A deeply pissed off ex-Christian

Hello, First of all may I thank you for your site. As a deeply pissed off ex-Christian myself, it is excellent to finally find a community of people who think as I do. It has made me laugh and feel better about myself, and has armed me to the teeth against the Christians I am currently surrounded by.

You seem like someone who is ever open to debate and I have one question for you that I find interesting. Throughout your site I find Atheism referred to as a morale imperative. My question is this: Without a god or higher power, where does morality come from? If man is the sole arbiter of his fate, and there is no Cosmic justice, why should man not just "Do as thou wilt?"

I often find it fascinating how many atheists reject all gods and powers yet cling to love and morality as higher laws.

Your Thoughts?

From Oldblackeyes

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

You don't do as you will because there are jails and gas chambers,or at least,there should be.

Ian said...

Because i'm not an atheist (Thiest/buddhist for myself), I'm afraid I really can't answer the question. I think my answer would be "Morality comes from people who want everyone to live together in peace and harmony."

jimearl said...

It's not really the atheists you should be concerned with. It's the people who have the biggest god (weapons) that you should fear. I am atheist and damn proud of it. However, I would never do some of the things that our christian leadership has done. I have seen far more vicious stuff done by the religious than by non-believers. Take 9/11 for instance. Without religion, that may not have ever happened. Nineteen young men gave their lives for their religion and took over 3000 innocent men, women and children with them. Horrid. You believe in god, good for you. You are atheist, better for you. As soon as people have respect and love for other people, the killings may stop. Until then, religion will continue to upset people and cause needless death.

openlyatheist said...

'Morality' is just people behaving in a way you find acceptable. It comes from your opinion of what other people do.

Behavior and opinions of behavior come from people and their natural needs and wants.

Placing a god in front of the question doesn't solve it. How did god decide what was right and wrong? What criteria did god use? Etc.

Anonymous said...

"Without a god or higher power, where does morality come from?"

Human reason and experience.

Ethics, codes of conduct and laws have had their roots in religious beliefs for thousands of years, so it may be hard to see that they can exist independently of religion. As we move towards more secular societies we do not discard laws prohibiting murder, theft, assault and other crimes, even though they may have origins in religious belief. Take a look at the founding documents of the US. There are many excellent ethical principles set forth without reference to God or the Bible.

"...why should man not just "Do as thou wilt?"

Because you would end up with anarchy, which is not a good way to run a society.

"I often find it fascinating how many atheists reject all gods and powers yet cling to love and morality as higher laws."

Love is not a law, it is an emotion (although a very good one.) I don't think you can say that atheism itself is a source of morals or ethics, it is simply "denial of the existence of God or gods," but there are various atheistic philosophies that have more to say about morality.

Here is a good overview of atheism:
http://www.answers.com/atheism&r=67

Alan

Steven Bently said...

If I mash my finger with a hammer, ouch damn!!! I know it hurts my nerve endings are sending a signal of horrific pain to my brain, I also know if I hit another person with a hammer, it is going to hurt them just as much, I didn't like my experience and my brain also tells me that you would not enjoy that experience either so just out of respect for my fellow man/woman I would not want them to experience any unecessary pain either.

Getting through life itself on a daily basis is a pretty big ordeal for must people, so why make things any more worse for them, we will all eventually experience a tragic experience or emotional trauma and eventually final death. It is my intention to live a long and happy life experience as I possibly can, so if I desire to live a long and happy life, I also know by common reasoning that my fellow man/woman want also to experience a long and happy life to experience life as long as entirely possible.

Life is so short, there really is no justification to hate others to the point of personal harm. I think we're all being cheated by such a short life span.

To have compassion or love for our fellow man/woman is not a trait of a christian, nor can the love and compassion of a Bible God be measured, nor proven to exist.

lothartx said...

I fail to see a real link between religion and morality. It's tactic commonly taken by most religions, but I after taking a good look at the very violent and intolerant past of at least xtians and islam, I personally find it to be false.

I think we evolved a generally compasion and coporation because that's what best served early humans (and other species as well.)

I found a book along these same lines. It does pose some interesting ideas and makes one wonder if we are just here to do what's best to pass on our genes.

http://us.penguingroup.com/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9780140264456,00.html

lothartx said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Lessons in Anthropology 101.Homo Sapiens Sapiens,{us}are social animals and social groups have rules.Some of these rules are instinctive(incest) while others were learned.Social interdependence was the best survival strategy for such defenceless animals and as our social groups evolved from small family hunter-gatherer groups to farming villages to cities etc., so grew the complexity of the rules.(Honey, don't kill your brother, we need him to be a hunter);(Honey, don't kill our neighbour, he's the only skilled plowmaker for many days walk);(Honey,don't kill that King because they have developed RELIGION and his people believe in an eye for an eye). In short, morality has evolved but has been hijacked by religion with some positives such as empathy for people of other races as long as they have accepted our GAWD.

Nvrgoingbk said...

That fact remains that religious morality is ARBITRARY my friend. It is just as fickle as secular morality. All of the world's religions propose a moral handbook if you will. Most of these "handbooks" are strikingly similar. The three monotheistic religions all believe that murder is wrong but kill eachother everyday.

It may be hard to seperate morality from religion simply because superstition (religion) is a part of life. It has been since the dawn of man. It is a simplistic way of explaining the universe and if a group of people create a God then they had to create him or her with some moral absolutes.

There are other animals that show compassion and non violence around the world. Do these species have a higher sense of morality than other species who are violent? Of course that sounds ludicrous, right?

Stanley explained it the best, I think. It's common sense. Human beings are not by nature blindly cruel. We do not wish to inflict pain on others, because we have experienced it ourselves or can at least imagine it and do not wish to inflict it upon others. There are some men and women who seem to come from the shallow end of the gene pool and seem to have no moral compass at all. Ironically enough many of these people claim themselves to be religious!

The only correlation between religion and morality is FEAR! Why does one have to be bullied into doing the right thing? They don't! There are some people more bent toward evil and there are some people more bent toward good. It can be seen in young children who have no preconcieved notion of "morality" or "god". There are some children who are born into evil who possess gentle loving spirits. There are some children born of loving religious upright folk who, despite the threats of Hell, seem only capable of selfishness and cruelty.

Morality, suffering, disease, acts of nature, etc. are all RANDOM!!! We can try and cultivate moral character in our children, but too many parents have spent years in vain trying to do just that. Threats of Hell are not making the world a better place. Rewards of Heaven are not making the world a better place. It is up to each individual to decide for him or herself what kind of world he/she wants to live in and try his/her best to create that reality. It is up to each individual as to what legacy they chose to leave for generations to come.

Religion and "God" has been the cause of more wars and atrocities than any other cause on earth. If there is a moral God, pray tell, where the Hell is He? Tell me WHY He hasn't come to set the record straight and corrected all those religious folk who have gotten it all wrong. WHy do the the NONreligious look at the acts of the world's religions with disgust and horror? Why would a mother drown FIVE CHILDREN IN A BATHTUB because God told her to knowing what the Bible says about murder? If religion (The Bible) possesses the epitome of moral standard then why is it so inconsistent with it's own commandments? Why would "God" proclaim murder to be wrong and then command a nation of people to slaughter men, women, children, the elderly and suckling babies? Why would God proclaim adultery to be wrong and then allow a nation of men to keep for themselves many wives? What is "moral" about animal sacrifice? Why would God say that rape is wrong until Moses tells the Israelites to keep alive for themselves the virgins of an opposing nation? Do you propose those virgins were willing participants in the sexual acts that followed? No! They had no choice since their children, husbands and families were DEAD!

Religious morality is an OXYMORON!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey as The originater of this post I would like to say thanks for the response. I wasn't expecting even a reply let alone this much feedback. First off, let me outline my opinion then I will get to addressing some of the comments.

I personally am in NO way religious. I reject god and all religion/spirtuality on the basis of logic and my own personal experience. To me the idea Morality seems to refer to a universal truth of what is good and what is evil. After all if it is up to the individual to decide what is write and what is wrong why not decide murder is moral if it suits your own causes. In fact this is the way I define my own morality. The Idea of Universal Morality is clearly untrue, it is as Nvrgoingbk so eloquently put it Arbitrary at least where people are involved (Infallible creatures of fiction are a different matter)

Anonymous said i cannot do what I will because there are 'gas chambers etc. However I don't really see not doing something simply because you are afraid of the punishment as Moral or 'GOOD' besides many people never get caught for there crimes. Many things generally considered immoral are not necesaraly illegal -cheating on a partner for instance. Also say I decide the punishment - a jail sentence in this country, is worth taking, as long as I accept the consequences of my actions I can still take them, Guilt free.

The Other argument is that morality is a social or evolutionary construct designed to keep society running smoothly -- SOUND LIKE RELIGION AT ALL. so what if morality is for the good of society, if it isn't for the good of ME why should I go along with it. The ideal situation is for society to go on believing in morality, leaving me unmolested but for me to realise it MEANS NOTHING.

Finally I Think the same applies to RIGHTS people are very fond of claiming rights to certain things, but who gives us those rights, if there is no divinity there are no divine rights and if rights are made by man they are worth nothing. The decleration of rights contradicts itself, It claims all men are equal yet if that is so how can the men writing it say what my rights are. By Might, It is those in the position of power that tell you what your rights and others are snd they can take them away in an instant if they wish.

Sorry if this is all a bit rambled and mispelt It was very much stream of concious anyways please feel free to make any comments you wish. If I havn't addresed YOUR point sorry this post was getting kinda long.

xrayman said...

David Mills is the author of one of the greatest books I have ever read: "Atheist Universe: Why God Didn't Have a Thing to do With It"
Mr. Mills states the reason humans are generally moral beings is because of one word. EMPATHY.
When we have empathy for others, morality automatically falls into place.

Obviously those void of conscience whether Christain or not, are the most immoral beings.

Anonymous said...

xrayman, while I agree with what you say, human beings have empathy and this leads us toward kindness. It still leaves us without any obligation to be moral, If we are moral from empathy it is simply that we CHOOSE to be nice because we put ourselves in anothers shoes and imagine their suffering, It is almost a twisted form of selfishness. Empathy itslef is merely an emotion and therefore extremely fickle for example I once would have felt great empathy for those christian fundies banging there hearts against a brick wall on this site. I now feel none. My point really is that Morality is Just as Illusionary as religion in its own way - throw it off. I don't mean be an 'evil' bastard just recognise there is no real right and wrong, good or bad , It is all perception and opinion.

Anonymous said...

Sorry scratch 'right or wrong' from the above that sounds like I don't believe in absolute truth, which I do.

xrayman said...

Oldblackeyes said, "In a way empathy is a twisted form of selfishness."

With all due respect, that statement is fucked up, as well as your logic on empathy in general.

Morality or what one thinks is right or wrong are certainly relative to many factors, but to say they are as illusionary as religion just doesn't make a whole lot of sense to this xray tech.

Anonymous said...

Morality evolved. Wait another 30 years and see what it looks like. It isn't an ideal or a 'right thing', rather it is whatever is successful. So. There is a chance that a religious form of morality would be more successful than general altruism. (may it never be).

The absence of morality is something that Nietzsche thought about a lot. He felt that once you abandon morality and establish your own way (poorly summarizing) you may become a super being (√úbermensch). Very interesting stuff.

Dr. Richard Dawkins speaks much about morality and where it comes from. The God Delusion is out next month.. (YAY!). The 'Root of Evil' video is a taster for that book.

Anyways.. my flawed eyes hurt.. I must go.

Welcome!

R. Shelby said...

Should we follow the morality written in the bible? Look no further than Exodus:

31:15 Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.

How many people need to be executed retroactively?

Anonymous said...

OLDBLACKEYES wrote:

"...why not decide murder is moral if it suits your own causes"

In that case you had better hope your neighbor doesn't decide that killing you and taking your property suits his own causes.

"so what if morality is for the good of society, if it isn't for the good of ME why should I go along with it."

You should define exactly what you mean by morality. Following various laws against murder and theft ARE for the good of you, they help maintain a civil society, and help you keep your property and live to an old age. On the other hand if you are talking about the various stupid do's and don'ts that a religion wants you to follow then I agree 100%

Alan

Anonymous said...

There is the classic question - is murder immoral because god declares it to be, or does god say it is wrong because it is a universal truth? Christians will say it is because god declares it to be immoral. But this makes slavery moral because the bible clearly supports it. No civilized person would agree with this. This simple argument makes it very clear that morality does not come from god.

J. C. Samuelson said...

Atheism, in my opinion, is not itself a moral imperative. Rather, it is a moral imperative to challenge harmful or dangerous beliefs. As a cultural phenomena religion is both dangerous and potentially harmful, particularly those faiths that insist on clinging to ancient books that advocate the destruction of those who think differently.

Morality is subjective whether one is an atheist or religionist. Even the Bible shows how morality is determined by perspective.

The laws contained in Deuteronomy and Leviticus which dictate the death penalty for adulterers, disobedient children, non-believers, witches/poisoners, and homosexuals seem to conflict with the commandment, "Thou shalt not murder." By today's standards, the confict is apparent. By the standards held by the biblical authors, there was no conflict. Killing the aforementioned transgressors simply could not have been considered murder. Rather, it was considered justifiable to kill people who disobeyed God's law or failed to believe in the correct God.

Notice that neither cannibalism nor rape are considered offenses automatically punishable by death. In the latter case, sometimes the victim and rapist are both killed, sometimes the rapist only is killed, and sometimes the victim must marry the rapist depending on whether the victim is betrothed or not and whether it happens in a city or not.

Phlegm said...

Morality is nothing more than enlightened self-interest. You do what's right because it's good for society, and what's good for society is good for you. You might not get as big a payoff than if you acted in the so-called wrong, but it's the realization that other people need to make the same choices, and the hope that they also act in society's best interest, and thus your best interest.

Anonymous said...

I used to think that the church and secular society had very little in common and there was some kind of an invisible "dividing line" between the two (maybe you have heard in a sermon about the "world and the church" as if there are two levels of existence).

When I left church I thought that I had put it behind me and that I was free of it - but then I learned, through doing a welfare training course, that the church still has its finger in the secular pie anyway. The church has influence in quite a number of major political issues - in fact it is more involved than I had realised. So therefore, even in the secular world the church is still a force. You can't get away from it. It is everywhere.

So basically, what I am saying is that even though the world appears to be without any god and even though many people don't believe in god - that alot of standards and values in society have originated from the bible.

I have an American one-dollar coin with the words "In God we trust" imprinted on it - so god is integrated into many aspects of daily life without people even thinking about it.

For any one leaving the church system as I did - learning this was pretty depressing as you can imagine.

Anonymous said...

Morality certainly does come from christians that for sure!...Just read your local newspaper or watch the news.

Better yet,continue to visit this site as we expose the,.."Immoral Majority",...or if you prefer the "Religious Wrong"!!

Anonymous said...

Sorry that's "Morality does'nt come from christianity",...oops!

Anonymous said...

I can answer your question....because i have to look myelf in the mirror everyday.
Just because there isn't a God doesn't mean i can go on a rampagne and do as i please. I still care about others and myself. I am a good and caring person because IT FEELS GOOD and because i care about how others feel about me.
I like being an honorable person.
Sometimes religious people think atheists are not moral or do bad deeds because they feel they never have to pay the ultimate price.
I am sure there are just as many slimeballs among atheists as there are among religious people.
I happen to be an atheist because i study evolution,cosmology and ancient history and it is apparent to me that religion is 'man made', the cosmos doesn't need a creator and evolution is indeed going on all around us this very minute.
It's a simple matter of Logic.

Anonymous said...

I always thought it was fun xians saying no morals without the bible. With out the word of god we would all run around killing and raping or whatever. But what about asking Jesus for forgivness? and its given! whatever it is! Wouldn't that lead one to kill and raping and all? I mean afterwards you can just say I'm sorry and your back in HeaveN

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