Yes, that is true – religion is a backbone of our morality and our society, and below are the reasons on why it is so. However, regrettably many Jews think otherwise.
People are born with the ability to define what is the Normal and should be supported and what is the Abnormal and should be suppressed – nowadays we call it the morality. The education is just enhancing this ability – the education is not creating it.
This ability is guided most probably by individual genetics. It is done together with the genetic urge to test the boundaries of the traditional Normal and the traditional Abnormal – all new morality enhancements and scientific discoveries are made in the process of such testing.
When the pagans believed in the historic past that the capturing of the “stuff” of your neighbors was a normal way to become wealthy, no education would convince them to “love their neighbors.” When in the course of history this “wealth-capturing normal” was tested, the new normal way of becoming wealthy was created. This normal way was to build your wealth by your own creative work, and the education – how to do it – became of enormous value.
Adam and Eve, Abraham, Moses, King David, Jesus Christ, Theodor Herzl … and many other great individuals knew what was the Normal (Good) and the Abnormal (Bad) – they tested it, as the Torah reports for some of them, and created something new – the new morality, that we live under these days.
At the “very beginning,” various groups of people, each with their own unique collective and individual morality were asking a Supreme Power above them called God to support their actions driven by their morality (the morality guided by the genetics created by the same God). In the course of further historic developments, the special relations between various peoples and God were developed. Those special relationships are called the religions – and the rituals had been developed to strengthen the peoples-God relationships.
The rituals are the most visible and recognizable part of a religion. However, this part of religion is not of great public interest since it is practiced mostly inside the family and the religious institutions. The other part of the religion – the morality – is of great public interest because it interacts with the morality of other peoples – through the democracy and the state.
Let’s see how it is played.
The religion as a backbone of public morality
Any country or nation has a dominant religion that shapes the morality of public life and the governing of this country. Below are just a few examples – very much simplified – to underscore the presence in our world of different religiously-guided moralities that shape up the public life through the democracy and the state.
In Judaism, the creative actions beneficial to all humans along the lines of the laws of nature created in the course of the Creation is the backbone of public morality. It is so since we are “created in the image and likeness of God” the Creator.
In Christianity, the emulation of the character traits of Jesus Christ as the pass to salvation and happy life in the Heavens is the backbone of public morality. It manifests excepting as it is what we have here on this earth since the ‘true life’ is in the Heavens.
In Islam, the fight for defeating all other religions – by peaceful or military means – as the way to happy life in the Heavens is the backbone of public morality.
In Nazism (yes, it was a religion with a human god), the domination of one race over all other races and even the extermination of one of the races was the backbone of public morality.
In Communism (yes, it was such religion with a human god as well), the domination of one, economically-defined group of people over all other groups and even the containment of all others in a sort of labor camps was the backbone of public morality.
In the USA, the founding Judeo-Christian morality which was a very successful combination of the Christian moral stability and the Jewish moral creativity is the backbone of public morality. As a Jew, I like it very much and I do what I can to support it by delivering a message to everybody that this Judeo-Christian morality is precisely what the Torah/Bible prescribes.
In Israel, the founding Jewish Torah-guided morality – not only for the Jews by birth but for the others as well if they want to live by it is the backbone of public morality.
The democracy is the backbone of peaceful evolution of public morality
The democracy has only one fundamental meaning and that is the all-citizens’ participation in electing the state governing institutions that are legislating/adjudicating with the sole purpose of preserving and strengthening the public morality (for example the public Jewish morality in Israel and the public Judeo-Christian morality in the USA and many countries of the Western civilization). All other things which are attached to the definition of democracy in the USA nowadays, such as for example human rights, social justice, anti-discrimination, affirmative action or economic equality are introduced to subvert the existing Judeo-Christian morality. If the politicians want to advance themselves by introducing new morality ideas, they have to look for justification of these ideas in the existing public morality – not by subverting it.
The state is the guardian of public morality
The state has only one fundamental task, and that is to preserve and strengthen the existing public morality. The elected officials of the state should not try changing the public morality by legislative/judicial means to achieve the political goals they failed to achieve in the course of democratic elections – the political goals that are incompatible with the established public morality of a country. Unfortunately, that is what is going on these days in the USA and Israel, and many Jews are the active participants in these destructive political activities.
Thus, as it is stated at the beginning of this post, the religion is a backbone of our morality and our society.