Why I Have No Morals

A while ago, I wrote a post that was one of the most honest and raw life stories that I’ve written so far. It chronicled what happened when my mom found out that I’m not as sexually pure as she thought (or wanted), although to any normal people it’s next to nothing. She gave me a speech on why what I did was so abhorrent and how could I possibly consider myself a Christian if I sinned against God like this and am I not concerned about my eternal life, and so on and so forth.

Well, good for me, because actually I’m an atheist and I can do whatever I want. Isn’t that how this whole thing works?

Kind of. But not really.

If I’m being honest, there are times when I see my Christian friends striving to be pure and not do things they find sinful like having sex or drinking or swearing, (or even skipping church) and I feel almost as if I played some kind of cheat card that allows me to be free from following the rules. Then I remind myself that these rules make no sense and are completely made up and breaking them actually causes no harm as long as you’re responsible. So while it may be true that atheists have fewer rules to follow, it’s also the logical and realistic position.

A few weeks ago when I was reading The God Delusion, I came across the term “consequentialism”. It’s a system of determining your morals depending on the consequences of your actions. From what I know, it seems like a reasonable way to decide what’s the better or worse thing to do in a given situation. To me, condemning actions that can have either very little to no consequences or even positive consequences is blatantly unnecessary.

I love to sleep in on Sundays when everyone else at my school has to get up before the sun, put on their nice clothes, and hop on a church van into town. I think of it as a perk of being an atheist, but just because it happens to be nice and convenient doesn’t mean it’s wrong or lazy. Just because church requires the commitment of getting up early and talking to people you don’t like and sitting on a hard pew and listening to a boring sermon doesn’t make you any better for doing it. I see it as unnecessarily torturing yourself for a few hours and getting nowhere.

This unnecessary self-discipline and self-torture seems to be something that Christians love to do though. I like to look at teen Christian girl blogs sometimes (I’m not sure why), and almost every single one I come across has at least one post (here and here are examples) about their battle with sexual purity and lustful thoughts. “I’m a good innocent Christian girl,” they say. “You would never think I struggle with…these temptations…but I do!” The blogs generally end up reminding their readers that their sexuality is a special amazing gift from Jesus (ew?) and he wants us to resist temptation and replace those “sinful feelings of lust” with love for Jesus (ew again!!).

I came up with an interesting way to try to stay objective when determining if something like this is “right” or “wrong”. If you think something you’re doing is bad, think of what’s actually bad about it. Consider someone like this who is concerned with “sexual sin”. If you think that’s bad, why? Is it because of actual dangers such as STIs and emotional harm, or is it just because the bible tells you that will send you to hell?

Of course, there are plenty of reasons to be very, very careful about who you have sex with and at what age and using protection and so on and so forth, but why add more to it than there already is? Are reading “sensual novels” or listening to “provocative song lyrics” really causing monumental problems that deserve to be punished by burning in hellfire for eternity? For that matter, is consensual, safe sex between two adults who have been in a serious relationship for over four years worthy of a stern talking-to that’s replete with eternal concern and threats of fire and brimstone? (I suppose I am still a little bit salty about that…)

Anyways, if you were reading this thinking that atheists only don’t believe because we are resisting God’s authority and we would rather live like pigs in our sinful filth, then, well, I probably haven’t changed your mind. But hopefully you see a little more of where I get my morals from and why I don’t see anything wrong with doing what’s often considered to be detestable sins.


Read next:

I Am an Atheist (26)

27 Replies to “Why I Have No Morals”

  1. the omniscience given to the creator especially in the Abrahamic religions was always a problem to me regarding this topic. If God exists outside of time and knows everything that will happen, has happened and is currently happening in the universe then the whole system seems utterly pointless no? It was very interesting to hear your thoughts on the matter. I agree with Dawkins and other atheists alike who say that there is something outside of religion that gives us morals because Christians do not follow the morals set by the bible and thank goodness that they don’t too!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. First thing I like to do is kill the word “sin”. That is a religious term and since I’m an atheist, it doesn’t apply to me. When I think of morality, I like Matt Dilihunty’s definition that it has to do with “well being”. If you use that as the basis for morality, then every action can be gauged by it. Is what I am doing protecting well-being or is it denying it? For example, stealing when you are hungry protects your well being, but may hurt another’s livelihood. That makes it immoral. Killing is obvious. Consensual sex hurts no one (if you do it right 😁). I know your title is tongue-in-cheek, but you do have morals. It really should read Why My Morals Are Better.
    And, by the way, that girl who admits to lustful thoughts and chastises herself – she probably should just get laid already if she’s legal age to do so.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for the follow. I am sorry that you have had such a negative experience with religion, and I really respect you for sharing your struggles. I want you to know that there is more to Christianity than the negativity you have seen. There are good examples and there are bad examples.

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        1. Just so we are clear on myth vs. fact, are you saying that Jesus rising from the dead is a fact? That he actually turned water into wine? That he was born of a virgin (exactly like Osiris, I might add)? Are those the myths that became facts to you? And did anyone tell the Evangelicals or Jehovah’s Witnesses that they are doing their Christian thing all wrong by openly proselytizing?

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          1. You have a right to be angry. My people are guilty of terrible errors that can never be fully rectified. Forced baptisms, excessive conservatism, lack of patience, lack of everything Jesus advocated. In short, we are the thing Jesus hated most: hypocrites. But yes, I believe in the good news concerning Christ and the resurrection. I cannot abandon what I have seen, just as you cannot accept what you have not seen.

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            1. I’m not angry at all. Sorry if I came off that way. I totally accept what I’ve seen and I have never seen anyone come back from the dead especially after 3 days. I don’t think you have, either. Let me give you that Jesus existed. Even with that, you have a far way to go that any of the miracles he allegedly performed actually happened, then even if you did prove them, you still would need to prove that they were done through divine power. I doubt you can do that. No one has yet.

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            2. You sure can. And I can theoretically prove my life has changed for the better after I read The Lord of the Rings. That doesn’t speak to the truth of the books’ words. And you didn’t actually address what I said. You deflected.

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            3. Okay, so if I can prove that (which obviously isn’t going to happen in this setting), then you would have to conclude that whether the Bible’s stories are historically true or not, there is something about the gospel message that affects the hearts of men in a positive way. This would motivate you to examine the hearts of Christians and see what you find. Regarding the Lord of the Rings, the “truth of the books’ words” is measured not only by their historical accuracy, but also by what they teach.

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            4. It appears you are willing to accept the Bible as allegory as opposed to historical documentation. That’s a start. As for the message, I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt that you don’t mean the atrocities in the Old Testament such as genocide and slavery. I’m willing to agree that any holy book can inspire people positively, but it also does the opposite. I can also say that great literature and poetry, paintings and music also inspire people. That being said, I see no need for the Bible at all except as a piece of literature.

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  4. I feel a lot of the ‘sin’ we feel are things we enjoy… and we feel guilty when doing things we enjoy. Is drinking a beer made by a small family business that enjoyed brewing it worse than taking your kids to a church to worship the image of someone that was brutally murdered? I don’t think so. Religious morality is all over the place and not good recipe for a stable and functioning community.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I feel almost as if I played some kind of cheat card that allows me to be free from following the rules. Then I remind myself that these rules make no sense and are completely made up and breaking them actually causes no harm as long as you’re responsible.

    Working through that indoctrination has been one of the hardest parts for me as well. I’ve been an atheist for close to three years now and I still get occasional pants of guilt over things before the rational part of my brain can step in and correct it. It really sucks but it gets better.

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  6. Shrug. I decided to wait for marriage to have sex because I had no desire to fool around with someone I wasn’t going to spend the rest of my life with.

    The only thing is, my definition of marriage has nothing to do with signing a piece of paper in front of a crowd of people (though in VA, all the signing is done at the courthouse well before the ceremony). We were married a good year and a half before we made it legally binding.

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  7. I love to sleep in on Sundays when everyone else at my school has to get up before the sun, put on their nice clothes, and hop on a church van into town.

    I got up at around 6:20 this morning. Maybe I was anxious to read your new post.

    I still remember when I quit Christianity. I was a student. I got up early enough on that day. And, after eating breakfast at the dorm, I headed toward Church. At around 1/3 of the way there, I started thinking about how it was all BS. So I turned around, and walked back to the dorm. I don’t think I have been to a regular church service since, though I have attended weddings, memorial services and such. And yes, I appreciate the time that I have not had to waste listening to boring sermons.

    I agree. Morality is all about the consequences of our actions — the consequences for others, and not just the consequences for us.

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  8. Like you I practice the sin of omission frequently. Why tell the whole story when the good bits wills suffice and none are the wiser. 🙂

    But that said, Christian rules on sex are batshit crazy. Take what I was brought up as, Catholic. A bunch of guys who don’t have sex decide what rules I have to follow regarding sex? Really?

    And let’s go back to Jesus or Jebus as I call him. Here was a guy who if you read your Bible hung out with 12 guys, wasn’t married, and he was Jewish. I’m sorry but by age 30 most Jews are married off. And you’re telling me the Jebus character was pure? If he was I’m a monkeys uncle.

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    1. I was brought up Catholic, got the same teachings–and the girls even got inducted into the Sodality, which was the first step toward nunhood. No way.

      My favorite priest-statement, when this lovely old celibate man was counseling my (gasp) Protestant husband and I (in those days THAT was a mixed marriage) before our wedding, and his main statement was, “if you have problems within your marriage, pray to St. Joseph.” yep. Let’s pass the tough problems on to a saint.
      When we were seniors apparently the nun in our Confraternity class had been browbeaten into giving us “the talk”. Both sexes. Both barrels. She was angry and uncomfortable. Her talk consisted of one statement: ” If you go on a train make sure you don’t let anyone into your compartment with you. If someone tries to get in there, ring for the porter.” Obviously from the days when trains had closed sleeping compartments. And trains. Our first comment afterwards was, “First, you have to find a train….”

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh and they tried to recruit for the priesthood and brotherhood during my Junior year of high school. Thinking back maybe I should have because the people that were brothers were highly educated. Most had masters degrees.

        But alas, the celibacy thing was a big show stopper for me. Plus my disbelief figured in too.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Religious morality rules remind me of rules given to toddlers. “Don’t touch the electrical outlet!” No reason is given. No explanation as to why it’s harmful. No admission that it’s actually okay to touch the outlet with certain precautions. When the child is old enough, the learn how to plug in things and pull the plug without harming anything. Eventually, they learn how to switch off the circuit breaker and perform repairs.

    But not religious people. Religious people stop at the very first phase: “Don’t touch it!” Thus, they never advance beyond the moral understanding of a toddler. Sure, they might imagine reasons (“the outlet is magic!” or “touching the outlet will cause the end of the world!”), but none of those reasons are real — something they would learn if they could only see beyond the made-up rules.

    Liked by 7 people

  10. You’re making a reasoned and decent effort to live your own life on your terms, which also includes not judging yourself unnecessariy or doing too much damage to anyone else along the way. Frankly, I think that’s pretty good.

    Morality and “sin” is totally dependent on the society you live in. In some countries you could be stoned, in some you would be considered normal, since sexuality is part of us all, and you would probably be married with three kids by now. Religions tend to wear very fixed blinders, and revolve around a rigid set of rules. Leave that religion and you’re amazed that no one else wears white mobcaps to church, or long black stockings, or covers their upper arms in public.

    It’s all relative. =)

    Liked by 2 people

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