Monday, February 12, 2007

Where do you get your morality?

Some atheists seem to have trouble answering this question. In the recent Paula Zahn program on CNN I was depressed to find that the President of the American Atheist Associate Ellen Johnson was posed the question of “where do you get your morality” but Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson. She stumbled in her answer and seemed to avoid the question. The answer of, “where do Atheists get their morality” though is so very simple I am surprised an educated women of her stature was unable to enunciate it.

Society, yes society dictates morality. Murder, rape, theft, all things condemned by society in law, all things condemned by morality. One does not need guidance of a God to appreciate what is fair and what is just. As early as Hammurabi’s code, law has dictated the morality and the morality has impacted law in mutually beneficial relationship which fostered the growth of societies across the world.

The Golden Rule is in fact a very secular idea. “Do unto others as you would have done unto you” is an excellent bit of logical reasoning which any thinking society can and have arrived at without the help of morals imposed by religion. The fact that different societies, with different religions still arrive at this logical conclusion… that people seeking to have their rights respected need to respect others, speaks more to the logical abilities of the societies than to their religion.

Religion does not dictate morality. Society does. Hence why, in a relativist world, different societies will accept different standards of morality, yet they all have them. Atheists will not remove morality from our society; they will add their logic and reason to it allowing morality to better change with the changing of society.

To those who fear changes in morality I say that moralizing persons are responsible for prohibition, one of the most ludicrous and failed policies in American history. Society did not see alcohol consumption as immoral, thus legislating its immorality did not stick.

Where do Atheists get their morality? They get it from the society they live in.

No comments: