Saturday, 25 March 2017

Right and wrong...

It was an impressive sight: two lines of stationary traffic parting - like the Red Sea - to let an ambulance through. As a manoeuvre it looked almost choreographed, as though we were all obeying some instruction from on high. But nobody needed to be told what to do, and nobody failed to react. We instinctively knew that by acting in concord, the ambulance would make unimpeded progress. Our actions might even have helped to save somebody's life.

The righteous, convinced that they get their moral certainties from the Bible, are unable to imagine what is stopping an atheist like me acting immorally (which may say more about them than it says about atheists). Without the commandments of a divine authority, how can we possibly know right from wrong? There are many reasons why we may decide to act empathetically, cooperatively, without any apparent self-interest, and we don’t need God to coerce us into good behaviour with threats and promises. Anyway, how moral are those who behave well simply to avoid an eternity of hellfire?

I have more respect for our innate abilities, individually and collectively, to do the right thing, and to consider other people’s needs as well as our own…

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