Somewhat recently I’ve decided I’m an atheist. A friend asks me, “What have you decided will be your moral compass?”
She thinks morality can only be handed down from a higher power.
I think that morality comes from valuing human life and wishing it to flourish. With that in mind, here are my simple guidelines.
- Do no harm.
- Do all you’ve agreed to do.
- Keep your own self-interest in mind.
- Be humble.
- Never stop learning.
It’s a lot easier than having to read and decode a 1,200 page holy book.
Do no harm. I should never do anything to intentionally harm someone.
Do all you’ve agreed to do. If I say I will do something, I should follow through and do it.
Keep your own self-interest in mind. There are some instances where the first two guidelines become null if I am in a situation where I could be hurt emotionally or physically. For example, I should never punch someone just because I am annoyed or angry with them. However, I could have to punch someone in order to defend myself. Another example; I agreed to marry a man “until death do us part”, but if my spouse were to become emotionally abusive, it is in my best interest to break that promise.
Be humble. Sometimes I catch myself thinking that now that I am atheist, I’m somehow more enlightened than a theist. It’s the wrong attitude to have, because no one like a sanctimonious asshole. Also, no one likes a braggart or a know-it-all. Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know”. A single human being cannot possibly know everything, why should one act like they do?
Never stop learning. Not really a moral guideline, but I believe this is an important attitude to have in order to reap the benefits of life. Curiosity keeps you young. Good conversations come from asking good questions.
So these are my guidelines not only for surviving in this world, but for thriving and being happy as well.