Are You A Moral Person? Really?

People seem wont to talk about whether believers or atheists are more moral or if either are.

There is an unstated presumption here: We should be ‘moral’ whatever that happens to mean today. I ask the simple question: why?

When you answer the question of why the what, where, and when become pretty apparent. Morality is more about conformity than altruism. Altruism is just the icing on the cake, the shiny bits.

Sure, don’t lie, cheat, or steal… but if you lived alone in the mountains what would that have to do with morality? If you have no opportunity to ‘sin’ are you moral? What does morality mean if there is no one around to see you being moral? None of the biblical morality has anything to do with being a good person who happens to live alone in the mountains. You have to be around other people for that morality to be of any use. It’s not about being good, it’s about conforming.

Go on then, have the conversation with a religionist. What good is biblical morality to a person living alone …. ?

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  1. That would be an interesting debate

    • Yeah, it is… it is one that makes the apologist have to think. They are not usually good at that part.

  2. A cynical person could argue that the only reason to behave “morally”, is out of self-interest, since we are dependent from other people.

    • I must be cynical 😉

      • You’re in good company.

        • I know, and even though it will mean nothing to anyone when I’m gone, it means something to me that I find so many great thinkers and I agree on so many things. It’s validation I did not have to pay for. Whatever I do with it, I can say that I have walked in the shoes of giants and though the journey was hard, I saw what they did. Perhaps that’s just a personal thing. It calms me to know that I came to the same conclusions without knowing what to conclude.

    • J_Agathokles
    • September 17th, 2013

    Reading Plato’s Story of Er, it becomes apparent that according to him one isn’t even moral if one lives amongst other people, but merely acts “moral” out of tradition or convention or political gain. A truly moral person is one who is moral because he/she can reason *why* it is moral and ethical to do – or not do- something.

    So people who are moral just because the God of the Jews, or a genocidal maniac (Moses), or the Nazarene Carpenter, or the Merchant from Makkaḥ, says so, are not truly moral – regardless of whether they live completely isolated from other people, or in a metropolis of millions and millions of people.

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