September 2007

You’ve probably already answered this, but what is the best response for the tired argument that atheists can’t possibly have any morals?

There are probably plenty of “snappy” answers to a statement like this, but I’ll give you a more practical answer instead.

If someone said to me that atheists can’t have any morals, I’d respond that I think atheists can be as moral as anyone else and then ask why the speaker disagrees. The response to the question will dictate how the conversation continues. For example:

1) If the speaker answers that all morality comes from God, then I would argue that this is not the case (which it pretty clearly isn’t, but that’s a whole other subject).

2) If the speaker answers that one cannot be moral without fear of divine punishment, I would ask if the speaker would be immoral if there was no fear of being caught. If the questioner says yes, I’d say that I think that’s a pretty sad attitude.

3) If the speaker answers that morality can’t be learned without religion, I would explain how I arrived at my morality without any assistance from religion.

Posted on September 12, 2007 at 9:49 pm by ideclare · Permalink
In: Dealing with religious folks, Morality

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