Originally Posted by Kaylore
I totally disagree. The Aztecs had a religion that sacrificed humans to the sun god. There are tribes that eat their enemies because of the beliefs of how consuming your enemy can help you. You say there are "basic human values" and even try and even suggest there is anthropological evidence for such values when the evidence is completely the opposite. People torture, enslave, murder and even eat each other. They commit every carnal act known. For every noble, egalitarian society you point to, I can point to multiple others had cultures and religions that fed horrific behavior. Certainly there is a symbiotic relationship between religion, culture, morals and the society that opperates beneath them, but to say that morals exist in a vaccuum is complete hogwash.
And personally speaking, you're wrong there as well. My morals would be very different on several levels if I wasn't practicing my faith. I wouldn't want to be part of a religion that didn't challenge my character or try to shape me in some way. Too often people look for religion that already meets with everything they agree with and then they wonder why they don't get anything out of church when it never challenges them to become something else.
Name me one "civilization" that has not sacrificed humans, tortured, enslaved, raped and pillaged? Name me one religion that has always existed in peace with those of other religions and those of other races. The only difference is the magnitude of atrocities committed and this is mostly limited by the availability of victims.
Name me one society where murder, theft and arson has not been punished? you mention the Aztecs, which had a court system that operated with fairly codified laws of punishment for various crimes. Murder was no less illegal to the Aztecs than it was to the Vikings, the Romans, the Japanese, Polynesians, Mohawks or than it is in Arizona. In fact the Aztecs may rank ahead of many of those societies in terms of civility as slaves in the Aztec empire had legal protection which they didn't in Rome or among the Vikings or in Alabama or Japan.
No society exists or has ever existed where murder or theft is accepted - and human sacrifice whereever it has been performed has ALWAYS been performed as a religious act - in almost every society religion is in fact the ONLY way to justify taking a human life....