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Has anyone else had a religious friend ask where your sense of morality comes from? Didn’t really know what to say except that I enjoy making people feel good. Treat people as you want to be treated. That’s psych 101 to me...

Sbaren00 4 Sep 19

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Yes, I have been asked by religious friends where my sense of morality comes from. My response is: It comes from my own sense of well being. What I find interesting about them asking me that question though, about morality is, when I ask them to define what they mean when they say morality, they haven't got a clue about what they are asking me. So, on a question such as this, I want to make sure about what they are actually asking me before I can even begin to answer their question. And, most of the time, they haven't got a clue what they are asking. I can also tell them that if their morality comes from authority, pronouncements and threats of punishments, and eternal torture in hellfire, then they themselves, have no morality or sense of morality, because what if they decide like we atheist that all these threats are not real? Will they they go around killing, raping and stealing? I have actually become more moral since I no longer believe in such religious, nonsense. I have become kinder and more sympathetic toward my fellow being, and even kinder to animals since I left religion behind.


I actually believe that morality existed before the Bible, before we developed written communication. It's a bit backwards. People think morality comes from the Bible, when morality always existed... People just wrote it down.

I totally agree. Morality has been as long as living organisms have been around. Religious morality is not morality at all. They are nothing but pronouncements. If the religions' god says killing innocent men, women, children and animals and rape is moral, then it is moral.

I must also include the immorality has been around as long as organisms has been around as well, and morality is an on-going learning process as oppose to authoritative pronouncements.


When I walked away from church and religion, I had one of the elder's wife call me up to get me back in. At one point, she argued that christianity is great is wonderful b/c w/o it we wouldn't have all the medical hospitals (Babtist Memorial, lebonheur methodist, etc.) I asked her how all the people in China and India have gotten medical care if only christianity is responsible for caring and compassion towards others. All I got in response was <crickets>


Well i only started treating women better after i left the religion coz religion taught me that they are not equal human being. So my morality definitely didn’t came from religion.


I have had the bad misfortune in life to have sat by several death beds, and the only thing that I can think of that will bring any comfort as you lie there staring at the ceiling, is the thought that you have done your best for everyone else. That's where my morality comes from.


I always say I have a moral compass and some common sense.


No, but morality is certainly not exclusively the domain of religious groups. I would argue that so many religous people are completely immoral it is not unthinkable then that the nonreligious could be moral. Ideas of morality arise from secular philosophy as much from religious beliefs.

I tend to agree with you. Religion seems to be a get out of jail free card for most.


yes and no. I've never had someone who remained a friend after the discussion ask me this.

I know that some religious people ask this with sincere intent, but I've never met them, and the moment the conversation drifted to "but you can't REALLY be moral" those people stopped being my friend.


Confucius. He wrote the first laws 500 years before Christ.


Your morality comes from the same place as most people. The idea that morality comes from religion is silly. The christian bible is fine with infanticide, slavery, genocide, female subservience and a host of other things almost no one today is ok with. We have our morality as a human trait, not a religious "gift". They have morality in spite of religion.


Empathy existed before religion, it's a part of human evolution. That simple


Simplest answer I know is.. empathy.. do onto others as you would have onto you..
And self preservation.. (we are herd/pack animals after all)


I think that is one of the most common concerns religious people have about the non-religious: they conflate belief in the supernatural with morality.

My kid’s response is, “imagine you are babysitting a child. Do you want to hurt or abuse the child? Is that because your religion tells you not to? Chances are you wouldn’t want to hurt a child whether or not you have any religion. Well...that’s how I feel about all morality.”

Morality (or lack of it) exists before people attach religious ideas to it. And it will exist after the supernatural speculation dies away.


I have learned not to discuss anything with religious people


"The world is my country, to do good is my religion." .....Tom Paine.


My ethics come from empathy.


I've had theists tell me it's impossible to have morality without their god and his book. It was no use even having a discussion, because with their circular logic, they are not able to see any other possibility.
I was told that they are sorry for me and that one day I will find morality through their deity.
I left the discussion to practice my moral stance of not tolerating fools any longer than necessary.

Dan Barker (FFRF) poses the question - is murder wrong? Is murder wrong only because god says “thou shalt not kill”? If god did not say that murder is wrong, then would it be ok?
Or is murder wrong and god is just telling us so?
And if murder is objectively wrong, why do we need god to tell us so?


That’s a scary question, because that means the only reason they are moral is due to their belief in god. That’s why if someone could ever produce an unarguable proof god doesn’t exist, then I hope they keep it to themselves. If that happens the religious right will start the apocalypse.

When I was a practicing pagan, a Christian told me that he "wished' he could be pagan or atheist because then, he could do whatever he wanted. Kinda scary--what did he want to do? If religion kept him from murdering and raping, then he needed religion. I feel that atheists have the higher ethical/moral ground: we choose to be ethical--it is not because we fear being punished if we are not.

That's correct. I've told a few of them that I can't trust them because their morality is based on an imaginary sky fairy. And when they find out the fallacy, their morality is likely to be dangerous, because they are not being controlled.

Of course, just as they are not going to change my mind on the issue, I will not change theirs.

Religion was not called the opiate for the masses, for no reason. It was invented to control people who need rules to behave among other people. A lot of arseholes behave better than they would because of that control.


Lots of religious people (not friends) ask that question. I like to begin by asking them where they get their morality - - - then clarify . . . So things that please your god are defined as moral? Then I talk about bible goodies - - -I'll just post a link - - [] I also include moral to own a slave and beat him/her as long as the slave does not die right away. . . or for a man to sell his daughter as a sex slave when she is old enough to bleed. etc is all, according to the teachings of his bible, rules that please his god so they are moral.

I had brought that up when she mentioned the Bible. I find it insane that people can’t give themselves more credit. This person I had the discussion with is not a bad person. People need to have more “faith” in themselves and less is .


I haven't been asked that directly but I have seen it asked. The question really seems to be a passive/aggressive insult to imply that Agnostics have no ability to tell right from wrong. Are Christians really so lacking in a natural sense of morality that they require an instruction manual that they claim to derive from the Bible? No, so the purpose of asking the question is really as mentioned, a passive/aggressive or marginally disguised insult or they are simply unbelievably stupid or some combination of the two..

OCJoe Level 6 Sep 20, 2018

100% spot on.... The Golden Rule! Most religious types I have known are fake and have a lack of morality. I love to watch people's face when the subject comes up and I let them know that I am not a Christian. That is usually followed by, Well, wh...wh... what are you?" I just say "Atheist" with a wink of my eye!

I prefer the Platinum Rule.
Treat people as they wish to be treated. They don’t care about how I want to be treated. It’s not relevant to them. Think about it. ?

@darthfaja I have been referring to the platinum rule quite a bit at my work. I train doctors and staff how to talk to patients and they don't always see that what the patient wants might be different from what they would want. Nice to see others recognizing the value of the platinum rule!
Besides, the golden rule is mentioned in the bible, so referencing something not in there seems more appropriate. 🙂

@Tinocca I work in medicine. As a group we keep up on these type of readings to help manage ourselves and patients better.

Yes, I have been asked.  I always say that my moral code is based on the concept of minimal violation of (1) human dignity and respect, (2) environmental sustainability.  The vast majority of our moral choices in life are choices between comparative rights and wrongs ( between greater and lesser goods or between the lesser of two evils), NOT between absolutes.  That is a much more defensible moral code than one based on religion.

Morality is inherent in animals, or at least mammals. There is no need of a book with a set of rules for that.

Consider the case of a pet dog.
Once you start taking care of it, it tries to show the affection back to you.
Which religion does it follow to exhibit this morality? ?

LOL Grizzly Bears and Tigers are mammals too.....

Morality requires the ability to reason and to judge the consequences of actions.
Dogs show affection back to an affectionate human (in general) because they have been domesticated, are affectionate with their "pack" naturally, and recognize your superiority as "leader of the pack" in providing food, shelter, and safety. Instinctually, they are hard-wired to "please" you so that they can continue to eat and be safe.

I think this may be my favorite argument. Well put, sir.




Morality exists because of our social evolution. Family groupings are the basis of it. We would have never succeeded in our early history, without moral cooperation within a tribe or social grouping. This is what I believe. I recommend a book called Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harrari. Very enlightening .

When it comes to the origin of morality, Harari is rather sketchy. If you want to get the whole story, you should read "A natural history of human morality" by Michael Tomasello

@Matias Thank you for the recommendation. I will add it to my list of literature to consume.

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