Too often I have heard that without religion there can be no morality, that you cannot be a good person without being religious. So, let me address that point briefly.
Yes, religion does provide a set of moral values. But what is this “absolute morality”, you say? Well, as I understand it, absolute morality means that there are rules which are always in effect regardless of the circumstances. For example, killing a human being is always wrong, no matter the circumstances. Stealing is always wrong, no matter the circumstances. etc. You might say, something like “society needs rules”. Of course, society needs rules, and indeed, society does have rules, but any attempt to have absolute morality, valid for all situations ever, is inevitably an attempt to dictate rules onto others while claiming that your values are absolute, perfect and above all others.
When you add the doctrine that those that you value and other similar rules have been written in a Holy Book, as a Word of God Himself and as such they are perfect and cannot be changed ever, into the mix, I’m sure that you can see how such combination can be very, very dangerous for humanity.
While we might all potentially agree that killing a human being is always wrong, such is not the case with stealing, as many of us might consider stealing acceptable to feed a child who’s about to die of starvation, for example. And if you go even further into the things that some Holy Book has said, then you come to the highly controversial parts about how homosexual people should be put to death. Of course, this is where modern day priests come in and say that this is meant to be interpreted this way, or that way and not directly, etc., etc..
So, the absolute rules which may never be changed are interpreted to you. But when something needs “interpretation” it couldn’t have been too perfect, to begin with, could it?
But the really funny thing is, morality does not come from Holy Books at all. Morality comes from being human and using our brains to think about which things do we as a society accept, which things we forbid, which things we tolerate and which things are left to those concerned with them. This is the progress humanity has achieved, dare I say … not because, but in spite of what’s written in Holy Books.
The morality we all possess today does not come from the Bible or any Holy Book. We as a civilisation have decided what’s right based upon our own moral code, upon what matters to us all, as human beings, upon being good. If our morality were to come from the Bible directly, the World would be a much worse place for women, for homosexual people, for people with a faith different than our own. In short, we have grown beyond the need to look at any Holy Book for a source of morality. Actually, we never had that need at the first place, because as evident in the history of Egypt, Babylon, in the writings of Confucius, morality clearly predates Holy Books. So, in effect, humanity is and can be good without a god. And you can be good without a god.
Which brings me actually to the point of this post.
You ARE allowed to form an opinion yourself, without looking to the sky-fairy for guidance or browsing through Iron-Age texts. And even more than that, you are actually responsible to yourself for doing so. Evolution has provided us humans with intelligence. We are very lucky to have the possibility to think about us and about the world, to use our reason and our intellect to make the World a better place for ourselves and for all other creatures that inhabit this world together with us.
If you just take your religion at face value, effectively, you are saying: "I don’t know what my views are and I don’t care, I’ll just leave it to chance. It is possible that the views of Bronze-Age Shepherds agree with mine." Think this kind of life has any kind of greatness to it?
It is irresponsible to live and not think about what’s right. It is irresponsible to humanity, irresponsible to the world, and most of all, irresponsible to yourself.