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.
- - BBC News Comments
A new poll suggests that atheism is on the rise in the US, while those who consider themselves religious has dropped. What's the cause? Two writers debate.
Robert F. Worth - New York Times Comments
A great article about Jerry DeWitt and the growing presence of atheist communities
Chip Rowe - Playboy Comments
Playboy Interview with Richard Dawkins
- - YouTube - townsquare Comments
Cara Santa Maria (Senior Science Correspondent, Huffingtonpost.com) leads this week's panel on 'The Point' to discuss these issues and more with Michael Shermer (Publisher - Skeptic Magazine), Sean Carroll (Theoretical Physicist - Caltech), and Edward Falzon (author of 'Being Gay Is Disgusting').
Kimberly Winston - Washington Post Comments
Last weekend, the Atheist Film Festival showed more than a dozen films about separation of church and state, freedom of religion (and no religion), the conflict between science and religion in public schools.
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Albert Einstein's Historic 1954 "God Letter" Handwritten Shortly Before His Death
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Christianity is like a big, chunky sweater. It may feel cozy, it may keep you warm, but just let one stitch be dropped and the whole thing unravels before your very eyes. Evolution is that stitch.