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What moral code do you follow now that you are non-religious?

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2

Basically I choose the option that will do the most good/least harm whenever I need to make a decision. Simplicity is a lovely thing.

74

I spent a little while just now thinking about how to answer this, going back and forth between formal moral codes like humanism and stoicism and contemplating the value in Buddhist philosophy and the LaVeyan Satanism code of conduct. But, realistically, I've never looked to any structured ethics for how I live life day to day. My personal philosophy can be summed up in a few pithy statements.

  1. Live and let live.
  2. Do no harm.
  3. Help others.

Obviously these are oversimplified and lack any semblance of nuance, but the core of how I live my life comes down to these basic principles.

resserts Level 8 Nov 1, 2017

I looked at the post again and thought I should write my own reply but this pretty much sums it up,Before I really thought about it I was going to go with "Do unto others,,," but who am I to judge what others want done to them.I will go with "Dont do to others what you would not want done to you"

Yep, pretty much sums it up, I would go, "Do no harm" first, to me it applies at all levels including environmental, though it is not always simple, at times I have had to choose between that and "the greater good".

Oversimplified or not, I live by your 3 point statement above except that I am a bit lax on number 3. I can help but often it is not monetary help. As for "live and let live" I have had that as a life motto for many years now.

@DenoPenno I don't think help has to take any specific form, and I don't think it has to take up all of one's free time. I just think it's a good guide that I help people when the opportunity arises, provided it isn't an undue burden (financially, emotionally, etc.). It might be as simple as volunteering one day a month at a soup kitchen or food pantry. I tend to think gifts of time are often more valuable than money. (I just learned that an organization where I volunteer, by virtue of being a non-profit, must have 60% or more of its work performed by volunteers. They have funding and grants, but without volunteers they can't fulfill their mission.)

That about wraps the whole thing up.

I think your summation is good.

Agreed. Succinct yet profound.

You said it well, thank you.

40

My moral code is simple and can pretty much be summed up as "Don't be an asshole."

Care for your family and friends, help strangers when you can, don't take what isn't yours, don't knowingly and intentionally bring harm to another person, and try to leave the world a better place for future generations. Strive to treat everyone with the decency and respect you yourself would hope to receive, whether or not you do receive it.

I was starting to make my reply when I read your first sentence and it was pretty much verbatim to what I had started to write: "I've always followed 'The Golden Rule' and I still do, however, it's pretty much simplified as, 'don't be an asshole'." It's the same thing I taught my kids, too.

Exactly how I live my life. I get along with lots of people from different religions to ethnic back grounds. Be a good person and try to be as happy as you can. You do me wrong and you no longer have a place in my life. I try hard to be kind to mother earth and have tought my kids the same. FYI.. I tell my kids all the time, " You don't want to grow up and be an asshole" ????

Have you read the book, Assholes: A Theory. It may give additional insights.

23

As the Dalai Lama said, "My religion is kindness". You do not need a deity to do the right thing.

Rosebud Level 3 Oct 19, 2017

The Dalai Lama also said he was thankful he was not born a woman. So please don't hold him up as a moral guide!

So was the Dalai Lama expressing gratitude because he despises women or because he sees their plight? I too am glad I am a cisgender male, and a white one to boot. I've had access to a world of privilege as yet denied to those who are not. This does not mean I despise those people, merely that I am grateful for the luck of my birth.

@Agnostic1 I'm also thankful not to be a woman. I think I am also lucky to be strait and white. There are obvious advantages to both. I don't see other races or genders as inferior however, just oppressed. I support any person or movement that seeks to end that oppression. So does the Dalai Llama as far as I've read anyway.

@UnityBrad - what a bunch of self-righteous nonsense. "Thankful not to be a woman, lucky to be strait (sic) and white" - thankful to whom? If you can't see that you insult all women, black people and gays by saying you're thankful not to be one, you have a lot of growing to do. Try changing society so there is not need to do this. It seems you spend a lot of time navel-gazing and being thankful - how about some REAL stuff? But hey, if it makes you feel better,

@RobAnybody - it makes no difference why the DL said it - and how do you explain the extra rules for women monks? Rather than internalise and be "grateful" in a totally selfish way (I'm shocked at how many people still only think of themselves on here) let's try to make a society where all people start their lives from the same equal point, rather than be told they are second choice - which is exactly what you just said.

@Agnostic1 Why at you so angry? Life is far too short to waste it being angry. What if you are right and this is all there is? You seem to wear your victim status like a badge of honor.(I think that is what "self righteous" people do.) What do you get out of having that mindset besides prescriptions for anti depressants. You said it was wrong for me to appreciate not being oppressed. I hope that someday you will also be free from your oppressive circumstances. Then you can experience gratitude or at least feel fortunate.

@UnityBrad - Hahahaha! The religiot's last stand! "Why are atheists so angry?" - I'm not angry at all - I just don't suffer fools gladly. I'm not a victim, I don't take any drugs, and I'm certainly not oppressed. But I agree I've spent far too much time on you. You now bore me, Yawn. So bye.

@Agnostic1 No that's what you just read. I am expressing my acknowledgement of current reality. I may not agree with it (it actually infuriates me that my son can walk safely at night but not my daughter) but it is the reality in which we live. It is changing, slowly, but pretending that men do not have less crap to deal with than women, or that our society does not give an easier time to the lighter of skin, or that anyone outside the heteronormality doesn't face extra challenges won't achieve anything. So back to my original question, Was the DL despising women or commenting on their oppression, even within his own tradition?

I've always felt the same way. You don't need a deity to have a conscience.

@GoldenDoll You have a point. The mere mention of race makes it a racial issue and a superiority complex. If it doesn't matter then why mention it?

@GoldenDoll - Acknowledging the current state of things is not the same thing as endorsing them or even accepting them.

@GoldenDoll I think the Dalai Lama sees the world pretty clearly, including the benefits of being male, and the inherent struggles of being female.

22

I believe in the Golden Rule, treat others the way you wish to be treated. It's a good rule for all people of the earth and if we lived by this code there would be no hate, Bigotry or wars. Actually the Golden Rule is much more ancient than the bible; this simple plilosopjy is found in almost all religions in the world since they started writing down their beliefs.

The Golden Rule is what I use also

The Golden Rule certainly is denominationally independent.

TBH, I'm not exactly a fan of the golden rule. It would be better expressed as treat others the way THEY wish to be treated. As it is now, it allows you to project your morality on others.

Me too. The Golden Rule rules.

18

I try to be kind to people, animals and the environment.

17

Over the years, I'm 70, I have developed a strong sense of empathy and that is my moral compass. I put myself in other people's shoes and think about what they may need and then I see if I can help in any way. I am an atheist and a humanitarian and I feel that helping others when I am able is my moral responsibility. I do it because I know it is the right thing to do and not because I fear hell or am trying to curry favor with some god.

KLMFTFW Level 5 Sep 27, 2017

Absolutely to put yourself in someone elses shoes...

13

I love when people ask me if I have morals because it's just funny to think the only reason I'm not going out and killing people is because of my religion and if you don't have one well you don't have morals I just think it's hilarious and a stupid question because you don't get your morals from religion you get it from yourself or that's what I think anyways and if the only reason you're not going out and killing people is because of your religion well you shouldn't be questioning my morals

SharkGirl Level 3 Sep 8, 2017

If it's morally proper to kill a person then why not, religion has nothing to do with it . . . just be ready to face the consequences because any action will always have a reaction

I've known many god "loving" people who have no morals at all and use God as a get out of jail free card. But hey.. At least they can be forgiven and still go to heaven. ????

11

I feel that first and foremost you should do no harm. You do not steal, kill, rape or torture. Basically so unto others as you would have them do unto you. Treat others worth the same dignity and respect that I would expect. You don't need religion to know what is right and what is wrong.

GodlessDJ Level 3 Nov 12, 2017
10

I know the right from wrong. It’s a natural instinct . Every body knows by birth. I do wrong but I do not have a imaginary god who I can go for forgiveness. I take responsibility of my own wrong doing and learn.

10

My Grandmother used to tell my mother, "Before you do anything think about how you would like to read about it in the paper". So, I don't lie, cheat, steal, and I try not to hurt anybody. I joke that most Atheists are better Christians than most Christians. One of those 'it's funny because it's true" things.

10

This is a weird question - it assumes that religious people follow a "moral code" from whichever "holy" book they follow - but in fact they cherry-pick the bits they want to follow (no killing, stealing, etc) and ignore the bits they know are wrong (kill your children if they're rude to you, go to hell for wearing mixed fibres or eating shellfish).
So as an atheist I use the same innate moral code they do - I use my reasoning to know what is right or wrong - and don't pretend a magic person in the sky had to tell me what to do.

GoldenDoll Level 7 Oct 26, 2017

What's funny that, as an agnostic who lived very deep in the bible belt at one time, in a town I described as something out of the movie Footloose and that had a Baptist retreat, I saw less of a moral code and "Christian behavior" from the supposed "church goers" than just about any "heathen" I had ever met in my life. It was pretty much at that point that I decided that religion is a sham not worth participating in, that I did not want to be associated with people who used their religion as a justification for their hate, discrimination, and judgement and the later absolution of their sins to do it all over again the next week.

I like you! Your position is powerful.

10

decency and respect goes beyond religion

7

I do not follow a "moral code", I follow a set of principles from which moral action can be derived. "Moral codes" are rules set by people who believe that everything can be cut down to black and white, right and wrong, good and evil on simple terms.

The Laws of Moses are a "code". Morality is not.

7

I stop at red lights.

Not so much a moral choice as a vehicular imperative smile009.gif

@moNOtheist I tend to disagree after experiencing traffic in China where driving behaviour appears threatening. In general the respecting of rules boils down to moral choices.

@PontifexMarximus I know what you mean - they seem to miss each other by a hair's breadth - although i don't recall seeing more than a couple of stop signs my whole time there. Of course, even red lights seem to be treated as mere advisories.

7

I go by the wise notion of don't be a dick. works so far.

7

My morals are the same as when I was a Christian. Morals aren't tied to religion. I live my life and make the best decisions possible for myself and those around me.

6

I do what I can to objectively make the world a better place. Aside from the Golden Rule, there's also this: When I woke up this morning, the world was not good enough. So rather that sit on my ass, I'm going to take a little responsibility for making it better, and do some things every day that will make other people's lives a little better, and a little easier. Because the world isn't going to get better if no one does anything to make it better.

chilehead9 Level 7 June 26, 2018
6

You don't need to be religious to follow a moral code.

Astrantia Level 3 May 27, 2018
6

I was indoctrinated into the Catholic religion but my moral code partly came from my father who was quite strict about lying and stealing. Most of us, save psychopaths, have a conscience that we may or may not listen to. Morality is fluid and situational. For example, we may think it is wrong to lie but if the Gestapo came to arrest someone we were hiding, we would do our best to save the person. Therein, is one of the main failings of a fixed morality.

RDaneel Level 5 May 14, 2018

Morality is not fluid, nor situational. When is murder, meaning the premeditated taking of another human life, not self defense, ever moral?

@Bobby9 when the person you wish to murder is causing great harm to others, the moral choice is to insure they can no longer do so.

@dellik That is your opinion, not a moral choice. Laws protect society, and those laws depend on law enforcement agencies for enforcement, not individuals. Individual enforcement is called vigilante enforcement which is also immoral.

@Bobby9 and thats your opinion. Id say lay enforcement is inherently immoral, as for the most part, laws exist to subjugate the masses, not protect.

@dellik You say "that is my opinion" and immediatly state "Id say lay enforcement is inherently immoral" You spelling not mine. Did you think before applying pressure to your keypad? First, why do you think law enforcement is inherently immoral? That is definatly an opinion, and one that needs to be backed up, or at least explained. Second, what I said is not my opinion, laws without question depend on law enforcement. Without enforcement the law would be a hollow statement. Additionally virtually everyone (not just me) agrees individual "enforcement" is vigilanteism. You assert your judgement is valid over trail procedure. Talk about opinions.

@Bobby9 I literally said Id say, which means my opinion. reading comprehension not your strong suit? And as far as 'backing that up' I would say the surge in public outcry over police brutality and abuses removes my personal need to back it up, as society as a whole already sees what you seem to chose not to.

And your blanket statement that most people see vigilantism as immoral is absurd. most people see those that fix what the law does not as hero's. Its literally a entire genre in fiction.

There is no good cop, that has been proven, as by definition a cops job is to enforce all laws, and some laws are inherently unjust. therefore either a the officer is failing to do his job, and only enforcing laws he/she considers just, or B they are actively enforcing unjust laws, either is a moral failure.

And lastly, your weak deflecting attempt to discredit me due to a accidental spelling error marks you as a petty sot, and worthy of contempt =D

@dellik I am very good at reading comprehension, obviously you are not, or maybe better put can't write well.Try rereading the parts where I said you start by saying "in your opinion" then immediately give your opinion without any back up. Read slow. You say "There is no good cop that has been proven" I don't like cops too much and frequently criticize them, however there is NO proof that there is no good cop. Next, the only reason I ONCE referenced your spelling was OBVIOUSLY to point out I was not mispelling a quote. Talk about reading comprehension, do you have any, or is it all cloudy because of your extream bias? If you choose to reply (I won't be upset if you don't) try to explain how merely because you may think someon'e life needs to be taken (murder) it is in anyway moral. You ignored that entirely and pardon me but it ws the topic. While you are at it maybe you can rationalize rape.

@Bobby9 actually, Yes, the good cop argument has been definitively put to rest.

If someone creates a threat to others, by their continued existence/freedom (without the recourse to imprison them) that justifies removing them from the environment, to do anything less would be amoral.

And no, there is no justification for rape, rape can not prevent harm.

and the irony of you standing by your petty spelling correction, when you literally misspelled the word you prefaced the quote with is fantastic. Thank you for that =D

@Bobby9 Also worth note that the topic wasnt murder, the topic (in this sub thread anyway) is the fluidity of morality.You chose to direct the discussion to murder. I simply opted to take the direction you chose, to correct your mistake, but you gripped harder, clinging to the vain hope you were correct.

I would say I will await your humble acknowledgement of your error, but honestly I doubt you are capable of that level of self awareness, and will either allow cognitive dissonance to convince yourself you are right, or b just block me, but either way.. You failed.

@dellik You don't get it at all. The topic was and remains "What moral code do you follow...". See the top of this page to confirm that. The topic never was "fluidity of morality" that was merely your assertion. The remainder of your reply your feeble attempt to pat youtself on the back. Have a good time with yourself.

Too funny/ =D

@Bobby9 well ultimately there are people being in goverments or in the various law enforcement agencies ... Laws are pondered by people who have their personal interests at heart. ... You view is very idealistic

@Bobby9 well ultimately there are people being in goverments or in the various law enforcement agencies ... Laws are pondered by people who have their personal interests at heart. ... You view is very idealistic

@Bobby9 I think that your definition of vigilantism is incorrect.

@PontifexMarximus I think laws, at best, have a casual relationship to morality and you fail to realize this.

6

What does religion have to do with morality, morality existed before religion.

slinkie59 Level 5 Nov 12, 2017

Religion is like the scene with the cat in Red Dwarf walking through the ship spraying everything and saying "that's mine, that's mine, and that's mine" etc.
It diminishes the threadbare mythology if they allow themselves to believe that some things came to be before or independently of their chosen whatever.

6

Humanist. Do no harm to anybody!

Even if they try to kill you?

@GizmoAmbivert So maybe "Do harm when necessary" would be a better mantra.

5

"Don't be a cunt." - Ricky Gervais

MsPibble Level 3 July 23, 2018
5

Do as little harm as possible, save to those that willingly harm others.

dellik Level 6 May 31, 2018
5

Simple. Don't harm me or others.

micktoz Level 5 May 23, 2018
5

Essentially the Golden or, as Libertarians would say, the Non-Aggression Principle.

jeshuey Level 7 May 20, 2018
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