Morality Does Not Require God

The often repeated theme that atheists have no reason to be moral without a god is probably the most popular and repeated myth made about atheism.  The claims come in a variety of forms but they are all based on the assumption that the ONLY source of morality is from a God on high, a religion…and preferably only the Christian one.  Therefore, without Christianity humans cannot live moral lives.  This of course automatically deprecates all other religions on this planet.

The thing I find most amazing is that Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindu’s, and the myriad other denominations, sects, and cults in the world have been trying for maybe three plus millennia to prove that there IS a God…and they have ALL totally, completely, entirely failed. They all have stories that depend on magic…that envisions demons, devils, ghosts, angels, etc., and they all were formed a few thousand years ago when mankind was going through a huge god-making period in our history…conveniently forgetting that humans have been roaming around  the earth for 200,000 years or so without a need for really invasive gods.

So anyway, there is no god or gods, therefore all this morality the Christians talk about is just made up by some goat herder desert dwellers a few thousand years ago.  In other words morals come from mankind.  Wars and kindness comes from man.  Good and evil comes from man.  We are ultimately responsible for ALL that goes on in our history, culture, and civilizations…a non-existent god cannot be blamed for our shortcomings or our triumphs.
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About the word of me
Interested in family and friends,grandchildren, photography, darkrooms, history, archaeology, scuba diving, computers, software, fast cars, journalism, writing, travel, ecology, news, science, and probably most other subjects you could think of. Did I mention family and friends?? I require iced tea or cold brewed coffee and a internet connection to be fully functional. Sometimes there are just so many words in my head they spill out.

4 Responses to Morality Does Not Require God

  1. peddiebill says:

    I know this is meant well but I find some of the oversimplifications a little worrying. First of all even from a Biological point of view there is no way we as humans could be entirely responsible for our morality. The limbic system of the brain which is inherited and is part of the evolution not just of mankind but of all animals provides many of the responses including a good part of what we call morality. ie. it is biological nonsense to confine ourselves just to humans. Another major part comes via what is passed on as part of our cultural setting. Surely this must include religious beliefs which are part of our setting. Remember religion provides a sort of a social insurance in that knowing and accepting belief patterns makes us more acceptable to those who share these belief patterns. Since our legal system is based on these religious beliefs it is hard to disentangle acceptable behaviour from the religious base. It is true as you imply that much of our behaviour does not require superstitious beliefs – but I would have thought this is not where most modern Christians are coming from anyway. I dont know of any apart from a few simple minded fundamentalists who make the claim that all morality comes from God. Just as science has moved on from the barmy beliefs of four elements earth, air , fire and water – religion has also grown up which is why many modern scientists still call themselves Christian.

  2. I was just reading (by complete accident) a post last night written by an articulate Christian. He says:

    “You see, it is not knowledge (epistemology) of the moral law that is a problem — after all, the Bible teaches that this law is written on every human heart. Rather, the daunting problem for the new atheist is the nature and source (ontology) of the moral law.”

    And on and on. But does it matter? If moral law is written on every human heart, then what difference does it make? Why do we need a “source”? (By new atheists I think he means that so many have ‘come out’.) So the argument goes round and round. There seems to be a real need for many (most, I guess) to “believe.” To those of us who cannot, it’s irrational for them to try to make us, no matter how expansive or well-written they are. It all comes down to I don’t believe, never did, and there is absolutely nothing in life that could make me. If it gives you comfort, fine…but if you try to force me either with laws or fancy words, you’ve missed the point completely. And anyway, I’m hardly daunted. I love a good mystery.

    A ‘god-making period’. Funny.

    • the word of me says:

      Mankind seems to be really good at making up gods. Can’t explain it?…god did it. The early Hebrews were just as bad as anybody else in this regard. They did not fully believe in a single God until around 3 or 4 hundred BC. Back in the time of a supposed Moses (1400+- BC) they even believed God had a wife…Asherah. They wrote her out of the pantheon around the time of the Exile in Babylon.

  3. the word of me says:

    Hi peddiebill, thanks for writing.

    You write:
    “I know this is meant well but I find some of the oversimplifications a little worrying. First of all even from a Biological point of view there is no way we as humans could be entirely responsible for our morality.”

    Sure we can friend. Modern humans have 200,000 years of growing up behind us. We are social animals and we either got along with our tribe or we perished. I think probably all of the big past civilizations discovered the “Golden Rule” early on. They weren’t expressed like the one we are familiar with, but the meaning is EXACTLY like ours. Confucius formulated his around 500 BC.

    Spend some time in a closed culture and you will immediately be aware that you should not murder, steal, accuse falsely, or covet your neighbors or his wife. You do this because you understand you will get severely punished or killed. If you are smart you will know that in general you get treated as good as you treat others. No one needs to be taught this, it is innate. Even monkeys and other primates in the genus realize this.

    You write:
    “I don’t know of any apart from a few simple minded fundamentalists who make the claim that all morality comes from God.”

    Well, in my experience there are actually quite a few simple minded fundamentalists out there. 🙂 That’s one of the most common claims thrown at people like me. Baptists seem to be especially fond of saying this…I suppose the thinking is it will make us tremble in fear, or something.

    You write:
    “Just as science has moved on from the barmy beliefs of four elements earth, air , fire and water – religion has also grown up which is why many modern scientists still call themselves Christian.”

    Yes science has been getting better and better. We have new tools, new, and many more people, new methodology and what we are doing is nothing short of amazing. However since the 1600’s science has been infringing on religious turf…not by design, but accidently. Things that were once thought to have a religious connection are found to be natural…never the other way around. Much of the Biblical historiography has been found to be wrong. Probably all of Genesis and Exodus is myth…and there’s more. This really impacts the New Testament.

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