Where do our moral beliefs originate?
Religious people will tell you it comes from their god. But then they ignore all the things in their religious books that contradict that (slavery is fine, divorcees should be stoned to death, eating shellfish is a sin…).
Those of us who don’t believe come to our morality by using logic and empathy. We don’t act the way we do because of a fear of punishment in the afterlife we don’t believe exists; we do things because we think it’s right — it’s the way we want to treat others and how we would like to be treated in return.
And so do religious people, but they don’t always realize it.
For instance, if your religious leader suddenly told you to do something that you consider wrong, would you do it? If your preacher pointed to the Bible to justify children getting married at age 14 because the Bible allows it, would you say, “Well, that’s what God wants so I’m going to go marry a 14-year old”?
A better example may be gay marriage. Many preachers argue that this is a sin and that God hates gay people, but many religious folks have rejected that. They ignore their leaders — or they shop around until they find another church that agrees with their views.
See? Your morality is within you. It’s in the choices you make. Sure, your religion may offer you guidance but do you know of anyone who says, “Well, I disagree with this view completely but I’m still going to follow it”? Even a majority of Catholics believe that abortion should be legal.
You don’t need religion to have morality and, if you’re being honest with yourself, you can come up with many religious people whose morality is questionable at best.
And that’s why it is so insulting when religious folks tell atheists that we have no morals, because we came by our morals the same way they did.
Although it insults their intelligence to argue morality comes from the imaginary sky daddy, it also insults their own intelligence. So often, religion seems to push the pause button on people’s intelligence.