TraumaRN: So I feel I should say this first, I realize I'm potentially opening a can of worms with this thread, and potentially testing the potential limits of this new forum. I sincerely hope not as the discussions so far seem very civil and well argued. With that out of the way onwards to the topic at hand. M: I don't think this is the new forum. T: Morality without religion or god(s). This has been a quietly hot button issue in my life over the last few months especially because I'm an atheist. I believe myself to be literal anecdotal proof that you don't need religion to be moral. I believe the function of morality is make life around us more ordered, to make coexisting with others less of a struggle. I believe we are rational animals who can make a reasoned and intelligent choices regarding cause/effect of our actions, and that morality allows us to live happier, more harmonious, more peaceful lives. Morality should allow to live our lives without suffering, or at least minimize any suffering. M: Why do you believe this? It is because you know something. You can taste it. You have felt it all your life. What is the matrix. You do not believe in God but He believes in you. You do not see Him because you are looking for Him out there. But He is in your words and He drives them. He is beyond suffering and He's calling to you to join Him, to transcend the prison you have been put in. "Did you but suffer you would not suffer", the words of Christ, so I'm told, from the Apocrypha. The Buddha sat under the Bo tree and felt everything, he pierced the vale and returned to his true state, oneness with everything. The Oneness is real and its absence is why we suffer, we believe things that do not exist, that there is good and evil, God and NoGod, Opposites that do not exist. There is only the direct apperception of what exists in the now, the timeless place where there are no questions, no suffering, nothing but awareness of love. It is that big love in oneness that you desire and that drives you, that you can feel and that makes you long for good. You are nothing but that good but you and all of us have been damaged and have lost true faith, the faith that love exists nowhere but in our own heart. Because you are driven by this feeling, this longing for something you can't put your finger on, you should feel no need to tell anybody you don't believe in God. You do, but for you He needs a different name. T: But whenever I end up in a discussion of morals with people, I find my lack of belief in god being thrown back in my face. M: Because the religious feel the same pull but were taught that God is out there. T: Such as one of the doctor's I work with saying that without God she wouldn't have the strength to care for sick people and that without God her patients would die because she wouldn't care as much about that, and that without God you just can't be moral and just. Let's just say when she said that I immediately recused myself. M: You and God recused her. She uses God to open her door to a better self and feels that it is better. She does not want to lose that and believes it's a requirement. You don't need a God for a door stop. Your love has already opened that door. As a believer in God you may allow the war with the faithful to end. You are the proof of your faith just as you said. Know it. The need for affirmation that a man can be loving without a God disappears in loving. Real love admits no doubt. T: Let me just say for the record how terrifying it is to hear someone claim they need God or anything else to be able to care for sick people. It makes me think you have no empathy, no ability to care for others. As an aside this same doctor refused to give Plan B to a rape victim in our ER because her religion and morals wouldn't allow her to do that. Thankfully another provider stepped in to help, but I digress(that will be another thread I think). It goes without saying I try to avoid working with this particular doctor. M: There is no room in love for terror nor any need for anger. She is blind and you can see. Love ends duality. The more conscious person always bears the greater moral weight. If you suffer you will not suffer. T: The second example was one of my former friends, I broke the news to her I was atheist and her reaction was not good. She told me that I had turned away from God and towards evil and that she couldn't trust me because I didn't have God as a proverbial anchor for my morals. M: You turned away from the belief that God is out there. Your God is your moral belief, the love that makes you feel empathy. God is love. Everybody knows that, no? T: Which brings me to my point for debate. I personally think that part of the problems specifically in America is our moral beliefs. I think too many of the people in power use religion as a basis for morals and it is causing massive amounts of harm. I believe that we have a massive lack of critical thinking as a society at large. We are too selfish, too enamored with this idea of "I'm self reliant you should be too, if you aren't you get nothing!" My own profession of health care is the perfect example of that. Why in 2013 do people have to make a choice between paying for food and keeping the lights on or paying for their own health. That is morally reprehensible to me. Cheap(or free access) to health should be a basic human right for EVERYONE, regardless of your circumstances. And let me be clear on my final point, I'm not advocating atheism by any means here, I'm advocating for using critical thinking, reason and intelligence to build a more moral society. Sorry if I got a little wordy! M: Yes, critical thinking, reason, and intelligence would be nice when it's love that drives them. You are not alone and the kingdom of heaven is within you. As the Divinely Beloved who loves you more than you can possibly ever love yourself once said, 'Relax and be happy."