On Yahoo! Answers Religion & Spirituality forum, I recently asked the following question:

ATHEISTS (FORMER CHRISTIANS): How have your morals changed since your "de-conversion"?

Here is a sampling of the answers I received:

* Honestly I feel more moral. I used to be against gays and felt weird around atheists and other religious people. But now the chains of intolerance have been broken! I support gays, dont mind other religion, and love my fellow infidels!

* No. they are the same. I just feel less guilt now.

* We'll, I "de-converted" around the age of 10, so I'm not sure if I even knew what my moral convictions were then. What I do know is that I see a lot more Christians with "looser" moral behavior that my own. In fact, I seem to be something of a moral compass amongst my circle of friends - most of whom are theists.

* My morals have improved greatly since I am no longer a Christian. I find I am far less judgemental and a great deal more loving than I used to be. I have a developed spiritual philosophy that has positively impacted my mental, physical and spiritual well-being.

* I've become a better person I think once I stopped worrying what the church thought of things. I now work with kids doing community service and am working on a career in nursing.

* I'm a former Christian who is now non-religious (I believe in a spiritual realm, but not in hell or heaven or any of that bs). You could say my morals "changed", in that I no longer fault people for having different lives, and embrace differences. I'm much more at peace with the world, not troubled by who's going to hell and what God thinks of what I'm doing. I can be myself, and know that all that matters to me is being happy and being kind to others. My personal philosophy makes much more sense without the added bigotry of religion.

* I think my "morals" have remained much the same... but my sense of integrity has become more acute...

* I have more compassion for my fellow human beings. I have begun to actively support (verbally and financially) the cause for equal rights for gay people. I have a greater appreciation for life.

* I've noticed that I became more honest after I deconverted (both with myself and others). Ironic, no?

* I stopped hating homosexuals and I realized that the only reason I ever thought them to be less than me was because the Bible warped my mind. And I'm less judgmental, more honest, and more open-minded.

* Actually I think I hold myself to a higher set of morals..... I find it harder to forgive myself than god does.

* Morality doesn't change upon religions or lack of belief in any deity. Morality is what we learn. It's not like we can change morality like changing a red shirt to a black shirt. Only difference is realization when a religion warps your mind to what is truely moral and what isn't and realize how wrong these religious hatred and judgments are. I never hated anybody, nor did i ever judged anybody. Because there is no need to be judgmental or hateful.

* Losing my faith makes me feel more moral. The holy book is not a good source of morals, IMHO.

* I don't get emotional hangups about being a "good enough" person for a god. I realize that I'm normal and not superhuman, and it's fine to think about anything, including sex. I don't have a fear that the devil is going to come out of the dark and send me to hell, as I did when I was a Catholic child. So I would call myself more stable and reasonable about human behavior. I'm not hyper focused on getting married or going to church, like my old religion encouraged. I am happy the way I am. I savor the increased free time most of all - I always felt that church services sucked and that I could do better things with my mornings - like sleeping.

* Well, back when I was a Catholic, I felt that people should be kind, honest, generous, honorable and rational. I considered homosexuality to be natural and healthy and unchangeable. I felt that parents shouldn't spank their children. I considered stealing, lying, harming and killing to be counterproductive to our collective happiness, cooperation and survival.
Now that I'm an atheist... I feel that people should be kind, honest, generous, honorable and rational. I consider homosexuality to be natural and healthy and unchangeable. I feel that parents shouldn't spank their children. I consider stealing, lying, harming and killing to be counterproductive to our collective happiness, cooperation and survival.

* I don't usually use the word morals, I prefer the word ethics. Before I left Christianity, I lived by (or tried to live by) someone else's code of conduct. It was psychic claustrophobia. So I lashed out and had not an ethic or a moral in me, just shy of being a total sociopath. Then along came the realization that there is no god. With that realization came personal responsibility, and a customized set of principles to live by. Oh, and yes, my set of principles has a much higher standard than Christianity's.

* I evaluate my morals now. "Does this make sense? Is it benefiting others and myself? Would I want to be treated this way?"
Before, I would just go with a gut feeling based on guilt, doctrine, and what other people tell me. Which isn't really morality, since there's no personal responsibility there.

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Comment by Buffy on August 2, 2008 at 11:59pm
Good old Y!A, where we're normally told "all morality comes from god" and that atheists are incapable of being moral.

Nice collection of answers, BTW.

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