Where do morals come from?

Where do morals come from? May 26, 2009
Image by psd via Flickr

How many times must we answer this question?

Here’s what I don’t get about Atheism–if you firmly believe there is no God, no afterlife, no cosmic reward or punishment, I would think you have transcended the concepts of “good” and “evil” themselves.  You now no longer have to fear about doing anything according to these two very pliable concepts.  What is “good” to one person may be “evil” to another.  Look at George W. Bush doing what he thought was “good,” and yet so many of us thought it was “evil.”  Even people we typically think of as “good” have their detractors.  So if an absolute “good” and an absolute “evil” don’t exist, isn’t “good” then defined as being “good for oneself and whoever else one wants to favor?”

I don’t claim to be a scientist, but to me, it seems obvious that human evolution has benefited greatly from the development of morals and ethics. Around the time our brains developed the ability to change our environment to suit our needs, we began building communities. The communities which had rules of behavior (which often came with religion), survived longer. The ones ruled by chaos, not so much. Just add time, and we get to today.

Yes many people today, feel morals come from religion. This is why the Steven Weinberg quote is so appropriate.

With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”

Brother Richard

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