Religious people claim that their moral standrds are defined by religion and god. What or who defines atheist moral standards? Should atheists have some universally agreed and well defined moral standards? Willl having such moral standards make atheists a well defined community?

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The question of morality is often put upon us by the religious, so I cannot help but to associate it with religious dogma. I don't think that I have ever accused anyone of being 'immoral' if I see them doing bad, whether it be illegal or inhuman I usually call them a bad person, not immoral nor have I ever thought that when I do something bad that it is immoral.

"The thing about morals is that they are defined differently in different cultures. What is immoral for one is not neccisarily immoral for another." This is exactly my point is that I may choose to alter my morals/ethics depending on what society I live in. There is no 'international' code other than law and order which is a set of rules set out by either nation or state.

If I look inside myself and find that I feel guilty for something that I am about to do or have done, then I may have done the wrong thing, but by who's standard? only my own. That's my conscience speaking. Atreus has replied well, we all have to have our own moral code because our conscience 'bugs' us if we don't and our conscience is also ruled by culture and society.

The interesting thing about your reply here, Sandi, is that you consider yourself to be amoral, by deciding that morals are a definitive set of rules somewhere. The thing about morals is that they are defined differently in different cultures. What is immoral for one is not neccisarily immoral for another. If you are being a good person as long as you don't break the law and harm others... well there you have the beginnings of your own personal moral code. First rule being don't break the law, and the second rule being don't harm others. The mistake many devoutly religious people make is either that they believe their religion invented morals such as not killing people, or not robbing them blind, prefering to believe that atheists are stealing their ideas for whatever reason; or that someone without a higher power bearing down on them has no reason to follow any given moral code (especially theirs).

However, the atheist has reasons to follow their own moral code. The first being obvious, we have law and order, and the punishment for doing wrong things by that is rather... well... severe. The second one is simply that we don't want to do things that goes against what we believe. We do have an inbuilt conscience, and it does bug us quite severely. So in effect, our punishment for being immoral is that our fellow man, and us ourselves, will deliver something measurably unpleasant.

Sandi, you say, "Being immoral is not against the law you just may lose friends and be judged by others but at the end of the day does it really matter?"  But then you say for yourself, "as long as I don't break the law or harm others"  That is why it does matter.  It is not illegal to harm others, except in certain circumstances.  It is still unethical to belittle and hit your kids, or your dogs, for example, but it does matter.  Lot's of unethical behavior is perfectly legal.  Maybe you are thinking of all the dopey prohibitions against behavior that really doesn't do any harm.

Eastern philosophy/religion has as its basic principle AHIMSA.  Do no harm.  That about covers my dogly dogma! 

Dogly,

Eastern philosophy/religion has as its basic principle AHIMSA.  Do no harm.  That about covers my dogly dogma!

There are only two eastern religions whose basic principle is AHIMSA,.They are Buddhism and Jainism. The original religion of Hinduism, the Vedic religion was not based on Ahimsa. It is a fact that the animal sacrifices inthe yagnyas created the first atheist, perhaps the first atheist of the world, The sage Kapil, who condemned the violence and also was the first to clearly state that the world is not created by any god. The present day Hindism, however, suports Ahimsa.

Thank you, Madhukar.  I read about Jainism because it seemed closest to my point of view.  Of course, it IS a religion and thus "too good to be true".  I learned that their apparent compassion for the other animals stems from the belief that human souls might be reincarnated into animals.  In other words, that all other animals are lesser, lower beings both physically, and spiritually. Woman are lower temptresses -- to be avoided!  Is this analysis wrong?

John D

You know John that every man is tempted by a woman, but there is no problem there as such!!

Dogly

You are absolutely correct. The Jain monks also cover their nose and face to save micro organisms from entering in their nose and face, to save them from dying there. This is point lesss as we know today. As far as women are concerned, there is hardly any religion that has not a similsr view. Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhuism, Jainism, all hold similar views only with more or less force. Jesus Christ tells people to be like him, that is unmarried.

Some research about how religious people have more self-control instigated me to write a blog entry about

Morals And Self-Control In The Absence Of Religion

Yes, Madhukar.  I knew of the misogyny of the other religions, but my childish hope was that Jainism was better.  Atheism is what's better! 

Dogly

Atheism always  scores over all religions, whether they are theistic or atheist religions.

I am that woman!

As an aside, what would some of you list as immoral behaviour or moral behaviour specifically?

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