Anthro 1 Essay

Submitted By ahpence
Words: 1550
Pages: 7

Humans vs Humans 18 November 2011 Religion has been dubbed one of the three topics to never bring up at a party, along with politics and sex. However, throughout time religion has been one of the most discussed and argued over topics. One of the biggest arguments regarding religion is how it affects morality. From the people who live by their religion to those who live against everything a religion stands for, there are countless opinions on religion’s role in shaping morality. However, most opinions boil down to just one question: is religion necessary for morality to exist? My opinion is no. Morality exists as an internal law built into the human subconscious, undefined by religion. Morality can exist outside of religion, because of humanities’ innate knowledge of right and wrong, but it rarely survives outside of religion.
Humans, for the most part, choose how they act towards each other based on some idea. These ideas may be contained within the confines of a religion, but necessarily so. All people share the similarity of being human. Feeling the same emotions, understanding pain as well as pleasure can define how a human treats a fellow human. All humans have a “natural law” that defines their morals. This law runs on intuition and love of the self. Why would any human being who knows the pain that could be inflicted on them try to harm another human? This internal law is not always followed, but never the less exists. Obviously, people who desire to rebel against the “natural law” do so, but they are generally found in the minority. Famous author C.S. Lewis writes in his book A Mere Christianity that he believes in a natural law as well. He comments, “the idea was that, just as all bodies are governed by the law of gravitation and organisms by biological laws, so the creature called man also had his law-with this great difference, that a body could not choose whether it obeyed the law of gravitation or not, but a man could choose either to obey the Law of Human Nature or to disobey it.” In this quote, Lewis explained that for arguments to exist, for societal issues to be solved, an overarching knowledge of right and wrong had to be present in every human. C.S. Lewis is in fact a strong Christian, but his idea still rings true. Without this general knowledge of what is an acceptable action and what is not, humanity would be chaotic and fall into ruin. To understand how morality can exist outside of religion, both terms need to be defined. According to Webster’s dictionary religion is “the service and worship of God or the supernatural or the commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance.” This definition is for the most part true for every religion, and yet somewhat specific. Religion is made up of key aspects. Morality is simply defined, by the same dictionary, “as a code of conduct; a lesson or statement that defines how a human acts.” Defined, morality seems so broad it is hard to contain it within the contraints of a religion. This is why religion merely compliments morality. Religion is too specific to be necessary for morality, but just specific enough to help guide people towards their inborn moral compass. Some argue that without a god to define morality, it would not exist and choas would errupt throughout hummanity. This argument is a valid one, but does not prove that religion is necessary for morality but merely inforces the argument that religion assists humans toward moralty. Some people need a god to define their morals for them to feel secure. This tactic helps to guide those people towards their “natural law” but is not necessary for morality to exist in humanity as a whole. The laws that define what is right and wrong are built into people from the beginning as internal “guide to life”.
There is no doubt that morality has had its effect on society. From literature to politics, morality makes an appearance in almost every aspect of society. The previous arguments prove that