Morals Without Faith

Paul Stout in this brief, but powerful examination of the relationships between concepts of faith, morality, facts, truth, value and life, illuminates the fundamental confusion that many people have with morality. Paul shows that morality can be based on facts and not merely faith. This essay is so concentrated with fundamental concepts that it should be re-read to be fully appreciated.


Morals Without Faith

by Paul Stout

To confuse faith with some of the objects of faith is a basic error.

Faith is a method, a tool, a means of deciding what to believe. It is the practice of believing without evidence. Faith is based on feelings, not facts. What one believes in, by faith, depends on one's feelings.

Truth is that which conforms to the facts. Conformity to facts can only be determined by examining the facts. Since faith does not deal in facts (only feelings), it cannot define the truth.

The objects of faith are the ideas believed in, on the basis of faith; for instance, particular moral principles.

The idea that all moral questions are exclusively the monopoly domain of religion; that is, of faith is a fundamental error. This implies that morals are, ultimately, a purely arbitrary, subjective matter, based on feelings, and not necessarily having any relation to facts.

Since faiths differ, ideas of what is moral differ. If you have faith in the Koran, you believe that it is moral to kill everyone who believes differently (K 8:40 etc.).

Morality is a code of values to guide one's choices and actions. Morality needs not be based on arbitrary feelings or personal emotions. Morality can be based on facts.

The concept of Life is what makes the concept of Value possible. Value is that which one acts to gain or keep. We are living beings of free will, and we need morality in order to choose how to live.

The standard of value of a rational morality is man's life; or, that which is required for man's survival as a rational being. These requirements include thinking and productive work.

A person's own life is his objective moral purpose. A rational morality consists of those values which support one's life as a rational being.