Moral values - good without god
A note about "respect"
I (the author of this page) respect people for what they do, not for what they say or what they claim to believe. I don't respect abstract ideas, religious or otherwise, nor do I have "heroes" - we all have feet of clay.
The idea of respecting "sincerely held beliefs" is nonsense - fascists and white supremacists have sincerely held beliefs - do they deserve respect?
I believe that respect, like rights, must be earned - it is a two-sided coin and there are no rights without social responsibilities. Too many people bleat on about "I demand my rights" when they fail to fulfil their social responsibilities.
Many religious people have great difficulty in understanding how those of us with no need of god or religion can have strong moral values.
If you think about it, that is pretty insulting towards us. It is saying that moral values must be dictated by some god and written down in some holy book or they don't count!
The Bishop of Gloucester questions whether those without faith can ever "really know deep hope and love".
Religious people, like the Bishop of Gloucester, need to escape their religious bubble and engage with a few Atheist Humanists. She, and others who think the same, should contact us, we will be happy to help out.
We have strong moral values which we have figured out for ourselves based on our life experiences and because we are human beings, we are social animals and we need values and rules to help us live together in harmony. We also do a lot of hope and love - as Winnie makes clear!
An average year 6 class, when asked to come up with a set of rules by which the class will work together, can come up with some pretty good ideas in less than an hour. If a bunch of 10 year olds can do it, it should not be hard for adults to do it - unless they are too lazy to make the effort and prefer to rely on things laid down for them.
The importance of moral values
Moral values are far too important to be left to religion. We have only to look at theocratic societies to see how true this is.
People of different religions, and people of the same religion but with different interpretations of their holy books, have been killing one another in the name of their gods for thousands of years. The partition of India and the troubles in Ireland are two recent examples.
People of all religions have persecuted those who disagree with them - and they continue to do so. Raif Badawi languishes in prison having been sentenced to 10 years and 1000 lashes for daring to speak out as an atheist in Saudi Arabia - a theocratic kleptocracy.
In many religions apostates are threatened with death and in the USA there are no open atheists in Congress - they remain in the closet for their own safety!
The last few years have seen multiple examples of sexual, physical and emotional abuse being covered up by a wide range of religions.
In the UK we still don't allow young people to make a free and informed choice about what to believe - instead we use taxpayers' money to fund religious schools.
Religion has a very poor history when it comes to moral values.
My moral values
I make no claim to be perfect - I have all the normal human failings - but here are some of the moral values by which I try to lead my life.
There is nothing "special" about them and I am sure a lot of religious and non-religious people share them.
However, these are my moral values - based on my strong sense of empathy and my belief that I should treat other people in the same way I would like them to treat me.
- Cause no harm
- Caring for others
- Putting fellow humans first
- Personal moral values
- Personal responsibility
- Mutual respect in relationships
- Respect freedom of others
- Open mindedness
- Questioning and finding out
- Civilised discussions
- Working together
- Respect for the environment
- Respect for what people do - not for what they say or believe