Dukkhanirodha wrote: tiltbillings wrote:
Christian beliefs have their wrong side, but they are still better than having no moral landmarks at all. This is what I am witnessing here every day.
Who needs to have a religion to be moral?
Well, some people do. In areas where wisdom is scarce, people who adhere to moral precepts, even if it is out of blind faith, get a significantly better life.
I agree, Dukkhanirodha.
We (here on DW) might say here that our morality comes from insights we have gained through the dhamma: fine for us, but most people are too busy just surviving to put that much time and mental energy into finding their own path to peace and goodness.
Without that, the choice (IMO) is between unadulterated, short-sighted selfishness (usually dressed up to look a bit prettier) and an off-the-shelf set of guidelines for good behaviour.
Religion provides that off-the-shelf, one-size-fits-all guide, whether the local religion is Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam or anything else. Look at all of them and you'll see the basic social teachings repeated: be nice to others, and respect authority, the law and your parents. They often provide both carrot and stick to encourage good behaviour, plus a sugar coating to make it all more palatable (sorry for all the mixed metaphors!), and most people in most societies have accepted most of the package deal and it works far better than nothing.
I'm not saying it's the only solution or that it has no down-side, just that it works. And if you look at how
it works, you will find the same patterns repeating in different cultures and in spite of the doctrinal differences between the religions. In particular, most people go along with what they were taught by their parents (and teach it in turn to their children) and are encouraged in it by their priests but are not passionate about it and not rigorous about it.
Where they get passionate about it we get more of the down-side: extremism, intolerance, etc. Let's not go there.