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Running Head: MORALITY AND 1

Morality and Religion: Same or Separate

Kimberly Thomas
Instructor James Hardy
December 23, 2013

Running Head: MORALITY AND 2

Some believe that morality does not come from religion in order live morally; however, there
are those that think it we must follow the laws and teachings of God in order to live morally.
Morals are thought by some to be embedded in religion, as the Bible contains laws written by
God that we should abide by. There are those who question whether religion is necessary for
morality or is morality separate from religion. Conservatives believe that we should embrace
religion in order to gain moral insight and inspiration. However those that are not religious or
atheists do not behave less morally than religious believers do. This statement supports the
argument that morality and religion are independent of one another. However, morality is
modeled after the teachings that are written in Gods word.

Morality and religion has been one of the biggest discussions and most confusing as the
relation between the two. Every cultures morality is based upon their God or Gods. Theology
teachings, which have been around many years, have influenced most that in order live morally
we must follow the laws and teachings of God as learn Gods teachings we learn to live morally.
However, in years that are more recent, many have adopted beliefs that are more scientific and
feel that morality is separate from religion and that individuals will remain moral when religion
is no longer existent. In our current day of abortion rights, homosexuality, same-sex marriage,
transgender individuals, pedophiles, homicide bombers, and worldwide crime one would
question if there were a universal standard for morality. Christianity teaches that we are created
in Gods image and it is our purpose to worship Him in spirit and in truth. His teachings are
written in the Bible and list His commandments. The commandments written by God define
what is considered moral. For example in Exodus 20:12-17 we learn that we are not to commit
murder, adultery, steal, lie against another, or covet our neighbor. Not living by these
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commandments would indeed be immoral. Christians believe and are encouraged to love their
neighbors, be kind to strangers, and to help those in need. Many different religions also follow
similar commencements thus living morally as it has been estimated that nearly 90% of people
belong to a religion. One example, among many, is the fact that major world religions, and
many of the great ancient philosophies, embrace the notion of ethical reciprocity commonly
known as the Golden Rule. (Watts, 2011). Individuals embrace religion as we naturally feel a
need for purpose, have a natural belief in justice and it brings us together.

The Bible provides us with a guide that teaches us what is right and wrong. Gods will is to
teach us what is moral. In order to learn His teachings one must read the Bible. The Bible
contains instructions on how we should conduct ourselves morally. Morality therefore flows out
of an experience of God and His loving attitude toward us. It is concerned less with making
sense of worldly experience than with learning the way of salvation, the imitation Dei taught by
God. (Kennedy, 2009). The Bible teaches us whatever could possibly lead us toward sin is
immoral and dangerous. The ability to practice morality requires us to remove whatever leads to
immorality. Moral values are rooted in God as His own holy and perfectly good nature provides
a standard as which we should all follow. The Word of God, which is the Bible, is written
instruction on how to build morality.

Morality is not a human invention as it flows from the nature of God. The question of
whether the existence of God is a reality is one that is ongoing as there are those who believe no
higher being exists. As humans, we all have a conscience which reacts when we do something
that causes us to feel guilt. This feeling of guilt when doing something wrong or knowing the
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difference between what is right and wrong is an example of morality. There is something
embedded in us that uses our conscience, which enables us to know what is moral. There are
those that believe that morals are Godly and because God says what is considered moral.
Studies of our worlds cultures show that there is an almost universal belief in God and those that
believe also follow and believe in His word. Daily arguments in our lives that follow a particular
rule or law show that morality is built inside of us. This morality cannot be about what a
particular group of people decides but a moral law that God has placed within us. We ourselves
cannot determine what is right or wrong on our own as God revealed His guide in His word.
One would question why believe what the Bible states or even what God has stated. The answer
to that question is to use faith. We use faith in our everyday lives, as it is impossible to avoid
using it. This is not always religious faith as we have faith in our physicians, educators, or in
our jobs that we will receive payment on time. The Bible provides us with a consistent message
that was written for over a period of 1,500 years. This message informs us of where we came
from, what the meaning of life is, and what we should do in order to live morally.

Some believe that in order to live morally you do not need religion as they consider religious
groups to be socially motivated and hold certain standards of right and wrong. Atheists and
agnostics do not behave less morally than religious believers do. They too have a strong sense of
right and wrong just as those who are religious. It has also been argued that religion has led
people to commit crimes such as terrorists who kill themselves with explosives with the belief
that they are obeying their God. Some believe that morality is just a belief in itself of what is
right and what is wrong and that it depends upon society, time, and location. For example,
abortion is acceptable to some and not other however; there is no right or wrong answer
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concerning abortion. It is believed by some that morality was created before religion therefore;
we cannot use the Bible as a source of definition of what is moral. God however gives us a clear
definition in His teachings what is right and wrong. It is known by most that when we follow
His instructions we see that He is correct in His teachings.

While some believe that moral behavior does not involve religion we normally look to
religious norms to determine what behavior is good. Religious morals have formed the basis
of our society for many years. In order to do this there must be something to compare what is
considered good to. Those individuals such as atheists or agonistics who state they do not
need to be religious in order to behave morally are not correct. In order for them to know what is
considered right and wrong or what is moral behavior they must model the outline that God
has created however, they claim not to know Him. God can allow them however to behave
morally or do what is right without believing Him because He is God. As in Jeremiah 31:33, it
states, I will put my Law in their minds and write it on their hearts.

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Hauser, M., & Singer, P. (2005). Morality without religion. FREE INQUIRY-BUFFALO THEN
AMHERST-, 26(1), 18.
Watts, R. E. (2011). Embracing both a constructivist counseling approach and a specific
religious tradition: Is it a leap of faith? Counseling and Values, 56(1), 3-9. Retrieved
Kennedy, T. (2009). THE BIBLE AND MORALITY. Compass, 43(2), 35-37. Retrieved from
Little, P. E. (2008). Know Why You Believe. InterVarsity Press.