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I'm interested in what everyone thinks about morality. I've read a lot of books about the topic and watched a lot of academics speak on the matter, but I'm interested because it seems that many popular agnostics and atheists, even many claiming to be humanists, have turned out to do some things I consider blatantly immoral or dickish.

I do understand and believe that my own morality in many respects is a matter of convenience, but I do feel like, even being in lower middle class for most of my life, I've went out of my way most of my life to not commit actions I know will hurt people, but many agnostics and atheists I know have told me things or even done things to me that made me question how corrupt people are, or how corrupt I am and just don't know it.

So what is morality for those of us with no God to decide it, and how important is it?

Honestape 6 Jan 20

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Many years ago a man told me that 'morals' and 'morality' is between a person and his god and that ethics covers people to people and It made sense to me then and still does. This is basically how I have chosen to live my life. Based on this definition I have no morality because I have no god but I talked to the head man at an atheist organization a few years ago and he rejected my position saying that ethics do not cover such things as our treatment of animals and morality is required for that.....I disagree!! I consider myself as an animal, mammal in particular, and theres a lot of very large and dangerous animals out there and I have met more than my share of them and have the scars to prove it!! I have never been inclined to pray to 'people gods' to save me nor to animal gods to call off the attacks!!


I think most people rely on others to establish their values,at least in part. With any group, formal or not, there are written and especially unwritten expectations concerning behavior which we choose to subscribe to. I prefer those who think for themselves,decide their own morality. I will not be a sheep. I am guided greatly by my conscience. I allow myself to be influenced by those I choose.


Morality is wholly subjective. Sure, there are some things almost everyone can agree on as being immoral. The rest is all up to the individual.
Personally, I like the "do unto others, as you would have done unto you", and "do no harm".
I think that covers most things.


Morality is governed by your conscience. If, like many religious people, you need a book to tell you not to hurt someone then you will never be a moral person. It's common sense. It's common decency. If you're not sure if something is moral then ask your conscience. If it doesn't give you an may need counseling!

Nemo Level 3 Jan 21, 2018

Morality is a human invention that evolved as humans began to live in groups for the sake of social preservation and thus longevity. In its primitive forms, morality is as simple as not eating your offspring during a hard winter or not taking food from the strongest member of the group because to do either jeopardizes your survival. As we have evolved, so have the moral considerations of human society. Nowadays, what we consider is whether it is moral to make war or moral to lie. Moral to have an abortion or moral to be gay. Moral to use fossil fuels or moral to deport people. And as for hurting others, you can hardly avoid it, since someone is going to object to you or your behavior at some point. I suspect that the more evolved a person is, the less likely they are to cause harm.


Good questions. It calls into view the notions of "just war, self-defense and righteous anger." . Morality is a fluid thing since it's a human construct that depends on what society and culture you are from. So I think it means that there is no Universal convention with a capital M. What is considered moral in your location is different from what is considered moral elsewhere. It is in the eye of the beholder. Perhaps all we can do is create our own code that is as objective and global as possible that feels right to us such that we can live with ourselves without guilt. For some people, that means doing no harm. For others, it can mean never letting anyone or anything get the best of them. I suppose that is a kind of anarchy, but in the end, the condition of the weakest amongst us shows whether or not our code is beneficial for the one or for the whole.


Hi.Im talking to a theist.He's clever . Got me tied up.Can anybody help me answer it?.Hi Keith,
The only way you can have a problem with the atrocities that you say are in the Bible, is if you accept that there's an absolute moral standard by which to hold them by. Otherwise you have no basis on which to call them atrocities.
It is not logical to hold the Bible and God to an absolute standard of morality that you don't believe exists.
And if you think morals evolved over long periods of time, you're assuming that the things that you think are absolutely right or wrong now, we're also absolutely right and wrong then. But according to what you think, the things that you think are atrocities back then, may have been totally acceptable, because those morals hadn't 'evolved' to what you think they should be. Again, you are holding God to an absolute standard that you and other Atheists don't believe in.
Like I've said before, it's obvious that there's an absolute moral standard in this universe, I don't even need to prove it because people demonstrate it every day, every time you watch the news or read a newspaper. You demonstrate it when you talk about good and evil, right and wrong, and when you talk about atrocities.
And the only reason there's an absolute moral standard in this universe is because of God. There's no way round it.
It's also not a logical argument to say that morals 'evolved' over long periods, but then accuse people or God for not living up to what you think morals are now, because like I said, it would have been 'moral' then because that was the accepted standard. What you are still doing is holding God and the people back then to your absolute moral standard, which you say doesn't exist.
This is not logical or reasonable Keith.
It is a delusion to continue saying that there's no absolute moral standard, but all the while holding God and other people to an absolute moral standard.
It's a different thing to say, "God, I know You're there, but I just don't understand why you allowed certain things to happen in the Bible, and I don't know why you let certain things happen today, but I'd like to understand."
It is not ok to say,
"God, I don't even believe in you, or your Bible, but I don't like what you did in the Bible and what you do today, it's evil. Oh, and by the way, I don't even believe there's evil!"

It's always subjective, and that doesn't matter. Whether you say "I believe X is wrong," or "I believe that an all-good God believes that it's wrong," it's dependent on the assertion of the subject. If God were here face-to-face, it would be different, but acting like the only way that we can justify moral beliefs for ourselves and others is by appealing to another concept that came from our heads (God) makes no sense. God might exist, and God might even be communicating with this person or with other Christians, or some worshiper of a very small, maybe even extinct, tribe, but even then, he does this communication through our subjective thoughts, not through our senses, and so we're still in the same boat. It's inconvenient for us mortals trying to figure out what is right and wrong, but lots of true things are inconvenient.

I have no problem saying something is wrong because you can still make sure that your morals are consistent, which many people agree they should be, though they don't seem to spend much time actually making sure they are being consistent, and as many have noticed, what we mean by good usually corresponds to human well-being, which is objectively measurable or noticeable. It's all we need apart from just more facts and taking the time to think about the issues.

There is a "moral zeitgeist" which evolves and changes over time as we evolve as humans and societies evolve. In the UK, burning people for a lack of belief was acceptable entertainment a few hundred years ago, now, to us, it is abhorrent. Losing your own life then was not seen as quite so terrible because they were convinced they would meet god and there would be a "divine justice". Stealing was and is seen as wrong in most people's eyes, murder is still ok for some religious people who, again, use their beliefs to justify the act and honestly believe they are right. Another example of the zeitgeist is how many people actually live their moral convictions without the expectation of "divine" reward or think they are being observed doing good. They do good for goodness sake not a god's.


Morality in of itself is subjective in my humble opinion. I find it very interesting, though, in my experience, and as it is on this post, that so many atheists find a dilemma in OTHER atheists merely being the flawed human beings we are. The major difference In my view , I can’t speak for anyone but myself, is that theists generally have a go to justification factor... where I use introspection and I “self check” .. especially in my relationships and interactions with other humans. Also , if someone is being an asshole, or is not necessarily handling a given situation like “I “ would , I tend not to consider whether they are atheist or theist etc. I’ve found that a lot of atheists are of the opinion that there is a higher moral ground , ie.. “geez I know or have seen some atheists acting like an ass, atheists should know better.... “ Of course I give less creedance to theists ... I can’t lie about that. I don’t hold agnostics or atheists to a higher standard though. For me it comes down to what, who and why I’m willing to trust, respect , and engage with based on my own moral compass, even though I cringe even calling it that. Certainly the “consensus “ of “morality “ is too subjective and skewed to even try to make sense of it. If one thinks certain behaviors or belief systems represent a dick move , one can choose not to participate or engage. The very idea that there is a higher moral ground , as opposed to personal standards, for me is easier to navigate. Lastly, I don’t know one human , including myself that hasn’t been guilty of some sort of dick move... I’d say my standard would be ... is that an inherent behavior? Is it something one discussed in the context of acknowledging and ceasing to continue it? The simple answer for me is that if one at least makes a genuine effort not to be a dick ... that’s the litmus test. Morality in of itself hasn’t been the best way to judge our fellow humans in my humble opinion.


There are assholes everywhere. Religious folks may base their actions, good or bad, in their religion. That is, it might guide them to be good people or they might use it to justify bad/harmful behavior. Non-believers are no different. What I believe as an atheist is that people have a responsibility to others (rather than to god) to be good people. Other atheists might believe that the only thing they are accountable to is themselves.
Maybe people who are inclined to be bad people just use whatever they believe in (or don’t) to justify it.

I heard that.


DONT do to others what you'd not like done to you. Difficult at times , but attainable (I think.)


Everyone has their own moral philosophy. We have had previous posts on our moral makeup.


I try to live by the golden rule. People are going to loose sight of the effects of their actions whether they follow a religion or not. Hurting others is not always intentional. Maybe I'm wrong but what a person can know about religion isn't an indicator of their morality.


Morality is subjective I believe. I just try to do the best I can. I don't screw people over, I don't cheat, steal, try not to lie (ok maybe just little ones lol) etc. I can only be responsible for me. I have my sets of morals and standards and everyone else has theirs.


i love ALL my brothers and sisters in my human family and I have 3 gatekeepers for my personal morality and ethics. I STRIVE to treat others as I want to be treated. I STRIVE to never do anything to anyone that I would not want done to me. I STRIVE to do or cause no harm.


I believe “laws” exist because morality isn’t quite enough. At times society (or self) will justify behavior even when it violates established law. Speeding on the highway, political lobbiests, corrupt government, police, immoral lawyers, etc. We have laws to prevent, control and punish, still many crimes go unpunished, and when that happens, it becomes a reward, or justified morality, which “god” is ok with.

Tomas Level 7 Jan 20, 2018

I believe I can be good without god. Just because I don't believe in god doesn't mean I have no morals. I do unto others and generally try not to be a turd. And I think I do a damn good job.

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