One of the questions that atheists are often asked is how a set of morals are established without having them handed to them from ancient, desert-wandering, superstituous tribes. (There's a similar thread on Think Athiest in the forums here
I address this issue by first admiting that, as an atheist, I have no moral
standards--I have an ethical
The reason is that the term morals
has a religious connotation to it. There's no getting around that. By trying to argue that an atheist has morals but simply arrives at them differently than a theist is not a position that can be won. Morals are derived from religion. It's simply a fact I concede.
However, because I don't give religion any weight, I replace morals with ethics, a secular standard which is superior. It's superior because an ethical standard is based on evidence of the worth of a particular behavior. It can be debated openly and changed as needed. When new evidence is obtained that tells us a particular ethical position is misguided, we should change it--we should want
to change it. New evidence should be readily incorporated into one's thinking and appropriate changes should be made in response.
Try and get someone to agree that a moral standard is flexible. Fat chance.
As a bottom line, I never try to jump into the ring set up by any religion; it is nearly impossible to maneuver. The rules are rigged against reason and thinking. There are always better alternatives to what a set of myths and superstitions offer to us. Look for them.
If you don't do battle on their terms, they have no one to fight.