Atheists and morality: not mutually exclusive

It’s something I’ve heard before from different sources, but do you think that Atheists are by definition amoral? How can someone with no faith have a sense of morality?

PZ Myers gives the answer.

I do have a real and consistent reason for behaving morally, it’s just one that doesn’t require a supernatural foundation. I was raised in a happy family, one that reinforced that conventionally ‘good’ behavior, and that rewarded appropriate social behavior. I lived with good role models who offered love without conditions, who taught by example rather than with fear or threats. I live now in a family and with a community of friends who do not demand obeisance to superstition in order to give respect. I am rewarded materially and emotionally for moral behavior.

That’s the recipe for building an environment that fosters moral behavior. It doesn’t involve gods or even belief in gods. It is completely independent of Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, or atheism. It works — religion is irrelevant to morality.

I completely agree with him, even though I still wouldn’t consider myself an atheist. My fence-sitting agnosticism is deep-rooted, although I am spending some time now on educating myself on religious matters. I’ve always believed myself to have a good, decent set of morals and I’ve never been particularly religious. I believe that I am this way because of my good, decent up-bringing.

At this moment in my life I really don’t have a need for any god.

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