Do we need to abandon all moral ideologies because we are atheist?

Why does it seem that there are so many atheists who want to go the exact opposite extreme of religion?  Maybe I’m more of a humanist then because I do still have a very strong ethical code that I decided on using logic and a true sense of compassion towards others.  Moral judgment can be based on the net positives it can provide for the whole of society.  Aren’t we all striving to improve ourselves and our communities? Freedom is a wonderful thing worth fighting for, but if those freedoms are not for the betterment of society then we must question if that particular freedom would be best if regulated instead.

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There is such thing as morality without religion and I think most atheists know that and are good people despite their lack of religion.

Even animals have certain baseline "morals" in that many species have shown completely altruistic behavior. Gorillas saving a toddler falling into their enclosure for example. Dolphins saving sailors. These animals were complete strangers to the humans in question and still provided aid. 

Obviously animals do not have the higher functioning (not sure if deluding yourself counts as higher functioning but it requires those parts at least) abilities to create delusions of higher powers. So why are they altruistic in these cases?

Seriously morals require reasoning...


Those same gorillas the males also kill their own young so the mother is in heat for mating again for pleasure.. and the dolphins kill porpoises for sport ....


Yea animal morals thats a funny one

Morals are sociological and fluid.  What might appear to be "moral" in one context, may become "immoral" in another.  There are "default morals" that we have agreed to as a society and have been driven into us from birth, but it all comes down to things like empathy, courage, and the society that you are in.  That is why "morals" are different for every continent, country, state, county, city, faith, denomination, individual church, family and person.  No two person's moral code is the same.  And there are times when, even when 2 people's moral codes don't match, each person can see and appreciate the other person's position.


That is why it's so funny that xians think that morals come from god.  If they did, we would all have the same moral code.  But since no two people have the exact same moral code, that code couldn't have possibly come from a single finite source.  And that is why saying that Atheists don't have morals because we don't believe in god is a strawman argument.

Of course the second question is "which morals?"  :)

And humans kill animals for sport.

Exceptions do not an argument make. Saying one amoral behavior negates morality for the entire species negates it for humans as well. The point of my post is that there is some ingrained instinctual urge to do certain "good" and "helpful" actions even in animals and claiming random amoral killing rampages will occur without a deity is ridiculous because such actions don't even require higher level thinking.

Instinct and morals are at odds with one another.


You cant attribute one to the other. An instinct is done without thought, reason, or value simply for survival. Morals are anti survival in many cases. Instinct would tell me to kill competition for food. Morals tell me that it would be just as harmful to myself to murder an innocent person as it would be to kill them. Hence why we dont do it.

hi Steven, i think you are ontrack, i mean as social animals i think we have instincts to be altruistic for the survival of the group which makes it easier to survive and likewise an instinct to band together to defeat larger dangers than one person could handle like a neighboring group or a pride of lions or flood for instance. Not to forget the getting better food and sex in a group than you would alone. If you are alone, there is no need for morals at all, what would you be moral about? Im just reaffirming my own thoughts on the subject... thanks for evryones thoughts this is great!

There is a difference though when your talking about a societal group you have now left behind Morality for Legality.


In any group there is a set of values but those are laws with consequences..


Its the reason god doesnt enter into morality at all even for religious people. Commandments are laws not morality.


Morality is what you do when no one is looking. The consequences have to be self imposed to be a true moral.

I'm not sure I agree with that.  A huge part of socialization is propagation of the species, which is purely instinctual.  The instinct to put yourself between a child and harm is strong in many people, even when the child isn't their own.  When an emergency happens, people will often do things that will cause themselves harm to protect a child, a spouse, or even another person who they don't even know from a perceived threat without giving it a single thought.  We have learned, as a species, over the last million years, that to preserve "the clan" is central to our own survival.  I know if I saw a woman being raped in an ally way by several men, I would not hesitate to jump into the fray, even if I was pretty sure that I would be harmed or even killed in the process (I know this for a fact, since it did happen).  Based on your assertion, my instincts should have told me not to do that, since I gained no benefit and it would have caused no harm to me to just keep on walking.  And since I was in the middle of the sh!t before I really knew what I was doing, my "morals" had no play in the situation.


I do know that a lot of people *would* have walked on by for fear of getting hurt themselves.  Or from just straight lack of empathy for the victim.  That's why I say that morals can't possibly be based on a reward / punishment basis.  Your moral fiber is who you are in the dark, when you think no one is watching.

I think your example the morality isnt saving the clan. the morality is that you would feel bad watching someone else suffer and not acting when you could have.


The clan mentality builds on and enforces personal values but there not dependent on each other.


If i saw someone not of my clan say a christian being abused by a priest i am not part of that clan yet i feel empathy and the need to act based on my own personal suffering that would occur by not acting. If my soul motivator was clan preservation the suffering of another clan would not affect my emotions at all.

The language instinct by steven pinker talks about the instinct to acquire an art, and im wondering along the same lines if empathy itself is something like a pseudo instinct that may not develop without others teaching, i have read somewhere that children dont develop empathy until a certain age when their brains are developed enough.


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