Stupid Jeebot Questions: Where Does An Atheist’s Morality Come From?
In the short amount of time I’ve had this blog, I think the entire christicle population of the world has either asked where I get my morality from or insinuated that without the Bible, I could not possibly have any.
Annnnnd…. breath, 2, 3, 4, breath, 2, 3, 4…
This is my favourite topic, because not only is the asker insulting me while standing on a moral soapbox, which is like, double-fucking-hypocritical, but they’re making it painfully obvious they’re working with fewer cards in their deck than Kanye.
Asking me where I get my morals from if not from the Bible is like asking, “if you didn’t get your milk from Walmart, how can you possibly have milk?” Listen honey, just because you’ve been suckered into grocery shopping at Walmart, doesn’t mean that’s the only fucking place one can get milk. In fact, milk existed long before Walmart ever did.
That, really, is all I should have to say. I could shorten it to fit into a tweet, or craft it as an easily-consumed Facebook post and be on my goddamned (no holy) way. But that’s never what happens. I bet you already guessed that, because you’re reading my blog and that means you’re fucking smart.
So let’s address this ridiculous question, shall we? First, we have to establish a few things.
1. In order for anyone to be able to believe that without the Bible I could not have morality, they must believe the Bible is the only source of morality. Follow?
2. If the Bible is the only source of morality, then there must not have existed any morality at all prior to the Bible first being written and the word of god spread, amirite?
3. If the Bible is the only source of morality, the only moral people who exist on this planet are people who accept the Bible as truth.
4. 31.5% of the current world’s population accepts the Bible as truth, according to Wikipedia.
From these 4 very basic points, we can deduce that 68.5% of humanity has zero morality and that prior to the Bible, the entire world lacked it.
This is what I imagine total moral chaos might look like.
Based on this logic, we should be living in absolute fucking moral chaos, and we would have been since the beginning of our species.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I left my house today and shit was not falling apart. I didn’t witness any rapes or murders. I didn’t see anyone steal anything. Granted, I am sure someone, somewhere stole something at some point in time today, but if it was total goddamn chaos out there, I would have seen something go down in my own ‘hood.
From the fact that we are not living in a perpetual state of moral meltdown, we can glean that most of the world has some sort of morality. Certainly more than 31.5%. Leaving us sure that there are indeed other sources of morality than the Bible.
A christian who asserts that you cannot have morality without the Bible is basically saying to you that he, himself, cannot figure out right from wrong without instructions. That he has no intuition, nor natural compassion. That he essentially must be babysat by a fairytale hero, to whom he begs for guidance, in order just to be decent.
And because he is this way, we all must be.
Which is, of course, fucking insane.
So, you want to know where I get my morals from, then?
1. My Dad – my Dad was a family counselor who founded the crisis centre in my hometown in the 70s which has since prevented thousands of suicides and helped many ill people find mental health treatment. He used to get paged in the middle of the night to the downtown Eastside of Vancouver to drag prostitutes away from their abusive pimps and find them safe places to go. My Dad knew of and worked with women who ended up buried on the Picton farm. He had a knife held to his throat one day, and the next he was helping the man who did it kick heroin. He came home exhausted and never got any sleep, and still had time to be that Dad on the block. You know the one. The Dad that all the neighborhood kids came knocking for. They were never asking for me, or my brother. They asked to play with my Dad, and fuck did we have fun. My Dad is and always has been an atheist.
2. My Mom – my Mom was a teacher who taught 6th grade in an unorthodox way that was so profoundly effective that there was an article about her in a major paper after she drew a little boy out of his autism-induced social anxiety and disinterest in learning. He is now a graduate of BCIT. That’s just one of her success stories. She is an agnostic, but raised a Christian.
3. My Grandparents – Both were outspoken atheists, and when my Grandfather was stationed in Jamaica in WW2 as an ambulance driver, he treated the POWs in the internment camp with great respect and dignity. He was known for this.
4. Empathy – Yes, us non-christians are actually born with the ability to recognize feelings in other people and we can feel sympathy toward them based on it. We did not need a book to teach us the golden rule, because we have empathy.
5. Common fucking sense – Different from common sense, common fucking sense is far more common. This is the type of sense a 2 year old has. Shit has consequences. Toddlers can learn this, and they can’t even read the Bible yet, nor understand the concept of eternal damnation. What the fuck leads a toddler to understand that shit has consequences? You guessed it geniuses: common fucking sense.
These are the 5 basic sources of my own morality. There are plenty more though, such as the law, experiences, new knowledge, books, documentaries, conversations, the fucking weather, instinct, genetic predisposition, etc.
I take the things I learn from all of these sources and choose the stuff that feels right and makes the most sense to me. I question every one of these sources of morality. I would never, under any circumstances, take anything on as part of my moral framework, based solely on someone or something telling me I should. That is a sure sign of mental weakness, perhaps illness even.
So, now you know where I get my morals from. What about other atheists? I asked my Twitter followers and here’s what some of them said:
@godless_mom My desire for a better, more peaceful world. I believe we can’t get there until we learn to get along and love each other. — Julie Roberts Towe (@aweezazee) April 7, 2014
@godless_mom 18th Century Humanist Philosophers — Jacob Osborn (@OsbornOut) April 7, 2014
@godless_mom The religious have co-opted the word morality, IMO. In the Darwinian sense, It’s a complex structure to maintain social > — moine (@moinedeisme) April 7, 2014
@godless_mom cohesion and enhance survivability among social creatures. It can be observed in any animal with higher cognitive function. — moine (@moinedeisme) April 7, 2014
@godless_mom common sense and compassion — Shawn Curtis (@stormkitten) April 7, 2014
@godless_mom my morality is based on empathy — Jesus of Suburbia (@Beninho44) April 7, 2014
@godless_mom I think it’s intrinsically human behavior. Religion breaks people down & regurgitates what is “supposed” to be moral. — Dawndee Lvjy-Hughes (@DawndeeLH) April 8, 2014
As you can see, all of our answers are pretty similar. So, if not from the Bible, where does your morality come from?