Can moral values exist without religion?


Yes, moral values can exist without religion. Several experts have discussed this topic in various podcasts:

  • Bishop Robert Barron states that non-religious individuals can indeed recognize objective moral values such as the wrongness of oppression or murder. He argues that non-believers might struggle to justify these morals without the context of a divine law giver, but they can still recognize them as objectively wrong 1.

  • John Gray explores the concept that morality can exist independently of a divine law giver. He points out that many atheists and secular humanists believe they can construct a moral system without religious influence. Gray acknowledges that while Western atheism often draws on Jewish and Christian values, it is possible to have moral systems without religion 2.

  • Richard Dawkins argues that moral values evolve and change independently of religion. He emphasizes that many moral standards, such as less racism and sexism, have developed over time due to societal shifts rather than religious dictates 3.

    Objective Morality

    Bishop Robert Barron argues that objective moral values can be recognized by non-religious people, but to justify them, one needs to talk about God as a moral law giver. Sal Di Stefano and Bishop Robert Barron discuss the evolution and development of our capacity to recognize objective moral values, such as the fundamental equality of all people.

    Mind Pump Podcast

    1480: How to Find Peace & Meaning Amid Chaos with Bishop Robert Barron
  • Joan Chittister focuses on broader moral values beyond private morality, arguing for a morality that concerns public well-being, such as healthcare for all, highlighting a morality rooted in societal needs rather than solely religious doctrine 4.

These discussions illustrate that while religion can play a role in moral frameworks, it is not an exclusive source for moral values, and moral principles can indeed exist and evolve in secular contexts.