Religion and morality
There’s an interesting table over at Gene Expression regarding a question from the Pew Religious Landscape survey. The question is “When it comes to questions of right and wrong, which of the following do you look to most for guidance?” The choices are religious teaching, philosophy and reason, practical experience/common sense, scientific information, and don’t know. I’m not going to reproduce the table here, but in summary, practical experience wins out among most religious groups (the exceptions are Evangelicals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Mormons).
Razib describes this as surprising, but is it? There’s research indicating that people agree about basic moral choices, regardless of religious belief. It’s not like most of the religious groups have radically different beliefs about morality, either. Lying, stealing, murder…there isn’t a group on there who condones that.
That common sense category is tricky, though. I think a fairly significant chunk of the religious population would say that God gave them that sense. So it doesn’t mean religious teachings on morality are less important, but that their religious beliefs help them use that sense (or something; I’m shouldn’t be trying to describe that).