Where do our morals and ethics really come from?

“Human decency is not derived from religion. It precedes it.” ― Christopher Hitchens

We were privileged to have Will Watling speak for us last night and one of the points that really struck me during the talk was in regards to morals and ethics and whether they are inherent in humans. Are we really born with a built-in knowledge of what’s right and wrong?

It’s a point I’ve never really given much thought to, mainly because I’m good without god and that’s that. But last night lead me to question whether I’m that way because I was taught by teachers and parents that morals came from the bible? I asked myself, what if I had been brought up by non-religious parents? Would I see the world differently and with a different code when it came to how to act around people, animals, the environment? …. and then I looked at my three children and I had my answer!
They are kind, they care about people, they know right from wrong and they’re all happy. . . and 100% godless, on my part anyway. They do hear about moral stories in school, from the bible….but always ask me when they get home from school what the stories mean, and I can always think of myriad other ways to demonstrate the same point without needing the bible as an example.

The question then arose “Are they that way because the kindness I taught them, in the freethinker form, originally came from ideas that somehow root back to what was passed down to me from church and my parents when I was a kid? From my parent’s parents to them etc….and how far back do you go to break out of the religion bubble and find societies that existed and flourished without a requirement for religion as a moral framework”

It’s certainly something I need to look much more deeply into, like I said, I’d never questioned it until the talk I heard!

This is what I love about humanism, atheism and general non-religious living – all the wonderful questions and things to explore!