Sunday, February 15, 2015

How can we teach morals without religion?

I have often wondered how atheists and secular people go through life without god. I have asked myself what hope you have for the future without a supernatural being in your corner looking out for you. And I have wondered even more what morals mean to someone who is godless (god free?).

The first decade of my life was quite turbulent as my family consisting at least four children at a time and my mother never really stayed in one place for more than a year or two. In this way, I do not remember that we settled and subscribed to any church as a result.

I really got exposed to the life of church much later in the decade and only then was I smart enough to ask myself some questions. If memory serves me correctly, I think I was nine and suffering the pain of my first (of many) wisdom tooth. I asked myself, who is god?

From what I had seen at the time I concluded that god was there to keep human beings in order and to try to keep them from killing each other. Satisfied with my answer I reasoned that since I was a good person at the time that I did not need god and that I did not need religion.

As time went by and listened to priests from all manner of church, I started to realise that all that stuff they were saying from that black book made a lot of sense. In fact, I thought that all the good things the book said such as "do not steal", "do not kill another human being", e.t.c. were so obvious that I thought it a bit redundant to attend.

But attend I continued as by virtue of my mother, I did not have much choice in the matter. As time passed and I slept under the benches at "cross-night" overnight church services I noticed that every time the preacher man said these things, he promised the grownups and the other kids that we would go to heaven if we did these good things as god demanded.

This confused me quite a bit (existentialism can get very interesting for an adolescent). I mean, is it not obvious that we should do unto others as we would like to be done to us? Why the promise of bliss to add to it? And why perpetuate the promise of being branded a child of Satan if I am naughty?

I have always kept a cynical view of religion for these reasons. Anyway, when I first learned of atheism, I had this idea that they were devil-worshiping
freaks despite my own skepticism about god and religion. How can you seriously be a good person without having god guide you?

Through pop culture that I had witnessed from my more-than-fair share of television, I saw good deeds from people who did not acknowledge god in any of their works and trying this out myself I realised how much more pure it was to do good without the promise of heaven or prosperity.

Now, do not get me wrong, I am not goodie-two-shoes (this phrase always confused me), I have just been lucky enough to not get in a lot of trouble (relatively speaking) but I think I have a good grasp of what makes a good person good.

So, how do you live without god? How do you dissuade your children from evil without sending them to Sunday school? I think that you can be a good person by loving those close to you (and everyone else) and remembering to do to others what you wish to be done to you.

I don't think you need the bible for that.

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