The need for ethics is great throughout all studies that involves the human condition. Religion is at the forefront as the oldest ideology in human culture. With it are constant debates about what is ethical and what isn’t or how this is measured.
Even religion has bled into the politics to further influence their own ethics onto others. So to even try and separate ethics from religion remotely is very difficult. It’s always there to aid the other. For a clearer picture of what religion ethics are, here is some insight into that type of thought
Archeological studies have revealed in as much detail as preservation allows that early religious rituals were signs of abstract thinking, that can safely assume ethics were present among early man. The same research has shown patterns of animal worship, referred to as animism, which also established ethics in practice. Obviously to ward off the sense of danger when present. Repetition of these rituals eventually begin to form new ideas and other practices which evolved over time.
It also takes a bit of common sense to understand why new ideas would form. Early Babylonian cities were shown to practice polytheism (worship of more than one God), where each God symbolized agriculture, the environment and more before it separated to the idea of one God, changing the mindset for ever. It was from this that according to the biblical historic record, if we’re to preserve it as a linear plot, that Christianity would reset the ethics of earlier religion.
The Big Idea
It’s one thing to approach the world without religion in an ethical manner, and something else entirely with it. The idea of good samaritanism and similar thoughts were probably not as consistent as some would have us believe. Religion might have been the cause of spreading ethics to brutes and imbeciles in distant areas. As religion evolved from one idea to another, the support it would need to influence others was designed depending on who the head of the ideology was.
More commonsense developments were with the fact that small groups could take the lead and manage the ideology to their will. For instance in India the brahmanas were born into their role and no one could be the leaders but them. This forced others to re-establish ethics all over again for the sake of ethics itself.
As interaction with others established the awareness that we are spread all over the world, ethics also changed with regard to region. Practices of rituals were clearly defined by location and the more aware followers and leaders were aware of this, they ethics also changed with them what what is acceptable in one place is not in another. Sometimes the changes were vast enough to where there was more ritual worship than ethics.
But for those who are very devoted to their religion and the part of the world it dominates, with it come practices that are either orthodox and strict to impose their own rule of ethics whether they share a region with a different idea or not.
We’ve gone through great changes today that establish new ideas some which demand that ethics develop without religion, creating the argument that without religion there are no ethics. That ethics are already within each of us as a social feature and that everyone can have ethical knowledge, yet another idea separating itself from prior influence.