Should atheism have an ethical component?

Answer by Jim Ashby:

All of humanity has the same ethical components. They're part of the human condition.

Experience plus empathy equals ethics/morality.

We learn, from experience, what hurts us.

With empathy, we understand that what hurts us is likely to hurt others as well.

Bingo! Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The Golden Rule emerges from the combination of our experience and our DNA.

The wonderful thing is: because ethics is informed by experience, it (hopefully) matures as we mature.

  • “The word morality, if we met it in the Bible, would surprise us as much as the word telephone or motor car.” ~George Bernard Shaw
  • “One of the great tragedies of mankind is that morality has been hijacked by religion.” ~Arthur C. Clarke
  • “Morality is doing what is right, no matter what you’re told. Religion is doing what you’re told, no matter what is right.” ~Unknown
  • “I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world.” ~Bertrand Russell
  • Morality is of the highest importance. But for us, not for God.” ~Albert Einstein
  • “The moral arc of the universe bends at the elbow of justice.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Should atheism have an ethical component?

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