Bringing together non-believers …
It is often argued that in a godless world, we would not have any basis for morality. Morality is principles with the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior or character. However, for many others, religion is the problem. Their rejection of religion, far from being motivated for escaping moral accountability as some claim, reflexes a conviction that its only through abandoning certain wide-spread religious ideas that progress towards a truly just, consistent morality is possible.
What do we use as a basis for morality? We know it is not power, the one with the gun might have means to impose their wishes, but this tells us nothing about their principles. we know it is not majority preference, if the spectacle of human sacrifices is the preferred entertainment of the majority, this does not make human sacrifice right. We know it is not tradition, the fact that a practice may have endured for many generations tells us nothing about its virtue. Although what is written in law may actually reflect what a society may deem right or wrong, we know law does not determine morality. Laws can be unjust.
The worry that, without religion or god, we’ve no basis from which to discuss morality is without foundation. Plain empathy can trigger natural help responses to others’ distress and create natural aversion to causing others harm. Likewise, the experience of living alongside others is a simple feedback about how our actions affect each other and how we might have to adjust our conduct in response. The human brain contains “mirror neurons” which mimic the activity of other parts of the brain or of other brains. This provides a biological foundation for empathy: individuals with mirror neurons, including humans and other primates, can actually feel what others feel.
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