Explaining Atheist Morality to a Christian Family

I recently "came out" as an Atheist to my Christian family. They responded well, though they asked a lot of questions about why I decided to leave the church and reject God. I explained my various grievances with the Church which they all agreed were valid points, yet hey were willing to overlook them, something I could not do.


Then my mother threw me a curveball. she said "If you have no God to hold youself accountable to, why bother being a good person, why not lie, steal and cheat?" I tried to explain how the right thing is still the right thing and how I didn't want to only to make the right choice because out of fear of punishment. I wanted to do the right thing because it was the right thing to do.


She then went on to ask me why it was the right thing to do, who said so? I responded with my conscience told me what was right. She asked me what told my conscience that right was right and wrong was wrong.


And this was where I said something along the lines of: "Uhh...buhhh...meh?"


So my question to you all is: Where do you base your morality from, and how do you defend that morality against people who believe that morality can only be based off of a God?

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Ask her where she gets her morals.  She says god, and that's very special, but where are these morals laid down for her?  The Bible?  Which ones would those be?  The ones where god encourages rape, kidnapping, and murder?  The sacrificing of children?  And if she says she doesn't follow those, but likes the ones about loving thy neighbor, etc., point out that she seems capable of choosing which moralities that feel right to her and discarding those that seem wrong to her, and that she obviously doesn't need god to help her with that.  Thus, why should you?   
If I was a fly on the wall for that conversation I would have to say OOOH Burn!!!!! lmao!! Great Advice M!!
This is the key.  If she doesn't believe that slavery is OK for example, then she can't get her morality from the bible.  Being able to make the choice of what items in the Bible she will ascribe to versus which ones she would reject means that she simply MUST get her morality elsewhere.  How else could one decide what to accept versus what to reject.
Thank you, thank you.  It's one of my favorite arguments, if one can have a favorite argument.
Well stated [like]

The answer is quite simple:  All morals worth having are based on empathy and logic, with a dash of community standards thrown in.  As M pointed out, this is exactly how your mother picks her morals.  If you need god to tell what is moral and force you to behave, then you are either truly psychopathic or have the mind of a small child.









i'll use my "golden rule of atheistic moral or whatever"

"Treat others like how you want them to treat you"

do i want someone to lie to me ? thus i dont want to lie.
do i want someone stealing my stuffs ? thus i dont want to steal.
do i want someone cheating on me ? thus i dont want to cheat.

the list could go forever and it works both ways too.

why bother being a good person ? because we dont want bad things happen onto us though shit happens.

To paraphrase Hitchins "I do not need to take my moral code in tablet form" when refering to 10 commandments.

Ask do you need to be commanded not to kill or steal?

Also most of the commandments are about worshiping god and not right or wrong.

Just found the video here is the (missing) link. This is all we on Earth need to know about them.




Questions of morality Predate Judaism let alone Christianity as well as existing in societies that had  no contact with Judeo-christian philosophy. I'm paraphrasing here but Robert Heinlein said that morals are just  rules that a society creates for its survival, which seems as good a definition as any. As to the golden rule http://www.atheistcartoons.com/?p=3701



guess the golden rule have a long history...

The very same thing has come up, many times. I choose to only practice behaviors that I would find acceptable in others.  I choose to always live as I choose and to never let my freedoms step on the toes of someone else's. "Do unto others" is simply put. I know in my heart what is right, if it damages no one or no thing, it is as good as can be.

Now, let's look at the whole "Morality" concept.  I have morals that I have created for myself.  No God was needed. I don't even like the word. I have chosen to use this one and only life to learn, to love, to grow, to become 'tuned in', if you will.  That is my morality.  It has no place for judgment, no room for self-serving arrogance. Every life is important, every idea, equally valid.  As long as no intentional harm is present.


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