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Do atheists have morals?

In my personal experience, I have found atheists and non-fundamentalist theists to be equally moral. An inordinately high percentage of fundamentalist theists I know are far less moral -- both in their statements and in their actions. I'm not suggesting that the actions or statements they make with regard to their faith is immoral; I am speaking rather of their dishonesty, unfairness, and lack of compassion in their dealings with others (including other fundamentalist theists). Morality (and the lack thereof) can be viewed also from a broader social perspective as well. One need only look at history to find that theocracies can be as cruel or crueler then secular forms of government.

Since atheists do not believe in gods, they also do not believe that holy scriptures could be either dictated or inspired by gods. However, most atheists agree that there is wisdom and morality in scripture. How can this be? Atheists believe that values, including morality, come from people like themselves; the values and morality are the same whether one believes in gods or not. The morality found in scriptures of various religions are remarkably similar, even if the theology is very different. The common thread of morality in these different theologies are the people who wrote them. Atheists, just like any of those people, share the same sense of morality.

On a final note, the morality of atheists is in a sense more noble by definition than the morality of theists. While theists believe that god will punish them for immoral acts and reward them for moral acts, atheists have no motivation to be moral other than their own innate sense of morality. It is morality for its own sake, not out of fear for punishment or desire for reward.

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