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Oct. 27th, 2008

I like seeing this in the news (though it isn't actually 'news' -- some of us already knew)

http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20081027/sc_livescience/religionnottheonlypathtoaltruism;_ylt=AuunyXgg6fARVQrPklaPzCgPLBIF

Humans are evolved to be acutely sensitive to our reputations as do-gooders in our social groups because this promotes strong cooperative bonds that help the species. This psychological mechanism was originally unrelated to religion, the authors write in the Oct. 3 issue of the journal Science.

The review also shoots down the idea that religion is necessary to make people choose to engage in altruistic behavior - or do something that benefits others at your own personal expense. Religion has no monopoly on good behavior today, Norenzayan said.


I was asked once by a religious friend of mine how it could be that Dylan would "be good" if he wasn't raised with the notion of "pleasing God". I explained at the time that ethical behavior has its own rewards within a social context and for the individual psyche and that a religious precept wasn't necessary. She wasn't able to imagine that because, having been brought up within a highly religious family with strict ground rules, her motivations were all based within the "fear of God" paradigm. I never was able to understand the concept of "fearing God" because in my upbringing God is the source of love and the instrument of peace and that fear has no place where there is love. But then I don't have a standard view, I guess.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
sudrin
Oct. 27th, 2008 05:14 pm (UTC)
While I encourage people to pursue whatever form of moral code they like, the concept of Religion being the only form of morality is really scary. Especially considering that for the most part Christianity defines itself entirely on a fear/reward system. Be good: Go to Heaven. Be Bad: Go to Hell. I think its this flaw that makes it hard for them to see anything outside of that containing morality. Since Homosexuals are outside of the Church, everything they do must be SIN. If anything, a moral code set up outside the idea of "eternal hellfire punishment" is better than one inside of it. Be good for the sake of love and caring not because if you don't you get to burn forever in a lake of hellfire. Granted, that's not to say that there isn't something to the blessing of the almighty or even that in its purest form that is what Christianity is based on, but its certainly taught that way to most.
puahslove
Oct. 28th, 2008 01:57 am (UTC)
this is also what makes theocracy scary -- think 'inquisition'

in that same group of religious friends there is the belief in moral absolutism as opposed to moral relativism -- again the same dichotomy arises -- and I am so far into the relativists' camp that my moral absolutist friends are appalled and chagrined by me whenever the subject comes up

really, it's a wonder that they endure my company at all ;)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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