I’d really like to know who it was that decided that you needed some sort of deity in your life in order to live with some kind of moral center. The notion is, of course, preposterous. In fact, I would go so far as to say that anyone who claims that one needs God in order to live morally, doesn’t have a whole lot of self-control. Morality is not God-driven. Morality is defined as, among other things, “…virtuous conduct…” (American Heritage Dictionary, 2nd Colllege Edition).
Using the same source, “virtuous” means the same thing as “righteous.” In other words, morality is a matter of making “righteous” or “virtuous” choices. Are theists saying only they can make these choices and make them with God’s help? If so, they have a pretty low sense of themselves as being able to make morally correct choices.
Let’s look at it another way
Let’s look at it from the perspective that those who are religious have moral standards and those who don’t, do not display these standards. Well, then. probably the best example of this would be a nation that allows religion to govern. (Take your pick, Israel, Iran, Libya’s been in the news of late.). Now, from a moral standpoint, I can think of a few things that these countries have done wrong.
How about you?
Now, the Christians out there might argue that, well, you can’t count these nations, since they don’t have “Christian values.” My response is, remember the crusades? The point is, whether, or not, one believes in God does not one thing to improve his moral center. So, if it’s possible for people who claim to be religious to display immoral or amoral judgment, isn’t it also possible for people who claim not to be religious to be positive moral examples?
Catholics Ruled by Guilt
Having been raised a Catholic, I understand where the argument comes from on the other side. I don’t agree with it, but I understand it. They don’t preach morality for morality’s sake. They tell you to do the right thing, or you’ll burn in hell. I think that is the basis behind the religious who claim to be the only ones with a moral center. But, personally, I don’t see how that proves morality at all. You don’t want to sin, because if you do, you’ll piss God off? That’s your only reason to do the right thing? That’s a little thin and a little less than sincere, isn’t it?
I’m an atheist. I don’t brag about it, nor am I ashamed of it. I also happen to think I have a pretty well-established moral center. I don’t need God, or any of his representatives on earth to tell me that murder is wrong; that taking something that doesn’t belong to me is wrong; that giving to charity is right. I have a moral center because I have a moral center. Because I’ve seen the effects of both good and bad behavior first-hand. Because I’m able to put myself in the shoes of someone else and imagine how they’d feel if…It doesn’t take religion to make morality. It simply takes a conscience.