Morality of a Humanist
What is my standard of deciding what is just and unjust, right or wrong, better or worse?
What is a good life? Can I be just, right, better ..on my own , just as a human? Is a god, or belief in one required? These are the questions I was confronted with when my theistic beliefs began crumbling around me. I was drawn to secular humanism immediately. I still feel at harmony with it. But, can I justify it? What is my reasoning in favor of my normative ethics?
I had a thought last night.
I imagined myself in a different time and place. Still as a wife and mother, but most likely my duties would be different. Perhaps carrying water from a water source, washing clothes in a river, grinding grain after picking it. Very different from my job now. What would stay the same? What do we humans share across time and culture? How we relate to others. Would I not still read my children a bedtime story? )tell them one if we didn’t have books) hug them tight, tickle their toes, teach them about how they should act with others, how to learn to control their tongues that they might not say things they regret , control their fists, etc.
When deciding what standard to build my morals upon, (and what I have taught my children) I am always drawn back to our interconnectedness. Without belief in a god, there is a stark realization that all we have is each other. Because relationships are timeless and universal , beginning with immediate circle of family, then the next circles of community, country, and finally the world, how we relate, what qualities we want, what virtues we choose as good or better are most important. I believe that we can observe virtues and vices (with reason and critical thinking) that have been and are still admired and scorned. Things like courage, sacrifice, love, compassion, loyalty, discipline, fairness, peacemaking, generosity, respect, honor, hope, cooperation, reliability, sincerity have been written of for generations upon generations. Likewise our observances of vices like deceit, cheating, stealing, cowardliness, hate, envy, inequality, and how they affect us and our relationship with others has been observed.
I realize that my own desires for virtues were affected by stories in my childhood. Fables and fairy-tales, tales of courage, tales of humans changing the world, or their own world by taking stands for each other, bible stories, the words of Jesus. In later years I discovered that many of these same qualities were valued in the same way by many differing religions, cultures, and societies. It is something that we as humans share. The ability to see how our actions affect ourselves and each other.
And so in deciding my moral values, I find virtue ethics plays a role, deciding the kind of person I want to be, the traits that I value and admire and how I choose to live. I find the consequences of my actions play a role in deciding which are virtues and which are vices.
Valuing traits like loyalty and empathy and fairness cause me to choose duty , service and respect for the rights of others when deciding my code as well.
These virtues that I esteem, hold dear, desire to be….
could these be reflections of a god? his character? I know some believe that to be so, but I have no way of knowing with the evidence I have been presented. I do see evidence for evolution playing a role in the development of some traits, a mothers protective love, altruism, even empathy. Survival instincts or god given? I cannot provide solid evidence for either completely. I only offer this, without belief in a god, I have found these traits to be a beautiful part of humanity just as our vices can be a destructive part , and have chosen to set my moral values on them.
Empathy is probably the key in our interconnectedness and establishing my values.
And though I find harmony with secular humanism, I find harmony with any who hold the golden rule (or platinum rule ) as well.
Treat others as they would like to be treated, as long as I do no harm.
In all decisions use rational critical thinking when possible, be self controlled, do not act, speak or type rashly.
Be of service to my family, friends, community and where possible country and world. In kindness, compassion, empathy, generosity, and helpfulness.
Do not hold grudges, but forgive as I too would like to be forgiven by others.
Do not let fear keep me from doing what I believe is right.
Walk in courage.
Speak truthfully, with integrity, being sincere, but also with tact.
Be committed to my friends and family, be loyal and reliable keeping promises, employing perseverance and tenacity and not giving up when the going gets tough.
Take a stand for fairness, justice, and the rights of others, as I too would like my rights protected.
Be content, don’t envy others for in this I will be at peace, and joy comes in this.
Make every attempt to be at peace with those around me, harmonious, cooperative, and tolerant wherever it does not cause harm to others or myself.
Remain a free thinker, employ logic and critical thinking skills, but remain humble. Do not let pride keep me from seeing error, or fear change. Never stop questioning. Always allow room for creativity and imagination, tools for visionary change. “What ifs” are necessary for growth.
Be grateful, and thankful for good that is done towards me, or comes my way.
Never assume, or take for granted.
Work hard, be diligent, and do not waste time or talent.
Be purposeful, not reactionary.
Where I struggle in faith and trust, allow hope to fill in the gaps.
When I fail in the above, humbly recognize my mistakes, and make apologies, restitution, and amendments where I may.
If I am able to walk in the above, then I walk in love.
- Posted in: Atheism ♦ Christianity ♦ Empathy ♦ fables ♦ morals ♦ objective morality ♦ Skepticism ♦ subjective morality ♦ The Golden Rule ♦ Theism ♦ Understanding one another
- Tagged: atheism, christianity, ethics, good without god, humanism, morality, morals, objective morals, secular humanism, subjective morals, theism, virtue ethics