Morality: God gifted or an evolutionary tool?

Theists claim that morality comes from God alone. And that without Gods morals, there is nothing stopping us from stooping to absolute decadence and chaos. It is kind of sad that one has to explain that being ‘moral’ out of fear of a God is a lot more scary thought, than that of an individual choosing to be ‘moral’ of their own volition, without needing to be threatened with dire consequences.

But what does ‘morality’ mean? Is morality entirely subjective? Or is their some underlying objective cause that shapes our sense of morality.

Kindness, compassion, caring for the young, looking after the injured etc are simply tools that ensure maximum chances of survival of a species

As far as I could think, it appears ‘morality’, or our perception of what is ‘ethical’ or not is simply an extension of our survival instinct. Primitive aspects of morality can be seen practiced by moderate to highly intelligent animals also. Kindness, compassion, caring for the young, looking after the injured etc are simply tools that ensure maximum chances of survival of a species. So perhaps the objective cause shaping our perception of morality is – whatever fulfills chances of optimal survival and helps achieve a higher standard of living.

Morality is an extension of our survival instinct

There appears to be a directly proportionate relation of morality with intelligence. And our perception of morality must have evolved like the other aspects of our civilization, language, architecture etc. The nuance and complexity of this ‘morality’ varying from region to region, culture to culture, and community to community.

While subjective morality varies from individual to individual, depending on the majoritarian view, the concept of a cultural morality must have evolved. The basic moral sense of an individual is influenced by their immediate needs, authority and position of influence they hold. One considered that immoral, which they didn’t want to be done to them. So killing, stealing had to be the first immoral acts. But as said, the moral sense was influenced by the power of authority, there were probably sections of society they were okay with keeping out-of-bounds of the moral code, people whom they didn’t consider equal. (This is also reflected in the tenets of most early religions). These moral or ethical codes was written into law and the  sense of morality imposed by higher authority on the entire community. That is how the system of law and order probably came to be.

In today’s modern-day and age, those primitive notions of morality, as recorded in religious books and backdated constitutions are now obsolete. And sticking to them is regressive. Our sense of morality has to evolve like other aspects to continue serving the prime objective – optimal survival and higher standard of living. We have come quite far in bringing the marginalized sections of the society into the folds of a commonly beneficial sense of morality. Though we haven’t achieved the prime objective yet.

My personal subjective moral code is that all people should be free to do whatever they choose as long as it isn’t violating the personal liberty or fundamental right of any other human.

P.S: I have used the word ‘morality’ very loosely and interchangeably with ‘ethics’ and ’empathy’. The above is simply my personal opinion and I don’t claim them as facts. Please give your own opinions and perception of what morality is and it’s use if any in our society.

God, Religion and a sprinkle of Faith

As a child I was taught about God as the Creator of the Universe, the One who created all of us and also gave us our destinies. The One without whose will not even a leaf will blow. The One who loves us more than anyone can. The One to whom we can turn when we are alone because He will never forsake us. I believed in God with my whole heart and used to have quite long conversations with Him when I was alone (which was a lot!)…and these conversations were mostly aloud. I had a habit of thinking out loud when I was young. And my family used to eavesdrop on my conversations…they thought it was cute!

Anyways I made God my only confidant and shared all my questions and secret desires with him so that I considered only Him to be my closest friend. (Heh..heh! God was my imaginary friend!) So when one day I read somewhere “Fear only God”… I was confused!! Why should I fear God? If He is so righteous and just, why should I be afraid of him? So I asked this question to my Mother. She explained that being fair and just God not only rewards those who do good but also punishes those who do bad. That is why we should fear God and refrain from doing bad. But this did not satisfy me… Dad taught us to do good because it is the right thing to do. We were taught to be kind, understanding, gentle, loving, helpful, respectful because that is what, being human, should come naturally to us. Dad also told us that a good deed is good only when we mean it, when it comes from the heart. Even if a good deed comes from a wicked intention, it becomes a sin. So doesn’t the same hold for Fear? If the fear of God’s wrath makes me do good things, then will those things really mean anything? Because they won’t be from my own desire to do it but from fear! And if I have committed a sin, then shouldn’t I be ready to repent on it and accept whatever punishment God gives us and be happy that we have a chance to redeem ourselves? Then why is there any need to fear God or his Judgement!! If God is so righteous and just then he will not reward us for doing good out of fear…and nor will he ever punish us more than we deserve. So my 8 year old self concluded that there was nothing to fear from God…because if in God we trust than we should trust fully that He shall do what is right. And in his judgement we should have complete faith, and not fear…

Another such notion is praying for help or success. We say we believe in God, then why can’t we believe that He will give us nothing less than what we deserve! Why do we have to prostrate to Him and beg for things like success, love, money, or even a dear ones life? If God listens to those who pray more, then God cannot be just…And even today when I join my hands in supplication I try not to ask for myself or my dear ones but thank Him for this Life and everything in it. And to say that I believe in him, that for every problem I have, he meant it to make me stronger, wiser and better.

But one important lesson my Dad taught me…was the difference between Faith and Religion. When I told Dad about all these…he explained to me that what I had was Faith and what we followed was Religion. He told me that to have Faith in God we don’t have to follow any Religion. Because Faith is pure and human, and is in the core of every Religion, but Religion itself is just the path through which to reach Faith. He also explained to me the need to Fear God and to pray to Him. The main motive of Religion is to instil in society the Fear of being judged so that people refrain from committing crimes and sin. And also to give everyone a hope, that prayers would be answered of those who are suffering. That is why Religion teaches us to Fear God and to Pray to him.

As I grew up, my concept of God and Faith didn’t change much. Though I don’t follow the conventions of Religion, I do believe in God. But not in someone with eighthands, or with an elephants head. Shiva, Parvati, Vishnu, Lakshmi, Saraswati they are all myths and legends. Examples of the rich and literate culture of India. But I believe in an Universal conscience. Like all matter and energy in the Universe comes from a single source, I believe that our conscience itself is just another form of energy that too comes from the same source. And the whole Universe is in itself one living breathing organism, the most intelligent and the most powerful. And we all are but parts and pieces, cells of this organism. Each of us share His soul, in good and bad. We each have the power to BE the Universe if we open up ourselves to who we really are. If we can identify each and everyone and everything as a part of us. Like you are a part of me and I am a part of You!

I believe that we were born with all the power and knowledge we need in this Life, just that we need to discover it ourselves. We need to have faith in Ourselves. Whatever strife there be, whatever the pain be. If it exists, then the power to overcome it does also!

Today I still bow my head in front of Idols and pictures. Because they maybe Myths and Legends, but they also are the symbols of faith, a representation of ourselves, something on which we can focus our Faith. Something that even today teaches people to fear their evils and to have hope in their life. But the true Faith is found within oneself…for there is where God is.

God made adam and eve….but what if adam’s into steve?

Somewhere i just read an article in which an apparently intelligent,educated and religious individual,with quite good style of writing was gloating on his victory in demolishing an apparently ‘monumental’ argument in favour of homosexuality.

As is the case,many homosexual beings defend themselves saying…’ If God didn’t want gays why did he create them?’. This is obviously not as much an argument that can be used in a debate but more of a ‘retort’ made by a defiant gay. Neverthlers our very worthy hero proudly points out in his article that the same logic also could apply to like,say……’if God didn’t want murderers why did he made them’ and he goes on to explain how God actually created Man and woman and that’s how things should be and doesn’t fail to point out select paragraphs from the bible condemning homosexuality as a sin.

I was tempted to reply to this article not because i had to defend my existence to him. But because this is something i want to ask all those who oppose homosexuality on the grounds of immorality and religion….

MY REPLY:
I agree with you ‘god made gays’ is a lame excuse,just the same as saying ‘god made murderers’… But what seperates crime,immorality and misunderstanding? God made men and women to marry and reproduce,rightly agreed….so when impotent people are married it’s immoral? Their are fertile couples who never have children?That’s a crime? India is facing unemployment and many maladies due to it’s population…still think that there should be only straight marriages because God meant marriage and sex for reproduction? There are innumberable homeless children without basic support…any couple can adopt such a child an deliver their lives,gay or straight needn’t matter. So if reproduction is no longer the main motto of marriage or sex why does this ‘God made adam and eve’ topic come up every time? Marriage and sex are meant for people in love…not just to reproduce. It doesn’t matter if the people in love are black,white,asian,gay,transgender or whatever as long as they are human and of age and have consent.
If you can’t adjust to the existence of 8 million gays by changing a single opinion…how do you expect me to change every aspect of my life,my desires,my love to adjust to your single opinion on religion and morality?