Bailey: Society’s morals should have no God

Fynn Bailey

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by the Collegian or its editorial board. 

It’s time that morality wasn’t a question of faith.

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Many Americans are taught from a young age what it means to be moral or immoral based upon what their parents believe in. Who knows how many times I’ve read the Ten Commandments, heard the seven deadly sins or been told the “Golden Rule”? 

But when you base the moral code around one faith and the idea of morality around only one set of people, it disables our ability to grow. It turns morality into a fight about which faith is correct about the afterlife — therefore correct about how we should treat each other — instead of having them help build each other up.

We as a society agree on several moral absolutes. Murder is wrong, rape is evil, we should not steal, so on and so forth. But when we get that morality from a book and not from our expectations of one another, it comes with some tagalongs.

Christianity has been treating LGBTQ+ people awfully for hundreds of years. Many Muslim-based states have been pretty terrible to women. Hinduism enforces a brutal caste system based on colorism. This is not an exhaustive list of bad things, nor am I claiming all of this comes from the religious texts directly, but with an organized religion comes its history and hierarchy.

It’s not about who’s right. It’s about what’s morally wrong.

I’m not saying teaching kids about morality or about their culture is a bad thing. In fact, it’s quite good and hopefully encourages them to be well-rounded adults.

What we need is not more Jesus or Muhammad in our lives, but more compassion, kindness and forgiveness without all the baggage a religion can bring with them.

I’ll be honest. I personally don’t hold any faith — but I’m not against faith in any way. Pew Research Center tells us actively religious people vote more, describe themselves as very happy and join helpful organizations.

Faith can be a very good thing to have. We should not focus on an “us vs. them” mentality, but instead come up with the best morals based upon our needs and all of our joined expectations of one another. Until society tackles morality, we’re not going to fix these wicked problems that plague us.

Treating LGBTQ+ people like people has nothing to do with religion, and your faith shouldn’t weigh in on it. We need to have an open discussion about abortion and reproductive rights without someone mentioning God. Politicians shouldn’t be winning votes based on their faith, but instead on the strength of their character.

America doesn’t have a national religion. Yes, all of our presidents have been Christian, and all of our founding fathers were also Christian, but they decided that America should not have an official religion. They made the choice to not have us be a religious state because they saw what it did to the people of England.

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What we need is not more Jesus or Muhammad in our lives, but more compassion, kindness and forgiveness without all the baggage religion brings with them.

Fynn Bailey can be reached at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @FynnBailey.