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Is religion relevant to a healthy moral society?

asked Dec 16 '11 at 11:03

Stanley%20Owens's gravatar image

Stanley Owens

edited Dec 17 '11 at 01:43

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦

Not to a rational, free, industrial society. All religions I am aware of teach (1) reliance on some sort of mystical knowledge/faith and (2) the existence of some super-natural being(s). Most also teach self-sacrifice as the moral ideal. Objectivism rejects all of these teachings as not just false, but destructive of human life. Thus, Objectivists would argue that religion is not only not necessary to a healthy moral society, but is harmful to it.

However, it should be noted that not everything that religions teach is harmful. In this lecture, Dr. Peikoff noted in response to a similar question that religion is a form of primitive philosophy, and thus served a purpose in primitive cultures. He also noted that much of their teachings can be good and helpful (e.g., you should be honest, you should not steal or kill, etc.). However, their core teachings on the most important issues of philosophy—metaphysics, epistemology and ethics—are dead wrong and destructive.

Because religion has been the dominant and almost exclusive source of morality for the last 2000 years, some people equate religion and morality. This is an error. Religions do teach morality, but secular moral systems also abound. Of course, most people are (rightly) not satisfied with most of today's secular moral systems because of their rampant subjectivism. Thus they fear that rejecting religion would leave them nothing but mushy psuedo-morals. This is a false dichotomy—there is an objective, secular, morality. A rational morality conducive to human life on earth. This eithical system was developed by Ayn Rand. You can read about it in Ayn Rand's non-fiction work The Virtue of Selfishness, although I suggest reading her fiction works Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead first.

answered Dec 17 '11 at 10:07

ericmaughan43's gravatar image

ericmaughan43 ♦

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Asked: Dec 16 '11 at 11:03

Seen: 1,603 times

Last updated: Dec 17 '11 at 10:07