Where does your morality originate?


These random thoughts will be a tad deeper than the last post 🙂

Recently on twitter I witnessed an incredibly reasonable discussion between a believer in God and a non-believer. It centered around the believer trying to understand where the non-believer goes to find answers to life’s mysteries and, then specifically, on where he gets his moral compass.

This is a question from believers that has ALWAYS bugged me. I say his as someone who has spent large parts of her youth as a believer and follower of an organized religion. I’ve vacillated since my mid-20s between calling myself a believer, a non-believer and an agnostic. I’m probably most firmly planted in the latter because I simply Do Not Know. OTOH, I also don’t necessarily care – that sounds callous, but it just isn’t an important topic in my life. However, at all points in my life it has always rubbed me the wrong way when believers claim that you HAVE to believe in order to know how to be “good”. That somehow a lack of belief means you would have no ability to recognize right from wrong.

That is so insulting!

This believer on twitter made the analogy that as a believer you have access to the only store in town that sells apples (church – providing morality). When you renounce your belief and leave the “store” you lose access to apples forever. A very simple metaphor, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE the non believer’s response:

“In your metaphor sir? I have an apple tree in my backyard.”

EXACTLY!!!

Morality, whether you are a believer or not, comes from within YOU. Many believers have murdered. Heck, frequently folks USE their belief as a reason to kill. Beyond that extreme example, believers break all sorts of secular laws. They cheat, lie, commit adultery, steal, bully etc etc. So do non-believers. It is a failure of their PERSONAL moral code, not a lack of an outside source telling them how to behave.

I remember another non-believer telling me something that rang true with me. She left her church because she was tired of seeing so many people use prayer and “God’s will” as a crutch. An excuse to not really participate in their own lives. Again – an extreme example. But don’t you all know someone who is so immersed in their religion that they often let opportunities pass them by? Because they think praying is enough and “God will provide” and so they don’t do anything challenging or scary or hard. They take it to heart that “God’s will” means they have no free will of their own.

Another point I cannot accept under any circumstances – though it does tend to be the more extreme believers who espouse those theories.

But the morality thing – I hear that from folks all over the belief spectrum. And while I respect and will always fight for the right for people to believe because I absolutely see how comforting faith in God is to many many people – I will ALWAYS tell you that you are wrong if you state some absolute relationship between religion and morality.

I have an apple tree in my own back yard, and it is healthy and producing an abundance of apples thank you very much.

Sent from my iPad

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