-- Morality and Motivations --
a parable of our time

'Once upon a time' there was an elementary school with two 6th grade classes. Each semester
there was a contest to find the student in the 6th grade demonstrating the best citizenship 
by exhibiting the best honesty, ethics and moral behavior. Each class was informed of this contest.
As an incentive, the teacher of class A told their students their 'good citizenship' grade 
would be given positive points whenever they were honest or acted ethically and would have 
points deducted when they were dishonest or acted unethically. The teacher from class B 
just mentioned the contest and then moved on to the lesson for the day.
At the end of the semester, both teachers evaluated their students and recommended 
one from their class to the principal to receive the outstanding citizen award.
The principal had paid attention to the classes and their teachers all semester.
During the award ceremony, the principal called both of the recommended students to the podium
and said, "Both these students from the two classes are excellent citizens. They acted
morally, ethically and honestly, and they have identical scores in citizenship.
However, I choose the student from class B to receive the award." He went on to explain, 
"The reason I am doing so is that the student from class A was acting morally because
they knew they would get a reward for doing good and punishment for doing bad in class,
and yet the student from class B was just as moral and honest even without any expectation 
of a reward for being good or punishment for being bad.
That is a sign of true ethics and morality."

The lesson we should learn is; as Omniascendence, The American Humanist Association 
and Ron Reagan among others clearly and accurately point out, morality and ethics are more genuine
when behavior is not conditional on the expectation of reward or fear of punishment.
Those are tactics that many religions employ to achieve moral behavior. 
We see countless examples of people everywhere that live lives of morality, ethics and honesty
without religious promises of rewards or threats of punishment as the basis for their exemplary life.
And, while we see people who claim a strong religious faith that are highly moral,
there are also many highly religious people that, in spite of the promise of rewards or
threats of punishment, are immoral, unethical and dishonest.

Now, some readers my complain; saying the principal gave the class B student an advantage
in evaluation criteria which was unknown by the class A student. However, the class A student 
had an at least equal advantage in that they were given knowledge of how to maximize their points.
So, in actuality, it was fair and neither student had a clear advantage.
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