Like the rest of the animal kingdom, humans don't need a moral edict to ensure that we will reproduce as a species. Biological evolution could not help but select for those individuals that exhibit a biological imperative toward reproduction. We experience the imperative as a sexual urge. The urge kicks in when we experience a developmental surge in hormone production – years before society has decreed that we are ready for marriage.
Most animal parents do not need a moral edict to ensure that they will provide sufficient aid to their offspring. Any species in which the young must learn surival skills could not have continued if instinct had not guaranteed protection, nurturance, and training – usually by females, sometimes supported by assistance from males. We experience the instinct to nurture as love.
If we are fortunate, we find sexual partners, usually of the opposite sex. If we are particularly fortunate, we continue to love those whom we have chosen. Most of us make families. No need for a moral edict – instinct suffices.
Many animal species experience greater safety when they congregate in groups of varying sizes – we experience this as a social urge to join communities. Many animal species exhibit an instinct toward altruism – ants carry this instinct to an extreme, but ants can afford to do this because the colony members who sacrifice themselves are not the reproductive members. Human societies set up rules to ensure beneficial intracommunal interactions and hierarchies to guarantee leadership. Humans invented morality in an attempt to ensure that others would behave in a manner beneficial to the community – in accord with instinct for some and counter to personal urges for others. Most societies invented religion to ensure cooperation. Some societies value human rights, some violate the rights of weaker members.
Individuals in any animal species survive to reproduce by virtue of instincts that ensure individual survival – taking food, killing prey. We don't eat because of moral edicts – we experience hunger. Some of us attempt to satisfy our hunger for material things by taking what is not ours. Humans invented laws and punishments to deal with selfish acts – any act where we disregard a higher right.
Early human societies, just like modern agrarian economies in the developing world, benefited from reproduction. This explains why the Bible emphasizes reproduction and 'not spilling one's seed on barren ground'. However, by the Middle Ages, children without a supportive father were a drain on the community. This explains the shift toward emphasis on marriage and family; whereas marriage was initially a contract to ensure political alliances.
Unfortunately, fundamentalists and many religionists presume to dictate how all of us should live our lives – even those of us who do not find satisfaction through the church-wedding-before-sex, heterosexual, two child formula. I consider it immoral to selfishly insist that other people sacrifice their happiness to religionists' outmoded, neurotic rules. Fundamentalists want us to behave like emotional ants.
moral psychology, psychology, religion, society,