Humanist morality focuses on improving conditions for ourselves, our families, our communities the whole of humanity.
Example of humanist morality
The set below is based on the Golden Rule, we generally shouldn't do things we wouldn't want others to do to us.
A basic set of eight such principles, together with brief annotations, has been suggested by Resnik:
Non-malificence: Do not harm yourself or other people.
Beneficence: Help yourself and other people.
Autonomy: Allow rational individuals to make free and informed choices.
Justice: Treat people fairly: treat equals equally, unequals unequally.
Utility: Maximize the ratio of benefits to harms for all people.
Fidelity: Keep your promises and agreements.
Honesty: Do not lie, defraud, deceive or mislead.
Privacy: Respect personal privacy and confidentiality.
Humanism and morality
See the main article on this topic: Biological evolution of morality
We are moral because that helps us to pass on our genes. Evolution makes us look after relatives who share our genes and others from our community who return favours. When looking for a long-tern sexual partner a responsible person is attractive. We care about people who we’ve never met but have seen on television, in the Internet etc and want to help them and we even care about suffering animals.
Through biological and cultural evolution certain standards of behaviour have become evident which maximise the survival of these genes and memes. We as individuals pass on our genes if we most of the time behave in a reasonably moral way, also cultures that insist on responsible, altruistic behaviour survive better than less regulated cultures. We give up the freedom to kill or harm others but gain the safety that others won’t kill us or harm us legally. In democratic societies we vote for a police force and law enforcement system and pay taxes for it to increase our personal security, the security of our relatives and of our group. The system isn’t perfect but it works reasonable well most of the time.
How moral are atheists?
There are good people and bad people among atheists as there are good and bad people in all communities.
- If there is no god you have no morals.
- A man without God is totally depraved.
Unfortunately Christian stereotyping sometimes influences impressionable atheists and they assume that because they are atheists they can’t be moral or can’t be very moral. Youngsters whose characters have not fully developed yet are most vulnerable to negative stereotyping of this type. Liberal Christians rarely do this but Christian fundamentalists stereotype atheists do it more often. See How stereotyping atheists as immoral can do harm
One particularly nasty technique that Christian evangelists sometimes use is deliberately provoking atheists or perhaps others they want to convert into doing something wrong/many wrong things. Then they say something like, "There! See how bad you are! You need Jesus!" If conversion attempts are successful probably the wrong things the person did/was provoked into doing before conversion will be regularly used to make that person feel guilty and inferior so the leaders of the group can keep the sinner under control.
If you are a teen
If you are a teen don’t let Christians convince you that you aren’t moral. You can be better than they are. You won’t set out to damage the confidence other people have and convince them that they can't be moral. You know that’s seriously wrong. You won’t imagine Jesus wants you to damage other peoples’ confidence that they can be moral.
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- The world union of Humanist organizations on morality
- Humanism and morality
- Two Competing Moralities
- Atheism Central for Secondary Schools
- Criticism of Christian Morality
- Atheist Theft of Christian Morality
- Absolute moral standards - are they possible?
- The Poverty of Theistic Morality
- The world union of Humanist organizations on morality
- Morality Without God
- 10 Commandments for a Rational Atheist A 'How to live ethically' video for atheists.
- Christopher Hitchens~The Morals of an Atheist Part 1 Long video of Christopher Hitchens sponsored by Stanford University
- Christopher Hitchens~The Morals of an Atheist Part 2
- Christopher Hitchens~The Morals of an Atheist Part 3
- Hitchens on morality
Becoming a better person
- The Good News About Bad Behavior This website will help you deal constructively with times when you have done something you feel you shouldn't have done. It will also help you deal with sanctimonious Christians and Non-Christians who set out to erode your confidence in yourself as a moral person.
- How To Stop Bad Habits Positively - 5 Tips To Stop Repeating Your Habit This website overestimates how easy is breaking bad habits in just 10 days. Still there are positive suggestions for breaking bad habits.
Videos about becoming a better person
- Ethics For Kids This video is for our younger readers, parents and others may feel like showing the video to children, it doesn't deal with religion at all.
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