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Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

High school student essay contest honorable mentions 2022

My sense of morality comes from love. Not love for God, which is taught as equivalent to fearing him, but truly loving. Loving humanity, and the energy I get from being around other people and participating in the world in a way that makes me feel like my own person.

Dakota Allred

Only without the threat of punishment or the promise of a reward can true morality exist. Empathy is the source of true morality.

Evan Brown

Religion has not always been so moral in history: We can recall the horrible genocides perpetrated by the Catholic Church during the Crusades. Furthermore, we have also to point out that many times some preposterous religious values have prevented progress and freedom. 

Gianluca Ghinazzi

If refusing to believe in the God you worship, regardless of my agreement with many of your core values, makes me immoral, then what determines your morality? If my actions and beliefs are a direct result of my upbringing, how do we differ in morality, as you claim?

Sara Kephart

The human capacity to understand morals is based in the emotions that accompany ethical situations; feelings of guilt, sadness, or regret that may accompany what one considers a “wrong” decision. I would argue that the presence of religion is an unnecessary component to feeling these emotions.

Ane Kirk-Jadric

I don’t care how much someone may preach a, b, or c, and I don’t care how many times someone may post on Instagram about “spreading kindness” or “being genuine.” The morality of an individual, in my eyes, is defined by how they treat others; by how they treat those in need.

Ben Martin

Another issue I have with the blurred lines between morality and religion is how do you know that the bible you are reading is the true word of God? The bible was written by humans, the same as you and me. No man or woman has ever seen or spoken to God, so how do we know what he/she thinks is right and wrong?

Gracie McCurdy

Because many religious people can twist the words of their religion’s holy text to achieve their own goals, and even to hurt others, religious people are arguably worse than nonreligious people. Often times, many of the things they do is less sincere, more self-centered, and morally questionable, at best.

Angelique Miller

While religion has a dependence on morality, morality is not dependent on religion. The bible was written in a time in which women were forced to be compliant, slaves were common, cruel punishment was accepted, and divorce was unimaginable. Morals change over time as our world today is vastly different from the times in which the bible was written.

Ashley Parow

If you did not believe in God, would you suddenly be cruel?

The most pure form of morality and ethics stems from simply wanting to be kind and loving to others and to be morally sound.

Lily Prince

If religion was so great, then the term “religious trauma” would not exist. The number of atrocities committed by religious people “in the name of God” would not exist.

Jariah Richardson

Unconditional kindness, generosity and compassion are innate human qualities that have allowed humanity to thrive for thousands of years, but religion dilutes them all to obligatory drivel, make us believe that we’re supposed to be good people for the sake of God instead of our fellow human beings. 

Alexandra Share