I know this question has already been asked about a thousand times, but it’s an interesting one.
Many non-religious people say that we don’t need God in order to be moral. They say that it’s possible to simply “be a good person” for the sake of being a good person. I’ve met people who say that those who are moral because they believe God wants them to be are actually less moral, or at least less pure in their morality, because they have some underlying motivation informing their morality - i.e., if they didn’t believe in God, they wouldn’t be moral.
But what does it mean to be “good” for the sake of being “good”? At the end of the day, aren’t we all motivated by something? Even if that motivation is very subtle…for example, maybe you feel internal pride after doing something “good” because you now get to believe that you’re a “good” person.
I’m not religious. Am I moral? I don’t consider myself moral - but only because I don’t buy into this concept of “pure” morality (morality for the sake of morality). Everything that I do and don’t do has some kind of motivation behind it, and I think that’s the case for everyone, whether they want to believe it or not.
For example - would I cheat on my boyfriend? Of course not! But is it because a) cheating is inherently wrong b) the risk of him finding out is greater than the reward of deviant sexual activities or c) because the guilt would threaten the quality of our relationship? Obviously I want to believe that the answer is a), because I want to believe that I have this amazing internal moral compass, but can I realistically deny that b) and c) play at least some sort of role?
(the scope of this post doesn’t lend itself to a discussion of d), because I’ve been socially indoctrinated to believe that such an action is wrong, but it’s worth mentioning)
In other words, I might act morally from an observer’s perspective, but am I moral in my heart? Is anyone?
Anyways, what do you, as religious people, think? Do you think that your sense of morality is inseperable from God? Do you think that nonreligious people are moral? If you’re a convert, do you think your moral compass has developed since converting? Also - is there anything in Catholicism that is required, but not for a moral reason? (for example, mass attendance…is it actually immoral to miss mass, or just bad Catholic practice?)
All of this is purely curiosity. At the end of the day, I’m not striking either in my sense of morality or lack thereof, and neither is 99% of the human population - but the perspective that we take on our actions can mean a lot.