How does one know right from wrong?
That philosophical question addresses the roots of religion.
The theologian questions how an atheist can have a moral compass without a god.
The atheist wonders what deists are capable of were they not held in check by the carrot and stick of religion: Heaven and Hell.
Throughout most cultures, from time immemorial, one can see almost universal perceptions of morality. Murder and theft are denounced by all religions, and by the non-religious as well.
Religions only seem to add window dressing to the basic human sense of right and wrong. Judaism and Islam forbid consuming pork and allow multiple wives. Christianity allows pork but forbids multiple wives. Up until Utah was granted statehood, Mormons allowed both pork and multiple wives.
Most religions appear ridiculous to the practitioners of another one, while to an atheist, all religions seem ridiculous.
Gods do not provide moral compasses. The Bible, for example, condones incest, rape, murder, mayhem, and slavery. Hardly a moral guide for anyone to follow.
The atheist recognizes the good in religions, but is all too familiar with the evils as well. If there is a constant that unites atheists it is probably the admonition expressed in the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.
A moral compass.
No God required.
This article was published here a couple of days ago under the title We Must Step Outside Our Species. Because of a WordPress glitch it was not able to be shared properly.
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