• Question: Do you have any religious beliefs? If so, when making any moral decisions would you turn to your religion to guide you?

    Asked by setbuddiesx to Gioia, Iain, Jo, Leo, Mariam on 14 Jun 2010 in Categories: . This question was also asked by hannahandkatiexxx, issiphee1, lolyliz.
    • Photo: Joanna Watson

      Joanna Watson answered on 14 Jun 2010:

      I don’t have any religious beliefs, although I wouldn’t say that there definitely isn’t a god, I’m just not sure what to think.

      Because I don’t have any religious beliefs, I don’t use religion to guide my moral decisions. A lot of the morals that I follow are very similar to things from the major religions though, like don’t kill, try not to lie or be jealous and always think of the effect that your actions will have on other people.

    • Photo: Iain Moal

      Iain Moal answered on 14 Jun 2010:

      I don’t have a religion or religious beliefs. The natural world is where I find awe and inspiration.

      I believe moral issues should be discussed openly, and thought about with logic and reason, with the goal of minimising suffering and maximising flourishing, for humans but also for animals. In this sense, I am a humanist.

      This doesn’t mean that I ignore all religious teachings, just that I can take the ones that I think are good moral principles, like “do to others what you would like to be done to you”, which has been a part of many religions from Buddhism to Islam. This way I can take guidance from other peoples religions without having to believe in the supernatural stuff, or rely on dogma or authority for my values.

    • Photo: Leo Garcia

      Leo Garcia answered on 14 Jun 2010:

      It’s a very touchy subject, but you asked, so I will be honest with you!

      I am an atheist, so hold no religious beliefs. I feel that it is up to those who claim that their particular religion is true to provide me with strong evidence that that is the case. Until they do that, I have to maintain the scientific, sceptical position of saying that there is no God, and religions are man made.

      In terms of making moral decisions, I try to stick to the ‘Golden Rule’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_rule) which seems to be innate in humans: Treat other people how you would in turn like to be treated’. Which is why I don’t steal, murder or beat people up! More complex moral decisions may require things like scientific evidence and, perhaps, have no obvious right or wrong answer at the time – so it depends on what the problem is! However, I am happy to say that I do not get my morals from any religious text, and behave myself because I care about the happiness of other people and, more selfishly, know it is in my best interests not to do horrible things to people around me!

      Great question, though – and hopefully I have explained my point of view.

    • Photo: Gioia Cherubini

      Gioia Cherubini answered on 14 Jun 2010:

      Dear setbuddiesx,

      I am a practicing christian catholic, but as I said in another reply, I keep my religious beliefs quite separate from my work. If you mean taking a decision about moral issues, everybody, even if not religious has a moral that will help take a difficult decision. But if you are talking about any decision to do with Science, than I would use logic and experience to take that decision. I would definitely never turn to religion to help me deciding what experiment to do!

    • Photo: Mariam Orme

      Mariam Orme answered on 14 Jun 2010:

      I’m not religious at all, so I don’t use religion to guide my morals. But it’s possible to have strong moral beliefs without being religious, so I don’t feel the need for religion when making moral decisions either in my work or in my day to day life.