us that, for all our scientific and technological achievements, we are losing touch with our morals. Is that true? Is religion than the only or at least the best answer to our moral shortcomings?

The other view is that morality has progressively changed and increased with time and we shudder to think about what stood as morals in our past. In great part, it can be argued that science has fed many moral values by revealing natural truths about ourselves and other animals such that we can no longer see the world in a way that make certain immoral behaviors justifiable.

So which one is better equipped to inform morality? Is there a third institution better equipped perhaps?

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      Oct 16 2011: I would argue that a truly moral person does not need policemen, teachers, cameras or God to watch over them. It's good that we've moved passed the idea that a non-believer can't be moral without God. I'm happy to see that religion no longer ignores that fact. But let's go ahead and take a step further in admitting that some people don't need a guardian to be moral. That is real morality!
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      Oct 16 2011: Adriaan,
      I agree with you that "It is recognized that non-Christians live lives that are just as moral as the lives of Christians—many of them, in fact, live more moral lives".

      Based on that statement, it surprises me that you would state..."A moral life that is lived to satisfy the Divine is a spiritual life. The two look alike in outward form, but inwardly they are totally different. One saves us, the other does not. This is because if we live a moral life to satisfy the Divine we are being led by the Divine; while if we live a moral life to satisfy people in this world, we are being led by ourselves".

      Doesn't it say somewhere in the bible that we are made in the image and likeness of god...the divine? Yes, it does. Doesn't it say that we are all one? Yes it does. With this in mind, your statement contradicts the information from the bible.

      Maybe YOU "behave differently" if you "know there is a camera", but I and many others do not. Many of us take responsibility for our actions and behave in a certain way because that is our choice...not because someone is watching over us.
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          Oct 17 2011: With or without the Bible there are bad people doing bad things. Your argument would be convincing if evil was almost inexistent or at least not ever carried out by Christians/Religious people. That couldn't be further from the truth. Have we already forgotten all the child rape that goes on within the supposed houses of god?
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          Oct 17 2011: Adriaan,
          Please don't put words in my mouth. I didn't say anything about anyone being "perfect". Yes, I do watch the news, I am very mindful of what is happening in our world, and I consider myself a well informed person. Let's stay on track with the discussion.

          In his introduction, Mattieu writes..." it can be argued that science has fed many moral values by revealing natural truths about ourselves and other animals such that we can no longer see the world in a way that make certain immoral behaviors justifiable".

          This is an excellent point, and one way we can connect the relevance of science and religion/spirituality. There are people who use religion/spirituality/holy books as valuable life guides. There are also people in our world who use the information from those sources as an excuse to abuse and violate the rights of others, as well as selectively excluding many people from the doors of heaven if s/he does not follow the dogma of a certain religion. These extreme beliefs, demands and threats cause seperation of people, rather than supporting people coming together for a common cause.

          You write Adriaan... "This may be illustrated by an example. If we do not do harm to our neighbor be cause that is against our religion and therefore against the Divine, our refraining from evil stems from a spiritual source. But if we refrain from doing harm to others simply because we are afraid of the law or of losing our reputation or respect or profit — for the sake of self and the world, that is — then this stems from a natural source and we are being led by ourselves."

          WHATEVER causes us to refrain from doing harm to another person Adriaan, is a good thing. You seem to focus on the idea of someone watching over you as a better way to live. I believe that to make well informed, kind, considerate choices is a better way to live.
          To behave a certain way because someone is watching feels hypocritical.
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          Oct 17 2011: Matthieu and Adriaan,
          The catholic church is selling most of the property they own in this area, to pay off their legal committments and financial compensation to those who were sexually assaulted by representatives of god, in the house of god. As there have been many trials in this area in the past few years, I am constantly reminded daily about the unfortunate, innocent children who were raped within the "house of god". Apparently, it didn't matter to the offender if god was watching or not, and we have people whose lives were drastically changed because of the decisions priests made as to how they used/misused their position. The bishop in this area, still maintains that it is not the church's fault. This is how religion contributes to our morality?
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          Oct 18 2011: Hi Adriaan.

          Just a quick note on this passage, "Ever watch the news and see what people do?? They are all images and likenesses of God?"

          Yes I watch the news and see what people do. Then again, I've also read the Old Testament with a God who has no problem killing people for disobeying him, who is okay with spreading pestilence and famine and murdering the firstborn children of Egypt to get his own way. A God who destroyed every living thing on earth except for one boatload because he didn't like what they were doing.

          Yes Adriaan, those people on the evening news are as much in the image of that God as the ones doing "good works".

          I'm not questioning your beliefs, only the morality of the Godly actions in question. The excesses in the Bible make man's most horrible crimes look amateurish by comparison.
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          Oct 18 2011: Adriaan,
          You ask..."Do you think it was the church's fault because they had not installed enough cameras? or should have organized these horrendous events differently"?

          WHAT? "Organized these horrendous events differently". What are you talking about?

          No, it was not the church's fault because "they had not installed enough cameras". It was the church's fault for choosing to ignore this issue for many years, even though they knew it was happening to thousands of children.

          You write..."The church officials should have thrown out those crooks, but I seem to remember they did not and I do not know why".

          I DO know why Adriaan, because it was brought out at all the trials, and it has been in the news constantly. The church officials were covering up for the offenders.

          You see Adriaan, cameras, and cover-ups are not the bases of good morality. People need to be accountable and responsible for the choices s/he makes without being prodded by someone watching over him/her.
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          Oct 23 2011: Adriaan,
          I realize your post above is addressed to Winston, and I got the notification, so I will respond on just one little point.

          You write..."God is a Love itself and could not even frown at us and He does not mind if you think Him angry and bad. Because that means you recognize evil for what it is, He loves you anyways".

          Your god does not "even frown at us", and yet in your posts, you promote the idea that if we do not accept your god and the dogma that goes with your religion, he will send us to hell. There is a contradiction there. A god who is "Love itself" would not send masses of people to suffer in hell for eternity. A loving god, if he/she/it exists, would love us unconditionally, which is what some people who practice religion in a benificial way believe. Those who try to force a religion on people with threats and fear, are not using their beliefs in a beneficial way for the whole of humankind.

          Good morality is based on love, not fear. Whether the guidence and information is coming from science or spirituality/religion, the important factor, is how people choose to use the information.
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          Oct 23 2011: Adriaan,
          The words were copied directly from your previous post, and at this time, are still there.

          Adriaan, this comment thread is not about prison, or what the judge would say. Yes, you are off topic again.

          Adriaan, I am very clear about my beliefs, and have been consistant in expressing them.
          I'd prefer to teach kids how to behave with respect, and loving kindness based on love and a desire to extend love to others, as an extension of his/her "self". I believe kids ARE born good and loving, and I like to encourage growth of that love because it is pleasurable, rather than forcing "a kid to not do bad things" that "develops into obedience".

          Let us not forget what the topic is.
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          Oct 24 2011: Adriaan,
          The words I quoted are from your previous post, on this page, six days ago, last paragraph.

          I am NOT against religion at all Adriaan, and quite a few of my comments support religion.
          I have also, several times, told you that I respect the fact that you have certain beliefs. Disagreeing with some of your beliefs is not an "attack".
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          Oct 24 2011: You are absolutely right Adriaan. The statement you wrote, which I copied, is still in your comment...this page... 6 days ago...last paragraph.
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          Oct 26 2011: Yes Adriaan...that's the one. I don't think you are missing a thing:>)
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          Oct 26 2011: If a child is encouraged to challenge parental authority by evil doers, parents don't curse them and their descendants for hundreds of generations. Good parents go "it's ok, just don't listen to that snake again". What a miserable parent the Old Testament God is.
          Eternal life taken away for being naively trapped by the devil...

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