Atheist' morality

Let's explore the meaning or the word 'morality' because it's an abstract word and people tend to have strong opinions about what it is without regard to the dictionary meaning.

Morality - Principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour.

Right and wrong.  Good and bad behaviour. Seems we can say things about that.

For instance, I can say that slavery is 'wrong' and most people would agree with me, but for millennia, people have considered slavery to be 'right'. Then again, not everybody will agree with me that slavery is 'wrong'.

This means that my 'opinion' about right and wrong isn't shared by everybody. That's a fact. This fact doesn't make me a moral relativist.

Moral relativism - The view that moral judgements are true or false only relative to some particular standpoint (for instance, that of a culture or a historical period) and that no standpoint is uniquely privileged over all others.
I'm quite happy to condemn practices I consider immoral, like female genital mutilation, honour killing, arranged marriage or slavery.


Here's a question we atheists get asked quite a lot: "Where does morality come from?" The theist will proclaim "from god!" My answer is a bit more involved.

As I said, slavery is 'wrong' in my opinion. Where does my 'opinion' about right and wrong come from? Probably from the society I was raised in. The Dutch have moral standpoints about loads of things and are always ready to discuss these. Even if these are taboos.

My point is that we, humans, have to decide for ourselves what's right and wrong and no deities are required.

In The Netherlands, for instance, euthanasia was regulated by law after being publicly discussed for many years. I'm in favour of euthanasia as regulated by Dutch law. In fact, I believe there are loads of doctors, in other countries, who help their patients, even at the risk of being persecuted.

The religious commandment to 'not kill' is an excuse for letting terminally ill people suffer, instead of letting them die peacefully. Is that 'right'?

My question to theists is this: If morality comes from god, why do humans have different opinions about moral questions?

What does the bible, for instance, say about euthanasia? No, but... it's complex. Well, that's clear. Thanks Yahweh for the clearly defined morality!

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Inspired by @Elishabenabuya

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