so at a recent party,  I was listening in on a conversation that my Christian friend and some of his christian friends were talking about how people can believe that there is not god? I as a in-the-closet-atheist. didn't say anything but his friend said "Where does moral thought come from?" and i was pondering that idea that our thought can bring moral actions and moral judgement. If there is a god than he would give Humanity moral thought? i dont know this question is hard for me to come up with a conclusion. could humanity just think about morals without a god present?  

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Comment by Tom Holm on May 29, 2012 at 6:34am
Pff I get sick of hearing christiians thinking we need a god to have morals. Just goes to show you what kind of people they would probably be if the didn't believe in god
Comment by Dave Mac on May 29, 2012 at 9:25am

If you take a look at Genesis, actually, one could argue that god never intended to give humanity knowledge/morality. He was quite happy having the first two humans running about the Garden of Eden without either, so long as they didn't eat from that one tree of knowledge

Enter the snake. He convinces Eve to take fruit from the tree and eat it, which she then shares with Adam. Suddenly boom, knowledge and morality; they're aware of the fact that they're naked, they're suddenly aware of themselves and so on. So yes, by the Christian myths themselves it wasn't god who gave us morals. It was Satan.

As for where morals actually come from, that's a little harder to explain but it is possible to do without factoring the divine/supernatural into it. I'm going to quote directly from Jake Farr-Wharton (the blog post I'm stealing this from is here), because he explains it much better than I can:

"Around 2.5 million years ago our ancestor, Homo habilis began congregating in ever larger groups, as evidenced by the remains they left behind. Due to the fact that the ability to congregate, an ability which we take for granted (if you question this, please experiment by placing a foreign mature male gorilla in an established group), confers such an immense advantage in survival, those who were able to stay in groups passed on their sociable genes and propagated the remainder of the Homo genus with that trait."

That trait is what we have now come to understand as 'morality'. It's not something given to us by a god or gods, it's not something absolute and unchanging; it's something present within all of us, a survival mechanism that has allowed us to work together to become the dominant species of the planet. Almost everyone has it, to a greater or lesser extent; those who don't we call psychopaths.

So yes, should you ever be asked where morality comes from, there's a decent answer for you. Certainly makes a lot more sense than 'snake did it'.


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