You couldn't be here if stars hadn't exploded.
To the question, “Why me?” the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply, “Why not?”
Atheist: Natural Morals, Real Meaning, Credible Truth

27 March, 2011

Why am I moral?

Another rabbi embarrasses me « Why Evolution Is True:

"I’m pretty sure that Rabbi Jacobs, like nearly all Christians and Jews, picks and chooses his Biblically-based ethics. Why? Because he has an innate sense of what actions are right or wrong, or because he doesn’t think that god’s expressed will comports with modern secular reason and “well being.”

Those, by the way, are also the sources of atheist ethics."

Why, as an atheist, am I moral? Why don't I take and use as I please? Because not following reasonable social standards would not promote the well being of me, my family, my community. Where do those standards come from? From rational reasoning and consensus in the community. Sometimes that consensus isn't all that rational, especially when it is based on theology and belief in magic. But there is no sign that any of it had to come from any gods. Except for the commandments like not to worship other gods and to stone unbelievers to death. Those sound like rules to help keep the priesthood in control of the masses and are not really morals.

In addition to the rational, reasoned morals, there appear to be innate morals that we come pre-wired with. Most of us couldn't abuse our children or harm our parents or attack for no reason our neighbor. There is plenty of evidence this is not learned but innate in our brains. Religion tries to claim ownership of these morals but it is clear we and many mammals come with them ingrained. Thus the free will argument rages, I am not free to harm my daughters because I have these ingrained morals holding me back. The religious say without god, I could. I don't think so. Could you? Seriously?

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