Secular Morality And Religious Morality Inadvertently Influenced One Another

986 words - 4 pages

Even in matters of outwardly secular morality, religion plays such a hegemonic role that, in many instances, secular morality is inadvertently influenced by religious morality. It could even be said that religious morality is greatly influenced by secular morals and not the other way around. While it would be difficult to assess the genealogy of morality it would be safe to say that morality has a very strong connection with religious morality. Moreover, to evade the almost omnipresent influence of religious morality would be nearly impossible; this allows for the almost constant melding of the two making them almost indistinguishable. While certainly not all morality is based on religion, it has become such a force that morality can scarcely be discussed without religion in mind. So, in what aspect does religious morality and secular morality intersect to create this dimension?

It is said that “[e]very society needs the stability provided by a sense of sacred order” (Fasching and Dechant 16). This has been the prevailing thought since the dawn of man. The role of religion in shaping morality cannot be ignored because it has formed the ideas of right and wrong since man first created a mythology of creation; ever since it has been argued that morality could not even exist without religion to act as a basis. While this could be disputed it illustrates the point that religion and morality are almost inseparable even when discussing “secular morality”. “Secular morality” can very well be greatly influenced by “religious morality”, hence, creating a dimension that is inherently both at the same time. It is difficult to distinguish where the line between the two begins and ends because religion, in a large number of cultures, is ubiquitous, thus, religious morality becomes normative. Religious morality has permeated many facets of Western culture, creating and influencing the direction of social norms and laws. With this in mind, how can a difference even be established?

How does one understand that murder is wrong even without religion acting as a moral guide? How does the religious person reach the same conclusion but in a way distinctly different from a “secular humanist”? While one would be able to argue logically that murder is wrong for a variety of reasons the religious person knows that murder is wrong because all major modern religions advocate against such a thing. In American culture both are largely accepted as reasonable rationale for why murder is morally objectionable, blurring the lines between secular and religious morality. In another case, say stealing, the validation against theft can only be dissected so far when viewed under the microscope of secular morality and even after doing that it is still questionable whether all theft is wrong. When looking at theft from a religious perspective it is...

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