You have no morals, then.

Response #1/ Yes, I do. My morals come from empathy.
Response #2/ Yes, I do. My morals come from law and society.
Response #3/ Yes, I do. My morals come from [some other definable place].

Or, alternatively, “you can’t have morality without religion.”

The Bible lists a series of things the religious are or are not allowed to do. It’s viewed as the end-all to any morality argument: if the Bible says it’s allowed, it’s allowed. If the Bible says it isn’t allowed, it isn’t and you’ll go to hell for disregarding it. Further, some religious people think that atheism is the equivalent to immorality because without a specific text explaining what it right and wrong, humans are not capable of distinguishing the two. In essence, we regress into a pack of murdering rapists.

However, religion’s assertion of morality is not the only way to live a moral life.

I’m not going to define morality in philosophical terms; this is not the place for an intense, philosophical debate. Rather, I’m going to explain where else morality can come from.

(1) Empathy.

Defined as the ability to recognize and, to some extent, feel what another person is feeling.

I do not want to be murdered. I would feel devastated if someone I loved was murdered. I would not be able to live with myself if I murdered someone. So, I will not murder.

The same logic applies to everything from holding the door open for someone, to not being a raging asshole whenever the opportunity presents itself. I think about how I would feel if someone did something to me. If I wouldn’t like it, I don’t do it to someone else.

I can also look at it objectively: Even if it doesn’t bother me when someone does something to me (say an angry driving flipping me off), if it’s possible that someone else would be offended, I don’t do it.

(2) Laws and Society.

We also get our morals from what society perceives as right and wrong, even those that have a basis in religion. The laws of the US don’t allow for murder or rape. As a citizen who bears the benefits of living in a particular country, I will naturally abide by the laws therein. Even those I disagree with (and there are quite a few). If I find the laws of a country to be particularly oppressive or offensive, I have the opportunity and right to move to a country that has laws more in line with my beliefs. Or I could mount protests and other advocacy efforts to repeal unfair laws.


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