Responses to "Then how can you be moral?"


I am moral simply because I am a decent person who values other people, respects their rights, and acts to improve things. In that, I'm probably a lot like you. Like you, I have an inner moral compass and respect for fellow humans. My parents ra is ed me that way and it stuck. Over time, I learned that leading a moral life is right for me and carries its own rewards: less stress and good health, stable relations with good friends, companionship and even love.

—David ( Pennsylvania , USA )

Each day I reassess my judgments and temper them with collective knowledge that encourages life and discourages hate. Through continual improvement we can shed the notion that we must be told how to be moral, and understand that we are all responsible for bringing a well-conceived morality to ourselves and our world.

—Nicolas ( California , USA )

As a bright, you believe in making the best possible life for your fellow human beings, here on earth, right now, as this life is considered the only one you’ve got.

— Sjur ( Norway )

Morals are a human response to human problems. In my view, morality rests on four pillars: biological heritage, cultural experience, mores/memes, and written law – international and national (federal, state and local). To understand each pillar is a study in itself; but fathomed, they present the valid delineation of the when and how of being a moral individual without referring to supernatural forces.

Of course, most individuals do not need to intellectually understand the origins of morality. They act intuitively within their cultural and biological boundaries.

—Paul ( California , USA )

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". [ B ible - Luke 6:31].

Th is has to be the bas is for our morality - it certainly is for me. The fact that it is from a Chr is tian source is irrelevant - it is n't d is qualified by being so. And it is more often honoured in the breach than in the observance - that also doesn't d is qualify it. It is the necessary bas is for moral behaviour.

—Steve ( UK )

Morality is based on getting along with others in a society.  I'm moral because I am a social animal and would suffer social consequences if I related to other members of my society in an uacceptable way.  It is a completely natural phenomenon, evident all across the animal kingdom, and requires no supernatural explanation; it is based on relating to my world and others in it, here and now, not for fear of consequence in some time after my life is over.

—Mark ( New Hampshire , USA )

When speaking to someone who knows me and asks, "But how can you be moral?", I think I would simply ask them, "Do you believe I am an amoral person?".  I'm sure all of my friends know that I exhibit moral values in my daily life.

—Sharon ( Indiana , USA )

I act in a moral way because I do not want other people to deprive me of adequate amounts of food, clothing, shelter, health, space, and peace, and thus cannot see how I have any right to deprive them of the same things.

Just being alive and human makes me grateful for each moment I have (I am 81 years old) and determined not to harm at least other human beings knowingly. (I do not need a "higher power" fabricated by people to engender th is gratefulness and th is determination, and always wonder how the people who ins is t that a "higher power" must have created it "all" think that the "higher power" came to be.).

The fact that it seems that we humans shall never be able to comprehend the whole of anything does not make it impossible for me to act… Please note that I have no illusions that I am a perfect person, but I know that I am a moral one.

— Judy ( Massachusetts , USA )

Morality is at a very basic level just the inner willingness to accept the inevitable common social rules that do make living in large human groups possible.

Some kind of morality just has to be there, as social life would become impossible without the predictability of action that a commonly shared basic moral codes does produce.

All societies all over the world have very similar sets of moral rules. The inner sense of justice that is grown out of the needs social life of an extremely social animal is one factor.

The other is that any larger human group just needs a certain set of very similar rules of conduct to flour is h. After all humans in all societies have basically very similar basic needs.

—Jaakko ( Finland )

I have chosen tenets of my morality as I have grown: self-survival, survival of my family, golden rule, strengthen the weak, minimize suffering, courtesy, etc. I have based these choices on the writings of past thinkers and let my experiences modify them.

If there were no others in the universe, morality would not need to ex is t.

Population requires morality.

—Jeff ( Illinois , USA )

Morality is a social concept, and derives from our efforts to flour is h in a social environment.  The source of my morality is my understanding of how best to flour is h in th is society.

— Stuart ( Ontario , Canada )

My morality flows from my humanity. I am self aware and I know what causes me happiness and d is tress. I know that my behavior can arouse similar results for others  (both human and non human).

I personally derive much sat is faction and motivation from minimizing d is tress in others and maximizing happiness. Judgement and reason are guardian parameters for me to not go overboard in one area or to be deficient in another. To do otherw is e would be a betrayal of the faculties of reason, empathy and emotion which define a very large part of who I am.

—John ( New Jersey , USA )

['What is the source of your morality?"] The same as yours, if you think about it: studying the words and actions of influential people I have known, both personally and from h is tory, and then deciding which principles will lead to the greatest good for the greatest number of people, cons is tent with reason and compassion.  

— Paul ( Illinois , USA )

To understand the origin of morality, one has to turn to human nature and nurture, and to evolution. Morality resides in the t is sues of the brain, it is an essential component of our social nature, and it is strongly determined by culture. All these different aspects are (largely) molded by evolution: a fine example of co-evolution of the brain, socio-biological character is tics and culture.

The brain encompasses all mental capacities, including the moral sense and the emotions. The moral sense is linked to several other mental capacities, and especially to the capacity to empathize with others, rationality, and the sense of beauty.

There is no well-defined anatomical structure associated with morality, nor with rationality or the sense of beauty; all the same these capacities and senses reside in the brain, in its neurons, axons, dendrites, and synapses.

Babies possess an immature moral sense, which needs proper education and training and interaction with others (mother, family members, peers, adults, social groups, society) in order to attain full development. Th is is when socio-biological and cultural aspects come into play.

Do we know everything about ‘the source’ of morality? Certainly not. B ut the natural is tic approach is valid and prom is ing.

—Ludo ( Netherlands )

Human beings have evolved to favor moral behavior within our own groups. We universally pun is h liars, cheats and self is h individuals while honoring those among us who seem honest and generous. In pre-civilized times such behavior helped keep small nomadic groups together and allowed all group members to benefit from any resources they came across, regardless of claims by outsiders. The effect of civilization has been merely to expand our in-groups to the size of a town, city, or nation. As a result, most of us still have few qualms about d is criminating against, cheating, robbing or even killing those we think of as outside our own group.

Moral leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. have urged us to expand our “circle of compassion” to include all of humanity. Those of us who are free of supernatural beliefs may even find th is easier than others, as we more easily d is regard such d is tinctions between people as their incompatible beliefs in various supernatural entities. All of us are human, more alike than different, and we must all learn to treat one another with civility and compassion: as “us,” not “them.”

—Bob ( Michigan , USA )

When I was younger I felt compelled to be a better person and thought the way to learn to do so was to go to church. I still feel that same compulsion to be a better person but no longer feel that church is the best way. This compulsion comes from an instinctive understanding that if I want cooperation I must cooperate. This instinct is given voice via the Golden Rule. How to treat others as I would want to be treated is not a simple question because of the differences we have in our tastes and values and the difficulty in predicting all the results of our actions. A responsible person must thoroughly consider all possible impacts of a proposed action.

—John ( Missouri , USA )



The Brights' Net
P.O. Box 163418
Sacramento, CA 95816 USA

To be counted as a Bright, please use the registration form.

Copyright © 2024 The Brights' Network. All rights reserved.


Creative Commons License
"the brights" logo by The Brights' Net is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Based on a work at
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at