How do you establish ethics or recognize ones you already have? Especially when you don’t have a religion to tell you. –@jonathankyou
It’s an interesting question when you add the “especially when you don’t have a religion to tell you”.
Ask, “who told Buddha?” or “Who told Jesus?” or “Who told Lao Tzu?” I suppose you can say God did and then he asked them to transmit it to you. But I think better to find directly.
Why do people need religion. Often they get religion because they were born into it and stick to it for cultural reasons. Often people find deeper religion because they feel an emptiness or fear (of death) so they want to fill that emptiness with a path.
A path that goes from one emptiness to…another? We don’t know. Better to always go from strength to strength.
So how can you fill that initial emptiness without a path? So that all paths turn around and point to you instead.
I think the basic tenet that permeates most religions is Do No Harm. It can be thought of in another way: We do three things throughout the day: we do things, we say things, we think things.
On any of these things, there’s a before, during, and an after.
So my one rule of ethics, regardless of religion, is:
Before, during or after, I say, think, or act, I have to really ask: am I hurting someone and, if not, am I lying to someone?
If your answer at any point during that above question is “yes”, then stop. That’s ethics without a religion.
Will you find heaven then? Will your find the end path of your religion? Who knows? But you will be happier and so will the people around you (since they won’t be hurt by your words, actions, or thoughts). And when the people around you are happier, the people around them will be happier. And that’s how a happy society can start. Unfortunately, most people, with religion or not, don’t do this.