Atheist Morality


Atheist Morality

A place for atheists to discuss morality issues. What shapes your morality? What new perspectives have you found since abandoning faith (if you ever had any)? Is there any merit to religious moral authority?

Members: 407
Latest Activity: Jul 7, 2017

Religious Faith Morality & Epistemological Absurdities

Discussion Forum

The Moral Outrage Guilt Cure

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Jul 7, 2017. 0 Replies

Addicted to Escape

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Dec 14, 2016. 0 Replies

Sam Harris The Case Against Christianity

Started by dudaboli yev Sep 23, 2015. 0 Replies

Morality as Contagion

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Joan Denoo Aug 30, 2015. 1 Reply

Testosterone and Cortisol together raise cheating

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Jul 29, 2015. 0 Replies

Torture - symptom of Decadence

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Idaho Spud Dec 16, 2014. 6 Replies

How Religion can make you happy to kill! - Thunderf00t

Started by Loren Miller. Last reply by Jimmy McCann Dec 16, 2014. 7 Replies

Defining Evil in today's world

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Ruth Anthony-Gardner May 20, 2014. 2 Replies

Climate Destabilization Is Violence From Above

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Apr 9, 2014. 2 Replies

Comment Wall


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Comment by Geraldo Cienmarcos on November 16, 2011 at 8:58am

Distrust Feeds Anti-Atheist Prejudice - Miller-McCune
Research finds atheists are widely perceived as untrustworthy, which may be a factor in why they're disliked more than other minorities.

"People use cues of religiosity as a signal for trustworthiness," the researchers write in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Given that “trustworthiness is the most valued trait in other people,” this mental equation engenders a decidedly negative attitude toward nonbelievers.

There is no actual evidence backing up the assumption that atheism somehow leads to a decline in morality. In a 2009 study, sociologist Phil Zuckerman argued that "a strong case could be made that atheists and secular people actually possess a stronger or more ethical sense of social justice than their religious peers," adding that they, on average, have "lower levels of prejudice, ethnocentrism, racism and homophobia" than the much larger population of believers.

Comment by mike on March 28, 2011 at 10:37am

i always roll my eyes when the morality topic comes up.  atheist have the  moral high ground, by this i mean,,we dont do things or not do things out of fear of punishment .

the other avenue,i school the theist in,is that most of the prison population in the usa,is god believers. with over 17% of americans being atheist agnostic or non religous. we would have more than a 1% prison population,if god belief gave you morals and standards. clearly critical thinking educated people ,are less likely to go to prison.

ill end by saying,,morals are based on culture. what is deamed moral in one culture is not so in another.

Comment by Geraldo Cienmarcos on November 28, 2010 at 11:50am
Why Religious Believers Are So Desperate for the Atheist Seal of Approval

Many religious believers are intent on getting atheists' approval for their beliefs. If you're hoping for that -- don't hold your breath.

Comment by Geraldo Cienmarcos on October 29, 2010 at 10:57pm
Frans de Waal and Jeffrey Schloss on empathy in primates and humans

Frans de Waal and Jeffrey Schloss
in discussion.

topics discussed:
Percontations: Humanity's Primate Heritage
Human nature, primate nature, animal nature
What's so special about human empathy?
Why not have sex at every opportunity?
The "altruism is a meme" meme
Can you live a morally good life solely on the basis of religion?
Is morality a self-deception?

Frans de Waal is the of
"Primates and Philosophers: How Morality Evolved"

I have a quote, which is a favorite of mine, from Stephen Jay Gould that fits here:

" History is made by warfare, greed, lust for power, hatred, and zenophobia... . We therefore often assume that these obviously human traits define our essential nature. How often have we been told that 'man' is, by nature, aggressive and selfishly acquisitive? " ... What do we see on any ordinary day on the streets or in the homes of any American City -- even in the subways of New York? Thousands of tiny and insignificant acts of kindness and consideration. We step aside to let someone pass, smile at a child, chat aimlessly with an acquaintance or even with a stranger. At most moments, on most days, in most places, what do you ever see of the dark side -- perhaps a parent slapping a child or a teenager on a skateboard cutting off an old lady? ... I'm only trying to make a statistical point."
Stephen Jay Gould. (essay collection) Eight Little Piggies: Reflections in Natural History. "Ten Thousand Acts of Kindness," p. 280
Comment by Geraldo Cienmarcos on October 20, 2010 at 10:08pm
Christian Right Insiders Reveal Racism, Virulent Anti-Immigrant Attitudes and Homophobia in Prominent Religious Right Group

"I'd much rather be working in the secular world than for a ministry," said the founder's former secretary, still a conservative and devout Christian. "The secular world is nicer."

Comment by Alex McCullie on August 25, 2010 at 8:51pm
I read three huffingtonpost articles by Matt Rossano: Understanding Religion Through the Lens of Relationships, Why Religion Is Not Delusion, and Augustine of Hippo: A Role Model for Intelligent Faith. I like his psychological take on religious belief and why 'rational' arguments will not dissuade believers. I made a similar point during a public lecture I made on Naturalism to a local atheist group.
Comment by Glenn Sogge on August 25, 2010 at 8:18am
I'll second the recommendation of the Lakoff & Johnson books along with most of the other stuff Lakoff has written (I don't know about the recent socio-political things, tho'.) Plus, Women, Fire, and Other Dangerous Things is a great title.
Comment by Alex McCullie on August 25, 2010 at 3:44am
I'll look at Rossano. I appreciate the lead. Thanks again (I have read Boyer's book and enjoyed. As always, it's all about time or not enough of it.)
Comment by Alex McCullie on August 25, 2010 at 1:02am
Thanks. My reading and study is reasonably wide (though admittedly from a philosphical bent). Definitely check out for the recent morality seminar, if you haven't done so already. Hauser's moral grammar (a la Chomsky) is very interesting. Also you could look at Lakoff and Johnson in books like "Metaphors We Live By" and "Philosophy in the Flesh". They say our higher-level conceptual thinking - love, beauty, and so on - evolved from earlier physical interactions such as movement and is often reflected in our metaphorical language. Very interesting! Alex
Comment by Alex McCullie on August 24, 2010 at 4:21pm
I probably don't tie 'embraced' atheism to a specific world-view as you do, even though I'm quite comfortable with the one you advocate. I agree, though, that by rejecting the god of society, atheists need to look elsewhere for explanations about our beliefs and behaviour, typical our biological, familial, and cultural histories. Similarly philosophy offers useful frameworks for reviewing these and suggesting future actions.

Overall I still see David Hume as being correct when saying that reason is slave to the passions. World-views and moral attitudes and responses are later rationisations (almost like retelling of a dream) of our deeper emotional responses to others and the world around us.

We share some common moral sensitivies or receptors (moral grammar in Marcus Hauser's terms) by virtue of common biological evolution, but our moral intuitions are well and truly shaped by culture and society. Even the concern for the individual (harm, rights) is very much a Western, secular concern. Other groups often put greater emphasis on group solidarity even at the expense of personal harm (to themselves and others).

When I give public lectures on naturalism and atheism I'm often asked whether naturalists must be by necessity moral relativists.

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