What is the correlation between morality and religion? The reality is that religion is what codifies our way of life, and how we attempt to define what is right and wrong in life. If you look at the ten commandments, you will see that many of them are just things that we already considered to be things we shouldn’t do. The thing to keep in mind is that even those who don’t believe in God have some moral compass, and have beliefs as well.
Religion and morality are one in the same, but in some ways they are not. Religion is the belief in a god, or gods, and that these supreme beings ultimately will judge our fate. Morality is the way that we live our lives so that we can be good to ourselves, and be good to others so that chaos does not ensue on a daily basis. Morality is more about being good to other people, and religion is more about being good to a god, and living a correct life according to that religion.
However, there are many ways in which the two co-exist, and blur the lines between the two. The Ten Commandments for example, are a list of rules that humans are supposed to live by. Even though there is a tablet that has these rules on them, most of them would already be laws, or are laws today. It is illegal to steal, murder, or do any type of harm to others. We shouldn’t covet things because it leads us to steal, or cause trouble in other ways.
Living a religious life doesn’t always mean that we will live a moral life. Just because I believe in God doesn’t mean that I will follow his teachings to the letter. I can believe in God and still go out and sleep with someone else’s wife. I can believe in God and still go out and kill someone, or steal their wallet. Believing in God just means that I think that I have screwed myself over, and am probably going to go to Hell for my actions.
Living a moral life doesn’t mean that I am living a religious life either. I can know that I shouldn’t steal your money without belieivng that some power is going to hunt me down if I don’t follow the rules. I can tell the difference between right and wrong without going to church, or reading The Bible. I can see the pain that I can cause to others through my actions, and that alone tells me not to do harm to people.
So being religious and being moral are the same, but at the same time they are not. I don’t need religion to be moral, nor do I need to be moral to be religious in the most basic form. It just so happens that we use religion as a way to be moral, or the means in which we usually learn right and wrong. Even if we learn this from our parents, or teachers, where is this morality coming from? Most likely a religious source, although it doesn’t take a higher power to know how to live.