An Atheist on Morality

Einstein did not believe in God, as many [mistakenly] claim.

Albert Einstein said, “My position concerning God is that of an agnostic.” He clarified with, “The word God is, for me, nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.”

Atheist don’t believe in God either. Not any god/s. Ever. Unlike Agnostics, open to the possibility of a ‘higher power,’ or ‘collective, sentient being,’ Einstein believed in neither. Agnostic is politically correct, less threatening, especially during his time, born a Jew, and existing on federal and university funding.

I am an Atheist. I do not recognize the Old/New Testament, and related works illuminating the adventures of a divine being as anything more than fiction—parables by some wise, some ignorant, but guaranteed partisan male scribes with an agenda to dominate and control human behavior. (The defense that organized religion was necessary to reign us in when we were small warring tribes has been [and still is] proselytized by every power-hungry, self-proclaimed ‘person-of-god’ out there.)

So when I need money, [as an Atheist] why don’t I go rob someone. Or shoplift?

When I’m attracted to my neighbor’s husband, why don’t I hit on him, get intimate if he’s into it?

When I get pissed off at the driver on their cellphone that just cut me off, why don’t I just shoot her?

Snatch & Run, even drive-by’s these days, and the odds of getting caught for these crimes is somewhat nominal if I’m discreet. Fear of being busted is not the main motivation that prevents me from committing these, and ‘lesser’ crimes like lying, cheating and behaviors that most others would agree, religious or not, are moral infractions.

If I believe I answer to no higher power, where do I get my morality?

Einstein said, “We have to content ourselves with our imperfect knowledge and understanding and treat values and moral obligations as a purely human problem—the most important of all human problems.”

Believer or not, what are your ‘Moral Obligations?’

Mine, as an Atheist and a Human being, is to support our continued evolution. Part of my Moral Obligation is to reproduce, and extend the magnificent, wondrous, glorious feelings of being alive to someone else, as it has been gifted to me. In keeping with this particular Moral Obligation, bringing kids into the world comes with more Moral Obligations. Reproducing requires me to care for my progeny above myself, especially through childhood, teach them things I’ve learned so far, and to lay a foundation of trust, respect and love that my parents neglected to give to me. But my moral obligations extend far beyond having kids.

I am born owing Humanity that came before me, and everything on this planet that supports us.

We all are. Global warming, climate change, believe in them or not, what is your Moral Obligation to creating a more sustainable future for everything here? It may seem we have little control over our environment, but we have more than we think, or at least are practicing. My M.O. is to do better at preserving life, and the earth itself from our crap—our toxic emissions, our trash, our fecal waste, killing forests for toilet paper, over-farming, over-fishing, fracking, and the list goes on and on.

Another M.O. I follow is to THINK, a lot, about most anything and everything. Research, question, and learn are all important M.O.s. So, I research how I, as just one person, can fulfill my Moral Obligation to care for our planet better and came up with a lot of ways:

  • Use LED or CFL lightbulbs
  • Stop eating beef
  • Stop eating fish unless it is sustainably caught
  • Drive a fuel-efficient vehicle
  • Recycle
  • Use recycled products

Sure, I can use the excuse that as only one person doing any of these things won’t matter to the big picture. But I’d be denying one of my Moral Obligations to do better at preserving life here. Praying for better weather won’t change anything. I must actualize the action items in the list above to do my minuscule part in insuring life here continues long after my time, and that my children’s children’s children evolve to more fully embrace our spectacular creativity, our ingenuity, our capacity for kindness and our amazing ability to share love.

“…treat values and moral obligations as a purely human problem,” Einstein said. In other words, morality is determined by human beings, not handed down from on-high by some obscure being requiring blind obedience invented by men looking to control the ignorant masses.

Religious or Atheist, we all must recognize and actualize our Moral Obligations to each other and this planet for humanity to survive, and thrive.

Cited Notable Facts:

Murder rates are lower in more secular nations and higher in more religious countries where belief in God is deep and widespread. (Jensen 2006; Paul 2005; Fajnzylber et al. 2002; Fox and Levin 2000)

Within U.S., the states with the highest murder rates tend to be highly religious, such as Louisiana and Alabama, but the states with the lowest murder rates tend to be among the least religious in the country, such as Vermont and Oregon. (Ellison et al. 2003; Death Penalty Information Center, 2008)

Rates of most violent crimes tend to be lower in the less religious states and higher in the most religious states. (United States Census Bureau, 2006)

The top 50 safest cities in the world, nearly all are in relatively non-religious countries, and of the eight cities within the United States that make the safest-city list, nearly all are located in the least religious regions of the country. (Mercer Survey, 2008)

Domestic terrorists of the American far right are driven by zeal for heretical distortions of Christian theology. (Paul de Armond, DOJ, 1999) Christian nationalism [is] a serious and growing threat to our democracy. (Robert P. Jones, TIME Magazine, 2022)

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