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Humanist morality

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Humanist morality focuses on improving conditions for ourselves, our families, our communities the whole of humanity.


We evolved our moral sense because moral people look after relatives who share their genes. Others look after them in turn. Those who look after others from their community become trusted and respected. People seen as moral are attractive sexual partners. Especially people looking for more than casual sex want a responsible partner. Being moral helps us to pass on our genes. We want to be moral. Modern people know about others outside our immediate community through the media including television and the Internet. That increases the number of people who potentially belong to our community. We can even develop compassion and a sense of responsibility towards sentient animals because we believe that animals feel things in a similar way to the way other people feel things.

In short survival of the species makes more sense than following Bronze Age Mythology, Iron Age Mythology or Mythology from the New Testament written during the Roman Empire.

Example of humanist morality

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.

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.

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.

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