Morality: no gods required
By PAULA KIRBY
Added: Sun, 01 Nov 2009 00:00:00 UTC
Each week the Washington Post's On Faith team sends a question out to its Panel. This week, the question was as follows:-
Is there good without God? Can people be good without God? How can people be good, in the moral and ethical sense, without being grounded in some sort of belief in a being which is greater than they are? Where do concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, come from if not from religion? From where do you get your sense of good and evil, right and wrong?
Can people be good if they don't think Charles Dickens was the greatest novelist in the English language? Or if they prefer cats to dogs? Or if they fail to resemble me in any other small detail? Ludicrously smug questions, of course, yet the religious never seem to blush when asking non-believers whether we can be good despite not sharing their peculiar beliefs.
And yet it is an important question for secularists to answer, because it is the myth that religious belief is somehow necessary for morality that is providing the life support for religion in many Western societies, long after we should have been reaching for the embalming fluid.
My sense of right and wrong comes from exactly the same source as yours: parental upbringing, society's norms, an evolved empathy with others.
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