Does Religion Influence Morality?

A Pew survey has some interesting results. When asked what most influenced their morality, 57% of Catholics answered 'practical experience and common sense'. The poster at 'Gene Expression' concluded that 'right and wrong is not about religion'. I beg to differ.

Firstly, someone's ignorance of right and wrong doesn't influence WHAT IS right and wrong.

Secondly, taking Catholics as an example, I would conclude that a person's ignorance of right and wrong is greatly influenced by their environment. Isn't that where we gain our 'practical experience and common sense'?

Badly formed Catholics have different ideas of what 'morality' even means, whether 'truth' even exists. and what it even means to be human. Those brought up in faithful, Christ centered homes have a totally different 'practical experience' from those brought up in dissident parishes with failing or non-existent Catholic schools. Its not surprising that a percentage of nominally Catholic people are secular humanists in reality, and base most of their choices, moral or not, on self-centered 'reasoning'.

Another factor which likely made an impact on the survey results, is the social attitude towards religion today, where 'common knowledge' tells us that religion is unreasonable. Asked whether religion or common sense guides our morality, some religious people may have opted for seeming reasonable, since the survey itself put religion in opposition to reason.

Also, if a Catholic person's 'practical experience' is a truly Catholic experience, and their 'common sense' is informed by their faithful Catholic upbringing, then religion IS influencing their morality!

What is the purpose of a survey? To make individual interpretation of 'not really facts' seem somewhat legitimate?


Anonymous said...

It must be nice to be the authority on who is a "true" Catholic and who isn't. I'm sure Jesus loves you're arrogance.

FYI, I'm an athiest... and I have morals. I know you may be surprised that I'm not a murderer, child molester, thief, or any other type of deviant. Shocking I know. However, I do think gay marriage is a human right, and that a woman's right to make decisions about her body is a fundamental right in Canada... so maybe I don't have any morals.

My best friend is Catholic and agrees with me on those points. He says you're not a Catholic because you're arrogance is not in line with the teachings of Jesus. I think he's right.

island breezes said...


I didn't make any judgements about who was faithful or who had morals in this post. I simply stated an obvious fact, that environment influences the faithfulness of Catholics - some are well formed, some are not. This is fact , that even an atheist can agree with.

Since you have mentioned two 'issues' that commonly bring out the 'formation' of Catholics, I will respond. To be a faithful Catholic, one must actally believe in certain basic principles. One of these is the sacredness of all human life from conception to natural death. This necessity of this belief has been reaffirmed by the Pontiff as recently as this week. Surely you see the ridiculousness of calling the Pope 'uncatholic' because he is so arrogant as to have actual beliefs!

In believing in the sacredness of every human being's life, including homosexuals, a Catholic who is well formed understands that in creation God had a purpose for human sexuality. To deny or pervert this purpose is to disagree with God, to replace His purpose with our own. (This is a common attitude in today's society.) Uncatholic.
Your friend is in need of some catechesis, and it is readily available from the Vatican website. He can look up 'sexuality' and 'humanae vitae'.


Godspeed said...

"To deny or pervert this purpose is to disagree with God, to replace His purpose with our own." so any form of sexual activity that doesnt have the purpose of making a baby is wrong? So masturbation, oral sex, and with women sex after menopause is wrong? hmm weird.

island breezes said...


I didn't state WHAT God's purpose in our sexuality was. I referred to 'humanae vitae'.

You can also read 'Theology of the Body' for an understanding of God's loving purpose.