This is, of course, a self-referential argument. It postulates that “moral” means “religious”, and “religious” means “moral”, and makes the term meaningless — as well as making the implicit claim that “non-religious” means “immoral”, and includes those who fly planes into buildings and kidnap school girls in Africa among those who are moral (as long as they are religious, that is.)
Evidently I need to restate, because if that’s what you got out of what I wrote, I must have done a very poor job of expressing myself.
Restatement: The vast majority of individuals who try to live their lives according to a defined moral framework are using a moral framework taught to them from their religious background; and in Western history, that moral framework has come from our shared JudeoChristian heritage.
Ergo, if religious training is excised from society, you now have a society where nobody is making any attempt to live according to any defined framework. They may sincerely be trying to live a moral life, but they no longer have tools from that shared moral framework to guide them in situations of moral dilemma. And without those tools, people will (unfortunately) default to self interest when resolving those moral dilemmas.
In none of the above is actual religious belief or faith implied or required. It is simply an acknowledgement that structured religion, imparts to the student a moral framework and tools for solving moral dilemmas; and it imparts that framework to anyone, be they theist, atheist, agnostic.
You’ll note that this line of reasoning is the basis for Pascal’s Wager.
f the term is to have meaning of its own, morality must be defined as being distinct from religion. Its roots are non-religious; they come from the cooperative, eusocial nature of human interaction and have their basis in the evolutionary advantage of such behavior.
Well (smiles) that’s kind of how religious morality is defined as well. So, how do you tell the difference between “God said, ‘Thou shalt not Kill’ ” and “Societies which respect life have an evolutionary advantage?” :-)
It’s kind of hard to separate the hot sauce from the garlic sauce after you’ve already mixed them together.
On the more personal level, even more difficult. Hume or Sartre’ may have been atheists, but their formative years were still steeped in cultures which are products of religious thought. You can’t excise how they were raised, either in their families or in the society around them, from their adult philosophical works. One is a precedent for the other.
The fact that religions claim morality as their own is a sales tactic, not reality; the vile behavior or religionists for thousands of years is a clear demonstration that one has little to do with the other.
Well, that’s opinion stated as fact, and impossible to prove, although I’m sure you’re ready with lists of wars and other atrocities carried on by religionists in the past.
To which I would reply with even longer lists of selfless acts of altruism and charity inflicted on others by other religionists, and both of us would walk away believing the other was daft.
Probably best to say “we disagree” and move on from there.