Do Atheists believe in morality?

Of Course! What kind of incoherent blah-blah  is it to claim that an atheist does not have morals or ethics. A user at a philosophical forum posted a topic claiming that a theist is the only one who has morals and ethics, while an atheist does not have any reason at all to do morally, or ethically right actions. This post will be short as my response is quite succinct and clear, so here it is.

An atheist is one who does not hold the belief that there is a deity, or supernatural order (creator) to the universe.It is not necessarily the case that he or she does not believe in morals or ethics, although it is nevertheless possible. Ex: Murderers who are atheists.

But it is also the case that it could be possible for a theist to choose not to believe in morals. Ex: Reverend Ted Haggard (click his name to see what I mean)

Why is less likely for a theist to stop believing in morally and ethically guided actions? Because of fear, plain and simple. Christianity for example claims that you (ok..maybe not you specifically) the immoral, unethical, evil doer will be sent to hell unless you confess your sins. That is a scare tactic, unfortunately it does not do any good on us atheists. An atheist does not require a scare tactic in order to see that doing something  for another human being is good. We do good things, not because we are afraid, or told by some deity, or priest, or book, rather we do it because IT’S GOOD! That’s it.

The user who claimed this should really refrain from generalizing people based on their belief systems.

~ by Peter on March 11, 2010.

2 Responses to “Do Atheists believe in morality?”

  1. Hey Peter, it’s Ellen how are you?

    I stumbled upon your blog today while aimlessly browsing Facebook. It’s interesting to read some of your blogs…I’ve studied with the Theology department for some time, and they have suddenly awakened the Apologist in me, haaa. Here it goes:

    Here’s a statement you wrote that “provoked thoughts” in me:

    “That [Confession] is a scare tactic, unfortunately it does not do any good on us atheists.”

    Among all the Christian misconceptions, this may be one of the biggest I would say, even amongst Catholics. In reality, the new expression that is recommended of use is “the sacrament of Reconciliation”, focusing more of the amicable Reunion with God, as opposed to the daunting act of Confessing.

    Of course, this perspective is only relevant to the Believer. To atheists, I will make an assumption that it wouldn’t be so much…What’s thus left is the “scare tactic” definition of Confession…

    There are many other misconceptions about Christianity. It’s unfortunate that NONE of them can be well clarified without a “certain order” or reasoning. Essentially, every Christian ritual/ideal/dogma is rooted in the idea of the existence/presence of “God’s love”; it is my opinion that no ideological discourse using Christian references/rebuttals can be sound if you do not acknowledge that fact, despite your personal beliefs.

    I challenge you to dig deeper when it comes to your Christian references, ESPECIALLY when it comes to Sacraments. There is a whole universe to Christian apologetics…especially if it is your distant/unexpressed goal to affirm your Atheist beliefs in a cerebral, pedagogical way. If not, it always helps to enhance the credence to your rationale. I think I will do the same…



    PS: Human beings are naturally flawed. It is not our instinct to “recognize”, much less “do” good. One of our finest personality traits is that we are selfish beings. Asking anyone to “do” good is asking them to go against themselves, which is why there needs to be so much debate and discourse of “what good is”, “why we should be good”, the notion of free will, etc…Things are never that simple. Much to be debated.

  2. Hey Ellen, thanks for reading my post and commenting.

    And to reply to your first question, I am doing good 🙂 and yourself? How was your semester?

    The post was not intended to make any assumptions about Christian references.

    I will admit that this post was not written with an objective in mind. Other than stating that an Atheist can and do have morals without a belief in an ‘ultimate reality’, or a supernatural force, the whole post was a subjectively driven rant.

    Never the less, I assume that the Catholic Church prefers to reference Penance as “sacrament of Reconciliation”. I wonder -and hope you could explain it to me- whether the procedure in which one reconciles with god is different now, than from when it was referred to as Confession. I admit that I do not fully understand the way in which it is carried out.

    Also, I am not entirely sure that I would agree with the notion of human beings being naturally flawed. I would very much like to consider the idea, but could you maybe offer me a more in depth explanation as to what you refer to as ‘flawed’. Did you mean that we naturally strive for chaos? Or that we are naturally (excuse the term) programmed to do wrong?

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