Morals and Atheism


Here’s the thing about morals: you don’t lose them all of sudden after losing faith in a deity. However, certain “morals” that seem to only be around due to various scriptures, might not stay. For example, homosexuality may no longer seem like a big deal. Nevertheless, people do not go around killing, raping, and looting  after they come to the conclusion there is no God.

Why is this? Human beings are social animals. We need each other. We depend on each other. Morals help glue us together, and prima facie, it seems terrible to hurt one another. Now, it is not good to run into the naturalistic fallacy or to derive an ought from an is, but I think having a basic understanding of how people operate is important when considering any moral code.

Still, I think it is obvious that people operate better when we treat each other with dignity, respect, and kindness. I think society works better when immoral people aren’t throwing wrenches into the machine that is society. Humans are complex people capable of both love and hatred, and most know we cannot act on the more sinister parts of our nature. For those that don’t know this, we have laws.

So let’s examine some of these religiously based “morals.” Let’s take the homosexuality example, for starters. One could  argue appropriately against homosexuality, if it had something inherent in it that harmed the participants or society at large, but homosexuality does not seem to have anything inherently bad in it. For example, if studies could prove that it is necessary to have one man and one woman to raise a child, because having two parents of the same sex was bad for a child, then yes, it could be argued that homosexual couples shouldn’t raise children. This would still not make homosexuality inherently bad. Of course, I would be waiting for the evidence, and with the many children without homes, I think, for them, any parents would be better than none.

So, no morality does not go away due to atheism, but morality is, of course, no longer based on scripture. Morality, when starting out, is generally based on the good parts of our nature. (Some of us get a little more sophisticated and research moral philosophy, but this post has purposely steered away from that.) Furthermore, some scriptural morals are actually not based on the good part of our nature.

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1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Morals and Atheism | Christians Anonymous

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