Do Christians, Deists and Atheists (any belief) share a common ground when teaching "good" morals and ethics?
By that I mean basic "good" human behavior - which apparently many are written in the Bible (10 commandments and such), such as to not be violent, to not steal, to not cheat or commit adultry, to not lie, to not kill each other. These are some basic human behaviors that every human should live by regardless of their religion or belief. Is it fair to say that these are the common ground that people should obey at a minimum. I'm not taking sides here with the Bible although they are written in there, I'm pretty sure there are other religions that will state something similar in one way or another. Please mention of any examples if you are knowledgeable in alternate religions - codes to live by that invoke "good" behavior. I'd like to hear my fellow Atheist point of views too, possibly, from what basis or source in which these "good" morals and ethics could be taught.
- Anonymous1 decade agoFavorite Answer
Atheism isn't a religion or moral philosophy.
There's a certain amount of common ground between Christianity and humanism, but not that much. For instance, I take issue with your prohibitions on adultery and lying. Adultery is fun when you have permission, and while lying is wrong, I suppose, in most circumstances, it's not up there with killing and violence. I'd rather replace that prohibition with, say, rape or torture if you must enumerate. If those had been enumerated rather than lying and five totally useless commandments to make sure you were worshipping the correct imaginary friend, then perhaps the inquisition, the crusades, and witch burnings would never have happened. Perhaps.
Christianity does have the golden rule, which is closer to a common ground with humanism, because it asks you to actually consider whether you'd be ok with all this stealing and killing if you were on the butt end of it. But the Christian golden rule backfires because Christians believe in an afterlife of eternal reward or eternal punishment. The worldly (and finite) consequences of actions, therefore, get squashed under the weight of eternal reward and eternal torture. That is EXACTLY how the Inquisitors justified torturing people: a finite amount of torture now is better than an infinite amount of torture later. And suddenly the golden rule is f*cked up beyond all recognition. The golden rule means nothing if it means that torture is OK.
The problem with Christianity, though, is that it does not encourage empathy, or much consideration of actions at all. You really just have a list of rules to follow (sort of), and that's it, no thinking really required. And if you make a mistake, it's no big deal because Jesus forgives you (even if it's little Timmy and not Jesus you actually maimed and killed). Christians appear to me to waste most of their time praising their god or making sure they believe in him and not enough time thinking about ethics. A lot of them believe that if they believe in Jesus then they are magically ethical without having to think about it at all. Just read this board.
I've never been to a "bible study" group, but I don't imagine that there is much ethical discussion in them. From the way they behave towards others, I assume It's just a bunch of cheerleading for Jesus, and not much asking and discussing questions like, "Is it ok to be violent towards those who are killing others? Is it ok to steal bread when you are starving? Is it ok to commit adultery when you have permission? Is it ok to lie to an evil person? Is it ok to kill in self-defense?" The world is not as clear cut as your simple rules would make it, and Christians tend not to desire to consider the gray areas, which is where moral wisdom is really found. It's easy to say "killing is wrong," but it takes wisdom to shut up and try to determine where the boundary is in certain situations that makes it right. Is self-defense ok? Is going back in time and killing Hitler before he kills 12 million? Where is that line?
My personal humanist public-ethical philosophy has two axioms: do not take unfair advantage of others, and don't be a dick. Any person who seems to follow these axioms is OK in my book. You don't need ten commandments telling you *specifically* what not to do; that's counter-productive, even, because it halts all discussion of those topics. I prefer a single axiom that simply requires you to think about what you're about to do and who it's likely to hurt. You can't go wrong then. Well, if hurting people is what you're trying to avoid.
- Anonymous5 years ago
This is a very broad question. Atheism literally means 'without god' and since most human acts of devastation have been in the name of one god or another, this would suggest that they are less harmful than people with a religion. If you think about it in a more abstract way, atheism promotes free thinking and the choice to believe what you want without the hindrance of someone telling you what is correct without any evidence. In this way, many religions actually promote ignorance over knowledge. (The reasoning behind this lays with early society humans trying to form a manageable society that functions well together. Religion is a very effective way to do this, hence why there are so many similarities between them). So depending on what you mean by harm, in early human society atheism could have been more detrimental to the progression of the human race but in recent times (the last 150 years or so) religion is losing its place in modern society.
- 1 decade ago
Morals and ethics isn't a religious thing.. we all have grown up with the human nature of having moral responsibilities.
*Edit: Ok maybe there are some psycho killers out there without it..*Source(s): Atheist
- Anonymous1 decade ago
Yes, the main thing that will get you to heaven is morality, honest and righteous living, you don't need to be a 'Religious' person to live that life. I have always said that Heaven has more atheists with morals than so called 'church' people.
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- Wine AppleLv 51 decade ago
As an atheist, I teach my daughter good behaviour and instill in her a decent sense of morals. She behaves well because she is aware that it hurts others to treat them shabbily, she doesn't do it out of fear of eternal damnation. To teach her that, would compromise my own sense of fair play and good morals.
- 1 decade ago
We are all so greatly affected by what our society thinks that, without some external standard, we are unable to know what is good. Slavery once was good. Killing Jews in Nazi Germany was good.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
Only in that we are all human beings!