Ethics – what are they?

School will resume shortly and undoubtedly the matter of “Ethics in Schools” will come up again. I have often thought about this and have condensed my thoughts into the following:

It would be foolish to suggest that ethical behaviour, charity, good living is confined to religious groups. However I think that the answer to this question, is in the structure or non-structure of the opposing views.

Atheism by its very nature is individualistic and the atheist chooses to behave however he/she believes or wants.

Christianity, Judaism, Islam etc. all have organisations and that is where the difference arises. In organised religion, teachings lay down a groundwork of ethics, of charitable behaviour, of rules to live by, of what is expected. It is not left to the individual to choose charity, ethics, morals, etc. etc. These values are actually taught and that is where the difference arises. It is expected of the person in the religion that they should learn, know and live by the rules taught. In atheism, being an individualised “system” it is left to the person who is not taught, instructed in those rules to find out for themselves what they want to do.

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