Agnosticism and Morality


Agnosticism is a philosophical view that says it is impossible to know whether or not god exists. Morality is about right and wrong, but it’s also about the way society conducts itself. Although the title does not say so it implies that to be an agnostic means someone cannot have a sense, a philosophy, of what is the correct way to behave without religious instruction.

If we look analytically at what some of the great religions permit, and sometimes decree, as moral behavior, it seems to be immoral. For example, a number of religions consider that if a woman has been raped she has sinned grievously and is at fault. It is difficult to follow the logic of that. Perhaps the male leaders of the religion (they usually are male) believe that she asked for it. A woman overpowered by superior physical strength and subjected to a brutal assault is hardly a willing victim. Rather than castigating her, she needs a great deal of support.

Sometimes it is hard to distinguish what is the right thing to do.

It is as big as ‘what is the truth’. Only an individual’s personal code of belief can guide them and the question then arises of how each person establishes that code. What experiences and events in their life frames their understanding of right and wrong? What is the driving force which allows them to live in a morally good way?

Give Love and You’ll Receive Love

There is a poem that says that if you treat a child with love they will learn to love, yet if you treat the child cruelly they will learn cruelty. The poem is by Dorothy Law Holbe and is called ‘Children learn’.

Children soak up subliminal as well as carefully taught messages and what they experience will be their guide. When an adult says to do this, but in their own life they don’t do that, children take notice and learn double standards. Few adults are not guilty of talking to children like that at some time.

Again many religions believe we are born wicked and will, therefore, take the evil choice, if given the chance and not controlled. That is a hard philosophy to deal with because if we are damned, why be good? An agnostic is free to believe that individuals are born innocent, wanting only the best of behavior. Many individuals come to be agnostics after looking very carefully at the moral teaching of their religious upbringing.

When an individual cannot believe that a god exists, it is dangerous to state this because others will believe them to be degenerate and immoral. Such a belief is not easily reached and is the result of careful thought.

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