As a new atheist, I'm interested to see what some non-believers use as their moral foundation.  Coming from a deeply Christian background, my moral fiber was knitted with no sex before marriage, refrain from using the 'Lord's' name in vain, not using foul language, etc.  But I find that I have a very different view on most of these, like sex before marriage; I think that so long as two people are of age to consent and are willing to accept the consequences that may surround sex then go ahead!


So, with that said, what supports your set of morals?  Is there a 'test,' so to speak, that you run through to define what is 'good' and 'moral?'


Please discuss...

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Sorry, let me clarify on 'inevitable.'

Is it inevitable that morality, with or without religion, will be based on the same reasoning?  I hope that's clear.  Essentially asking oneself 'Is what I'm about to do 'good' for society?'

I come from more of a Wiccan background so most of my morals are based around their creed "harm none, do what thou wilt". So basically I do what I feel is right just as long as I don't intentionally hurt others in the process. I also treat others the way I want to be treated. That is basically how I figure "good" and my "morals".

Ok.  That is certainly a question I ask myself.  If something I do or say will hurt another, then it should be defined as immoral.


I have no knowledge of Wicca, but I do like their creed.  Thanks for sharing that!


I think what I'm trying to do here is to get away from religion and morality being paralleled.  I think it's fair to say that there are more non-believers that are more (?) moral than a lot of believers.  I base that on actions like in extreme Muslim countries, women who commit adultery are stoned to death.  In their morality, which is based on a book, harming someone who committed adultery is morally correct.  Or the ancient tradition of bride kidnapping for example.  You catch my drift.



Interestingly, bride kidnapping is still a playful and symbolic part in some western wedding customs

I've read about groom kidnapping in a state in India.

They kidnap well off guys & force them to marry a girl from their family so that she will have a husband who is gainfully employed.

That reminds me of when I was younger, about 7 or 8, I was "promised" to a man in Fiji (My mother married a Hindu man from Fiji). I remember seeing his photo and he was a lot older than I was. I know it was not a kidnapping but it felt like that to me.
Geez, I've never heard of groom kidnapping until now.  Disturbing.  Genice, that's another thing, child brides, that bothers me about some traditions.  If I'm not mistaken, these are customs and traditions that were started solely by religion.  Child brides though is very disturbing.  A very young girl is married off to a much older man, sometimes the age gap is very large.  Anywhere from 7-10 year old females are married off to a man in his 30's to 40's.  She'll be pregnant by 13-14 years of age, and some die during child birth.  Sad stories.  Even outside of the realm of religion, where is the morality in these traditions?  Forcing someone into wedlock against their will is, by my current standards, immoral.

I completely agree about in immorality in child brides. It's just like the Mormons. The women (girls rather) are married very young and have NO say in it. It is very sad. A friend of mine lived in Salt Lake City, UT and took a tour of the temple there. She said that there was a little dress on display and someone commented on how small it was. The tour guide said it was small because they did not have McDonald's back then. My friend said it looked like it was made for a 12 year old. I have no doubt in my mind that is how old the bride was.

In a very general sense: if it no one is harmed, it's good or neutral. If someone is harmed it's bad. Of course there are exceptions to that. Sometimes it is necessary to harm someone to protect someone or something else. But you run into similar problems and gray areas with a religion-based system.


The Golden Rule isn't a bad basic guideline either, but it's hardly unique to Christianity. You will find versions of it in many other religions and philosophies, some of which predate Christianity. If anything was inevitable it's that simple principle. In a small tribe it makes sense to be nice to others because it will likely be reciprocated. Someone's survival depended on other tribe members and vice versa. It was only when society became more complex that sociopathic behavior truly paid off.


>"Is it inevitable that morality, with or without religion, will be based on the same reasoning?"


Certainly not, because large parts of religious "morality" isn't based on reason. It's just a bunch of rules to control people, get them to conform and keep them in the cult. Especially the things you describe like cursing and sex. It often overrides people's innate morality and convinces them to do things that are immoral by other standards.


Anything serious is self-evident. Do people really need to be told not to murder and steal?

Ok.  That's very well written Steve.  I certainly agree with "large parts of religious 'morality' isn't based on reason."  In my reply to Genice just above your post, I mention a couple blatantly obvious examples of what you're talking about.  Namely stoning of women who commit adultery and bride kidnapping in Muslim countries.

I like Sartre's question from his essay Existentialism: "What would happen if everybody looked at things that way?"


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