This is an offensive question and illustrates one of the reasons non-religious people (including atheists) find Christians to be so obnoxious.
How dare you think that you are more moral than the rest of us just because you've been taught to trust an ancient book of folk lore and fairy tales; a book that teaches you about an invisible friend who will reward you for being a good Christian, or will curse you for the heinous crime of not believing?
Do you really think that a person who is moral, or good, or honorable because he expects a Heavenly reward, or fears eternal damnation, can dictate morality to those of us who live wholesome, decent lives because we CHOOSE to do so, without the hopes and fears that YOU need for motivation?
Omar Khayyam put it this way: Oh, threats of Hell and Hopes of Paradise! One thing at least is certain -- This Life flies; One thing is certain and the rest is Lies; The Flower that once has blown for ever dies..
Get off your high horse, runumbered. Live a little. You're only going to get one chance.
Question things. By being smart... think about it. Most Christians or what ever don't question things. Never Accept anything that there is no answer for. Like god coming from. The answer is he was "always there" where is the logic in that. Atheist apply theyre knoweledge and questions things to find a reasonable answer. Which is why I am an atheist my self and I'm only 13 living in a house hold with Christian parents. (They aren't smart enough to grasp the concept that there is no god and that we die). Well thanks for reading. Hope u enjoyed the answer.
1 year ago
Last edited at 2:56PM on 3/14/2013
Most folk get their standards of morality from obeying the laws of the land. Looking at the rampant pedophilia in the Catholic Church, you could well ask where Christians get their moral standards from. I agree with Iratus - this is judgemental and a religiously biased question. Immoral behaviour is ubiquitous and evenly dispersed over all religious and political concepts!!!
Ethics and morality predate religion, and have an evolutionary source. That which benefits society and keeps it cohesive is considered moral, that which undermines it, immoral.
I posit that those whose code of ethics comes from society and conscious decision have superior ethics to those who need to follow an ancient book to be moral, out of fear of eternal punishment or hope of eternal reward.
All morality, yours and mine, comes from the fact that we are a social species. Like all social animals we have evolved to be cooperative, to see that the needs of the pack or tribe override the individuals need, and that by working together our chance of survival is improved. Anything that may cause social unrest are frowned upon and often penalized, anything that promotes social cohesion offers a better chance for survival and are thereby rewarded through natural selection. It was humans that applied these principles of social conformity when creating the gods that have been worshiped throughout history. By obeying authority, helping/loving your fellow humans, and conforming to a religious doctrine/group behavior, they are rewarded, by not doing so they are condemned. Morality came first, our gods came after.
1 year ago
Last edited at 5:34PM on 3/14/2013
runumbered.....this is a loaded Q and you have gotten flack for it. I have read all of the answers and your comments. Not sure what you hope to accomplish here, but it appears you are misinformed (or just unaware) of exactly what an atheist is. We are not a group of believers or followers. The ONLY thing atheist have in common is a lack of belief in god/gods. That's it...nothing more.
Although you have not specifically said so, you intimate that an atheist is immoral. THAT is where you are getting all the flack from.
Morals have nothing to do with religion. Morals are simply knowing right from wrong. "Will this hurt someone? I better not do it." "Will this benefit someone? Yes I should do it"
Now you can adjust those values to coincide with your religious teachings, but that does not make them a religious "property".
Popular opinion has nothing to do with it...period.
My apologies to Caluvox as most of the following mirrors his answer, but this question gets asked so often, I just cut and paste this from my archive...
This knowledge of right and wrong (the Golden Rule) is the result of millions of years of evolution. Unlike some other animals, our survival was dependent on our learning to work together. We found that our chances of survival were better if we treated one another the way we would want to be treated, because the result was that others treated in such a manner were more likely to come to our aid when we needed it most. Those who tried to "go it alone" found themselves distanced from the group and less likely to survive. By the process of natural selection, this ethos found its way into our genetic makeup to the point that we are all born with the varying degrees of propensity for a rudimentary understanding of right and wrong.
This concept of the Golden Rule was well established by the time the human brain evolved to be capable of the abstract thought necessary to conceive of supernatural deities, and thus some form of the Golden Rule was incorporated into virtually all religious doctrine.
I get it from a much more reliable source. Common sense, logic, family, society, upbringing, analyzing each situation, what causes the least pain or damage? I find it totally contradicting and hypocritical for anyone to get morality from an ancient book that tells you to love your neighbor and then tells stories of genocide.
I've answered this question before in a much less educated fashion that those above me.. but here goes. Caveman sees cavewoman. Caveman wants to have sex with cavewoman. Cavewoman has a headache. Caveman bashes in cavewoman's brain because he's mad. Caveman now doesn't get sex b/c cavewoman is dead. All the other cavepeople see the actions and consequences that happen and realize that caveman bashing cavewoman over the head is bad... errrr.. immoral. Thus the learning process began. Slowly evolving to realize that the things you do that hurt others... is bad.
Most of us get ours from the society we live in, although it may change over time based on our experiences. Like, for example, in American society it's practically wrong to be homosexual. But, as an atheist, I can't feel it's immoral because I've met really nice homosexuals. Honestly, our morals come from the society we live in. In some societies, it's immoral for a woman to even show her ankle.
My brother had a massive stroke tonight . He is still alive. But it's these kinds of things that jolt us all back to reality. People accusing others of "acting better than others" , cutting and pasting because the mods allow this question to go through so many times even though they say they won't , and sometimes I feel were are just other's entertainment as we constantly and consistently review and proclaim our beliefs and ALWAYS when a few new people come on here. My answer? Let's quit falling for this trick and just refuse to entertain something that IS insuling just for the sake of entertainment. I have watched each of these fine members who have answered this question shine again and again this last year as they help others with serious problems and serious solutions. I don't like the idea of someone new coming on here and acting like they're the first one on this Earth that's thought of this concept and then proceed to insult my friends who have been here for me and others, though we have not agreed everytime . The line gets stepped over when the name calling begins...and if one of us were to be gone tomorrow, would it all have been that important?
What you call "morality" is human nature. As several others have indicated, humans evolved in complex societies. For you to answer your question study the evolution of empathy and cooperation. Here are a few excerpts from some links to get started. - "There is strong evidence that empathy has deep evolutionary, biochemical, and neurological underpinnings. Even the most advanced forms of empathy in humans are built on more basic forms and remain connected to core mechanisms associated with affective communication, social attachment, and parental care. Social neuroscience has begun to examine the neurobiological mechanisms that instantiate empathy, especially in response to signals of distress and pain, and how certain dispositional and contextual moderators modulate its experience. Functional neuroimaging studies document a circuit that responds to the perception of others' distress. Activation of this circuit reflects an aversive response in the observer, and this information may act as a trigger to inhibit aggression or prompt motivation to help. Moreover, empathy in humans is assisted by other domain-general high-level cognitive abilities, such as executive functions, mentalizing, and language, which expand the range of behaviors that can be driven by empathy." http://www.mendeley.com/catalog/neuroevolution-empathy/ +++ We are so used to empathy that we take it for granted, yet it is essential to human society as we know it. Our morality depends on it: How could anyone be expected to follow the golden rule without the capacity to mentally trade places with a fellow human being? It is logical to assume that this capacity came first, giving rise to the golden rule itself. http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/the_evolution_of_empathy ++++++ Rats are wired to show compassion for each other and will help out their fellow rat rather than get a treat. http://news.discovery.com/animals/rats-empathy-111209.htm
I don't know...why don't we ask Jimmy Swaggart or the Bakers or countless other of self-professed "God-fearing" folks where their morality comes from? As far as popular opinion goes shall we assume that what is popular is what is moral?
All people are born with the " light of Christ " (otherwise known as conscience) ! Even though this is true some people chose to go opposite of that light because it is harder to follow your conscience than to just " indulge " in wrong behavior!