Today’s Verse: Is Religion Necessary for People to Behave Morally

“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,’ and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”

– Romans 13:8-10

In everything you do – be motivated by love

The Apostle Paul reminds us of Christ’s naming of the two greatest commandments.

Paul is referencing the second greatest commandment here  (Matthew 22:39-40), which is ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ The first was ‘love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind’ (Matthew 22:37-38). Christ said:

“On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets”

– Matthew 22:40

The lesson here is, if you love and are devoted to God, and you truly love your neighbor as yourself – these two commandments take care of all of the Ten Commandments.

You will do no harm and you will not sin if all your motivations come from a place of love.

Do people need religion to behave morally?

In the lyrics of his most well-known solo song, “Imagine,” former Beatle John Lennon asked us to “Imagine there’s no heaven…No Hell.” We could “imagine there’s no countries…Nothing to kill or die for…no religion.”

Lennon wrote of a peaceful utopia where we could “Imagine all the people living life in peace…And the world will be as one…A brotherhood of man.”

This comes from the concept in a familiar quotation that “people are basically good.”

But are they really?

Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that “people are basically selfish”? People are highly motivated by their own needs and wants. It’s part of our primal animal instinct.

It’s Darwin’s evolutionary concept of “survival of the fittest.”

And it’s also why God knew humans needed the “Ten Commandments.”

Occultist and Satanist Aleister Crowley said he channeled the demon Aiwass on April 8-10 in 1904, who dictated “The Book of the Law” to him.

The primary law was “Do What Thou Wilt Shall Be the Whole of the Law.”

This law was that every human shall act on their “true will.”

This becomes of interest because that’s what happens in the world when there is no sense of law and morality. People are going to do what their will tells them to – and it won’t always be good, but rather, self-serving.

“If it feels good, do it,” is not a code to live by.

Religion is a cornerstone of morality

It would be impossible to separate religion and morality from cultures around the world, because religion was an influential force on establishing them.

Each society or grouping of people sets their own standards of morality, and their religious beliefs play a key role.

Even in prison, where gangs form, typically along racial lines and sometimes divisional sets within those divisions – each grouping sets its own moral code.

And what these groups define as “moral” would be highly questionable to most people. These groups aren’t motivated by religion and it shows.

Such a comparison shows us where religion has been fundamental in creating a type of morality that is fair, just, and loving.

There is an old argument that “religion is the root of all evil” and the allegation is driven by “killing in the name of religion.” But if you compare those instances to all the wars and genocidal atrocities that have occurred in the world – to blame this on religion or somehow make religion the scapegoat for all this death is patently false.

The truth is the opposite. Religious people fought to end such evil.

In the United States, religion was behind the standards of law, fairness, human rights and justice that created the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Religion has saved our modern world from anarchy. It has defined humane, peaceful living. Religion has been the strong conscience that has allowed communities to rise, grow and prosper.

It would be blatantly ignorant to not credit religion for its remarkable positive influence on society for thousands of years until the present time.

To remove this influence from our society could prove to be disastrous.