Morality, Good and Evil

United States
September 26, 2008 1:28pm CST
After reading various discussions and responses on myLot, it's obvious that there are some here who are staunch believers in God and some who most definitely are not. Many of the nonbelievers say they are good people and I have no doubt they are. However, it makes me wonder where the nonbelievers think the moral law came from. Also, who or what tempts mankind to do wrong?
3 people like this
17 responses
@Ravenladyj (22992)
• United States
26 Sep 08
However, it makes me wonder where the nonbelievers think the moral law came from First off, to ME, there is no "moral LAW"....LAWS to me are MUST DO'S..not choices without consequences..make sense? where to MY morals come from (since i can't speak for anyone else)...within me, from my soul, from knowing how I WOULD LIKE and expect to be treated and such...from knowing whats right and wrong..from seeing and living pain etc etc....as well as seeing and living the happy too really....Religion has no part in it whatsoever..
1 person likes this
@II2aTee (2560)
• United States
26 Sep 08
Ah yes, good point Rvaen... the golden rule :) Do unto others as you want them to do unto you.
• United States
26 Sep 08
Ravenladyj, I appreciate that you said, "to me." Too often people give opinions as though their opinions are facts. I agree with you that morality comes from the soul, but it's my opinion that the Holy Spirit put that law in our hearts. I also agree that religion has no part in it. There are some religions that teach, "Do unto others...," but there are others that don't. Thanks for responding.
• United States
26 Sep 08
II2aTee, Did you know that a form of that famous "Do unto others..." saying is in Matthew 7:12 "Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them..." I think there are also other "religions" besides Christianity that have admonitions similar to it. However, I agree with Ravenladyj, religion has no part in it.
@II2aTee (2560)
• United States
26 Sep 08
Funny you bring this up because I was thinking about this the other day. I think morals on the most part just come with a good upbringing. They come from common sense. I dont need religion to tell me that its wrong to hit someone, or steal from them, or say mean things to them. I dont need religion to tell me it's wrong to kill another person. Thats just being a human and being concious of my surroundings... and being polite and curtious. Now, I dont have a problem with religion taking credit for moral values.... because there is really no way to prove them wrong. It's the chicken and the egg debate, really. What I do not appreciate it people telling me I am wrong because I do not hold the same morals they do. Most religions are all about giving us a list of rules to live by, and I simply do not agree with many of them. The obvious ones, of course. I know its wrong to kill. I know it's wrong to steal. Pretty much anything that harms another perosn is wrong, and thats a no brainer. But when religion startes to dicate what I should or should not wear, eat, worship, beleive... I take issue. Maybe its because I was raised as an American and I truely believe in the freedom to live my life as I see fit. If I live my life in a way that does not hurt anyone else, who is anyone to say that I am wrong for doing so?
1 person likes this
@Ravenladyj (22992)
• United States
26 Sep 08
I think morals on the most part just come with a good upbringing. They come from common sense. I dont need religion to tell me that its wrong to hit someone, or steal from them, or say mean things to them. I dont need religion to tell me it's wrong to kill another person. Thats just being a human and being concious of my surroundings... and being polite and curtious. thats exactly it....religion has absolutely NOTHING to do with it..
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Sep 08
I suppose this is one of those WHERE DID GOD COME FROM questions. I don't know that there's an answer that will satisfy everyone. I don't think we can use religion as a morality compass since all religions have their own standards. I do believe that even toddlers have an inner sense of right and wrong, even before their parents teach them anything. That's what I wonder about. Where did that inner sense come from. It will probably be no surprise to you that I believe it came from God or you might say His Holy Spirit who convicts us of our sins, but I wonder what others think. Thanks for your input. I enjoy reading other people's opinion even when they don't agree with mine.
@kenzie45230 (3563)
• United States
27 Sep 08
If you do research, you'll discover that most (if not all) of today's religions have at least one thing in common - words similar to the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. I don't think it matters where that rule originated, but it is an excellent guideline for each one of us. And it used to be something everyone followed, since it was a part of all religions. In more recent years, however, there has been such a huge change in society. Now (and it's even taught in schools), people believe that they are the most important things and what others think or feel is not as important. We've become such selfish creatures.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Sep 08
You're right, we have become very self-centered and have abandoned the Golden Rule.
@lingli_78 (12852)
• Australia
27 Sep 08
i think it is us human beings who set the standard of ourselves whether we are good or not... God puts this ability inside our heart and mind to differentiate between the good and evil since He created us... and ever since we fall into sin, this judgement had become distorted and we had become the judge for ourselves instead of following God's commands which is written in the Bible... so i believe that moral laws come from humans ourselves... and the one who tempted us to do wrong is the satan and our evil minds which come from the heart... this is my opinion... take care and have a nice day...
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Sep 08
Are you saying that man has overridden God's laws and have made their own? Thanks for responding and you have a nice day, too.
• Belgium
27 Sep 08
Well, i just cant believe this "God" made all this, the universe, there are tons of science proofs of the big bang and stuff but i dont know if its all true
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Sep 08
So if God didn't write the moral code we live by, where do you think it came from; and if it came from mankind, where does survival of the fittest come into it, if at all? I guess what I'm asking with my original comment and questions is: if there's not a god, where did reason come from? Why do humans live by a moral code rather than survival of the fittest? Is is just to preserve the species? I find that theory hard to accept because I see kindness in people that go beyond preserving the species and those kindnesses had to have originated from something. So, what was it? I hope what I've written makes sense. I know what I'm trying to ask, I'm just not sure I said it correctly.
@emarie (5455)
• United States
27 Sep 08
well, it is ironic how the laws of the bible are similar to man's moral law. but the questions is really, what came first. who really knows. the world will and always will be filled with good and bad. you can't know one without the other. i am a believer in the bible, but i also believe that you don't need to believe in the bible to gain morality. majority of the people on this earth live a good life to their own sense of justice. some have it stronger then others. as of what can tempt someone to do bad things, who knows. religious people would say the devil. non religious people today would say the falling of economy or the pressure of todays society, some people just want the easy way out since its not always easy to be good. who can really get into the human mind enough to find out the true reason someone can do evil.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Sep 08
I'm a Christian so my opinions are definitely swayed by my beliefs, but I think God put it in us to know right from wrong instinctively - at least the basics (don't kill, don't steal, don't bear false witness, do unto others, etc.). I think what we're taught as we grow up and what we see society accepting and rejecting plays a part in our morality, but I think those basic feelings of right and wrong had to have come from a source like God.
• United States
27 Sep 08
I belive in God completely. And as far as the inner sense and moral ways I know that they came from God. And also you said who or what tempts mankind to do wrong? Well we are sinners from our very birth, but if we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior we can be saved but we will make daily mistakes and sin every day. Which is why we repent. As far as who or what tempt us it is the devil. We still have our flesh and will until the day that the Lord decides to take us home. The devil trys to tempt us to do wrong everyday but we have to stand strong and stay true to God. That is just my opinion. Everyone else may believe differently but i am not ashamed to stand what i believe for.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Sep 08
I admire your courage in confessing your belief. This world needs Christians to stand firm in their beliefs. Thanks for responding.
@TessWhite (3147)
• United States
27 Sep 08
Like several others here, I believe my morals come from my soul. I know what is right from wrong. I know its wrong to kill, or abuse. Just as I know that my son has learned this as he grew up. You see I often tell people that my son was raised with morals, rather than religion. He can make his own religious choice as an adult, just as I have done. But, the morals of right from wrong are something that comes internally.
1 person likes this
@Galena (9124)
26 Sep 08
morality does not come from religion, but from our instincts relating to behaviours that are good for us as a species, and bad for us as a species. human beings exist in social groups, and as animals that live in a social grouping, theft, murder, rape and so on break down the pack structure, and leads to us functioning less efficiently as a species/pack/tribe. whearas looking after each other, being kind, helping someone you see hurt, reinforces tribe strengths and allows the social structure to be stronger and more effective. as pack animals, tribal animals, we are both instinctive as to behaviours that harm our pack/tribe and behaviours that benefit it. and with the world as it is, over time we have come to be part of a bigger and bigger pack, or tribe if you like. because we come into more contact with more people. vampire bats, and wolves also display what could be considered moral behaviour. and that's just a few examples. with wolves, the whole pack care for and raise pups. they are the offspring of only the alpha male and female, but, because it benefits the pack, all of them care for the babies. vampire bats live in colonies, and on return from a hunt, any bats that have been unsuccessful will ask the other bats to regurgitate and feed them. the bats will almost always oblige. because if they don't, the next time the bat that refuses goes hungry, all of the colony refuse them. in the human animal species, these things would be considered moral behaviour. in fact, morality is instinctive.
• United States
26 Sep 08
Galena, you and I think a lot alike.
1 person likes this
@II2aTee (2560)
• United States
26 Sep 08
Yup, Galena is one smart cookie!
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Sep 08
I found your response very interesting and informative. However, I'd prefer thinking any morality I have came from reason rather than instinct. I'm not sure I want to be included in the "beast" category, although much of mankind does act like beast.
@calebsw1 (15)
26 Sep 08
If morality came from good upbringing or even natural ability then why is the world the way it is today? Why do people lie, cheat and steal? Because by nature we lie. You don't teach a kid to lie. They learn to lie on thier own. Some people say well I don't need religion to tell me that I am morally wrong. I agree. You don't need religion to tell you anything. But let's not talk about religion. Let's talk about GOd and the bible. How would we know that things were wrong if it was not for GOd's word and his law. If there were no rules, then people would do whatever they wanted. Why can't I just take my neighbors car? Without fear of facing the consequences. God is the originator of rules. Rules are set in place not to keep people in bondage, but I think to keep people from hurting themselves. If you look at the bible as being a book of rules then you don't know the true essence of what GOd's word.
@Galena (9124)
26 Sep 08
you can't take your neighbours car, because it causes a breakdown in the pack. if you steal from your neighbours, your neighbours will probably come and batter you, eventually. and the violence causes the breakdown in pack structure. and so hinders your local tribe. we are social animals in need of social structure, so know inside it is not good to steal or be violent to one another. lieing is not the same. sometimes the truth damages a social structure, and that's why most lies happen. whatever the original reason to lie, the lie is told to maintain the status quo. maintain the pack. say, someone cheats on their partner. they lie in order to maintain the pack family as it is. they know that cheating was wrong, as it potentially damages the pack, so the lie is told to minimise that damage. the bible is no basis in my life for morality. just instinct. my own religion holds some very good moral codes, but these are not the source of my morality. that is from my instinct.
26 Sep 08
I never said religion was a basis of morality. But I do believe that God is. I believe that natural instinct teaches us to lie, steal and do all these things that make up the moral code. Instinct is natural, I agree. If you lie so that you don't hurt someone feelings by instinct, doesn't make lieing right? Where does the basis of right and wrong and good and evil come from. If it is not from a greater source. Did we always know to do good? What is bad?
• United States
27 Sep 08
Thank you for your comments, calebsw1. You said what I wish I'd said.
@cyntrow (8527)
• United States
26 Sep 08
Morality comes from inside. It's not a law but a way of living. Each person or family has their own view of morality. For example, I consider it immoral to not help the needy. I do not consider personal matters that harm no one to be immoral. Temptation to do wrong also comes from inside, but right and wrong is in the eyes of the beholder. For instance, in my opinion, there is nothing wrong that does not harm others and that includes potential to harm others. For example, if I got drunk and drove home, it would be a wrong decision. Even if I made it home without an accident, the potential to do harm is there. And for the record, I am a believer.
• United States
26 Sep 08
I find your answer very interesting. I know you can be a believer without being a part of a formal religious group, I just thought a believer would have given the credit to their god. Thanks for your response.
@cyntrow (8527)
• United States
26 Sep 08
I give credit to God for my being here. But my moral fabric is based in my upbringing and my feelings.
@uath13 (8227)
• United States
26 Sep 08
Mankind temps themselves, plain & simple. It doesn't take a religion to set up morals, it takes people wanting to work together to better themselves to do so. Often that was done under a religious umbrella but that's not always necessary. P.S. there is no MORAL LAW... there are basic morals that each person is judged with by society , but those aren't necessarily laws. Unless the justice system manages to get them put into the books & enforced then it's not a law.
• United States
26 Sep 08
I was thinking "law" like the "law of gravity." But since you brought it up, on what does the justice system base their laws? Is it based on "Do unto others, etc.?"
@uath13 (8227)
• United States
27 Sep 08
Actually it seems to be based on the moral values of those selected for power & the special interest groups that control them.
@belk89 (1104)
• Philippines
26 Sep 08
I think being an atheist doesnt mean a person doesnt know what is good from bad. Of course part of those values are inculcated to them by there parents and relatives. While some they learn it in school. Knowing what is right from wrong is already part of our instinct. It is the same as to how did animals know that they need to protect there babies from predator. And how did they learn how to make a home and the instict of feeding there baby. These are part of animal instinct. Nobody teach them how to do it but they normally do it like they already known this since birth. We as a human being is the same. We do have a conscience and we feel love and pity. It is not base on being a believer or not. It is base on the moral values we learn and from our own instinct.
• United States
27 Sep 08
I agree with you that we all have a conscience, but I think that conscience came from God. Thanks for you input. Reading how people think has been very enlightening.
@cbreeze (1209)
• United States
26 Sep 08
I think we are learning from the moment we are born. We learn what feels good to us and what feels bad to us. Some of our morals are established from that because we understand that if it doesn't feel good to us, it doesn't feel good to someone else either. We also learn from observation. We see how those around us treat others and how others respond and we develop morals based on that. Then of course there is what we are deliberately taught. This becomes embedded in our minds as fact and we usually carry it with us for the rest of our lives. There is also custom. We have always done it this way so we continue to do it this way. This is why morals may vary from culture to culture. Just some thought on where our morals come from.
• United States
27 Sep 08
Thanks for your comments. Getting a verity of responses is what I was hoping for. Having grown up in a Christian household, I was taught that the law or principle of right and wrong came from God. However, I knew there were people who didn't believe in God, so I wondered how the nonbelievers felt. While I still believe morality came from God, I appreciate the responses I've gotten. I'm also glad whether we believe morality came from God or elsewhere, we are basically moral people. I agree with many who responded that we couldn't survive if we weren't.
@ramangill (1479)
• India
27 Sep 08
well about moral values,as said above that it comes from inside,it is about humanity, it is about loving each other,we dont need some religion to know what is good and bad. and about god well there is existence,,also we dont know who we are,where we have to go, obviously ,we are here ,so we cant deny the fact of origin, so i think everybdy believe in god in different senses. some people will call this nature as god, some illogical poeple will think that there is someone sitting in the sky who runs the world. thanks.
@NrgDfenZ (1810)
• Belgium
27 Sep 08
I think culture depends what is wrong or right.. Though with the internet many cultures get linked with eachother.. So it isn't entirely culture dependant.. Have a nice day..
@Lee_Rites (846)
• United States
27 Sep 08
There are some people who don't behave badly because they don't want to go to hell. But I think that for the most part, people who choose to live their life by a set of values, would do so even without religion. Religion just gives them a good basis. I think religion is for people who want to believe in something. And what better to believe in?