Having found such a large group of people who can see through the thin, yet sometimes impenetrable, veil of religion, I feel the need to bring this up. My largest problem with any given religion is the need for an outside source of moral fiber. Morals are a part of you, something you should know, or at least have the gut feeling of right and wrong. I comprehend that "right" and "wrong" are just words, what matters is what you do, but those words can easily be defined by whoever tells you of those words. Example: What is right to you, is wrong to him.
So my question is, do you, as atheists, need a book of morals, something to turn to when right and wrong are all muddled up?
I've had considerable success with asking, "What would god do?" - then doing the opposite --
Seeing good and bad in all kinds of people is one of the big things that got my eyes opening toward the truth about religion. I saw that there are good people and bad people in Christianity. Then there are good people and bad people in Islam also, and good and bad religious Jews. If people can be good or bad apart from what their religious worldview teaches them, I began to wonder if religion could really be that useful.
I'm certainly inspired by morals that I read in books. Some of the things Jesus said are still very inspiring to me. I look to Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr. and Shane Clayborne when I want to read about morality. I may try studying some of the great philosophers to see what they have come up with regarding our world. I might even say that reading about inspiring people can lead you to have better morals, or to act on your morals more consistently.
So I think a book of morality can be very useful to an atheist, but the atheist considers whether a book is moral based on evidence and logic, not based on how it makes him feel or how many other people have said it's moral.
Those Buddhists have got it going on, at least in the "We don't care what you do in your bedroom." department.
I do not believe most of these "issues" are even questions of morality.
Extramarital sex, and abortion (just having the choice), are the only potentially moral questions in that chart, although it is a good chart.
My morals come from my understanding of our natural environment and perception of how I must best act for the survival of my own self and my species.
In my experience, Right and Wrong are never muddled up, as long as you are willing to look at things truly objectively, with the benefit of the many in mind. True, there are some moral thought experiments that muck things up pretty well, but they usually involve circumstances that would never happen, especially to the average person. You simply have to realize that just because it's in the bible, doesn't mean it's inherently religious. Killing takes no great force of mental exertion to peg down as always wrong, except as a means of self preservation. That's not to say that war makes it alright, because conflict can nearly always be circumvented.
That's not to say that war makes it alright, because conflict can nearly always be circumvented.
Wow, I'd like to see some believable evidence to back that statement up. International conflicts tend to be either naked aggression or between states whose interests are incompatible.