Morality Quotes to Help Us Better Understand Ourselves

Updated December 12, 2018

Reviewer Rashonda Douthit , LCSW

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Morality is a term that refers to the values that we all hold dear and that help us distinguish right from wrong. Morality can also be considered a measurement of how "good" or "bad" something or someone's behavior is.

What follows are some quotes about morality that can help you better define the term and what it means to you.

Non-Religious Quotes about Morality

Many people believe that you need to be religious to have morals, that religion guides you on what you should do versus what you shouldn't. However, most atheists and agnostics would argue that this is simply not true. Here are some non-religious morality quotes:

"Be your own master, and look at things as a man, as a human being, as a citizen, as a mortal creature." - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

"Let's think about living someday in a world made of friendship, with hearts beating with duty and feeling, and people and animals and trees and birds and lawns. We'll have a morality never written in a book. A morality that looks in surprise at what we do now and what we'll do in the future, what we think now and what we will think." - SaitFaikAbasıyanık

"I get my limits from a rational consideration of the consequences of my actions, that's how I determine what's moral. I get it from a foundation that says my actions have an effect on those people around me, and theirs have an effect on me, and if we're going to live cooperatively and share space, we have to recognize that impact. And my freedom to swing my arm ends at their nose, and that I have no right to impose my will over somebody else's will in that type of scenario. That's where I get them from. I get them from an understanding of reality, not an assertion of authority." - Matt Dillahunty

"I think it's a problem that people are considered immoral if they're not religious. That's just not true…. If you do something for a religious reason, you do it because you'll be rewarded in an afterlife or in this world. That's not quite as good as something you do for purely generous reasons." - Lisa Randall

"It's a sin only if it harms you" - BangambikiHabyarimana, The Great Pearl of Wisdom

Religious Quotes about Morality

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And now for those folks who believe that yes, you do indeed need to have religion in your life, or else you will have either no morality, or a tainted one. What follows are some quotes that support the idea of morality coexisting with the tenets of religion:

"Morality without religion is only a kind of dead reckoning - an endeavor to find our place on a cloudy sea by measuring the distance we have run, but without any observation of the heavenly bodies." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"Moral values, and a culture and a religion, maintaining these values are far better than laws and regulations." - Swami Sivananda

"Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle." - George Washington

"Consciousness permits us to develop the instruments of culture - morality and justice, religion, art, economics and politics, science and technology. Those instruments allow us some measure of freedom in the confrontation with nature." - Antonio Damasio

Quotes about Morality Itself

Some quotes concerning the concept of morality deal solely with an explanation of what morality itself is. If you struggle to put the idea of morality into words, you may find the following quotes to be enlightening:

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"Whenever you are to do a thing, though it can never be known but to yourself, ask yourself how you would act were all the world looking at you and act accordingly." - Thomas Jefferson

"The Human moral keyboard is limited … there's nothing you can play on it that hasn't been played before. And, my dear friends, I am sorry to say this, but it has its lower notes." - Margaret Atwood

"Wickedness is a myth invented by good people to account for the curious attractiveness of others." - Oscar Wilde

"The truth is that people who pull triggers are ultimately responsible, whether they're following orders or not. An army of people making individual moral choices may be inefficient, but an army of people ignoring their morality is horrifying." - Joel Stein

"The true fountains of evidence [are] the head and heart of every rational and honest man. It is their nature has written her moral laws, and where every man may read them for himself." - Thomas Jefferson

Quotes about Morality and Gun Control

When it comes to a hot-button topic like gun control, surely there will be plenty of quotes out there both in favor of and against it. Some people believe guns should be abolished, or at least regulated, while others feel it is an American citizen's right to protect his family by way of having a gun in the home. What follows are some quotes from both sides of the argument concerning gun control:

"The rifle itself has no moral stature since it has no will of its own. Naturally, it may be used by evil men for evil purposes, but there are more good men than evil, and while the latter cannot be persuaded to the path of righteousness by propaganda, they can certainly be corrected by good men with rifles." - Jeff Cooper, Art of the Rifle

"Force and mind are opposites; morality ends where a gun begins." - Ayn Rand

"[The disarming of citizens] has a double effect, it palsies the hand and brutalizes the mind: a habitual disuse of physical forces totally destroys the moral [force], and men lose at once the power of protecting themselves, and of discerning the cause of their oppression." - Joel Barlow

"The bearing of arms is the essential medium through which the individual asserts both his social power and his participation in politics as a responsible moral being…" - J.G.A. Pocock

"The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered as the palladium of the liberties of a republic, since it offers a strong moral check against usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them." - Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story

Quotes about Morality and Abortion

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Speaking of hot-button topics, abortion is another of those controversial subjects that can split a group right down the aisle. Some people feel abortion is murder, no matter how young the fetus, while others feel it is a woman's choice as to what happens to her own body, and that the baby is not a baby until it is born. Here are some quotes with regard to the concept of morality and how it relates to abortion:

"Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. There may be legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not… with regard to abortion and euthanasia." - Pope Benedict XVI

"Morality becomes hypocrisy if it means accepting mothers' suffering or dying in connection with unwanted pregnancies and illegal abortions and unwanted children." - Gro Harlem Brundtland

"In abortion, the person who is massacred, physically and morally, is the woman." - Italo Calvino

"Our ability to make moral judgments, decisions and choices is a pre-condition of human development in a free society. To deny that women have the capacity to make reproductive choices denies their moral agency; it denies their humanity." - Ann Furedi

"Some pro-life advocates focus almost exclusively on the rights and suffering of the unborn baby, while some pro-choice advocates focus equally exclusively on the rights and suffering of pregnant women. This is a distortion of the moral choice that confronts us as a society." - Blase J. Cupich

"For too long, the pro-life movement has been shouting conclusions rather than establishing facts. Staying focused on the status of the unborn brings moral clarity to the abortion debate." - Scott Klusendorf

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Do you struggle with your own sense of morality? Our BetterHelp counselors can offer you advice and guidance to help put you on the path to a better understanding and acceptance of yourself.


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