Where Does Morality Come From?

I understand the problem people have with religion.  I see similarities in all religions yet only hold too one as the true religion.  I could try to be intellectually honest and say that it is the similarities that are what are true so that is what should be held to.  Peace, love, compassion, etc.

With this, you either arrive at the universalist stance that all are saved once we revert back to our true selves or come more into alignment of the agnostic and atheist who say we do not need a god as we are basically all the same but holding to whatever beliefs as a security blanket.

Here is my problem with the first position.  Universalism says that all people will be saved, but there is no justice in that logic.  We as people live by rules and order for the society.  Justice is programmed into us and this position rejects everything that is natural to human nature.

My problem with the second position is that saying we are all the same rejects human nature as well.  Yes, we all live and will die and something may or may not happen when we are dead.  That used to be my line of thought, but where did morals come from?  Not from religion as religions have different standards as to what is morally correct, but it is not part of the nature of animals, which if being scientifically honest, that is what a person really is.  You see bits of altruism in the wild nature, but it is more of a rarity than a regularity.  It is not natural of animals, yet we want to claim that is or should be a natural part of humanity.  Why?  How do we explain the moral position that humanity claims which thus leads back in to that whole pesky justice thing?  What animal will seek justice when it’s young is killed?  What animal will seek justice when someone they care about is harmed?  This is not a natural emotion of animals.

Since we all know evolution is true, at least on a micro level, would it stand to reason, if we are being scientifically honest, that other animals’ species would have developed these same traits?  Maybe not to the same degree as humans, since we have thumbs and we all know that thumbs make us morally superior, but shouldn’t we see more similarities in animal societies compared to human societies in order to really see how we are just another form of animal?

But we do not so we must reason, with scientific honesty, as to where did this whole moral sense come from.

Any ideas?


Filed under Misc, Religion

9 responses to “Where Does Morality Come From?

  1. I think your characterisation of universalism, atheism and agnosticism is way off the mark. “We’re all the same” seems a very odd summary of atheism and agnosticiam, which are very different positions in any case, and the issue isn’t the *need* for God, but whether there *is* one. As for universalism, you say universal salvation would be unjust. I think the Bible has some things to say about mercy being better than justice, but how just is it for people to be condemned to obliteration at best, eternal torment at worst, for the crime of being unconvinced of the evidence for any sort of deity?

    I also think the behaviour of animals is a lot more complicated than you suggest, but if it’s as you say, that doesn’t advance your argument much, IMO. If we have a God-given sense of justice that’s absent in other species, you have to ask what God was playing at when He created those other species. It seems to be more of an argument in favour of the uniqueness of humanity than the existence of God.

    • How are the positions that far different. Atheist feel there is no god and agnostics do not know. Both, in general work for the betterment society in lieu of worshipping a deity right?

      “It seems to be more of an argument in favour of the uniqueness of humanity than the existence of God.”

      Ah. But doesn’t the uniqueness of humanity, in light of evolution as it is known today, some how signify a higher power or in the least that the evolution of man is vastly different than what is suggested?

      The Bible says that all people have some knowledge of God ingrained in them and it is that rejection that they will be judged on. Not if they do not call on the name of Jesus, but that there is no god in spite of the truth that is within all of us. I suggest that the uniqueness of humanity shows just that.

  2. existnow

    There is also the issue that like society itself morality developed out of necessity for social hiearchy and continued existence. You are way oversimplifying if you really think that a kangaroo and a human should have the same morality.

    • Maybe so, but should there be such a huge difference in the level of morality / social development between humans and every other species on earth. Does not the difference show how unique the human race really is?

  3. Where does morality come from? Our biology, silly!

  4. There are some interesting points in time in this article but I don’t know if I see all of them center to heart. There is some validity but I will take hold opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we want more! Added to FeedBurner as well

  5. Morality certainly does not come from christianity.
    What’s to say other animals aren’t so moral?
    So that’s enough shameless plugging of my articles.
    I would surmise that we have evolved as social animals and so working together necessitates an agreed system of rules by which we must interact, albeit a rule-set that varies depending on the group. Game theory is a great area to look into to find evidence of why “moral” behaviour is advantageous to the individual, as well as helping our species survive. Further neuroscience points towards the existence of a bit in the brain that is primarily concerned with fairness.

    • So as a group working together, we will remove or kill those who do not act in line with the best interests of the group? Animals do that now.

      Curious to see what other animal group has evolved to the point where the land struggles to support its existence, yet the animal continues to breed and work to support those who are either unwilling or unable to support themselves.

      Thanks for the comment.

      • So do we – we have prisons.

        We have the tech to get what we need from the land. I think we’re pretty inefficient and wasteful with what we have.

        Humans have developed rules more than most other species as that’s something we specialise in (see recent New Scientist issue), but some species are better than us at some things too.

        We like to think we’re unique, but then that’s evolutionarily advantageous – our ego helps our survival!


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