Well, as I created this group I feel morally obligated to make the first post. Hah! See what I just did there? Oh man, I kill me.

Anyway, Wanted to spark some discussions about Morality and Atheism. I've found as I've allowed my atheistic views to shape a bit more of my life and think more on philisophical issues I've found myself becoming a bit more staunch in my morality. I can no longer support the death penalty as it's a release from punishment, not sending a criminal to some "torment in hell". Also I feel that since we've got one life here on this earth any crime/act/ect.. which increases the misery of one of my fellow human beings is even more reprehensible. While history has shown religion and morality to have a rather incestuous relationship, What I've read seems to indicate that often religions seems to spring up in response to a prevailing cultural zeitgeist. Example: The rise of Taoism in China seemd to be a direct response to the rather top-down prevailing Confucist morality. Well I encouage others to post thier thoughts, help me get the discussion going and all that.

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Hehe, great group.

Well...my own morals. I think it's the responsibility of the government and society as a whole to protect the rights of both the people living in it and, if possible, those not living in it. What I mean is, we should ensure that everyone has a right to life, and that everyone's personal freedoms are protected and that everyone has the ability to be happy through their own choices. As long as a personal choice doesn't infringe on anyone else's rights, there is nothing immoral about it in my opinion.
I can see that point of view, and agree with it up to a point, but personal morality and legislated morality are different entities. From a legal/legislative point of view there's a lot I could do that I would find morally reprehensible, so how does one form ones personal moral code beyond that of what is legal. Currently in the US the voting block is primarily Christian (thankfully even Christians can't agree amongst themselves what behavior is "moral" and what is not) does this mean as an Atheist I should be perfectly happy with legislated morals based on a Christian voting bloc? Is this a main impetus for the spreading of critical thinking and rational thought against the religious bulwark?
You hit the nail on the head. The Christian majority in government is legislating for us, and they are attempting to legislate even more by pushing through anti-choice legislation and things of that sort. When "we" fight back, we're accused of all sorts of things, but heaven forbid (pun intended) that someone question them.
So, I posit the question; given that there are differences in specific items of morality between atheists and Christians (and shoot, even between Christians and Christians), from where do we draw our Moral code? It is merely society's prevailing attitudes or have any of us looked deeper and tried to make moral decisions based on a personal non-theistic philosophy? Do we stick to the ideals we believe in (Freedom, Democracy, Capitalism)? Do we take a speciest view? (what's best for the human race), national view? (what's best for my country of residence/birth/etc..) I'm quite interested on personal accounts and musings and will get to my own in due time.
"...from where do we draw our Moral code?"

Evolution; first it was biological, then (and now) it's cultural.

For morals to come from biological evolution, you'd expect to see precursors in animals, and we do. Many non-human primates (and other animals) have been shown to have moral-like behaviors and rules that are essentially the building blocks for human morals, and necessary if living in close-knit communities.

Once humans got too a certain point, probably the advent of language and/or agriculture, cultural evolution took place. As our communities and societies began to grow, we began to lay down the law, as they say.

So, society's prevailing morals are the result of biological and cultural evolution.
This is fine societally speaking, I've heard this from Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, Hitchens and the like.. what I'm more curious about is personal moral codes, and where they differ from that of the "mainstream" culture. I apologise for using the collective "we" when my intent was more individual. I've met atheists who were against abortion, felt it very wrong to lie, and many other moral stances that are either different from, or divorced from the main, so was curious about how these moral distinctions came about in the absence of a religious authority.
I have but one rule I follow. "Don't be a dick."

Now I suppose leads the the question "What defines a dick?"

Now this is a TOUGH QUESTION if you want an exact definition, but I'm my experience most of us know someone that we and our close peers mutually think of and/or refer to as "a dick."

So while this can't necessarily be defined, there seems to be a a majority agreement as to who is being "a dick."

Pardon the crude language.
Heh, I have a similar rule, with even harsher language, it's "Don't be a *uckstick" different language, same message.
I think that I read this in "Ain't Nobody's Business if You Do: The Absurdity of Consensual Crimes in a Free Society," by McWilliams--basically, don't harm another person or their property, and keep all your promises. It might have come from "Somebody's Gotta Say It," by Neal Boortz, but both books had one version or another of the same ideas. Either way, it really sums up all the law we need and all the morality too. Thoughts?
I think I'm in agreement with you for "consensual" or "victimless" crimes. I've not read the book you referenced, but it sounds interesting, have to tack it to the bottom of my voluminous reading list. I really feel that an atheistic world view leads to some higher moral codes than a theistic one. Once you abandon the concept of an afterlife and focus on your actual life, and the actual lives of others you gain a higher sensitivity to how your actions affect other people and the quality of their life.
I joined this group because I don't know exactly where my personal moral code came from. I know it's an amalgamation from various sources. But now that I've started "coming out" I know somebody is going to either imply or straight out accuse me of not being capable of morality because I'm not religious. I want to figure out what my answer is beforehand.

You've probably all read this before but I found this article fascinating: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/13/magazine/13Psychology-t.html?_r=3...
Well, in my post I stated clearly that I felt that unless something actually hurt someone else, all personal choices should be completely allowed. Meaning, unless you can sufficiently prove that homosexuals getting married hurts anyone but those making the choice, you have no right to legislate it. So immoral would be anything that infringes on the constitutional rights of anyone else, and moral would be anything that doesn't. That's my opinion.




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