Religion has no ownership over morality. The point of this article comes neither from a place of pro-religious or pro-atheist rhetoric, but from a simple and logical observation. There are many, many beliefs in our world, and perhaps the biggest flaw with virtually all of them, is the idea that that belief is best, the “correct” belief, and that all others are somehow faulty. The idea that without that belief, the possibilities of true love, forgiveness, acceptance, and happiness are not achievable.
As I was driving, flipping through the radio stations, I came across someone giving a talk about morality. As I listened, I agreed with most of the sentiment the speaker was sharing: being kind to others, forgiving others, etc. But, he then lost me when after his speech, he applied a condition: all of these things were possible, but only through the power and belief and guidance of the lord.
While I try to avoid such negativity, I couldn’t help, but resent this idea on an intellectual level. The idea that anyone outside of ourselves was responsible for our own morality. And the idea that morality could not exist outside of religion, that how else was one to possibly acquire it?
Morality is a personal choice, not doctrine. Sure, people might display the appearance of morality because of their belief system: their parents, a book, or a religion, which told them so and because they’re conforming or perhaps because it is their belief that if they do not display these traits, that there will be consequences, like going to Hell for example.
But, that’s not morality; that’s obedience; that’s fear. The difference between a truly moral person and a person simply going through the motions of appearing moral, is that the truly moral person does not require external factors to behave a certain way. A truly moral person makes the choices they believe to be moral from within, from their heart, from empathy and compassion.
To not kill a man because the law, or society, or religion tell you it’s wrong, is wholly different from not killing a man because it would hurt you, because no matter how they might have wronged you, you can see past your own ego and rage and see another’s life as precious.