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Morals without God?

Excerpt from article by Frans de Waal, the NY Times online.
Perhaps it is just me, but I am wary of anyone whose belief system is the only thing standing between them and repulsive behavior. Why not assume that our humanity, including the self-control needed for livable societies, is built into us? Does anyone truly believe that our ancestors lacked social norms before they had religion? Did they never assist others in need, or complain about an unfair deal? Humans must have worried about the functioning of their communities well before the current religions arose, which is only a few thousand years ago.

Link to full article: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/17/morals-without-god/?src=me&ref=general

 
tasches

Asked by tasches at 3:24 PM on Oct. 18, 2010 in Religious Debate

Level 48 (298,202 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (38)
  • If all humans already innately have morals within them and nobody needs God, why do some seek abortion, why do we have serial rapists and why do some people on Cafemom swear vulgarity at others? Why does my friend drink herself so much into a stupor that she is unable to keep a job? Why do people crave illegal drugs? Why do people engage in pre-marital sex, extra-marital sex and homosexual sex? Why does my father-in-law have a gambling problem? Why do we have war, concentration camps, sex offenders, child abusers, slavery and racism?
    flatlanderjenn

    Answer by flatlanderjenn at 11:19 AM on Oct. 19, 2010

  • My morals and ethics are based on how I feel about myself. Not governed by any book, whether it's the Bible or otherwise.
    specialwingz

    Answer by specialwingz at 3:30 PM on Oct. 18, 2010

  • I've been saying that for as long as I can remember! Couldn't agree more.
    Anouck

    Answer by Anouck at 3:32 PM on Oct. 18, 2010

  • At best, it is frightening that *some* people need a defining line between bad behavior and good. At worst I am fearful of religious folk, not only because of their broken inner compass, but because of the open end of interpretation that their text permits... And the malice with which it is used.

    "Good for Goodness Sake" is inherent to the human race, unfortunately religion has imprinted its followers with the concept of higher answering, and gives them a 'get out of jail free' card for the afterlife. Regardless of how they have actually lived.
    ObbyDobbie

    Answer by ObbyDobbie at 4:03 PM on Oct. 18, 2010

  • No one needs God to tell them what is right or wrong... If anything I believe having a strong belief in God tends to diminish one's moral compass, not strengthen it. People are not naturally born feeling it's okay to harm others... Yet, trillions of people easily use God as their excuse to do just that... Morals are guiding principals, they are the rules we place upon ourselves based not on a belief in God but out of an understanding of what is and isn't right. While that understanding MAY be influenced by our belief in God, it doesn't need to be and can easily be enjoyed without any Godly beliefs...
    SabrinaMBowen

    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 4:28 PM on Oct. 18, 2010

  • Everyone has their own moral compass that they follow, despite their beliefs, or lack there of.
    my2.5boys

    Answer by my2.5boys at 4:32 PM on Oct. 18, 2010

  • Its that very line of thinking that cause people to believe atheists are evil and lacking any and all morals. The very idea that one can have both values and morals without a guiding book from god is unimaginable.
    For me, it's my very way of life. My morals and values come from a place deep within. I've never needed a book to guide me in my decisions....simply my heart and sense of humanity.
    sahmamax2

    Answer by sahmamax2 at 4:30 PM on Oct. 18, 2010

  • Ok. So everybody has morals. If people want to credit their diety for morals, well fine then. I do not see a point really. It does not prove either way.
    2tinyhineys

    Answer by 2tinyhineys at 4:08 PM on Oct. 18, 2010

  • I totally agree. I am so not religious but I have high morals and intend to live up to them
    Roadfamily6now

    Answer by Roadfamily6now at 3:36 PM on Oct. 18, 2010

  • i find that excerpt and those who agree with it to be full of crap. no one is morally righteous because of their religion. humans need humans, its inate. morals are not just for those with religion. everyone has morals..some of the perception of right and wrong may vary, but everyone has an inner voice that tells them how to act towards others. its not exclusive to a holy book or its readers.
    i find this line of thought to be a bit condescending towards those who do hold a religion. its like saying, ''you are only good because your Book tells you to be good. '' that's crap.
    I am wary of anyone who thinks those WITH A belief system THINK THAT is the only thing standing between those with a belief system and repulsive behavior. i read that notion often here on CM. its just as ludicrous as the notion that those without a belief system have no morals. total crappola.
    dullscissors

    Answer by dullscissors at 4:41 PM on Oct. 18, 2010

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