What Does Morality Look Like Without God?

A large fraction of people are religious: about 80% of adults in the United States, for instance. For those people, religion, God and morality are often deeply intertwined. On the other hand, many people are not religious, and non-religious people similarly have a strong sense of morality.

One important question is: Where does morality come from, if not God? Is it innate in human nature, with rare exceptions? Is it taught by family, community and society? Is it reasoned out by each person for themself?

Another important question is: Where does higher purpose come from, if not God? For many people, religious and nonreligious, a sense of an impact and a connection beyond one’s daily life is important. Some people believe in a God as a source of higher purpose, if not as a source of morality. This is one way of thinking about an abstract, impersonal God, as seen in the works of Spinoza, for instance. What else can fulfill this ideal of higher purpose? Is it an important value to have at all?

Finally, an important question is: What moral opinions look different, without God? While morality exists without God, the specific opinions and decisions may look very different. In particular, what moral opinions are associated with religiousness and non-religiousness as a whole, as opposed to belief in specific religions?