Response to the two statements separately with a minimum of 100 words each. Respond to each statement with whether you agree/disagree and include one quote and reference citation from an attached reading.
Yes, I believe that a person can be “good” without religious faith. As stated in this week readings many people believe in the “divine command theory” witch is the view that “the right thing to do is that which is ‘directed’ or ‘commanded’ by god.” I find this theory to be troublesome, because there are many different religions with differing positions on moral issues. My question to someone who believes in this theory is which god(s) is right and who’s commands should we take? I believe the answer to this question would depend on the religion of the person to which I am speaking, which of course invalidates the theory since there is no consistent response. Another theory that relates to god defined morality is natural law theory. This theory states the one should align themselves with “higher purposes” that are assigned from god. These higher purposes are not so much commandments, but more of an intent. I don’t subscribe to this theory either. How can anyone know what god wants? There have been countless crimes committed in the name of god, and there is no way to prove or disprove if they were following god’s intent.
Overall, I think people’s morality is mostly based on empathy. For example, I don’t steal because I know how it would affect me if I was stolen from. Having empathy does not involve the belief in a religion. However, some people have not either not be taught to have empathy or are lacking empathy due to a mental health issue. In a more functional sense, emphatic morality keeps societies under control and prevents them from devolving into chaos. Religious morality on the other hand has the potential for doing the exact opposite. People with extreme religious beliefs often do not have empathy toward others since they believe they are acting on behalf of god. For those who do not subscribe to any faith, their empathetic morality is just as valid as any religious belief system.
In my opinion, I don’t feel that one must have a religious faith to act in a kind way toward others. Though I am religious and believe in a higher being, it is not the sole driving factor that drives me to act with integrity and kindness. For me, I seek to do the right thing simply because I want to be a good person and I find satisfaction in helping others. I think people are their own drivers and are influenced by many things not just their religious beliefs.
“Many people receive their first moral/ethical exposure from the religion or religions in which they have been reared. The further conduit of those values is often their families. In many cultures around the Globe, the secular and religious worlds remain inextricably intertwined,” (University of Maryland University College, 2018).
For those that don’t have religious beliefs; I agree that people develop their own values based on how they’re raised, how others have treated them in the past and how they want to be viewed and treated by others.
I feel that most people generally want to do the right thing. When they don’t most of the time it’s because they’ve become desperate, let their own desires get ahead of the feelings of other’s or become disgruntled with the world. Sometimes I think people act without integrity unintentionally because they thought it would be better for others or didn’t fully foresee how their actions would be interpreted by others. I think there is more to religion than just putting the fear of God in people. I see religion as a tool to guide people to do the right thing just as I see the law or guidance from a mentor. All are meant to guide people to choose right over wrong.
Additionally, sometimes we are required to lie for the betterment of society as the case with national security or sensitive military operations. If we are truthful all of the time it could cause undue harm to ourselves or others. Is it wrong to lie? Most of the time. Is it necessary, sometimes. Lying for one’s own personal gain at the expense of others despite religion is wrong. Will having a religion make us a better person and keep us from lying, maybe, maybe not. Does everyone lie…probably so? I will leave you with this. Do you tell your kids to be good or Santa won’t bring them any gifts for Christmas? Let’s face it, no magical fat man in a jolly red suit is ever going to bring our kids toys, yet we’ve been lying to them for centuries. Are we bad people?
Note: Responses should be based on attached reading. Statement one response should have a minimum of 100 words and statement two should have 100 word response as well. Both responses should be separate.