Honey, of course I have morals

A few weeks ago I started thinking, “what happens if my wife finds my blog?” So I decided to do a series of posts that would help her understand me as an atheist.  I don’t think these posts are going to be necessary anymore for that purpose, but I still want to write these thoughts out.  If they are helpful to you, please share them.

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Honey, of course I have morals

I can only imagine what you are thinking as you’re processing my deconversion.  Trust me, it wasn’t easy for me to process it either.  As you begin thinking of me as an atheist you may wonder how this new found lack of faith will effect me personally.  You may honestly wonder what sort of “rules” will I live my life by if I have since abandoned the Bible.

That’s a fair thing to consider!

If I formerly used the bible, the 10 Commandments, and the 2 greatest commandments as my rule of life, does that mean I no longer find those rules…useful?  If I don’t believe in the 10 Commandments, then am I suddenly ok with breaking them?

What may particularly stick out to you is Mark, who when he lost his faith he cheated on his wife.  If I don’t believe God uttered the words “Thou shalt not commit adultery”, does adultery suddenly become an option for me?  Will I become a liar? A thief?  If the Bible once commanded me to love you as Christ loves the Church, will I now see sacrificial love as obsolete?  If I was a better man because of the commandments of God, then what happens when I no longer have a god?

I can’t claim that my ideas won’t change, but I will maintain a sense of morality and I think you’ll like it.  Because here’s the catch, you don’t need a god to be a moral person.   As a matter of fact, I would argue that moral people are good not because of God, but aside from him.  And for those who are only good because of God, they aren’t moral people at all.

Allow me to explain.

What if a guy hit on you last night, and propositioned you to come over to his place.  Let’s say you turn him down.  When he asks why, what would you say?

Because I’m married.

But so what? Plenty of married people have sex outside their marriage! So, what would you say?

Because of the 10 Commandments…because God said “Thou shalt not commit adultery”…because it’s against my religion?

Doubt it.

Wouldn’t you say:

Because I love my husband

Your relationship with me is your guiding principle in sexual morality, not your faith.  Your faith may inform you as to the standards of morality, but it is not your love for God who inspires you to do good, it’s your love for me.

Let’s say, in a moment of weakness, you do sleep with a stranger.  You chose the immoral act.  If you regretted it, would you regret it because you broke God’s commandment or because you broke my heart?

In this morality play, God has very little to do with your moral choices.

Let’s extrapolate this out further.  Would I be a moral person if:

  1. The ONLY reason I don’t embezzle money from the church is because God said “Thou shalt not steal”?
  2. The only reason I don’t cheat on my taxes is because Jesus said “Give to Caesar…”?
  3. The only reason I don’t abuse our kids because Paul said “Father’s don’t exasperate you children.’?
  4. The only reason I don’t hit you is because Peter says “Be gentle with your wife”?

And yet do we not know Christians who have committed these sins? Do we not know Christians who act immorally?  If there are people who believe in God and yet that belief doesn’t always inspire morality, is it possible that God isn’t always a necessary part in the morality equation?

I will admit that understanding right/wrong is difficult in a post-Christian life.  Reorienting my moral compass, and figuring out why things are right and other things are wrong is tough at first.  However at the end of the day, life and love are the center of my morality.  The golden rule still holds true, which is why it exists in multiple religions. Empathy is the guide to morality, and I think it always has been.  The ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and to weigh needs versus wants, is what moral people have always done regardless of the their religion or lack thereof.

I may not always make the right choices, but you knew that was true while I was still a Christian.  Nothing has changed in that regard.  But if you want to understand my morality, how it has changed and how it stays the same, look at how I love.  I always make my decision and how I love you and our kids, which really isn’t much different than what I was doing before.

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7 thoughts on “Honey, of course I have morals

  1. From what I’ve read on previous posts, I’d say a large part of your deconversion is because of your sense of morality. How many times have you made points about human suffering and acts of complacency or even evil in people that have been rewarded and asked ‘where was God then’? How many times have you applied your sense of empathy toward these situations, using yourself and your feelings for your family as approximations, to only be baffled by the callous perspective God would have to be showing to allow it to occur?

    Paraphrasing Epicurus, if God does exist, He either does not want to stop bad things from happening, is unable to stop bad things from happening, or both. In any of these cases, it’s not the depiction of an all-powerful, just and loving god presented in the Bible, and if we sit around waiting for God to do the right thing, we’ll be waiting til the end of eternity. It is up to us as people to do what is right and make the world a better place; no one is there to clean it up after us.

    Liked by 1 person

      • lol , true , but in terms of Character you shine above many out there , you’re a good example of how Atheists should act in your position. This is one of your life’s challenges , you have weathered it fairly well 🙂
        ” Our ability to handle life’s challenges is a measure of our strength of character. ”
        -Les Brown

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Reading about increasing logical thinking in a person who comes from a background such as yours brings tremendous joy to me. Thank you for educating yourself. After reading about the horrors of fresh water supply on earth, this post helped reduce my anxiety and gave back a little bit of hope regarding the survival of the human species. I encourage you to continue using logical argumentation and evidence in your quest to better understand the world. And while logical thinking, the method of falsification and evidence often times cause pain through the facts they bring to the attention of the enquiring mind, it is important to remember that problems can only be solved through understanding, not ignorance.

    Further reading regarding morals that might interest you: http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/the-roots-of-good-and-evil

    Take care.

    Like

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