The Effect of Religion on Morality


The Effect of Religion on Morality




The Effect of Religion on Morality

The essence of religion in the determination of morality is founded on the superiority of belief on human action relative to reason. Religion helps guide man when faced with religious difficulties that logic cannot resolve. Religion is innately a social institution. As such, the subscribers of a particular religion are socialized using the respective values of the institution. Many religions are epitomized in social gatherings. Religion is fundamental in promoting social cohesion. Morality is defined in terms of one’s ability to sacrifice personal gratification for the benefit of the greater good. Religion creates a framework for social interactions to subdue innate human tendencies that are skewed toward self-preservation. The proponents that deviate from religious frameworks become susceptible to divine wrath rather than formal sanctions. Their morals are influenced by their desire to please their respective divine authority rather than the fear of human retribution. The ability of religion to subdue the self-interest is informed by the promise of a greater purpose beyond the present life. The spiritual aspect of life broadens the subscribers’ perspectives.

Morality in the Caribbean is based on the religious definition the adherents support. The subscribers of the Rastafarian faith have beliefs that contradict the popular definition of morality. For instance, smoking marijuana is spiritual directive albeit it being an illegal drug in the rest of society (Pulis, 2014).  Morality in religious terms is often insulated from outside social norms. Other Caribbean religions that have African, predominantly from the Yoruba culture, often have differing approaches to sexuality. Their morals in regard sexuality can be perceived to be deviant using the standards of other religions. Polygamy is an accepted practice a lifestyle that is discouraged in mainstream religions like Christianity. Religion and morality in the Caribbean have political implications, as the former was a coping mechanism of the prevalent racial discrimination in society.  Morality is an ambiguous concept given its varying definitions. As such, the morality of Caribbean people is relative to their definitions. Religion was an attempt to understand their social realities. There is a tendency of the Caribbean to be tolerant of moral controversies such as homosexuality. Having endured the racial discrimination majority of the religious traditions espouses equality.

Religious people tend to value the essence of social relations such as family as opposed autonomy. The decline of family values and corresponding moral decadence is attributed to the rise of secularity. It follows that religious individuals tend to be altruistic striving to relieve the suffering of people they encounter with no apparent material benefit. Nonetheless, they anticipate rewards of a spiritual nature (Argyle & Beit-Hallahmi, 2014).  Guidance on the particulars of their code of conduct is provided by the humans whose authority is bestowed by divine beings. The canons from which principles of morality are derived vary in relation to the religion. When a person defines morality in terms of religion, his morals are dependent on their level of obedience to its statutes. Religion demands respect for other members of the institution with varying perspectives on the members of other religions. For instance, Christians believe that they are identified by their love for each other. On the other hand, Islam perceives murder of heathen, non-believers, in the process of conversion as a moral even a righteous act. The diversity of religions in contemporary society presents a challenge to morality as it undermines social coexistence.






Argyle, M., & Beit-Hallahmi, B. (2014). The psychology of religious behaviour, belief and experience. Routledge.

Pulis, J. W. (2014). Religion, diaspora and cultural identity: a reader in the Anglophone Caribbean. Routledge.