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Ernesto Rodriguez

Philosophy 12: Ethics


Midterm Question 9


Can an atheist be moral? Is a theist notion of ethics superior to an atheist notion of ethics? Explain either way. Support your position with "material from the reading".


Morality is something that is independent of religious persuasion. Generally speaking a Christian's morals are in no way superior to those of a Buddhist, a theist's morals are not superior to an atheist's and so forth. The measure of morality lies with individuals, not with the religions they do or do not follow.


An atheist individual can be just as, if not more moral than a theist, even by the theist's own standard. One does not need to believe in God or subscribe to any particular religion to have a sense of justice. It not uncommon for an atheist's ideas of right and wrong to reflect many of the same ideas of the theist. Some things, such as murder and torture, naturally transcend all religions and are universally considered immoral. To some extent, they both abide by the same universal concept of justice.


Thus, it is the actions of the individual that determines the individuals degree of morality. Religion does not govern morality of the individual and the individual does not determine the morality of a religion.