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A Moral Atheist

November 3, 2012

Throughout the history of man. Religion has held the most important questions in life hostage. One of the most important topics that has not been able to escape the grip of todays’ religions is morality. This is not always religions fault however. Society today will shy away from the important questions in life, as most people seem to feel inadequate or not in touch spiritually enough in order to answer these complex rooted questions. It is reasons like this that our world will leave it to the religious leaders to tell us how we should behave, what is morally right, and what is morally wrong. It is here in this post that I take a stand against religion. I will show that religion not only lacks the answers, but no longer has the right to be given the responsibility. We are no longer in need of the aid of stone age books and the delusional leaders force feeding us the answers. Because they are wrong.

Outgrowing Religion

What people may lack when faced with the deeper questions of life is the confidence to pursue enlightenment. True enlightenment. The answers that we are all looking for do not lie in old books written by sheep herders, but in the findings of science, the understanding of what is, the forward discussions of honest and compassionate intellectual thought, and the lessons that we can gather from these practices.

We are an intelligent society. Technology has allowed us to literally find the remnants of the big bang. We understand physics at a particle level and beyond. With each branch of science, one can find an ocean of knowledge, an ocean filled by the progressive minds that devoted their life to a passion of learning and understanding. We are a people who could correct every flaw in a book that today far too many still rely on to live joyously. It is when people understand this fact that progress will come.

Defining Morality

Somewhat cliché, but it must be done here. Morality (Moral is essentially defined the same) is defined in the dictionary as conformity to the rules of right conduct; moral or virtuous conduct. After reading this, I am sure that like me, you thought that this is far too vague a definition. However, people have seemed to relish in the vagueness of this definition of morality. The idea that it applies to each person differently, morality is subjective rather than objective is what many find appealing. While this may be true in certain specific (and typically unimportant) scenarios, this idea is false as it will typically be built on a selfish foundation that holds no tangible meaning.

As someone who holds much of my passion in the world of science, I think we would be better served, as a whole, with a more concrete definition that doesn’t allow vagueness to harbor immoral activities as moral. Perhaps my favorite philosopher, who also wears the hat of a neuroscientist, Sam Harris, attacks this subject as well as anyone could in his book The Moral Landscape. If you choose to read it, you will come to find that I agree with his view on morality just about 100 percent. In this book, he does what I believe was the biggest necessity in taking morality out of the firm grip of religion by defining it in a way that actually cuts to the core of what we all have known to be true morality.

With the readings of Sam Harris, I firmly pass on this definition of morality. Morality is based on the well-being of conscious creatures. As a sunrise brightens a dark room, many questions of morality become more clear. Now it is worth being said that morality is still a very difficult subject. There are many moral scenario’s one can present that take minutes, hours, days, weeks, and so on to solve, and even from here some are not solvable with the limited knowledge we have. Nonetheless, with a clear definition, there is a ground to walk on, and I think that many will realize, it is the ground they were walking on all along.

A Moral Atheist and an Immoral Theist

I now find myself surprised that Christianity (at least for the majority of the population) claims to hold the answers to morality. They also present morality as a cornerstone to their religion, almost as though the religion is based around their moral beliefs. This is clearly untrue. Through reason, atheists establish morality, whereas reason is not a factor in the morality of the religious. It is what God says that is moral. This is why the religious can justify the slaughter of the hundreds of thousands, they can justify racism, sexism, and, on the forefront in today’s society, the suppression of the homosexuals. This is the eyesore in society. Religion is not concerned with the well-being of conscious creatures. They are only concerned with what their God demands.

Take, yet again, an even closer look into the religions that have effected all of our lives and something becomes clear. Morality is but a minor byproduct of the religion itself. Regardless of the fact that their morality is poor, the importance of their morality is virtually nonexistent. Morality is not what is important in religion, what is important is worship. The subservience to an all-powerful being. Bowing to him and giving your life to him is all that matters. Deeds pay but a minor tip in the rewards that God would offer in the after life. Take this example for instance. An atheist could give to charities, doing all they can to help the sick, the hungry, and even helping animals and so on and so forth. This atheist could be all that one defines to be good, but if he does not believe in God, does not bow to God, does not worship God, this man is doomed to hell. What kind of message does this send? Your good deeds truly play almost no role in the reward of everlasting life. The byproduct that it is can be seen when presented with a psychopath that believes in God, an immoral theist one could say. Many of the faithful may claim that he is doomed for hell. This may be a true statement, but all this psychopath must do is accept Jesus, or ask for forgiveness, and his immoral life is rewarded. Why? Because he worships God, and that is all that really matters.

Conclusion

The religious have fooled the world. They have maybe even fooled themselves. The religious powers claim they hold the key to morality. The truth does not exist in that claim. Morality is something that requires reason. Answers to moral dilemmas cannot be found in ancient texts that promote slavery, slaughter, and many more atrocities. Morality is an illusion in religion, which is made all the more clear by my “moral atheist” analogy. At the end of the day, it is not one’s works that send him or her to heaven, it is the worship and subservience to God. There is one thing that many will agree religion does not hold the key to, and that is the key to reason. That key is held by us, the atheists. We embrace reason because it is perhaps our most precious treasure. With reason, we can truly establish a morality that is unlike, and far greater, than any morality told to us before it. We hold the key to morality. Not the religious.

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From → Morality

2 Comments
  1. I came here searching for something else, but this enthused me regardless. Interesting stuff!

  2. Thank you, Stefan. I’m glad you enjoyed this. 🙂

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