Morality without Religion is an Illusion
“Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” ~ George Washington
One of the most favorite deceptions that today’s “liberals” try to put themselves and others into is that Morality is a subjective phenomenon and should be defined according to the personal choices and preferences of the individuals. According to them, it is the individual who holds the right to define what is good or bad for him/her. However, what they seem to ignore intentionally or unintentionally is the fact that human beings are selfish by nature, and tend to put their own welfare above the welfare of others, often forgetting that what is good for them may have undesired consequences for others or even for themselves as human knowledge and intelligence is very limited. Man can see (as well as tends to see) only the immediate outcome of his actions, ignorant of what it may lead to in the long run. Further, he can think about its impact only upon the immediate society or people that is going to be affected, and is not capable of calculating its consequences for the larger human community. Thus manmade morality is bound to be a failure due to its narrow scope of consideration and the selfish motives.
These limitations necessitates that the right to decide what is good or bad should lie in the hands of such an authority that is impartial in all human affairs, omniscient (having the ability to look into the past, present, and future of whole mankind) as well as free from the selfish human considerations, i.e. only the Divine intelligence can rightly tell the right from the wrong. Therefore, the morality defined by religion is the only true morality. Religion is the source from which morality springs. Without religion as a basis for morality, people attempt to create their own morality that tends to be vastly different from the religious morality. People who do not follow any religion gather ideas of what is right and wrong from psychology, philosophy, popular culture trends and even from other people, all being the products of narrow human mind.
In today’s modern cultures, liberalized minds promote the idea that as mankind progresses into the future, religion may also be manipulated and changed by man in order to keep up with the times. At that point, morality becomes a matter of free will. Few know or even care about truth because they have become gods unto themselves, decreeing right and wrong according to their own slavish desires. As a result, anything can be justified, and the imploding of the society as we know it is not far away. Such indications are evident within most world regions today. The Catholic Church that once held strict convictions about divorce and abortion has now liberalized its stance on these and other issues. Christians today are vastly divided, not only through their numerous denominations but over many important moral issues such as alcohol use, usury and taxation, abortion, divorce, and interpretation of “the Holy Spirit”. Since most of the world’s religions are evolving due to changing human world, most people who claim to adhere to religion have become not much different from those who have devised their own morality. This is what Holy Qur’an clearly warns about: “Say, O’ people of the Scripture, do not exceed limits in your religion beyond the truth and do not follow the inclinations of a people who had gone astray before and misled many and have strayed from the soundness of the way.” (5:77)
Mankind is, in fact, in a serious state of spiritual void while unaware of its depth. However, despite various definitions of morality that exist presently, people still share many of the same values and beliefs as to what is right and wrong, the last ray of the fading light. Though the culture in which one is brought up has an especially great influence in shaping one’s sense of morality, there are certain fundamental morals which are universal in nature, common to almost every society, despite the cultural diversity that exists in the world. For example, most people agree that to commit murder, practice incest or to steal is morally wrong. But then there are other issues, such as the drinking of alcohol, over which people disagree. While some feel alcohol is a moral issue, others do not. This gives rise to other questions. Does one base his decision on whether or not to drink alcohol on a moral basis or on a health perspective? Some people believe that health issues are also moral issues. The point is that what one person feels to be right, another might feel it to be wrong. This ultimately leaves one with the question of who is right.
Indeed man has been created with freedom. He has the freedom to choose between belief and disbelief, and he can freely pursue what he considers to be right or wrong. He can even choose from amongst many different religions, although it can be deduced through human intelligence that if there is a God, there can only be one true God. And if there is one God, there must only be one ordained way of life. There cannot logically be two differing ways of life intended by a single creator. Therefore, and emphatically, there is right and wrong way.
When man does not make an outright commitment towards finding God’s way, he must then depend upon his own limited knowledge to decide what he will define as right and wrong. An example of the results emerging from human thinking process can be seen in satanic cult members and their rituals. These people have decided through their own reasoning that there lies some benefit in the worship of Satan. They feel that what they are doing is good. But when satanic cult members perform human sacrifices (something they consider to be of value), most people condemn it as a waste of human life. It clearly and thoroughly shows how morality means different things to different people – a fact that should make one realize that he is indeed in need of guidance.
If things are to be judged according to the individuals’ ‘specific’ needs and preferences, without confirming to some broader framework of morality, such as the gay and lesbian relationships are justified now-a-days, then almost everything done on earth can be justified – theft , robbery, adultery, murder, rape, as well as all other forms of exploitation, oppression, and perversity. Following such liberal outlook towards human conduct, nobody could be treated as a criminal or sinner then as whatever they do is obviously right from their point of view. But it will only lead to chaos, everyone following his/her own will, disregarding the collective welfare. Hence, human conduct needs to be monitored, to be subjected to a framework of values consisting of certain dos and don’ts for one’s own good as well as for the good of others. That’s why certain laws are integral to every human society. The irony lies in the fact that the so-called liberals can allow the manmade laws and rules to control them, but the divine code of conduct that equally takes care of the interests of all seems oppressive to them.
True morality is always prohibitive in nature, and does not allow free choices in all matters, as the deceptive manmade morality seeks to do. For example, eight of The Ten Commandments are restrictions on human behavior. Almost everyone knows the exhortations: “thou shall not kill”, “thou shall not commit adultery”, and “thou shall not steal”. Most religious people agree that mankind is in need of some sort of guidelines and restrictions, or else they will not be able to commit themselves to their religions, the way to their true welfare. But there are people who are on the quest to find unlimited freedom. The reality of religious morality, however, is that the prohibitions sent from God partially sanctioning human nature are vitally necessary. They prevent man from harming himself and others and prevent him from creating unjust systems. Therefore, such prohibitions cannot be considered wrong or oppressive because they serve a purpose. Divine prohibitions are not meant to curtail human freedom, they rather define and dignify it.