The Morality of Choosing Atheism


Being an atheist is not an impediment to moral behavior. In fact, the case could be made that becoming an atheist is, in and of itself, a moral action. Atheists do not subscribe to the notion that they are merely abject sinners whose only hope for salvation is to surrender their lives and their wills to God. Nor do they find that fear is an appropriate motivation for determining whether or not an action is moral or correct. One should not make such decisions based on a desire for the reward of heaven or the terror of potentially going to hell. One should act for the betterment and advancement of the human race, the one family in which all can claim membership.

Atheism holds one to a higher moral standard.

When the premise of God or the Devil is removed, responsibility rests with each newly empowered individual. No longer can they say that an occurrence was God’s will or that the Devil made them commit some atrocious act. As the sole authors of their destiny, they begin to understand that they must act rationally and with care to do as little harm to themselves and to others as possible. They are more likely to act with the greater good in mind.

History also gives an excellent defense for the morality of atheism.

Many horrendous acts have been done in the name of a god. Christianity’s history is steeped in the blood of innocents. Since its inception, its detractors have often been dealt with in brutal fashion, from the Crusades of old to the burning of supposed witches.

Today, by attempting to impose its supposed morality on the entire nation, the Christian right stands in the way of many progressive ideas, such as stem cell research, that could potentially save countless lives. By their determination of what is moral, many are denied equal rights. The Catholic Church, in their steadfast adherence to the doctrine which is centuries old, is responsible for the deaths of many whose lives might have been spared by the most basic lesson in sex education.

Wars are endlessly fought over whose god is the true god.

Even a seemingly small difference in doctrine between two sects of the same faith can lead to violence and bloodshed. Devastating acts of terrorism being waged against those who will not submit. Buses, trains, and buildings full of innocents are sacrificed in the name of this holy and moral purpose. And while there are those who would claim that humanity is merely paying the required price for its self-indulgent and godless ways, the inescapable truth is that these deaths are the direct result of overzealous true believers wishing to impose their faith on the world.

Obviously, it cannot be claimed that all atheists are of an upstanding and moral character. That would be as absurd as stating that all religious people are somehow backward thinking and amoral. However, atheism is an alternative to the dehumanizing ethos prescribed by most religions, wherein humans are lowly and base creatures who can hope for nothing better outside the sphere of god’s influence and love.

Atheism encourages and prizes self-worth and self-determination for all. People can and should decide for themselves, based on evidence and logical thought, what is or is not moral. And they can do so without the aid of ancient and outdated religious texts. Human beings can not only be good without god; they can be better.

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