Now that I don't believe in any religion any more . . . it's ok to be a serial killer, right? Cheat on my significant other and go on a binge of debauchery, right?
That sort of thinking reminds me of when Paul the Apostle finished explaining the liberating implications of grace in the book of Romans. Now that grace frees the Christian from the Law, we can do whatever sins we please, right? That way . . . grace will just heap up higher and higher!
Paul's response was: God forbid!
But does lack of religious belief necessitate an immoral standard?
I asked myself once . . . why did I resist sin when I was a Christian? Hell sounded like a really, really bad place . . . so, you know . . . I was trying to avoid going there! But, why, for instance, didn't I cheat on my significant other? Would I cheat if I knew I could never get caught?
I decided that I would never cheat even if I knew I could get away with it. Why? Love and loyalty. I didn't want to hurt my lover in that way. I can't do it. My heart sank thinking about it.
But, maybe I'd skip church or miss a few tithe payments if I know I could never go to hell.
But what about not hurting God?
"Because the Bible said so" isn't really the best motivator. Nor is hell, in my opinion. Love should drive our actions. Sharing and helping. Recognizing that all people are unique, yet still share in the common human experience.
I decided I wanted to follow God's word because I didn't want to hurt Him.
But, sometimes God didn't seem like he was there. Hard not to hurt someone that you've never physically met or seen visibly. No audio confirmation ever came from they sky or anything -- it all came from within the inner ear. Who can really know if that's God or myself telling me what I really wanted to hear inside my own head?
Much of my morality was really just love for my family, friends, and fellow man. The teachings of my mom and church played a big role -- yes. But, in the end, these were only influences and guides. My sensitivity to my own conscience and common sense ultimately prevailed.
All else was just fear of hell.
So, I can see why someone would just lose all morality if they lost their religion -- assuming that hell is the only deterrent someone has from premarital sex, adultery, or even killing someone. With that mind set, you'll consider those acts more freely if you ever conclude hell doesn't exist. But, if you love and respect your fellowman regardless -- hell never matters -- whether you're religious or not.
An article came out in the NY Times about the evolution of morality in primates -- hey, aren't we humans called primates?
Anyway -- chimps are found risking their lives to save each other. Older primates scold younger ones when they break social rules. Expressions of empathy and concern form on their faces when they see another in constant pain. Especially if they feel like they've caused it.
Besides, if our laws came from God and He's "no respect of person", then why can King David have several wives and I can't. I do not wish for multiple wives. But if I ever did, I'd be considered an immoral polygamist, nowadays.
Or, a Mormon, perhaps?
Remember, also, that the US Constitution separates Church from State. Sure, US law may resemble Judeo-Christian morality. But, the Constitution clearly expresses that the law is made by the Congress. And Congress represents the people's will from their various 50 states within the Union.
If this really were a Christian nation, we'd have a Pastor . . . not a President. We'd have a great Congregation -- not a Congress. And, we wouldn't have the Constitution, we'd have the King James Version of the Holy Bible for our law book.
Many freedoms would become illegal. Prohibition would rise again. Forget about that beer on the weekends after a hard week of work. Unless . . . our US Pastor were Catholic! Just think . . . one night the police might kick in your door because you missed church last Sunday. Getting ex-communicated or disfellowshipped could mean getting deported to another country! You would become a sex offender if you simply had premarital sex with another consenting adult. Don't even mention homosexuality!
The Flavor of Love and all of it's spin off variants couldn't air on TV anymore.
Hey . . . wait . . . maybe that would be a good thing!
Are there things that should be legal in our "free" society that aren't today due to the religious moral right? Think about it.
Church and State are separate. That's the law. Maybe that isn't what's done in practice, but those are the ideals that our Founding Fathers agreed upon -- regardless of what any of their religious orientations were.
Religion and morality are separate, too. Not true? Why aren't only the religious people good? Non-religious people can be quite moral and good. It's just as easy for a non-religious person to be moral as it is for a religious person to be dirty and rotten.