Okay, I may not be a legitimate philosopher but I still like to think about things in deep thought. Something that I’ve been thinking about frequently is this question: Can people be moral and ethical without any belief guiding their life?
Whew, I know. Before you read on, just take a few moments to let that question sink in and start taking a hold of your brain.
Ready? Okay, let’s dive in.
When I ask people this question, a lot of the time they answer me with “Well, no of course not. Not every “good” person has something like religion guiding them. And even of they do, that doesn’t mean they’re a “good” person.” I totally agree with this. But I also think there’s a slight error.
My theory is this: People who don’t have something like religion guiding their life do in fact have moral beliefs in regards to how they should live their life. Religion is not the only source available for guidance in your life. There are many, many, sources in the world to help you guide your life, but that does not mean they are all correct and moral.
Society. That is the key in almost every social experiment. Society molds and twists everyone who is apart of it. And that’s not bad. Those who have no religion to draw upon get their information and guidance from the people around them. Society provides a set of rules and boundaries. Of course a part of society’s rules do include the law. It’s rare to see people stealing while thinking they are doing the right thing. The people who do “bad” things, I think, have just gotten their ideas of morality from the wrong place.
It would be impossible for anyone to test this because the experiment would be unethical. But just for the heck of it I will explain my thoughts on it. There would be three subjects monitored from birth.
The first would be put in a surrounding that included some type of faith. The second would be put in an average society with an absence of faith. And the third would be put in a room with no exposure to the outside world at all.
My prediction is this: The first and second would both have ideas about ethical and unethical actions. But not all would align between them because religions normally have ideas that differ from societal norms. The third would have no ideas regarding their own actions. In fact, I would presume that the third would do things that we see as “bad”. I think this because humans have a natural tendency to do things that feel good to them. Which is normally actions that do not align with what we see as ethical.
In conclusion, I think that without a set of rules you can not have an idea of what is and is not ethical.
Man, that was fun. I really do enjoy thinking and sharing my thoughts on topics such as this. If you have anything to share about this, please don’t hesitate to comment below!