Humanist morality is about helping our fellow Human beings and also sentient animals be happy and do well in this life. This life is the only life we're sure exists and it's probably the only life we've got. Humanist morality focuses on improving conditions for ourselves, our families, our communities the whole of humanity.

Example of humanist morality

The set below is based on the Golden Rule, we generally shouldn't do things we wouldn't want others to do to us.

A basic set of eight such principles, together with brief annotations, has been suggested by Resnik:
Non-malificence: Do not harm yourself or other people.

Beneficence: Help yourself and other people.
Autonomy: Allow rational individuals to make free and informed choices.
Justice: Treat people fairly: treat equals equally, unequals unequally.
Utility: Maximize the ratio of benefits to harms for all people.
Fidelity: Keep your promises and agreements.
Honesty: Do not lie, defraud, deceive or mislead.
Privacy: Respect personal privacy and confidentiality.

Humanism and morality


Main article: Biological evolution of morality

We are moral because that helps us to pass on our genes. Evolution makes us look after relatives who share our genes and others from our community who return favours. When looking for a long-tern sexual partner a responsible person is attractive. We care about people who we’ve never met but have seen on television, in the Internet etc and want to help them and we even care about suffering animals.

Do we need God to be moral? See Christian morality for why following, "God’s law" doesn’t work very well.

Cultural evolution

Through biological and cultural evolution certain standards of behaviour have become evident which maximise the survival of these genes and memes. We as individuals pass on our genes if we most of the time behave in a reasonably moral way, also cultures that insist on responsible, altruistic behaviour survive better than less regulated cultures. We give up the freedom to kill or harm others but gain the safety that others won’t kill us or harm us legally. In democratic societies we vote for a police force and law enforcement system and pay taxes for it to increase our personal security, the security of our relatives and of our group. The system isn’t perfect but it works reasonable well most of the time.

How moral are atheist?

There are good people and bad people among atheists as there are good and bad people in all communities.

Christian stereotyping

Unfortunately Christian stereotyping sometimes influences impressionable atheists and they assume that because they are atheists they can’t be moral or can’t be very moral. Youngsters whose characters have not fully developed yet are most vulnerable to negative stereotyping of this type. Liberal Christians rarely or never do this but Christian fundamentalists stereotype atheists far too often. One particularly nasty technique that Christian evangelists sometimes use is deliberately provoking atheists or perhaps others they want to convert into doing something wrong/many wrong things. Then they say something like, "There! See how bad you are! You need Jesus!" If conversion attempts are successful probably the wrong things the person did/was provoked into doing before conversion will be regularly used to make that person feel guilty and inferior so the leaders of the group can keep the sinner under control.

If you are a teen

If you are a teen don’t let Christians convince you that you aren’t moral. You can be better than they are. You won’t set out to damage the confidence other people have and convince them that they can't be moral. You know that’s seriously wrong. You won’t imagine Jesus wants you to damage other peoples’ confidence that they can be moral.

See also

External links

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Moral systems


Becoming a better person

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