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Being Moral Without Religion

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you’ve been but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.” – Marcus Aurelius

Live a good life.

What does this mean? To me is means to be ethical and moral per the society I ascribe to. It means to live by the Golden Rule. To help your fellow human beings and to take care of our planet and all life on our entire planet. To do no harm, per the Hippocratic oath. This is something that many of us try to do, regardless of our religious background. I personally cannot believe that any god would send someone to burn in hell for eternity who has lived a pious life, regardless of their religious affiliation.

I have met people who claim to be Christian and then lie, steal, and cheat behind your back; yet according to them, they will go to Heaven. I have met people who are irreligious and did more for others because they believed it was the right thing to do; yet according to Christians, they will go to Hell since they have not accepted Jesus and don't believe in God.

Many Christian teachings or sayings, such as “love thy neighbor”, “judge not lest ye be judged” and “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” go unnoticed and unheeded when a theist threatens to kill or hurt an atheist simply because the atheist doesn’t believe. This isn't ethical and it certainly isn't moral and it doesn't fit any idea of Christianity that I have ever known. What ever happened to the saying “What would Jesus do”?

Live a good life.

I'm sure we all feel we live a good life and that we are moral and ethical. However, do you do this under threat of eternal damnation or do you do it because of the Golden Rule? Or maybe you do it for both reasons, or because you believe in doing right by your fellow human beings.

Live a good life.

I believe we can and should do no less than just that, and by doing so, perhaps we can do better by each other.

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