After watching some old YouTube videos about atheism, the question of morality comes up a lot. Where do atheists get morality from? It’s a common question that Christians ask atheists. For some, this is coming from the assumption that morality can only come from God. Others are just curious, so let’s not put every Christian in the same box. And let’s not forget that other religious people might have the same question, since most people who are religious probably would say they get their morality from a holy texts.
Obviously, morality does not only come from paper. Morality is a natural part of the human condition. It also is influenced by people and belief systems. We are predisposed to be moral from an evolutionary perspective. Morality helped built societies and allowed humans to live together. Most children understand morality through empathy, being able to relate to other kids. Yet, morality is also taught. It should be generally understood that morality does not require a “god” or some spiritual being or phenomena. One can argue that his deity bestowed morality upon man without the need of a holy book, but since I don’t accept any spiritual being, I don’t see that as a valuable argument.
I’m pretty sure I have discussed morality in the past, so this post really is just about the assumption that you need God to be moral. Making that assertion to an atheist is kind of useless. Actually, making any religious argument to someone who doesn’t accept your belief is kind a of waste of time, if your aim is to convince him or her that you are right. There is nothing wrong with talking about you beliefs and questioning someone else’s, as long as it’s respectful. However, trying to “convert” someone to your way of thinking is unlikely to be successful.
Trying to convince an atheist that morality comes from God is like trying to convince us that 1 + 1 = 4. We simply do not believe it. I think of atheism and God like the number 0 is to 1. Atheism is not a religion, it’s the lack of it. Zero is technically not a number!
I cannot convince a religious person or a person of faith that there is no God. It would be a waste of time. Instead I can simply state what I know and what I believe. That is all anyone can really do. I would add that criticism is acceptable. People are allowed to find fault with religion. You can also criticizes atheism. What isn’t needed is the heated arguments that aims to tear down or insult people.
At the end of the day, it’s important to be respectful of one’s beliefs. It’s natural to assume that your own perspective is the correct one. However, assuming that most people agree with your perspective is folly. Remember, we all have different experiences and expectations. Stating your belief is fine, just don’t insult me by saying I’m wrong about my own personal beliefs. I try to be respectful of others and I hope you would do the same!
The bottom line: morality comes from within. It doesn’t require a set of religious or spiritual beliefs. It’s influenced by our experiences and the people around us, but it’s our ability to feel empathy and to relate to others that defines morality. We can see another person’s experience and feel what they feel. That’s mighty powerful.