Because of on account of no god.
'Cause right and wrong are defined by gods. Or a god. Right? Right? Right?
I can't, wouldn't, won't and don't want to speak for all atheists, but ten'll getcha thirty-three-point-seven-five-five-recurring that the rest of 'em would agree with me when I say, yes atheists have a moral center, no it doesn't come from a divine dictate, and dude is it easy to just have one.
So where did I get mine? Simple -- from being born a human, learning from my mistakes and experiencing my own emotions and comparing them to the emotions of others.
In other words, from being alive.
Let's get an example up in this joint, shall we? Let's pick something simple -- let's go wiiiiiiith...stealing. Stealing is considered immoral. I don't steal.
But why not? I'm not afraid of God's punishment, right? I can get away with whatever I --
NO. No, I CAN'T. And I don't want to even try. And here's why.
When I was a kid, in Mexico, I stole some stuff. Details would take too long, but suffice to say that my therapist explained that I was most likely acting out in defiance over the whole having-been-kidnapped thing. Fact is, theft.
I didn't get away with it. Oh, no. My Dad caught on. And my Dad was very good at punishment, and I got some Grade-A top-shelf award-winning some of that. LESSON LEARNED: STEAL, GET CAUGHT, CONSEQUENCES.
So why didn't I just try to get better at it? People can do that, after all -- hell, they can get real good at it, leveling up and stuff even. People can develop those talents to great extremes!
|Pictured: Well-Developed "Talents".|
Well, sure, with practice you can. But, me, I'm lazy, so screw that. To top it off, after I swiped the money from my Dad and bought some toys, what did I have?
Stuff. Stuff that I had to keep hidden. My situation was not alleviated in any way -- 'fact, it was made worse. I had no joy; I had stuff. LESSON LEARNED: STUFF ≠ HAPPINESS, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT.
Later in my life, I had the tables turned on me. In high school I had a Walkman that my Dad had sent me for my birthday. I put it in my locker, went to class, came back -- POOF, gone. Stolen.
Man, I was pissed. That was MY WALKMAN, man! Mine! That was for me to have and enjoy, and listen to the Eddie And The Cruisers Soundtrack on the bus instead of that damned Amy Grant "Baby, Baby" song! Some unscrupulous jackass, some selfish jackwad had taken that away from me, the knob-gobbler! What a dick! LESSON LEARNED: THIEVES ARE DICKS.
|Also, a self-justifying character class that really wasn't necessary...but I digress.|
In typical human fashion, I added up all those lessons in an unconscious way and lo and behold, they came to form part of my basic, guiding psychology. My morals, if you will. Nor did I want to take the risk of getting caught, nor would I have been satisfied by the success, nor did I want to be a jerk who infringes upon other people's rights and happiness. Done.
THOSE are the consequences of immoral action. There's no need for punishment from divine forces, deferred until after death; the consequences are right HERE, right NOW, in LIFE. I can tell right from wrong because I can think and I have feelings.
Ahhh, some might say -- but I have those feelings because God gave them to me! So, in a sense, if God hadn't given them to me, I'd be...I dunno, like a New Wave Jack The Ripper or something.
|"Don't You Want Me, Bay-Beh? Don't You Want Me, Whoa-oa-hoaaa?!"|
And yet, I am not. I can't be. I can't go around doing bad stuff to people because, frankly, I'd feel bad. My compassion overrides my animal instinct to do as I please and damn the rest. There are probably good biological reasons why it befits us to have that compassion, and why it won out over pure, naked-assed greed in the Natural election Sweepstakes. I think that there are such reasons, but that is for another time.
New Wave Jack The Ripper...man, I oughtta be taking notes...! Does this stuff get saved, somewhere...?