6 Jun 2013
World-famous primatologist and author of The Bonobo and the Atheist, Frans de Waal, argues that human morality is not imposed from above but instead comes from within.
Human morality is older than religions. Religions have only been around for 2,000 – 3,000 years, but our ancient ancestors functioned within a moral system a hundred thousand years ago, or more. They had rules about how you should behave, what is fair and unfair, caring for others, and so on -- all of these tendencies were already in place before religion arrived. Modern religions were tacked on to ancient moral systems, de Waal argues.
He poses the question, "Is religion really needed?"
According to de Waal, there is an experiment going on in northern Europe at the moment where most people are non-believers, but as far as he can tell, they still live in a society driven by morals.
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