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Although atheism does not discourage or promote any specific virtues or values, because it is merely a classification of the absence of belief in deities (both etymologically, and according to the highly-respected Oxford English Dictionary), the vast majority of virtues and values are naturally "atheistic" because anyone can understand, question, accept, reject, value, or practice them independently of any form of indoctrination, theistic or otherwise.
Contrary to a well-known misconception, a theological system (such as a religion) is not a prerequisite for moral or ethical standards, rather virtues and values are an important prerequisite for theologies (which usually emphasize a collection of values). When values are dictated or indoctrinated their genuine qualities diminish due to the rigid impositions that restrict personal freedoms (in contrast to this, the absence of indoctrination is one of atheism's core distinctions).
People may be characterized, at least in part, by their personal values. Neither self-determined nor natural values are exclusive to atheism despite their logically apparent atheistic origins that transcend all cultures, legal systems, rules and regulations, and are independent of one's level of education. Most mainstream values are "atheistic" in the sense that they are a natural part of human solidarity, hence they are also incidental to atheism.
The following are examples of some virtues and values that are independent of theology and are also genuinely shared (albeit selectively) by many people throughout the world who participate in a vast range of cultures and societies:
The following short introductions for these virtues and values are linked to theologically independent and intentionally non-judgmental descriptions which we hope will be of interest to you:
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