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Dichotomy June 18, 2008

Posted by Michelle, with dignity in Uncategorized.

Lately I’ve been faced with what some consider an issue of faith, and others consider an issue of humanity.

There is a common belief that in order to be “moral” one has to be a believer in some kind or religious being.

Moral, according my old friends Merriam and Webster, is
1. of or relating to right behavior
3. conforming to a standard of right behavior
4. sanctioned by one’s conscience or ethical judgement
5. capable of right or wrong action

So, morality is acting in accordance with accepted “right” behavior of humanity. Basic human morals come down to a few tenets.
Don’t kill me. Don’t steal from me. Don’t lie to me.

All “moral codes” set by ALL religions and philosophies of the world include those things. Most of them also include some form of what is known as the Christian “Golden Rule” – Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Basically, treat people like you would like to be treated.
Christians have and follow their dogma and their morals, hindus believe in karma, (buddhists do, too), those of the Jewish faith believe in the ten commandments like the Christians, and there’s no more stringent code of morals than that of the muslim faith.

While these major world religions might differ in many ways, their followers believe that there’s something else out there sharing with us morality and ethics. In order to get the followers to follow those codes, they typically have some sort of alternative, typically negative punishment or consequence for negligence or disobedience. Christians, Jews, and Muslims believe in eternal damnation, and those that believe in reincarnation do not want to come back as a dung beetle (although a lifetime as a dung beetle is much more preferable than eternal damnation….)

So, I guess it’s hard for someone deeply seeded in a faith so bound by morality (Christianity) to understand how someone without their faith could be moral.

I do not follow the “Ten Commandments” given to us by God through Moses on Mt. Sinai. I don’t necessarily believe in all of the teachings of Jesus and his followers. I don’t know what I believe in at all. I believe that karma is a force at work in the universe, but it’s not contingent on any deity. I do not live by the Bhagavad Ghita, or the Upanishads. I do not follow a book or the teachings of any one religion or philosophy.

While I don’t claim a religion as my own, that does not automatically exclude me from the realm of “morality”. Morality is not contingent on God, or a god-head delusion. There is god-less morality, and I guess I’m an example of that.

This all has come from how there are people that would never find me to be a moral and good person because my morality isn’t driven by God, or whatever. It almost hurts my feelings that I work with people who can never see me as a good person without being a Christian person.



1. Holly - June 18, 2008

i totally understand why you feel this way…
you are one of the most moral people i know.

p.s. i read a quote that kinda rid me of the bitterness i was speaking of earlier.

“We judge others by their worst behavior, we judge ourselves by our best intentions.”

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