Saturday, April 18, 2009

Why Morality Came Before Religion

Tonight I came across the following article:

why morality came before religion

Virtually every debate between an atheist and a theist features the question of where humans got their morality; their ideas of right and wrong. Theists say that without a religion to enforce a moral code, we’d all be amoral hedonists. Atheists point out the fact that there are still laws and societal discipline keeps our behaviors in check even if we choose to opt out of having a religion. Could morality exist without a religion and is there something that could point us to an answer? Like tracing our evolutionary lineage perhaps?

When it comes to matters of how we perceive something as right or wrong, we usually turn to a basic concept we call fairness. The idea that things can be fair or unfair and that unfairness is a punishable offense isn’t uniquely human. In fact, it’s something social mammals like primates understand very well and deal with on a daily basis. Theft is unfair. Lying is unfair. Favoritism is unfair. Murder? Probably the most unfair thing to do to someone who’s innocent but justifiable in some cases. We’ll say that murder is wrong but leave ourselves legal and ethical room to kill enemy soldiers in a war or execute criminals who did very unfair and heinous things. The very same ideas can be found in groups of primates who make business deals of sorts, build social hierarchies, have a sense of what’s fair and what’s unfair, refusing to cooperate when they feel mistreated or slighted, wage territorial wars, and seek revenge on those who anger them.

You can read the rest of the article at this link: Morality

After reading the article I immediately turned on my microphone and offered a response. The recording captures my initial thoughts not a detailed studied response.

Here is the audio:

Here is a message about the Law

More to come on this topic in the next 24 hours.
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> posted by Trevor Hammack at


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