• Common respect for your fellow humans.....Why is that such a hard concept for people to understand? It's simple....treat others with respect.
  • I just Praise our Lord and Saviour that is not the case. The world is so messed as is, would not want to think about it if it were that way. Too scary.
  • There's ample evidence for the existence of a prison system.
  • I'm no atheist, but if I were there wouldn't be much keeping me in line, and I'd basically just live life to have fun, not caring too much about others, unless they're part of the 'fun' ofcourse :P. Family for instance is lot's of fun and special time together, but if I have a seriously heated situation NOW I'd try to work it out. I'm not sure if I'd do my best as much, taking the low road and all, if I didn't have the moral foundation I have now.
  • I enjoy my life - and to enjoy it fully, I am a good person, to get positive feedback from people which lifts me up and keeps me going nicely. Question is still the big "If". Since nobody knows it, it is better to be morally sound. That defines human beings in contrast of beasts.
  • I base my morality on my beliefs. What keeps me in line? Several things: common sense, keeping the peace with my fellowman, respect for self and others, love for my family, love for God, my wish to live a good life, my wish to live a healthy life.
  • Simple reason. Morality and immorality are religious notions. I know as fact if I kill someone I will be punished by men. I don't concern myself with what some imaginary gawd might think of my actions.
  • My upbringing and 20 years of police work.
  • As Paul Washer said if God took his grace off this earth we would make hitler look like a choir boy.
  • Lemme ask you something: if it weren't for that fear of an afterlife, whatever would keep you 'believers' in line, huh? Ask yourself that question and think about it. The answer may scare the crap outta you!
  • I'd rather not spend THIS life in prison.
  • The better we all act, the better off the human race will be. I don't kill or harm if I can help it, because to do so is damaging to my species. No one want to be killed or harmed, so to help ensure that we aren't, we punish those who don't refrain from such behavior. The rules of a society are usually trying to serve the needs of a species. But it's not merely threat of punishment that's kept me from being a career criminal, but a desire to promote the best of the human race. I want to help ensure my species carries on, and can cooperate well enough to advance and evolve as needed. I try to be good to other people because deep down in my little angry heart, I love each and every one of you. I want you all to thrive, to be happy, and to make each other's lives richer. I can deal with the thought of not existing personally, but not with the idea of humans becoming so stupid and mean we kill ourselves off.
  • If the assumptions and logic behind your question holds true, then shouldent those who believe in God surreptiously try to sabotage eachother so as to make more room for themselves in Heaven ? People are social beings. We are basically nicer than not, and it takes considerable pressure to turn us into scumbags. regards JakobA
  • Why would you base your morality on eternal damnation and eternal reward? My parents taught me right from wrong and I learned the rewards and good feelings that came from choosing to do the right thing. I've seen plenty of people waste their lives on drugs and alcohol, ruin their relationships with cheating, accomplish nothing because they were lazy, and fail their families by being self-centered--and many of these people consider themselves good and forgiven Christians who are headed for eternal reward. I know the difference between right and wrong and I've no problem choosing and doing what's right. I don't need eternal reward, eternal damnation, or some book of fables to tell me the difference. If you do, that's your weakness.
  • 1) Morality can be based on sympathy / empathy for other human beings, and this can also be extended to non human beings, in some way. The golden rule can help you generally to discern what is the best ethical behavior. The rewards of doing morally good acts already arises in doing them, because of the understanding that is is done in the best interest of all. And it usually find its justification in the consequences of those acts, although not just the immediate consequences, but often also the middle term or long term consequences have to be considered. Sometimes this can only be found out through experience. 2) "Despite the width and diversity of their philosophical views, secular ethicists generally share one or more principles: - Human beings, through their ability to empathise, are capable of determining ethical grounds. - Human beings, through logic and reason, are capable of deriving normative principles of behaviour. - This may lead to a behaviour morally preferable to that propagated or condoned based on religious texts. - Humanist ethics: Humanists endorse universal morality based on the commonality of human nature, and that knowledge of right and wrong is based on our best understanding of our individual and joint interests, rather than stemming from a transcendental or arbitrarily local source, therefore rejecting faith completely as a basis for action. The humanist ethics goal is a search for viable individual, social and political principles of conduct, judging them on their ability to enhance human well-being and individual responsibility, ultimately eliminating human suffering. The International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) is the world-wide umbrella organization for those adhering to the Humanist life stance. Humanism is a democratic and ethical life stance, which affirms that human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives. It stands for the building of a more humane society through an ethic based on human and other natural values in the spirit of reason and free inquiry through human capabilities. It is not theistic, and it does not accept supernatural views of reality. Humanism is known to adopt principles of the Golden Rule, as in the quote by Oscar Wilde: "Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live." This emphasizes the respect for others' identity and ideals." Source and further information: 3) "The ethic of reciprocity, also known as the Golden Rule, is an ethical code that states one has a right to just treatment, and a responsibility to ensure justice for others. Reciprocity is arguably the most essential basis for the modern concept of human rights, though it has its critics. A key element of the golden rule is that a person attempting to live by this rule treats all people, not just members of his or her in-group, with consideration. The golden rule has its roots in a wide range of world cultures, and is a standard which different cultures use to resolve conflicts; it was present in the philosophies of ancient India, Greece, and China. Principal philosophers and religious figures have stated it in different ways, but its most common English phrasing is attributed to Jesus of Nazareth in the Biblical book of Luke: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." The "Do unto others" wording first appeared in English in a Catholic Catechism around 1567, but certainly in the reprint of 1583." "Many people have criticized the golden rule; George Bernard Shaw once said that "The golden rule is that there are no golden rules". Shaw also criticized the golden rule, "Do not do unto others as you would expect they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same." (Maxims for Revolutionists). "The golden rule is a good standard which is further improved by doing unto others, wherever possible, as they want to be done by." Karl Popper (The Open Society and Its Enemies, Vol. 2) This concept has recently been called "The Platinum Rule". Philosophers, such as Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Bertrand Russell, have objected to the rule on a variety of grounds. The most serious among these is its application. How does one know how others want to be treated? The obvious way is to ask them, but this cannot be done if one assumes they have not reached a particular and relevant understanding." Source and further information:
  • If nobody's in charge, morality, right, wrong, good, bad are all based on individual or collective opinion. Nothing is categorically right or wrong, unless everybody agrees.
  • I'm surprised at other answers here, which tend to agree with the question's premise that fear of punishment, in this life or the next, is the motivation for not doing wrong. This implies that we lack any good intentions, and although I believe that our species could do much better, I don't think we are as selfish as that. You won't get a fine or jail time for not holding a door for someone, not saying thanks, for not apologizing, for being rude, for not giving up your turn by waving someone through the intersection, et cetera. Why don't I see these selfish acts more often, instead of seeing the opposite on a daily basis? Isn't it because our lives are less frustrating when we do right toward one another? Why would we do wrong all the time and create one abrasive situation after another for ourselves? This is the common sense mentioned in the other answers. We do right toward others *because* we want the same treatment to be done to us. We needn't as a deterrent the fear of suffering in Hell or jail later because we know that, if we do wrong, our suffering will start before we get to those places. To be fair, it should be noted that fear of punishment can be a deterrent at times. However, this is not the basis of our morality. It doesn't make you a moral person to simply avoid doing wrong because of fear; you're moral when you don't desire to do them.
  • I live my life for the here and now, not for what "Might" be or happen after I am dead. I have my own belief system based on what I have learned.
  • I base my morality on the effect I have on others and how I feel about myself as a person. I want to die having made a positive difference in the world and having been someone people valued having as a friend or family member.
  • Respect for other human beings. You can look at this two ways. In the abstract, I have no more (and no less) rights, ab initio, than any other human being. Therefore, if I wish my search for happiness to be respected, I must respect all others in their search. In the more practical, humans are intensely social animals. We need the respect and love of at least some of our fellow humans. We actually need that more than power or money, but some people believe that power and money will get them that love, and therefore seek those proxies ends rather than means. But therefore my morality must be guided by my need to be an accepted and respected part of my human community. Of course, who we count as members of our community varies culturally and temporarily.
  • Moral development progresses as humans grow and mature, it's the expression of their (usually unconscious) perception that we are all of a whole... that is, we're all interconnected. Rewards and punishments are a fairly "low level" basis of morality, used mainly for children, but also for adults who failed to progress beyond a child's level of development. Reward-and-punishment is far from being a satisfactory or ultimate basis for morality. Humanity is sort of like one of those massive shrubs in the desert that sends roots everywhere and then pops up above ground to create a new instance of itself. It looks like the desert is covered with separate plants, and in a way, that's true. But if you dig a bit, you see the interconnections. At the widest perspective, it simply makes no sense for one of these plants to attack another, they're the same plant ultimately. It's like beating your left hand with your right. Morality is based on that understanding of reality. But, not everyone can see that, so it gets "dumbed down" into the form of moral rules and systems of ideology and ethics... however, those systems never fully make sense until one can see the roots of the plant.
  • I like HasntBeen's answer; I usually like them. But I don't approach this with the same Zen spirit that he does. As humans we share one huge commonality: an intent and desire to live. To that end we have basic needs for air, water, food, shelter. Moving upward as these needs are met, we have desires for social interaction, love and family, transportation, "better" food and shelter, etc. And beyond that, we have the same desires for our families, our groups, etc. Recognizing that ALL other people have ALL of the same needs I do, and probably most of the same wants, too, is the basis of morality. Not that I have to provide those things for them in every case, but I have to allow them to seek those things for themselves and their families in ways that don't harm myself and my family. This is really all that morality is. Religion is just one way of codifying "rules for right living" in a society. Even on a desert island, "rules for right living" would instruct one who had no other ideas of his own how to survive in that environment. (Except that the "rules for right living" in one geographical area or culture may not adapt well to another.) As HasntBeen pointed out, the rules for punishment and reward on a corporal level are developed for children others who don't, won't or can't think very deeply. To the extent that adults need to have a codified set of punishments and rewards (and a calculus that instructs them that "there is no 'risk' element because Father knows all"), then we haven't evolved very far as a society.

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