Many times, here and around the city where I live, this question is asked: “What is the source of moral values for Freethinkers?” The implication being Freethinkers have no way to establish moral values.
Pat Robertson’s approval of divorcing a spouse with altizmers disease surely falls into the category of a decision involving moral values. He did not quote a Bible verse or any other source of wisdom in his comment.
The idea moral values come from religion seems a hard one to defend. First of all it needs to be established what moral value one is talking about. This changes over time. It used to be about working on Sunday and drinking beer. Now it is about gay marriage and abortion. Religious moral values are a moving target.
So, if we don’t get moral values from religion, where do we get them? We get them the same place humans have always gotten them, from ourselves. That is, even when people say their faith provides them with a moral foundation, they are really referring to things they figured out for themselves.
What we refer to as moral values are really nothing more than pragmatic decisions we make about our behavior based on our collective assessment of what is good for our society. Some people lean more toward concluding what is good for them, personally, is the best for society. Others sacrifice well being for themselves to benefit the greater good.
That’s where our collective “moral values” come from.
Coming up Saturday, Freethinkers’ conference: www.redriverfreethinkers.org