A common defense of religious faith is that without it humanity wouldn’t be as moral as it is with it. This is a tune that is being increasingly sung in the battle to demean those that leave the faith. Thanks to the inspiration of the divine chiller in the kitchen I think I know why.
As the rise of the nones in the US, not to mention the world at large increases. Religion, particularly organized religion feels under attack. Churches in America are experiencing an exit of faithful believers unprecedented in its history.
Non-belief is categorized as a religion as believers are so want to do it accounts for nearly 23% the people in the US. Here is some data from Pew Research.
This is creating an interesting phenomenon. Organized religions are cooperating like never before. They are banding together to dismiss the people that are vocal in thier non-belief. I have noticed that even the non religious who say they are spiritual and still believe in God but just not the Christian one thier parents do are demonized right along side the atheist and agnostics.
Most of these organizations have cannonized scriptures that doctrinally assert thier faith is the only true one. Divine revelation saying all other churches are a pale imitation or even an abomination in the eyes of thier particular God.
The worlds religions don’t have a history of getting along. Jihad, crusades and so on prove that. But these differences are being set aside to battle the biggest threat to thier existence yet. People losing thier faith in faith.
To do battle though, the amalgamation of organized religion needs to create criticism from a position of common ground. You can’t look dumb calling out your Muslim buddy for not believing in Jesus when you are both attacking the atheist.
To me it’s no surprise that religion as a source of morality is held up as a major benefit of belief and a reason for organized faith. And they do have a point. Moral instruction is a common theme in most churches.
But why is that? Is it because God gave each faith a for the most part slightly different version of moral rules? Or is it possible that morality was a divinely human trait before religion came into the picture to sell it to us?
Organized religion with its tithes and collection plate would have you believe without thier moral instruction the world would go to hell in a hand basket. So you need to belong and pay up to keep the faith viable.
This is why the religious criticism is as equally focused on the spiritual but not religious as it is on the secular atheist. For all the rhetoric about needing to believe in God it’s really not. It’s about the loss of money cause you don’t believe in thier God.
The idea you can’t be moral without faith is a smokescreen at best and a damnable lie at the worst. I have met person after person that feels more concerned about being kind, about loving thier fellow man, about truly treating others as you would like to be treated after they left thier religion. Something changes when you realize how good the world is is all on you. You can’t wait for sky daddy to sort it all out later. It’s up to you to do something now. You become more responsible for the part you play in the human race. And I’d say that makes a pure morality something that happens after you move beyond religious belief.