Morality and religion is the relationship between religious views and morals. Many religions have value frameworks regarding personal behavior meant to guide adherents in determining between right and wrong. These include the Triple Gems of Jainism, Judaism'sHalacha, Islam'sSharia, Catholicism'sCanon Law, Buddhism'sEightfold Path, and Zoroastrianism's "good thoughts, good words, and good deeds" concept, among others. These frameworks are outlined and interpreted by various sources such as holy books, oral and written traditions, and religious leaders. Many of these share tenets with secular value frameworks such as consequentialism, freethought, and utilitarianism.
Religion and morality are not synonymous. Morality does not necessarily depend upon religion, though for some, this is "an almost automatic assumption." According to The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Ethics, religion and morality "are to be defined differently and have no definitional connections with each other. Conceptually and in principle, morality and a religious value system are two distinct kinds of value systems or action guides." In the views of others, the two can overlap. According to one definition, morality is an active process which is, "at the very least, the effort to guide one's conduct by reason, that is, doing what there are the best reasons for doing, while giving equal consideration to the interests of all those affected by what one does."
Value judgments can vary greatly between religions, past and present. People in various religious traditions, such as Christianity, may derive ideas of right and wrong from the rules and laws set forth in their respective authoritative guides and by their religious leaders. Equating morality to adherence to authoritative commands in a holy book is the Divine Command Theory.Polytheistic religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism generally draw from some of the broadest canons of religious works. There has been interest in the relationship between religion and crime and other behavior that does not adhere to contemporary laws and social norms in various countries. Studies conducted in recent years have explored these relationships, but the results have been mixed and sometimes contradictory. The ability of religious faiths to provide value frameworks that are seen as useful is a debated matter. Religious commentators have asserted that a moral life cannot be led without an absolute lawgiver as a guide. Other observers assert that moral behavior does not rely on religious tenets, and secular commentators point to ethical challenges within various religions that conflict with contemporary social norms.
Relationship between religion and morality
Within the wide range of ethical traditions, religious traditions co-exist with secular value frameworks such as humanism, utilitarianism, and others. There are many types of religious values. Modern monotheistic religions, such as Islam, Judaism, Christianity (and to a certain degree others such as Sikhism) define right and wrong by the laws and rules set forth by their respective gods and as interpreted by religious leaders within the respective faith. Polytheistic religious traditions tend to be less absolute. For example, within Buddhism, the intention of the individual and the circumstances play roles in determining whether an action is right or wrong.Barbara Stoler Miller points out a further disparity between the morals of religious traditions, stating that in Hinduism, "practically, right and wrong are decided according to the categories of social rank, kinship, and stages of life. For modern Westerners, who have been raised on ideals of universality and egalitarianism, this relativity of values and obligations is the aspect of Hinduism most difficult to understand."
According to Stephen Gaukroger: "It was generally assumed in the 17th century that religion provided the unique basis for morality, and that without religion, there could be no morality." This view slowly shifted over time. In 1690, Pierre Bayle asserted that religion "is neither necessary nor sufficient for morality". Modern sources separate the two concepts. For example, The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Ethics says that,
For many religious people, morality and religion are the same or inseparable; for them either morality is part of religion or their religion is their morality. For others, especially for nonreligious people, morality and religion are distinct and separable; religion may be immoral or nonmoral, and morality may or should be nonreligious. Even for some religious people the two are different and separable; they may hold that religion should be moral and morality should be, but they agree that they may not be.
Richard Paula and Linda Elder of the Foundation for Critical Thinking assert that, "Most people confuse ethics with behaving in accordance with social conventions, religious beliefs, and the law." They separate the concept of ethics from these topics, stating:
The proper role of ethical reasoning is to highlight acts of two kinds: those which enhance the well-being of others—that warrant our praise—and those that harm or diminish the well-being of others—and thus warrant our criticism.
They note problems that could arise if religions defined ethics, such as:
- religious practices like "torturing unbelievers or burning them alive" potentially being labeled "ethical"
- the lack of a common religious baseline across humanity because religions provide different theological definitions for the idea of sin
They further note that various documents, such as the UN Declaration of Human Rights lay out "transcultural" and "trans-religious" ethical concepts and principles—such as slavery, genocide, torture, sexism, racism, murder, assault, fraud, deceit, and intimidation—which require no reliance on religion (or social convention) for us to understand they are "ethically wrong".
Armin Geertz suggests that "the age-old assumption that religion produces morals and values is neither the only, nor the most parsimonious, hypothesis for religion".
Religions provide different ways of dealing with moral dilemmas. For example, there is no absolute prohibition on killing in Hinduism, which recognizes that it "may be inevitable and indeed necessary" in certain circumstances. In Christian traditions, certain acts are viewed in more absolute terms, such as abortion or divorce. In the latter case, a 2008 study by the Barna Group found that some denominations have a significantly higher divorce rate than those in non-religious demographic groups (atheists and agnostics). However Catholics and Evangelical Christians had the lowest divorce rates and the agnostic/atheist group had by far the lowest number of married couples to begin with.
According to Thomas Dixon, "Many today ... argue that religious beliefs are necessary to provide moral guidance and standards of virtuous conduct in an otherwise corrupt, materialistic, and degenerate world." In the same vein, Christian theologian Ron Rhodes has remarked that "it is impossible to distinguish evil from good unless one has an infinite reference point which is absolutely good." Thomas Dixon states, "Religions certainly do provide a framework within which people can learn the difference between right and wrong."
Religion and social dimensions
The study religion and morality is contentious due to conceptual differences. The ethnocentric views on morality, failure to distinguish between in group and out group altruism, and inconsistent definition of religiosity all contribute to conflicting findings. Membership of a religious group can accentuate biases in behavior toward in group versus out group members, which may explain the lower number of interracial friends and greater approval of torture among church members. Furthermore, some studies have shown that religious prosociality is primarily motivated by wanting to appear prosocial, which may be related to the desire to further ones religious group. The egoistically motivated prosociality may also affect self-reports, resulting in biased results. Peer ratings can be biased by stereotypes, and indications of a persons group affiliation are sufficient to bias reporting.
In line with other findings suggesting that religious humanitarianism is largely directed at in-group members, greater religious identification, greater extrinsic religiosity and greater religious fundamentalism were associated with racial prejudice. This is congruent with the fact that 50% of religious congregations in the US are racially segregated, and only 12% have a degree of diversity.
According to global research done by Gallup on people from 145 countries, adherents of all the major world religions who attended religious services in the past week have higher rates of generosity such as donating money, volunteering, and helping a stranger than do their coreligionists who did not attend services (non-attenders). Even for people who were nonreligious, those who said they attended religious services in the past week exhibited more generous behaviors. Another global study by Gallup on people from 140 countries showed that highly religious people are more likely to help others in terms of donating money, volunteering, and helping strangers despite them having, on average, lower incomes than those who are less religious or nonreligious.
One study on pro-social sentiments showed that non-religious people were more inclined to show generosity in random acts of kindness, such as lending their possessions and offering a seat on a crowded bus or train. Religious people were less inclined when it came to seeing how much compassion motivated participants to be charitable in other ways, such as in giving money or food to a homeless person and to non-believers. A study on altruistic behavior in children across multiple nations demonstrated a negative effect of religion on altruism measured with a game, although the parent reported altruism was associated with religiosity.
A comprehensive study by Harvard University professor Robert Putnam found that religious people are more charitable than their irreligious counterparts. The study revealed that forty percent of worship service attending Americans volunteer regularly to help the poor and elderly as opposed to 15% of Americans who never attend services. Moreover, religious individuals are more likely than non-religious individuals to volunteer for school and youth programs (36% vs. 15%), a neighborhood or civic group (26% vs. 13%), and for health care (21% vs. 13%). Other research has shown similar correlations between religiosity and giving.
Some scientific studies show that the degree of religiosity is generally associated with higher ethical attitudes — for example, surveys suggesting a positive connection between faith and altruism.
The overall relationship between faith and crime is unclear. A 2001 review of studies on this topic found "The existing evidence surrounding the effect of religion on crime is varied, contested, and inconclusive, and currently no persuasive answer exists as to the empirical relationship between religion and crime." Dozens of studies have been conducted on this topic since the twentieth century. A 2005 study by Gregory S. Paul argues for a positive correlation between the degree of public religiosity in a society and certain measures of dysfunction, however, an analysis published later in the same journal contends that a number of methodological and theoretical problems undermine any findings or conclusions taken from Paul's research. In another response, Gary Jensen builds on and refines Paul's study. His conclusion is that a "complex relationship" exists between religiosity and homicide "with some dimensions of religiosity encouraging homicide and other dimensions discouraging it".
Some works indicate that some societies with lower religiosity have lower crime rates—especially violent crime, compared to some societies with higher religiosity. Phil Zuckerman notes that Denmark and Sweden, "which are probably the least religious countries in the world, and possibly in the history of the world," enjoy "among the lowest violent crime rates in the world [and] the lowest levels of corruption in the world."  However, Zuckerman noted that none of these correlations mean that atheism and non-religiosity cause social well-being, instead existential security is what allows for atheism and non-religion to thrive in these societies.
Modern research in criminology also acknowledges an inverse relationship between religion and crime, with some studies establishing this connection. A meta-analysis of 60 studies on religion and crime concluded, "religious behaviors and beliefs exert a moderate deterrent effect on individuals' criminal behavior". However, in his books about the materialism in Americas Evangelical Churches Ron Sider accuses fellow Christians of failing to do better than their secular counterparts in the percentage adhering to widely held moral standards (e.g., lying, theft and sexual infidelity).
A Georgia State University study published in the academic journal Theoretical Criminology suggests that religion helps criminals to justify their crimes and might "encourage" it. The research concluded that "many street offenders anticipate an early death, making them less prone to delay gratification, more likely to discount the future costs of crime, and thus more likely to offend".
Criticism of religious values
Religious values can diverge from commonly-held contemporary moral positions, such as those on murder, mass atrocities, and slavery. For example, Simon Blackburn states that "apologists for Hinduism defend or explain away its involvement with the caste system, and apologists for Islam defend or explain away its harsh penal code or its attitude to women and infidels". In regard to Christianity, he states that the "Bible can be read as giving us a carte blanche for harsh attitudes to children, the mentally handicapped, animals, the environment, the divorced, unbelievers, people with various sexual habits, and elderly women". He provides examples such as the phrase in Exodus 22:18 that has "helped to burn alive tens or hundreds of thousands of women in Europe and America": "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live," and notes that the Old Testament God apparently has "no problems with a slave-owning society", considers birth control a crime punishable by death, and "is keen on child abuse". Blackburn notes morally suspect themes[which?] in the Bible's New Testament as well.
Philosopher David Hume stated that, "The greatest crimes have been found, in many instances, to be compatible with a superstitious piety and devotion; Hence it is justly regarded as unsafe to draw any inference in favor of a man's morals, from the fervor or strictness of his religious exercises, even though he himself believe them sincere."
Bertrand Russell said, "There are also, in most religions, specific ethical tenets which do definite harm. The Catholic condemnation of birth control, if it could prevail, would make the mitigation of poverty and the abolition of war impossible. The Hindu beliefs that the cow is a sacred animal and that it is wicked for widows to remarry cause quite needless suffering." He asserts that
You find this curious fact, that the more intense has been the religion of any period and the more profound has been the dogmatic belief, the greater has been the cruelty and the worse has been the state of affairs....You find as you look around the world that every single bit of progress in humane feeling, every improvement in the criminal law, every step toward the diminution of war, every step toward better treatment of the colored races, or every mitigation of slavery, every moral progress that there has been in the world, has been consistently opposed by the organized churches of the world.
According to Paul Copan, Jewish laws in the bible show an evolution of moral standards towards protecting the vulnerable, imposing a death penalty on those pursuing forced slavery and identifying slaves as persons and not property.
According to Bertrand Russell, "Clergymen almost necessarily fail in two ways as teachers of morals. They condemn acts which do no harm and they condone acts which do great harm." He cites an example of a clergyman who was warned by a physician that his wife would die if she had another (her tenth) child, but impregnated her regardless, which resulted in her death. "No one condemned him; he retained his benefice and married again. So long as clergymen continue to condone cruelty and condemn 'innocent' pleasure, they can only do harm as guardians of the morals of the young."
Russell further states that, "The sense of sin which dominates many children and young people and often lasts on into later life is a misery and a source of distortion that serves no useful purpose of any sort or kind." Russel allows that religious sentiments have, historically, sometimes led to morally acceptable behavior, but asserts that, "in the present day,  such good as might be done by imputing a theological origin to morals is inextricably bound up with such grave evils that the good becomes insignificant in comparison."
Main article: Secular morality
All the world's major religions, with their emphasis on love, compassion, patience, tolerance, and forgiveness can and do promote inner values. But the reality of the world today is that grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate. This is why I am increasingly convinced that the time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics beyond religion altogether.
There are number of secular value frameworks, such as consequentialism, freethought, humanism, and utilitarianism. Yet, there have been opposing views about the ability of both religious and secular moral frameworks to provide useful guides to right and wrong actions.
Various non-religious commentators have supported the ability of secular value frameworks to provide useful guides. Bernard Williams argued that, "Either one's motives for following the moral word of God are moral motives, or they are not. If they are, then one is already equipped with moral motivations, and the introduction of God adds nothing extra. But if they are not moral motives, then they will be motives of such a kind that they cannot appropriately motivate morality at all ... we reach the conclusion that any appeal to God in this connection either adds to nothing at all, or it adds the wrong sort of thing." Other observers criticize religious morals as incompatible with modern social norms. For example, popular atheist Richard Dawkins, writing in The God Delusion, has stated that religious people have committed a wide variety of acts and held certain beliefs through history that we now consider morally repugnant. He has stated that Adolf Hitler and the Nazis held broadly Christian religious beliefs that inspired the Holocaust on account of antisemitic Christian doctrine, that Christians have traditionally imposed unfair restrictions on the legal and civil rights of women, and that Christians have condoned slavery of some form or description throughout most of Christianity's history. According to Paul Copan, the position of the Bible to slaves is a positive one for the slaves in that Jewish laws imposed a death penalty on those pursuing slavery and treated slaves as persons, not property.
- a.^ Zuckerman identifies that Scandinavians have "relatively high rates of petty crime and burglary", but "their overall rates of violent crime—such as murder, aggravated assault, and rape—are among the lowest on earth" (Zuckerman 2008, pp. 5–6).
- b.^ The authors also state that "A few hundred years ago rates of homicide were astronomical in Christian Europe and the American colonies," and "[t]he least theistic secular developing democracies such as Japan, France, and Scandinavia have been most successful in these regards." They argue for a positive correlation between the degree of public religiosity in a society and certain measures of dysfunction, an analysis published later in the same journal argues that a number of methodological problems undermine any findings or conclusions in the research.
- ^Esptein, Greg M. (2010). Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe. New York: HarperCollins. p. 117. ISBN 978-0-06-167011-4.
- ^ abcRachels, (ed) James; Rachels, (ed) Stuart (2011). The Elements of Moral Philosophy (7 ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-803824-3.
- ^Childress, (ed) James F.; Macquarrie, (ed) John (1986). The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Ethics. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press. p. 401. ISBN 0-664-20940-8.
- ^Blackburn, Simon (2001). Ethics: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 9–10. ISBN 978-0-19-280442-6.
- ^Bodhippriya Subhadra Siriwardena, 'The Buddhist perspective of lay morality', 1996
- ^Edgar Saint George, "Religion's Effects On Crime Rates"
- ^Peggy Morgan, "Buddhism." In Morgan, Peggy; Lawton, Clive A., eds. (2007). Ethical Issues in Six Religious Traditions (Second ed.). Columbia University Press. pp. 61, 88–89. ISBN 978-0-7486-2330-3.
- ^Miller, Barbara Stoler (2004). The Bhagavad Gita: Krishna's Counsel in Time of War. New York: Random House. p. 3. ISBN 0-553-21365-2.
- ^ abGaukroger, Stephen (2012). Objectivity: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 91. ISBN 978-0-19-960669-6.
- ^Childress, (ed) James F.; Macquarrie, (ed) John (1986). The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Ethics. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press. p. 400. ISBN 0-664-20940-8.
- ^ abcPaul, Richard; Elder, Linda (2006). The Miniature Guide to Understanding the Foundations of Ethical Reasoning. United States: Foundation for Critical Thinking Free Press. pp. np. ISBN 0-944583-17-2.
- ^Geertz, Armin W. (2014). "Whence religion ? How the brain constructs the world and what this might tell us about the origins of religion, cognition and culture". In Geertz, Armin W. Origins of Religion, Cognition and Culture. Religion, Cognition and Culture. Routledge. p. 17. ISBN 978-1-317-54456-2. Retrieved 2015-09-19.
- ^Werner Menski, "Hinduism." In Morgan, Peggy; Lawton, Clive A., eds. (2007). Ethical Issues in Six Religious Traditions (Second ed.). Columbia University Press. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-7486-2330-3.
- ^Barna Group (31 March 2008). "New Marriage and Divorce Statistics Released". Barna Group. Archived from the original on 19 December 2014. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
- ^ abDixon, Thomas (2008). Science and Religion: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 115. ISBN 978-0-19-929551-7.
- ^Ron Rhodes. "Strategies for Dialoguing with Atheists". Reasoning from the Scriptures Ministries. Retrieved January 4, 2010.
- ^McKay, R; Whitehouse, H (March 2015). "Religion and morality". Psychological Bulletin. 141 (2): 447–73. doi:10.1037/a0038455. PMC 4345965. PMID 25528346.
- ^Galen, LW (September 2012). "Does religious belief promote prosociality? A critical examination". Psychological Bulletin. 138 (5): 876–906. doi:10.1037/a0028251. PMID 22925142.
- ^Galen, LW (September 2012). "The complex and elusive nature of religious prosociality: reply to Myers (2012) and Saroglou (2012)". Psychological Bulletin. 138 (5): 918–23. doi:10.1037/a0029278. PMID 22925145.
- ^Hall, Deborah L.; Matz, David C.; Wood, Wendy (16 December 2009). "Why Don't We Practice What We Preach? A Meta-Analytic Review of Religious Racism". Personality and Social Psychology Review. 14 (1): 126–139. doi:10.1177/1088868309352179.
- ^Stark, Rodney; Smith, Buster G. (September 4, 2009). "Religious Attendance Relates to Generosity Worldwide". Gallup.
- ^Crabtree, Steve; Pelham, Brett (October 8, 2008). "Worldwide, Highly Religious More Likely to Help Others". Gallup.
- ^Highly Religious People Are Less Motivated by Compassion Than Are Non-Believers by Science Daily
- ^Laura R. Saslow, Robb Willer, Matthew Feinberg, Paul K. Piff, Katharine Clark, Dacher Keltner and Sarina R. Saturn My Brother's Keeper? Compassion Predicts Generosity More Among Less Religious Individuals
- ^Decety, Jean; Cowell, Jason M.; Lee, Kang; Mahasneh, Randa; Malcolm-Smith, Susan; Selcuk, Bilge; Zhou, Xinyue (November 2015). "The Negative Association between Religiousness and Children's Altruism across the World". Current Biology. 25 (22): 2951–2955. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2015.09.056.
- ^ abc"Religious citizens more involved -- and more scarce?". USA Today.
- ^Campbell, David; Putnam, Robert (2010-11-14). "Religious people are 'better neighbors'". USA Today. Retrieved 2007-10-18.
- ^Brooks, Arthur. "Religious Faith and Charitable Giving".
- ^Kerley, Kent R.; Matthews, Todd L.; Blanchard, Troy C. (2005). "Religiosity, Religious Participation, and Negative Prison Behaviors". Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. 44 (4): 443–457. doi:10.1111/j.1468-5906.2005.00296.x.
- ^Saroglou, Vassilis; Pichon, Isabelle; Trompette, Laurence; Verschueren, Marijke; Dernelle, Rebecca (2005). "Prosocial Behavior and Religion: New Evidence Based on Projective Measures and Peer Ratings". Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. 44 (3): 323–348. doi:10.1111/j.1468-5906.2005.00289.x.
- ^Regnerus, Mark D.; Burdette, Amy (2006). "Religious Change and Adolescent Family Dynamics". The Sociological Quarterly. 47 (1): 175–194. doi:10.1111/j.1533-8525.2006.00042.x.
- ^Conroy, S. J.; Emerson, T. L. N. (2004). "Business Ethics and Religion: Religiosity as a Predictor of Ethical Awareness Among Students". Journal of Business Ethics. 50 (4): 383–396. doi:10.1023/B:BUSI.0000025040.41263.09.
- ^e.g. a surveyArchived 2007-10-08 at the Wayback Machine. by Robert Putnam showing that membership of religious groups was positively correlated with membership of voluntary organizations
- ^Baier, Colin J.; Wright, Bradley R. E. (February 2001). ""If You Love Me, Keep My Commandments": A Meta-analysis of the Effect of Religion on Crime"(PDF). 38. No. 1. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency: 3. Archived from the original(PDF) on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 20 November 2011. Original in italics.
- ^ abPaul, Gregory S. (2005). "Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies: A First Look". Journal of Religion and Society. Baltimore, Maryland. 7. Archived from the original on 2011-12-14.
- ^ abGerson Moreno-Riaño; Mark Caleb Smith; Thomas Mach (2006). "Religiosity, Secularism, and Social Health". Journal of Religion and Society. Cedarville University. 8.
- ^Gary F. Jensen (2006) Department of Sociology, Vanderbilt University Religious Cosmologies and Homicide Rates among Nations: A Closer Look"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-12-23. Retrieved 2012-09-06. http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/pdf/2006-7.pdf Journal of Religion and Society, Volume 8, ISSN 1522-5658 http://purl.org/JRS
- ^Paul, Gregory S. (2005). "Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies: A First Look"(PDF). Journal of Religion and Society. Baltimore, Maryland. 7: 4, 5, 8, and 10.
- ^Zuckerman, Phil. Society Without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us about Contentment. New York: New York University Press. p. 2. ISBN 978-0-8147-9714-3. Zuckerman's work is based on his studies conducted during a 14-month period in Scandinavia in 2005–2006 of 150 people.
- ^Zuckerman, Phil (2007). Martin, Michael, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Atheism. Cambridge Univ. Press. pp. 58–59. ISBN 0-521-60367-6.
- ^As is stated in: Doris C. Chu (2007). Religiosity and Desistance From Drug Use. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 2007; 34; 661 originally published online Mar 7, 2007; doi:10.1177/0093854806293485
- ^For example:
- Albrecht, S. I., Chadwick, B. A., & Alcorn, D. S. (1977). Religiosity and deviance:Application of an attitude-behavior contingent consistency model. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 16, 263–274.
- Burkett, S.,& White, M. (1974). Hellfire and delinquency:Another look. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion,13,455–462.
- Chard-Wierschem, D. (1998). In pursuit of the "true" relationship: A longitudinal study of the effects of religiosity on delinquency and substance abuse. Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Dissertation.
- Cochran, J. K.,& Akers, R. L. (1989). Beyond Hellfire:An explanation of the variable effects of religiosity on adolescent marijuana and alcohol use. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 26, 198–225.
- Evans, T. D.,Cullen, F. T.,Burton, V. S., Jr.,Dunaway, R. G.,Payne, G. L.,& Kethineni, S. R. (1996). Religion, social bonds, and delinquency. Deviant Behavior, 17, 43–70.
- Grasmick, H. G., Bursik, R. J., & Cochran, J. K. (1991). "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's": Religiosity and taxpayer's inclinations to cheat. The Sociological Quarterly, 32, 251–266.
- Higgins, P. C., & Albrecht, G. L. (1977). Hellfire and delinquency revisited. Social Forces, 55, 952–958.
- Johnson, B. R.,Larson, D. B.,DeLi,S.,& Jang, S. J. (2000). Escaping from the crime of inner cities:Church attendance and religious salience among disadvantaged youth. Justice Quarterly, 17, 377–391.
- Johnson, R. E., Marcos, A. C., & Bahr, S. J. (1987). The role of peers in the complex etiology of adolescent drug use. Criminology, 25, 323–340.
- Powell, K. (1997). Correlates of violent and nonviolent behavior among vulnerable inner-city youths. Family and Community Health, 20, 38–47.
- ^Baier, C. J.,& Wright, B. R. (2001). "If you love me, keep my commandments":A meta-analysis of the effect of religion on crime. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency,38,3–21.
- ^See, for instance, Ronald J. Sider, The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience: Why Are Christians Living Just Like the Rest of the World? (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 2005). Sider quotes extensively from polling research by The Barna Group showing that moral behavior of evangelical Christians is unexemplary.
- ^"New Study Suggests Religion May Help Criminals Justify Their Crimes". www.slate.com. Retrieved March 10, 2013.
- ^Volkan Topalli; Timothy Brezina; Mindy Bernhardt (February 2013). "With God on my side: The paradoxical relationship between religious belief and criminality among hardcore street offenders". Theoretical Criminology.
- ^Blackburn, Simon (2001). Ethics: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-19-280442-6.
- ^Blackburn, Simon (2001). Ethics: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-19-280442-6.
- ^Blackburn, Simon (2001). Ethics: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 10, 12. ISBN 978-0-19-280442-6.
- ^Blackburn, Simon (2001). Ethics: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 11–12. ISBN 978-0-19-280442-6.
- ^David Hume, "The Natural History of Religion." In Hitchens, Christopher (2007). The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever. Philadelphia: Da Capo Press. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-306-81608-6.
- ^Russell, Bertrand (1957). Why I Am Not a Christian: And Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects. New York: George Allen & Unwin Ltd. p. vii. ISBN 978-0-671-20323-8.
- ^Russell, Bertrand (1957). Why I Am Not a Christian: And Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects. New York: George Allen & Unwin Ltd. pp. 20–21. ISBN 978-0-671-20323-8.
- ^ abCopan, Paul. "Does the Old Testament Endorse Slavery? An Overview". Retrieved 5 July 2012.
- ^Russell, Bertrand (1957). Why I Am Not a Christian: And Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects. New York: George Allen & Unwin Ltd. p. 68. ISBN 978-0-671-20323-8.
- ^Russell, Bertrand (1957). Why I Am Not a Christian: And Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects. New York: George Allen & Unwin Ltd. pp. 68–69. ISBN 978-0-671-20323-8.
- ^Russell, Bertrand (1957). Why I Am Not a Christian: And Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects. New York: George Allen & Unwin Ltd. p. 166. ISBN 978-0-671-20323-8.
Essay on Religion and Morality!
Religion and morality go together. Religion and morality are closely connected with each other. What is good is also willed by God. The fulfillment of God’s will and the performance of moral action, therefore, are two aspects of the same process. Both morality and religion are internal and concerned with a higher law which stands over and above the sphere of the state and outside state control.
Morality prepares the way for the perpetuation of religious beliefs while religion reinforces morality with its supernatural sanctions. Certain of the moral tenets are explained as having a supernatural origin. Salvation and blessedness are interpreted in terms of the individual’s relation to the moral ideals.
Moral values arrived at by man in the course of living are appropriated by and incorporated into religion. In incorporating these values, religion strengthens and returns them to the people in a refined and crystallized form. The Ten Commandments before becoming part of the Judaeo-Christian religious creed were in the mores.
The belief that they came from God gave them greater binding power. Both jointly control human conduct. In the words of Mathew Arnold, “Religion is morality touched with emotion.” Benjamin Kidd and most of the other moralists believed that religion and morality go together and that morality without religion has no solid foundation.
Thinkers like MacIver hold that religion and morality arise simultaneously and that they have always reinforced each other. He says. “We cannot say that either the religious or the moral code came first just as we cannot say that custom preceded morality or law. Moral codes have prepared the way for the perpetuation of religious beliefs. Religious codes have strongly reinforced with their supernatural sanctions the prevailing morals of the group.”
Morality and religion should be dissociated. But there are thinkers like Spencer, Bertrand Russel, Huxley and Charles Bougie who opine that religion and morality do not go hand in hand and that one should be dissociated from the other. According to them, religion and morality had independent origins. They asserted that the ethical code can develop best and be most effective when separated from religion.
The difference between religion and morality will become clear if we remember that an act may be morally wrong while religiously right. Sometimes religion inspires conduct detrimental to social interests. The Hindu Dharma preaches untouchability which is morally wrong. In the not too distant past the practice of ‘sati’ was allowed rather inspired by the Hindu Dharma which was socially harmful.
The Greek Orthodox Church became a bulwark of the tyranny of the Russian Tsars. Religious persecution of Jews in Germany was morally wrong. Similarly man killing or human sacrifice cannot be held morally right. Thus practices allowed by religion may not be allowed by morality. Likewise, not all the moral values are embodied in religion. Moral laws are based on rational judgment while religion is predominantly emotional and non-rational.
The supra-social sanction of religion:
Again, religion implies a relationship not only between man and man but also between man and some higher power while morality implies a relationship between man and man only. Religion invokes a sanction which may be called ‘supra social’. It may be God’s fury, the haunting of ghosts or torture in hell.
Morality does not invoke God’s wrath as its sanction. Its sanction comes from conscience, ridicule or force. “Sin” is associated with religion, “wrong” is associated with morality. Religion is addressed indirectly to the social situation. It seeks to establish social relationships in which human purposes are linked up with and often subordinated to the assumed will of superhuman powers. MacIver observed;
“A code is religious no matter whether its precepts are concerned with the relation of man to God, as the first four Commandments, or with the relation of man to man, as in the last six when its source is presented as divine authority and its sanction is supernatural, or when the penalty is exacted in the name of religion. A code is moral when it promulgates standards of conduct that directly derive their sufficient justification from the human interpretation of good and evil.”
The humanistic religion:
Though religion and morality differ it should not be, however, considered that they are poles apart. A man may be moral without being religious but it does not mean that religion should be underrated. Morality cannot be altogether disconnected from religion. The teachings of true religion are the same as those of morality. It is only crypto religion, pseudo mysticism which appear to be divorced from morality.
Morality conflicts with religionism, not religion. Sri Aurobindo writes, “True religion is spiritual religion that which seeks to lives in spirit, in what is beyond the intellect, beyond the aesthetic and ethical and practical being of man, and to inform and govern these members of our being by the higher light and law of the spirit.
Religionism, on the contrary, entrenches itself in some narrow pietistic exaltation of the lower members or lays exclusive stress on intellectual dogmas, forms and ceremonies, on some fixed and rigid moral code, on some religion- political or religion-social system.” A man who observes the moral code and does not profess any religion is, nevertheless, a religious man driven by a sub-conscious wish for universal coherence.
When religion is strongly dogmatic it comes into clash with morality, but when it is humanistic rejecting super naturalistic notions of heaven and hell and striving to unite people on the basis of a code of social morality rather than on the basis of a particular ‘belief’ or ‘faith’ it becomes inseparable from morality.
Many social scientists even hold the view that religion ought to divest itself as much as possible of dogma and supernaturalism and concern itself with the promotion of moral values. Auguste Comte, a bitter critic of dogmatic religion, advocated a religion consisting principally of the ethical teachings of Christ. Sharing Comte’s view, a number of sociologists advocated a kind of humanistic religion, Hobhouse conceived of religion as being to an extent “emotionalized ethics.” He rejected any sort of belief in an anthropomorphic God and even the sophisticated idea of pantheism.
He considered supernatural religion to be ill-adapted to modern civilization and to be, in fact, a hindrance to social progress. The humanistic religion is based upon reason, logic and scientific knowledge. It aims at the creation of a society in which altruism instead of egoism would predominate and in which the individual’s personality would be fully realized.