Give a man a fish, or he will destroy the only existing vial of antidote.
1. It becomes much more difficult to hurt another person when you force yourself to empathize with them. If you develop this habit in children instead of developing the habit of feeling guilty about not living up to morality, this will become a huge guide for their behavior, one that is tied to their own minds and emotions (i.e. undeniable) and much more difficult to ignore than external moral principles (which rely on faith rather than knowledge).
2. Reason - If I hit or kill that person I do so under the assumption that they deserve it or are less than me. However, there is no evidence of that other than my opinion and because opinions are unproven hypotheses, hurting that person would make no sense.
If we instill a habit in children that encourages them to think about the nature and superiority of themselves and their beliefs rather than instilling a set of morals by which to judge and condemn others, then they will realize that the reasons they have for hurting others are ridiculous at their foundation and develop understanding rather than condemnation, or at the very least, become too tired by the end of the thought to do anything.
3. Fear of the law. It already exists and I don't want to go to jail.
4. Contribute to society. I grew up in a family and school system that made me want to contribute to society not only for society's sake, but also because I like the idea of having an impact - really that idea alone is enough to stop me from breaking the law.
Moreover, in many low-income neighborhoods, religion and morality are an even bigger part of society and everyday life than in many wealthy areas (if you go to the Austin area of the West Side of Chicago, a predominately low-income area, there are churches on every corner...there are also drug dealers on every other corner). Lack of obedience to the law is more tied to levels of poverty than it is to the absence of religion/morality.
5. Atheists who were raised in atheist households obey the law all the time because of things within them that they motivate them to do so. One of my good friends is an atheist raised in an atheist household is one of the kindest, most genuine people and by behavioral standards, very 'moral'. She was also an RA in college.
Last edited by ThePlayDrive; 03-13-11 at 09:52 PM.
"It ain't what they call you, it's what you answer to." - W. C. Fields