So…I was discussing religion and morality with a friend of mine the other day and the conversation came down to this question:
Which came first: religion or morality?
The original conversation was about whether morality would exist without religion. And that is actually the real question, so feel free to speak on that. Determining which came first doesn’t answer that question (unless morality evolved first), but this chicken-egg sort of debate caused us to carefully examine our positions, which was the most interesting part of the convo. Here are our basic premises:
My friend believes that morality wouldn’t exist without religion. People are inherently selfish and need a higher power to rise above that. Religion “controls the people”.
I think “morality” is basically the set of behaviors necessary for cooperative functioning within any group. Those who lie, cheat, steal from, or murder others in the group are likely to be outcast. This POV would suggest that morality evolves from self-interest.