I wrote a blog a few weeks ago questioning that religion was the sole basis for morality. (6/12/12) In my view, societies developed moral codes to provide cohesion and safety for its members. I was speculating, of course, as I have no degree in sociology or anthropology. So imagine my surprise by the comments found in an article written by Sandra Upson entitled, “Healthy Skepticism.” (Scientific American Mind, May/June, 2012 pgs. 59-63) In it she cites global research on religion and morality by Ed Diener, psychologist at the University of Illinois.
Diener concludes that socializing regularly with like-minded people in a supportive community provides unity as much as religion. For example, Denmark and Sweden are highly cohesive societies because they have small, homogeneous populations with few immigrants. Neither culture has large church attendance. In the case of these two country, homogeneity is the social glue. “Belongingness,” Diener argues, can be almost as compelling as food. (Ibid pg. 62) Religion works as the social glue when the surrounding society values religiosity. (Ibid, pg. 62)
Diener admits his conclusion came to him as an eye opener: …religiosity, albeit a potent force, confers benefits by riding on cultural values. (Ibid, pg. 62).
If Diener is correct, the belief that only religion confers morality can be laid to rest. It appears people can be moral without fearing God.
(Courtesy of www.Fantastic-Farm-and-Country-Photos.com)