Where do you get your morals?
There was a pretty good comment made recently by user bobbiedilbeck on the post about childhood indoctrination. My reply is kind of longish, so I decided to make it a new post instead of just a comment.
Hey I have a couple of questions and comments for you.
I am wondering what atheist believe happens to a person when they die?
You said, And hopefully we can teach her that she can be a good person regardless of what she believes.” What is your being a good person based on? Whose morals are you comparing them to? I guess what I am asking is, what is the standard of good and where do you come by that standard??
Just wanting a little culture.
Most atheists only believe what they have good evidence for.
For myself, I used to believe in souls and the afterlife, and I thought I had solid evidence for my beliefs. Nothing would convince me otherwise because I had seen things for myself that proved it. I’ve since discovered that each of the experiences I thought irrefutably proved the existence of souls and the afterlife actually had other explanations. There were things I did not understand, and I had jumped to conclusions and built an entire belief system around it.
As far as death, when you die, that’s it. Your brain is you. Once it stops working, you no longer exist. This is evidenced by research in neuroscience. Practically every part of human nature can be turned off by damaging certain parts of the brain.
Some may say they don’t want to believe this life is the only life they get, because an afterlife would be much better. I no longer base my beliefs on what I think would be cool. I try to assess reality as it is. I think the truth is more important than feeling good.
As far as how I know what is moral and what is not, that’s something that I decide for myself. Some of it comes from self-preservation, but a lot of it comes from the social contract we have with others. It’s part of living in a civilization. We all agree to treat each other like we would want to be treated. Without this social contract, we would live our lives in constant fear of terrible actions from others. So we treat others how we would want to be treated, and punish bad behaviors by others. The result is a relatively peaceful society to live in.
Take murder, for example. I would never murder someone. First of all, I don’t want to spend my entire life in prison. I’m dumb enough to get caught. But more importantly, I’ve seen the pain it can cause others. The death of an individual shatters the lives of each person that was connected to the victim. I wouldn’t want that to happen to me, so why would I want to inflict that pain on others?