April 10, 2008

Where Do Atheists Get Their Morality?

There is a common misconception among the theists of this world that atheists must lack morality. This misconception is based on their false assumption that morality comes from their religion, Though this is obviously nonsense, unless we are to assume that 2000 years ago it was ok to steal, kill and rape. The Romans had civilisation and laws long before christianity and islam reared their ugly heads on this unfortunate planet.

A passing glance at the bible it's self shows us that morality can not be based in religious scripture, Unless you think selling your daughter into slavery is ok and owning slaves is ok. Two things which are the opposite of moral.

So where do atheists get their morality from? The answer is simple. We get it from the same place the religious do. Morality is just another way of describing behaviour that is conducive with a productive and cohesive society. Humans are social animals and we have been for some time. And like other social animals it is seen as unproductive to cause unnecessary unrest. When asked "if you don't believe in god what is stopping you from killing someone?" i always answer "why would i want to kill someone?". We don't do things based on what is stopping us. We do things based on it being either productive or enjoyable. Just like honey bees can congregate in a hive numbering into the millions. So why don't they kill each other? because then there would be no honey. And if the honey bee had the neuron capacity to philosophise or ponder they would no doubt question why they have this need, This hardwired behavioral trait, That makes them unlikely to kill randomly for no reason.

Morality is also an ever-shifting zeitgeist. What is seen as immoral today wasn't immoral 1000 years ago, And in the future what we are doing now may be considered immoral, Things like burning fossil fuel for example. If morality is divinely given it wouldn't change based on societies perception of what is acceptable. If god gave us morality then what is wrong now would always have been wrong and what will be wrong in the future will be wrong now. We only have to go back to 1928 in England, To a time when women were not granted the vote, To see how far the moral zeitgeist can shift in such a short amount of time. If morality is from god it would not shift according to social perceptions.

13 comments:

  1. I agree with your point. Often I am asked where I get my morales from if I do not get them from church.

    It's called education. It is the duty of every parent. If the church helps, so be it. But religion is not necessarily a requirement.

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  2. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/worldnews.html?in_article_id=558414&in_page_id=1811

    There's religious morality for you right there. This is somewhat unrelated but I think it's worth bringing up anyway.

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  3. Atheism is a religion, every religion has it's own sets of rules and religious beliefs.

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  4. No definition of religion describes atheism. Saying atheism is a religion is like saying good health is a sickness.

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  5. clinton, is not collecting stamps a hobby? Is not playing sports a sport? You're saying not believing is a belief. What a pathetic argument.

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  6. I've used this line of thought for years but have yet to make any headway with any person who "has religion"; they just can't handle the concept of an a-religious morality. They will argue for example that I must have acquired my morals from the Christian society in which I was raised. Take away the "Christian" and they're right, but that doesn't identify whether morals have their roots in society or religion. But the moving moral goalposts of religion confirm for me what reason dictates.

    The reality is that religions adopt (and always have adopted)their morals from society, not the other way round. And as societies change, so do religions - or they lose ground. A compelling reason for religions to resist change - when they can.

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  7. You say humans are social animals yet they should be the ones to say whats moral? Ouch, we have a bunch of animals creating morals.

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  8. How can someone that does not believe in God, believe that their Morals come from God, since to them he does not exist. However for a Christian who believes God created man and man was made from God's image, and hence we get our basic morals, it makes perfect sense.

    Sure we see religions shift their morals to fit society, but the basic morals that Christ has given man to live by has not changed. Love God and thy neighbor.

    What does women's right to vote have to do with Christianity?? Society can evolve and I hope we continue to become more loving of one another, so that slavery, and other bias hatred is removed, but does that mean man morals did not come from God?

    God gave man free will to live as he thinks best, but God also gave us morals and instructions on how to live our lives.

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  9. I so agree with KeithD with his argument about morality.

    I kind of disagree with the answer you give when someone asks "whats stopping you from killing someone?", because if I gave you some reasons to kill a person (like money, sex, food, etc...) and it became enjoyable or beneficial to actually kill someone I would hope you would still have the moral capacity not to kill someone even if it is beneficial or "productive".

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  10. with out religion, evil men would do evil things and good men would do good things, but a good man doing evil things that takes religion
    I hate this world i hope the atheists of the world make a monuments of aleins killing us, so after the self inspired armaggedon/apocalypse/endday (what ever you call the the expirations dates some douchebags gave us) when another biological species of the universe studies us, they will think the reason we never got off the planet ran through all our resources, killed billions of our own in the name of god, was an alien invasion and not whatever it is in most of our brains that make us incapible of saying when i die i will cease to exist. their gonna make fun of us!!!! I wish i had a god to justify breaking my morality and killing all religous people before its to late. but i dont, THE CURSE OF THE ATHEISTS

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  11. vanattab[At}gmail.com24 April 2011 18:51

    I know this thread is old but I will post my thoughts for any future readers. I think what keithD would have said in response to the anonymous post above. Or at least what I would say is that general morals that have developed in all the different religions evolved because on whole they are good for society. Using your example of killing another human. Almost all societies if not all societies say it is wrong to kill other members of your society, this is because it allows societies to function in a more productive way. The very fact that you have to give a person some kind of incentive to do something that is considered by immoral by the vast majority of society is evidence of this. Very few people would kill someone for no personal gain. The few that many people would say do kill people for no reason,for example crazy serial killers, ether have brain damage to the part of the brain that governs social ethics or in my opinion really are getting some kind of incentive for doing it like deep psychological urges due to brain damage in other parts of the brain. The morals that are critical to the functioning of society we turn in to laws, as societies way of adding even further disincentives against doing "immoral acts"

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  12. Yet the Romans had a multitude of Gods and were very religious...go figure.

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  13. *Sigh* another dumb argument... just because stuff happened back then that's mentioned in the bible doesn't mean the bible is advocating it or saying it's ok to do those things, that's just the way the world was then >.< I'll never understand that argument. Please show me one scripture where it says it's encouraged and/or it's ok to kill,steal,rape or own slaves.

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