Why I Am Good Without God.by Don Lacey on Mar. 13, 2012, under Atheism, Critical Thinking, Ethics, Faith, God & Bible, Logic, Reason, Religion, That's Life!
Here is another post from Jim Wilson:
One of the big selling points for belief in a God is the whole morality issue. It seems a lot of people need to explain away the need they feel to be good or kind to one another, or more importantly need to feel that there is some sort of sense of fairness or justice to the universe we live in. They need to feel that someone or something rewards acts of benevolence among humans, while dishing out punishments for acts of evil. I understand the appeal of this desire.
Like nearly all people, it upsets me to see good deeds unrewarded and bad deeds unpunished. We hate thinking that some people can simply get away with theft or murder while we have had to work hard for every lucky break we get. It’s a great source of comfort for many to think that it will all somehow work out in the end. For too many people a belief in a God or Karma is absolutely contingent on the need to think that there is some reason for us to be kind to each other, other than the immediate results. In short, people have a strong need to explain morality and believe in an ultimate sense of justice, that they are willing to take on absurd beliefs to fill this need.
God, we are told, gives us a moral compass and a reason to treat each other kindly. Christians believe and readily admit that if not for some combination of desire to please and fear of a God people would be running about, murdering, pillaging and raping each other. To be honest, if your belief in God is the reason you refrain from these behaviors than, by all means remain a believer, but I’m left with doubts. I personally do not suspect that many religious people would pursue careers of rape and murder if they lost their faith in a God and as is to be expected nearly all the atheists I know are fine caring people. Some of the least religious societies on the planet today have some of the lowest crime rates, and the American prison system has a disproportionately small number of non-believers (though admittedly causation is not correlation and there is likely to be a whole host of reasons for this).
What is more, there are countless counter examples to the claim that religion promotes moral behavior. It has a history of condoning and justifying slavery, mass murder, ethnic and sexual bigotry and hatred. The suicide bombing community is extremely religious as is the female genital mutilation community, the pedophile priest community, the “kill the gays” community, the Sharia law community, the KKK. Many of the worst elements of modern global society exist because of religion. Religion cannot help but produce an us (the believers) versus them (everyone else) mentality, which is always conducive to generating conflicts. I agree with the notion that to make a good person cheerfully do horrible, wicked things it takes religion or something like religion (for example, the dictator worship in North Korea).
Personally, I behave morally, because it is rewarding for me. I would not go around harming others because; I have no desire to do this. Being good to others is far more rewarding. To quote the Beatles: “in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.” In other words, love and kindness are some of those few things, in which the more you spread the more you get back. For me, making someone else’s day brighter is one of the greatest rewards we can receive, and I do not attribute this to a God having made me this way.
In fact, I attribute it to evolution. We are a social species descended from other social life forms. Being able to cooperate and feel empathy for one another has played a huge role in our success as a species. This is both in terms of our long term reproductive viability and creating the comfortable technologically advanced society we live. Social empathy and cooperation has been so crucial to our well being that it has been highly selected for in our species. Furthermore, every successful society has sought to reward it and punish individuals who violate it. That is why we imprison thieves and murderers.
While viewing our morality as a consequence of our biological heritage may demystify it, it also helps emphasize the importance it holds for our well being. Also, knowing that we live in a world that is not inherently just, shows us the importance of doing all we can to make the world a better place. This has been key to the advancement of our societies and has made the comfortable lives modern humans live possible.
In short my morality comes from my concern about the well being of the people around me, especially my friends and love ones and it does not need the authority of a celestial dictatorship to give it a stamp of approval. My secular morality is better than religious morality: I am good to others, simply for the sake of being good to others. My kindness is in no way contingent on being watched, or offered eternal punishment or reward, nor does it come with the myriad of highly destructive baggage religious morality comes with.