For some reason, a lot of people today are under the misconception that all morals come from religion, and, without religion, there would be no morals. But man needs morality to survive, and as rational beings, of course we can discover morality ourselves.
"Ethics is an objective, metaphysical necessity of man's survival...I quote from Galt's speech: 'Man has been called a rational being, but rationality is a matter of choice- and the alternative his nature offers him is: rational being or suicidal animal. Man has to be man- by choice; he has to hold his life as a value- by choicel he has to learn to sustain it- by choice; he has to discover the values it requires and practice his virtues- by choice. A code of values accepted by choice is a code of morality'
The standard of value of the Objectivist ethics- the standard by which judges what is good and evil- is man's life: or, that which is required for man's survival quo man. Since reason is man's basic means of survival, that which is proper to the life of a rational being is good; that which negates, opposes, or destroys it is the evil." (Rand)
"Man must choose his actions, values, and goals by the standard of that which is proper to man- in order to achieve, maintain, fulfill and enjoy that ultimate value, that end in himself, which is his own life." (Rand)
"Life of death is mans only fundamental alternative. To live is his basic act of choice. If he chooses to live, a rational ethics will tell him what principles of action are required to implement his choice. If he does not choose to live, nature will take its course." (Rand)
"The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself, and live"
"If I were to speak your kind of language, I would say that man's only commandment is: Thou shalt think. But a moral commandment is a contradiction in terms. The moral is the chosen, not the forced; the understood, not the obeyed. The moral is the rational , and reason accepts no commandments. My morality, the morality of reason, is contained in a single axiom: existence exists- and in a single choice: to live. The rest proceeds from these. To live, man must hold three things as the supreme and ruling values of his life: Reason-Purpose-Self Esteem. Reason, as his only tool of knowledge. Purpose-as the choice of the happiness what that tool must proceed to achieve- Self Esteem, as his inviolate certainty that his mind is competent to think and his person worthy of happiness, which means, is worthy of living. These three values imply and require all of man's virtues, and all his virtues pertain to the relation of existence and consciousness: rationality, independance, integrity, honesty, productiveness, justice, pride." (Rand)
"You who prattle that morality is social and that man who would need no morality on a desert island-it is on a desert island that he would need it most. Let him try to claim, when there are no victims to pay for it, that a rock is a house, that sand is clothing, that food will drop in to hhis mouth without cause or effort, that he will collect a harvest tomorrow by devouring his stock seed today-and reality will wipe him out, as he deserves; reality will show him that life is a value to be bought and that thinking is the only coin noble enough to buy it." (Rand)
"A sin without volition is a slap at morality and an insolent contradiction in terms: that which is outside the possibility of choice is outside the province of morality. If man is evil by birth, he has no will, no power to change it; if he has no will, he can be neither good nor evil; a robot is amoral. To hold,as man's sin, a fact not open to his choice is a mockery of morality" (Rand)
"In spite of all their irrationalities, inconsistencies, hypocrisies and evasions, the majority of men will not act, in major issues, without a sense of being morally right and will not oppose the morality they have accepted. They will break it, they will cheat on it, but they will not oppose it; and when they break it, they take the blame on themselves. The power of morality is the greatest of all intellectual powers-and mankinds tragedy lies in the fact that the vicious moral code men have accepted destroys them by means of the best within them." (Rand)