Morals Come From Being Human, Not From The Divine
I am considering changing this blog’s focus to be on atheism, because I believe that in the United States of America organized religion is causing more harm than good. Religious people are not the problem, and I certainly want to see our freedom of religion both protected and practiced, but I also want the theocracy that prevents progress and oppresses others to be abolished.
In other words, Pat Robertson can preach against gay marriage all he wants and I will defend his right to do so. I will also demand that gay marriage be legalized, because the Bible is not a part of the Constitution and I do not give a flying fuck what the Bible says about homosexuality. I believe in our Constitution, and our citizens are free to both practice their religions as well as to be free from the religious beliefs of others. To not defend a person’s freedom of religion (or freedom from it) is immoral to me even though I am an atheist.
“But how can you be moral if you are an atheist?”
Simple – I have a conscience.
It was not put there by “god”, because there is no such thing. I believe it developed as part of our species’ evolution. We developed empathy for each other, as have other animals such as rats, and because of that we have been very prosperous as a species. We have gained as a collective whole because we have a natural urge not to hurt and instead help each other.
“But then you have to explain why people like <insert some really horrific person who did incredibly evil things> exist!”
Simple – we are complex creatures that are capable of great evil, but despite that the norm is still to be kind and loving to each other. Occasionally nature and nurture spits out a faulty product, but the overwhelming majority of the time we get a solid and stable person with morals.
This “evil people exist” argument is thrown out to suggest that without a “god” we human beings are merely animals who will tear each other apart if left to our own devices. Yet Charles Manson believes in and that he actually is Jesus, Hitler was baptized as a Catholic, and the Al Qaeda attacks of 9/11 were carried about by so-called devout Muslims. I do not mention these three examples to suggest that religion causes people to become evil, but I provide these examples as proof that religion does not prevent people from becoming evil either.
With a global population though of seven billion plus people the overwhelming evidence is that we actually prefer not to kill each other. Regardless of what our religion is, or our lack of religion, we as human beings tend to look for ways to co-exist and not to destroy each other. War and violence is not our natural state, but are often the symptoms that are exhibited by human beings forced to live in an unnatural state. We are inherently good.
“But if you are not moral you will not get into heaven!”
I do not know why this is usually the last argument made against my belief that religion has nothing to do with being a moral person, but I take it a an example of people really wanting to help each other. People make this argument to me because they do not want to see me suffer, and according to their beliefs I will burn in hell for eternity because I do not believe in “god” and or in heaven either.
To which my argument is that even if I am moral but do not believe then “god” will still throw me into hell according to the Bible. If this is true (it is not) then “god” is one sick and twisted immoral motherfucker who is nothing more than a egotistical sociopath who likes to set ants (us) ablaze with his cosmic magnifying glass. Acting moral because of this fear is not true morality at all, but merely compliance to avoid punishment.
I do not believe that religious people behave morally though just to keep their tickets to heaven valid. I believe that religious people behave morally as a natural act that takes bloom from their humanity. I behave as a moral person not because I wish to go to heaven, but because I know that there is no such thing as heaven and that does not matter. I am moral because we are moral.
We as a species do indeed love and care for each other. Our love has actually triumphed over our hate, and that is why we have doctors pursuing cures for cancer and teachers putting in extra hours every night to help underprivileged students succeed. Our natural morality motivates us to feed the hungry and shelter the homeless. Our love and devotion to the well being of even those who are strangers amongst us appears when tragedy strikes, whether those tragedies are natural or man-made.
We are moral without the invention of heaven. We are moral without the intervention of a divine presence. We are moral because we are human.
Knowing that we are moral because we are human has given me greater comfort then I ever knew when I believed in a “god” and a heaven. I hope that others have that same level of comfort no matter how they come to it, for I trust that it can only be achieved through moral means.