If you are a non- believer, why be moral when no one is looking?

If you are a non- believer in, all that you do is being recorded in the heavens, why be moral when no one is looking?

If there are no records and no witness, why not do anything you want?


If no one sees you do it, then is it a deed not done?


If all of this is true, then why do we have a conscience, where did it come.


We are told in scriptures that our conscience is our natural way of doing God's will in the absence of his Law.

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Evonda, Excellent comment. You hit the nail on the head and I feel exactly the same way. This is one of many reasons I am against religion. Be a good person because it's the right thing to do, not because you fear hell or want to go to heaven. Have compassion and empathy because it is in your heart. Sometimes I think I am more "Christian" than most Christians! There is also the mentality that since Jesus died for our sins, we can do anything dispicable, say we're sorry and it's all good. It's an excuse for people to do whatever the hell they want and get away with it. Then there is the crap that a tiny little baby is a sinner! Give me a break!! What bullshit!! I remember when my daughter had to make her first communion. I was so upset. Her dad wanted her to be catholic. Since I wasn't real religious, I agreed. She had to wear a little white dress and veil like a bride, go into a dark box with a man in a dress sitting there and tell him her sins. I was so upset I had to take a valium. I actually cried. She asked me in church, what to tell the man. I said she should make something up. Tell him she didn't clean her room. She said, "But mom, I did clean my room and I said, Right, you lie and then you are covered for the next confession because you can say you lied". HA! Years later she refused to go through confirmation. I had never ever told her my non religious view points. One day when she was about 13, we were sitting in the kitchen, and she pointed to the refridgerator and said, "Mom, that refridgerator is white, correct? Well, if you told me all of my life that it was blue then I would believe it was blue, right?" I agreed. She then told me that is how she feels about religion. It is something you are taught. It doesn't mean it's true. I was so happy and relieved. Phew! She got it! Oh yeah! The catholic church did not brainwash her! She was too smart for that!!! Oh hell yes!!


"If there are no records and no witness, why not do anything you want?"


I already do pretty much whatever I want, but harming others simply does not fall into the category of things I want to do. Instead of asking what keeps people from harming others I would ask what motivates people to harm. Not murdering requires no motivation.

I have to disagree with you there, Evonda.

The pre-socialised child will indulge their un-monitored automatic responses to their environment.  The adult with damage to the forward-most parts of the frontal lobes (usually due to a motor vehicle accident or due to a particular kind of stroke) will do the same thing.  If something causes them pain they will lash out at whatever they think is causing it, without considering the ramifications.  If their automatic behavior causes them to make a mistake, then it will happen over and over again. 

Adults may be able to verbalize what is happening or predict that they will make a particular mistake at a particular point in a puzzle or activity, but they do not have the power to prevent it happening because they have no control over their automated and automatic behavior. 

Once these parts of the brain are destroyed there is no way to compensate for their loss.  The victim is permanently unable to do anything other than follow their automatic responses - which may be the end result of years of learning and practice or may simply be a knee jerk reaction to a strong stimulus. 

For example, a head-injured nurse who was asked to collect and test a patient's urine mystified her superiors when she consistently threw the urine in the toilet without testing it.  She could repeat the instructions perfectly and had no idea why she could not follow them.  A famous radio evangelist who was in a nursing home after a stroke which affected his frontal lobes would horrify Christians who visited him and found him openly masturbating or watched hitting staff people who accidentally bumped into him.  He was perfectly capable of murder if he were sufficiently provoked into a rage as he had no way of calming himself down or controlling his instinctual behavior to "protect" himself.

Humans, and other social animals, are actively taught how to suppress their instinctual responses when they are counter to the values and good of the group.  Their community will reinforce the learning by punishing them if they do not conform.  That is how "good" behavior is learned and the social conscience is formed. 

Remove the frontal lobes and the social teaching process and you have a biological entity that will act without thinking of consequences, even when the action will kill them.  When this failure of socialization is caused by genetic aberration the victims remove themselves from the gene pool, unless they are protected by society in such a way that they are given the chance  to breed or unless the impairment is not total (think of sociopaths who are capable of disguising their lack of appropriate socialization.)






Sociopathic personalities comprise the majority of CEO's of major corporations

Any evidence for this claim? Not saying that there aren't any, but 'a majority' is way off the mark. Which current CEOs would you label as sociopaths and why?

Rosemary, I cannot relate anything you said here to my comments. You seem to be talking about people who have been damaged in some way and are not morally accountable because of it, while I was simply stating why I personally behave morally. I never said that punishment and reward do not work as a means of encouraging people to behave in a morally acceptable manner, but that they themselves are probably amoral. A morality that has not been internalized always has to depend on outside forces (divine or governmental authority) to make it work, and people who must be forced or coerced into doing good are not really good.

Her point is that morality is a brain function and that some people who suffered brain damage behave in strange and/or immoral ways. Nothing to do with accountability.

Steve, her point has nothing to do with my comments, which she said she must disagree with, since I was simply answering the question of why be moral if no one is watching. I don't think I said anything about where morality comes from but was focused more on reasons people choose to behave in a way that is morally acceptable. If morality is a function of the brain, then how can someone who is brain damaged be immoral? I think they would have to be amoral (cannot tell the difference between right and wrong). Wouldn't immorality be choosing the wrong even if one knows what is right?

I deserve some of that, I think.  While what I said added to the discussion (I think) it was not entirely pertinent to what you said.  Sorry about that.  I make mistakes! 

It's my experience that most Atheists I know consider themselves serving a higher morality than religious people do. We often consider one of the worst effects of religion is that religion allows people to feel moral when they are actually highly immoral. Look at the violence in the World today. It's almost all performed in the name of some god, even the Christian God.

This would make me conclude that the closer someone claims to be to God, the less of a conscience they have.

A bit less eloquent than I'd put it, but I agree fully.

People are innately programmed to do mostly good, and the easiest way to make them do bad choices is to add religion.

Very well put.  I wish I'd said that.


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