Beliefs Mark Silk: Spiritual Politics Opinion

The rising belief in moral atheists

Portrait of Pierre Bayle

Somewhere, Pierre Bayle is smiling.

Bayle was a 17th-century French Calvinist philosopher of notoriously liberal views. Not only was he all for religious toleration. He believed that atheism didn’t lead to bad behavior.

As he put it in Various Thoughts on the Occasion of the Comet (1682), “[A] society of atheists would practice both civic and moral actions just as other societies practice them, provided that crimes were severely punished and that honor and shame were associated with certain acts.”

Three hundred and 35 years later, Americans seem to be catching up with that view.

According to a Pew survey released this month, a majority of us now say it’s not necessary to believe in God in order to have good morals and good values. Six years ago we were evenly split on the question, 49 percent to 48 percent, but now the “not necessaries” outnumber the “necessaries” 56 percent to 42 percent.

The increase is due not only to the ongoing rise of the Nones (who overwhelmingly think atheists can be moral) but also, as the survey points out, to a shift in views among the religiously affiliated — including even white evangelicals. Six years ago, a quarter of the latter allowed as how atheists might be moral; now, a third of them do.

What seems to be going on here is an across-the-board shift away from religiosity in the American public at large, including among those who identify with a particular religious tradition. This can be seen in another recent Pew survey that shows striking growth in the proportion of Americans who say they are spiritual, not religious — from 19 percent to 27 percent over the past five years.

Add these to the 18 percent who say they are neither spiritual nor religious and there are now almost equal numbers of Americans who say they’re non-religious (45 percent) as say they’re both religious and spiritual (48 percent). The latter are down from 59 percent five years ago. (Six percent say they’re religious but not spiritual.)

Not surprisingly, the religiously affiliated who say they are spiritual but not religious tend to have low levels of religious observance. They are either headed out the church door or barely inside it.

Disengagement from religion means disengaging religion from one’s morality and values, from how one lives one’s life — and how one sees others who are similarly disengaged. Ergo, a greater willingness to accept atheists as moral people.

In his Farewell Address, Washington famously warned: “[L]let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure–reason & experience both forbid us to expect that National morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

These days, Americans are abandoning Washington’s views for Bayle’s because of our personal experience of ourselves.

About the author

Mark Silk

Mark Silk is Professor of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College and director of the college's Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life. He is a Contributing Editor of the Religion News Service

185 Comments

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  • Well, the evidence is hard to argue against:

    -Atheists are under-represented among prison populations.

    -More religious states in the US have more crime, more divorce, more teen pregnancy, etc.

    -More religious countries in the world strongly tend towards being more violent and less prosperous.

    If atheist is so bad, where are the negative consequences?

  • The least religious nations in the world are also the least violent. Atheists comprise around 25% of the US population, but only 1% of the prison population. And there’s good reason that’s the case – religion says that all you need to do is ask God for forgiveness and you will be forgiven; so anything goes, and you can always get a free “get out of guilt” card. Atheism offers no such comfort – what you do is your responsibility – you have to live with your mistakes and your crimes.

    I’d say that if there’s anything we need to be cautious about, it’s assuming that morality can be maintained WITH religion. As Steven Weinberg said, “With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil — that takes religion.”

  • As of the 2015 Pew Survey, 23% of US adults identified as Nones. It was 33% of these Nones that identified as atheists or agnostics. If you do the math (and you should, because mine is probably wrong), that translates to 8% of the US population as a whole. But both numbers are trending upward.

  • The Pew survey is not the most recent, and it’s misleading: if you look more deeply at the Pew numbers, the number of people who claim not to believe in a god (the definition of atheism) is 19%. A more recent study by Gervais, W. M., & Najle, M. B. (2017, March 3) and called “How many atheists are there?” showed atheists as being around 25% of the population. I’d be willing to split the difference, but I suspect the real totals are close to 25%, if not higher. And those numbers are rising quite rapidly here in the US and in Europe, as broad based access to the internet allows people to do their own research into the issues of faith and evidence.

  • So can morality grounded in the nature of God. That’s why you and I don’t consider owning slaves to be morally defensible (even though the Bible says it is), and that’s why we no longer kill homosexuals, witches, atheists and rape victims who didn’t scream loudly enough.

    This is one of many reasons we know God isn’t real.

  • If God does not exist then owning slaves is ok. Without God you can make up any kind of moral system that can justify slavery, murder and rape.

  • Bayle is smiling because the joke’s on us. The fallacy of Bayle’s argument has certainly come home to roost.

    America did not abandon Washington’s views, Washington abandoned America’s views and the chickens have come home to roost.

    How do you “severely punish” when the perpetrator commits suicide? Honor and shame on WHICH acts?
    Honor homosexual acts and shame a cake baker. Honor abortion and shame free speech.

    America is at the bottom of the pit, waiting for God to light the fire. Take a poll to ease your mind, America is well beyond what an aspirin could help but taking a poll will cure anything you want it to.

    George Washington was talking about the day we are in and he knew it would be America’s last day.

    Obama’s exit speech included the proclamation: the Constitution is just a piece of paper, it has no Power.

    Of course Bayle is smiling, Baal is smiling too.

  • You have it backwards. God was the one that commanded his followers to enslave others and how it’s ok to beat them as long as they don’t die in a few days.

    The Bible can and has been interpreted and twisted to make up any moral system you want.

  • I thought the Pew that I cited was the most recent Pew survey to measure Nones. Nevertheless, I’m not seeing the 19% number, unless perhaps you measure it by the answer, “Do you believe in God?” While it’s true that a “no” answer should put one in the atheist or agnostic column, the Pew studies are about self-identity, first and foremost. The numbers of those identifying as either are 7 to 8 %.
    The Gervais-Najle study was a very different methodology than the Pew study. It did not directly ask anyone what their religious beliefs were. It started with the hypothesis that people lie to pollsters. It sent two groups of respondents a survey of mostly anodyne questions like “I own a dog” or “I like modern art,” and to count how many answers were true for them — not which ones. Only one group had “I believe in God.” Gervais and Najle assumed that the numbers of dog owners or modern art likers should be equal in both groups, so if there were differences, it must be attributable to people not honestly answering about believing in God. Then they measured the differences in total numbers. Even the researchers admitted receiving “bizarre” results and conceded their methodology could have widely skewed the actual numbers.

  • -> “Honor homosexual acts and shame a cake baker. Honor abortion and shame free speech.”

    You have given yourself away…you are not for advancing morality — you are angry that others don’t submit to authority.

  • How you ask the question matters. Ask if someone is an atheist or agnostic…in the US the answer is less than 10 %…However, ask if someone does not “believe in a god or diety” — then the answer ranges above 20% depending on certainty of belief.

  • And any morality that is grounded in the nature of god can change on a whim. Religion and morality are two entirely different concepts.

  • Thank you for proving that you have no morals whatsoever. The greatest moral relativists are the Bible thumpers and god botherers.

    Slavery is wrong, unless god says it is.

    Murder is wrong, unless god does it.

    Honey what you need isn’t religion. You need empathy. And morals.

  • Do you know what happens to churches when atheists are running around living perfectly good lives? The donations drop precipitously.

    That is a negative consequence.

  • Honor homosexual acts? Only in christobigot Land.

    No one is “honoring” my acts. They are simply realizing that the fundelibangelists obsession with what other people are doing is just one more example of an ancient bigotry, passed down for centuries.

    What they are doing is no longer honoring hatred and prejudice hiding behind regions belief.

  • As you just did! God murders, and it is perfectly fine with you. God oks slavery, and it is perfectly fine with you. God says murder gay people. Defame and degrade them, and you get to go along with attacking innocent people.

    You’re god is no better than his followers. More’s the pity.

  • “…perhaps you measure it by the answer, “Do you believe in God?” While it’s true that a “no” answer should put one in the atheist or agnostic column, the Pew studies are about self-identity…”

    Not agnostic. Agnosticism is an issue of knowledge, not belief. And yes, the survey was about self-identity, but that doesn’t mean any numbers that give away the reality of what people actually believe have to be ignored. No matter what these people self-identify as, the reality is that if they say they don’t believe in a god, they are atheists by definition:

    Atheism: disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.

    Yes, the Gervais-Najle methodology was unusual, but that doesn’t mean it gave false results. If anything, it confirms what its designers suspected, and it confirms what Pew’s numbers reveal if you delve below the surface. At least 19% of Americans are atheist, and the number is probably around 25%.

  • Your attitude is why Christianity is dying in the West. The more folks like you are spouting hatred combined with this nutty Judgment Day nonsense, the faster it will die.

  • Yes, that’s right. But what matters here (i.e. in terms of whether they are “actually” atheists) is what they actually believe. Atheism is disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods. If someone answers “no” to the question “Do you believe in a god” they are atheists, by definition. Whether they admit it or not is irrelevant. A person either believes in a god or they don’t. Even if they don’t know if they believe in a god – and even if they want to believe in a god but don’t believe in any defined god – that’s still a “no”, because there’s no god they actively believe in.

  • Agnosticism is a good example of why self-identity matters. Part of the Gervais-Najle study asked respondents whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement “I believe in God.” Both atheists and agnostics could disagree with that statement. So how do they know who they’re measuring?

  • If there’s nothing wrong with God supporting slavery, then what you have is not a system of morality, but a system of immorality that cannot ever be made moral. This is why Steven Weinberg wrote, “With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil – that takes religion.”

  • Gee, you would fit right in with my local white segregationist group. FYI, we’ve been keeping a sharper eye out for your henchmen papering the city with KKK flyers so think again before attempting it. We don’t believe in warning shots in my neighborhood.

  • “Part of the Gervais-Najle study asked respondents whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement “I believe in God.” Both atheists and agnostics could disagree with that statement.”

    Wrong. Only agnostic atheists and gnostic atheists could disagree with that statement. In order to disagree, they would have to be atheists, no matter whether they were gnostic or agnostic. Again, you’re confusing agnosticism – i.e. not knowing about a god – with atheism – i.e. not believing in a god.

    Agnosticism isn’t some kind of halfway house between atheism and theism. The question of belief is binary – you either believe or you don’t.

  • I am not confusing anything. What answer should the respondents who answered “agnostic” in the Pew study have given if they were respondents in the G-N study? I don’t think “I’m not sure” was a choice. They were to add up how many of the statements they agreed with. Your suggestion that the question of belief is binary may be true in your mind, but the Pew studies show that others disagree.

  • Again, it doesn’t matter what the respondents claimed. What matters, in terms of our discussion, is what they believe. A person who claims to be agnostic still either believes in a god or not. The issue gnosticism/agnosticism covers is merely whether they think a god can be knowable or not. That has nothing to do with belief.

    The fact is – whether you like it or not – 19% of those surveyed don’t believe in a god. They are atheist by definition and by their own admission. What they label themselves as is beside the point.

    Heck, I could claim to be a Southern Baptist if I wanted, but that doesn’t mean that I am one.

  • Ha!

    Morality grounded in reality can only change when reality does.

    God changes every time the person believing in him changes his or her mind.

  • The question of morality is the most difficult issue for theists and believers to reconcile with the current rise of non-belief and lack of religious affiliation (the “Nones”). Few facts point in the direction of Atheists being less moral…in fact there is good evidence that non-believes may actually have a better moral foundation– rates of criminal activity, child abuse, etc.

    The future debate will be difficult for those defending moral tenets set in stone thousands of years ago when barbarism was the rule. If non-believer’s and heretics can’t be suppressed or even killed, theists are forced to compete with them.

  • You apparently have not read what God said in Exodus, where he encouraged slavery, murder and rape.

  • I am a believer in the freedom and liberties that God has given America the opportunity to convey to the world by example. “many are called but few are chosen” seems to be what has happened to me. I know the outcome already, as it is written, but I am required to extend God’s grace by speaking the truth. Nobody can say they were not included because they did not know.

    The LGBT would never have had the opportunity to have their experience if God had not given them the freedom and liberty and this is His Divine Rule, but now the LGBT has elevated themselves above God in their minds and I am just a messenger.

    I don’t care what any of these people do, I don’t hate them, i am just doing my job..

  • Don’t know why this upsets you. With no objective standard of morality, then anything can be good. It’s all preference based

  • You may not like murder and rape and consider it evil but others may not. Who is to say it’s evil and prove it so?

  • Give up on this one guys.

    It isn’t worth your time using logic, reason and decency to counter (deliberate?) stupidity/malignancy.

  • Gee, I have been an atheist for years and have never committed a felony, cheated on taxes or my fellow man, cheated on my husband, etc. I doubt that I can change on a whim because I was brought up to be “ moral”. God had nothing to do with it. It seems to me that those who strongly believe in god are more likely to change as soon as a preacher or pastor says they should.

  • most people who admitted to family and work they had become an atheist would likely lose everything and they know it. so they just don’t admit it. others already believe in no god but the word ‘atheist’ seems so final and negative they can’t get there. there is a video where a teenager admits to his mother he’s atheist and she beats him bloody with a pan. that’s the stigma atheists like us are fighting, only time will cure that.

  • Apparently, with god you can do that also, and in fact, there is a long history of it. Jews were repeatedly killed and tortured under the auspices of the church. Native American suffered equally. I do not recall any mass killings done by atheists.

  • “…and I am just a messenger.”
    In this context I believe the Archaic definition of “messenger” applies: a herald, forerunner, or harbinger.
    You and your messenger friends have elevated themselves to the point where they believe they have the divine right to dictate public policy of a secular nation. This gives me the rather reasonable belief that your ultimate goal is to establish a lite-theocracy. Establish a Christian hegemony where non-Christians are allowed to exist at the extreme edges only, subject to the whims and avarice of whichever brand of Christianity has captured power.

  • One has to ask, what is ethical behavior? Most of our ethics are evolved through religion to address the function of church-state tribalism, for example to mitigate the conflict between individual-level and group-level selection. Personally, I find all church-state tribalism to be unethical, because it causes socio-economic horror and death, including environmental destruction. Any secular aspects of church-state tribalism aren’t much better, because that contribution has not fixed social horror, death, and environmental destruction either. See any atheists or billionaires fixing poverty, homelessness, or hunger? How about fixing pollution, resource depletion, or global warming? There is little ethical behavior to be had while maintaining socially and environmentally destructive church-state tribalism, especially through growth-model neoliberal capitalism. The ethics I endorse are identified through globally unified atheism and eco-socialism. Any Golden Rule ethics developed to maintain church-state tribalism doesn’t work for me.

  • “Look at Mao. Mao was an atheist and murdered 70 million.”

    Look at Hitler. Hitler was a Catholic and murdered 11 million.

    The difference is, Mao didn’t murder anyone based on atheism. Hitler murdered people based on what the Bible said about Jews.

  • The only messenger friend I have right now is Jonah, so you don’t have to worry about any of my friends. This isn’t the 19th century in case you haven’t noticed yet and you don’t have to worry about that at all. You can’t have theocracy when you don’t have a land to start with.

    This is why I keep telling Jonah that he had it easy, the people repented right away.

  • We don’t “honor” homosexual acts. We just refuse to scorn and shun consenting adults for pursuing the romantic and sexual interests which suit them best.

    The cake baker deserves some shame for trying to create a caste system in America, where some people are treated as “untouchable” despite being full and free citizens. If you open a public business, then you need to serve the public. Allowing exemptions so that merchants can reject people they don’t like will open the door to tearing down all civil rights. There will be merchants who won’t want to serve blacks, or Jews, or women, or even Christians.

    God (should he exist) doesn’t light his fire to punish people for their earthly crimes. According to the Bible, the fiery punishment is for non-believers. If a person hears stories of magic, or talking animals, or resurrections, and they’re unable to bring themselves to believe that these stories are true, then that is what the fire is for. It doesn’t represent justice, it doesn’t consider consent, it’s just there as torture for the unconvinced. Hardly a moral structure to admire.

  • No it isn’t. I rejected God and the irrational notion of objective morality fifty plus years ago and “this” is not what I’ve got.

  • Did the survey of prisoners ask the question that way? Did it ask prisoners “do you believe in god”? Or did it ask what religion they self-identified as? I’m guessing it was the latter, in which case you can’t compare the 25% and the 1%. Those surveys would have asked different questions, so you can’t hold them equivalent.

  • The human sense of morality is biologically innate. Even babies and non-human primates have senses of morality. Religion has only ever followed societal moral norms. It doesn’t lead the way. It follows.

    Religion has changed its moral judgement many, many times throughout history. How many Holy Wars have there been throughout time? Religion gave the genocide of indigenous peoples its blessing many times. It came up with justifications for slavery. It was perfectly fine with Jim Crow. It fought tooth and nail against gender equality. It’s demanded the murder of unbelievers or people of different faiths countless times. And your arguing that morality based on religion doesn’t change on a whim?

  • Nothing new when evaluating some history:

    “The Two Universal Sects

    They all err—Moslems, Jews,
    Christians, and Zoroastrians:

    Humanity follows two world-wide sects:
    One, man intelligent without religion,

    The second, religious without intellect. ”

    Al-Ma’arri
    , born AD 973 /, died AD 1058 / .

    Al-Ma’arri was a blind Arab philosopher, poet and writer.[1][2] He was a controversial rationalist of his time, attacking the dogmas of religion and rejecting the claim that Islam possessed any monopoly on truth.”

    Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/resalat-al-ghufran#ixzz1lI6DuZmZ and http://www.humanistictexts.org/al_ma'arri.htm

    Death’s Debt is Paid in
    Full

    “Death’s debt is then and there
    Paid down by dying men;
    But it is a promise bare
    That they shall rise again.”

    Al-Ma’arri

  • Commandment 9-“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

    Nothing in atheism compels a person to be honest.

  • Dear Mr. Whatever.

    If you think millions of people are out there just waiting and maybe even praying to discriminate against you or any other person, which it looks like you do, the only next step for you is to make it a crime to pray and yes we know you have already had this thought.

    Shaming a baker is almost as low as society can go. Comparing your cause and pro-choice to any group of people you try to latch onto is the bottom of humanity. The bottom means there is nothing below your cause.

    You are on this site only because of your intent to destroy any last vestige of decent society. This is a fact and the truth which you deny and on top of this, you would deny anyone you perceive to be in your way, their right to free speech.

    The earth is already heating up and I know this won’t change your mind because you have to see it to believe it and then it will be too late. You know, I’m a little upset with God too. I don’t like this job he gave me to do but there is nowhere to hide or run to.

  • Dear Mr. Whatever.
    If you think millions of people are out there just waiting and maybe even praying to discriminate against you or any other person, which it looks like you do, the only next step for you is to make it a crime to pray and yes we know you have already had this thought.

    No, I don’t want to make it a crime to pray. You’ve misjudged me right from the start. People should have the freedom to believe whatever they like, and to practice the tenets of their religion as they see fit, so long as it doesn’t infringe on anyone else’s freedoms to live their lives as they see fit.

    Shaming a baker is almost as low as society can go. Comparing your cause and pro-choice to any group of people you try to latch onto is the bottom of humanity. The bottom means there is nothing below your cause.

    This is a lot of accusation, but with no explanation. Are bakers above reproach? Can they do as they wish, simply because they’re bakers? You don’t explain. I felt that I gave a good explanation why a merchant should serve all of the public without singling out groups for discrimination. But you don’t explain why that’s wrong, or why it should be different. Could you at least go that far?

    You are on this site only because of your intent to destroy any last vestige of decent society. This is a fact and the truth which you deny and on top of this, you would deny anyone you perceive to be in your way, their right to free speech.

    More misjudgment of someone you’ve never even met. Why would I want to destroy society? I have to live in it! I’d like society to still be around, the next time I go to the grocery store or the movies.

    But I want a society where people are not made into villains for no good reason. I want people to THINK about what they say, and what impact it has, when they use their free speech. I’d like to have reasonable, rational, thoughtful discussions instead of just being told that I deserve to be lit on fire and left to burn in agony for all eternity, simply because someone doesn’t approve of who I’m spending my life with.

    Please feel free to exercise your right to free speech, but also expect to be challenged on what you say. Expect to be asked for intelligent justifications for your claims. Having free speech means that might happen.

    The earth is already heating up and I know this won’t change your mind because you have to see it to believe it and then it will be too late.

    I already know the Earth is heating up. Scientists have been saying it for years. Many people who believe in God have been denying it. We need to stop burning everything in sight and dumping countless tons of toxic chemicals into our atmosphere and our oceans.

    You know, I’m a little upset with God too. I don’t like this job he gave me to do but there is nowhere to hide or run to.

    I don’t really know that any gods gave you any jobs. From my perspective, people like you appear to have taken on this sort of job of your own volition.

    I’m not discussing these issues with the gods, I’m trying to discuss them with human beings. It would be helpful and appreciated if these conversations did not ramble into the realm of magic and superstition. We could actually solve some of our problems if we put our heads together and used some reason, instead of trying to make enemies of each other over whose gods love who more.

  • “Moral character” in the general sense may not be predicated on religiosity. I’m O.K. with that. But one may be moral in relatively strong terms as defined by a given culture, and still miss the ultimate point of life. In Christian terms, we understand that being good is a limited and temporal construct insufficient in ourselves to meet the requirements of a completely Holy and Just God. It is His Goodness and “Morality” on which we depend, recognizing the insufficiency in ourselves. As we live our lives more and more completely surrendered to Him, we are able (barely) to live a “good ” life. But even that is insufficient to save us. Salvation, the ultimate point in life, at least for ourselves, and God’s Great Glory, come through the Gift He gave in Jesus Christ, who makes us “good” via His propitiation for our sins. We receive His due merit, through no merit of our own, but by faith in Him.

  • Not content with displaying intellectual weakness, JP needs to proudly show us disgraceful Christian moral degeneracy.

    Thanks for making our case for us, Einstein.

  • But I do have to worry about you and your “friends” as extreme fundamentalism has begun to appear in rather radical legislation across the country. Legislation based on the private deeply held religious beliefs of the creator of the bill. They have no regard to those who possess other beliefs or non.

  • and not to forget those peaceful states of Atheism such USSR under Stalin and China under Mao, but declared their states Atheist states,and millions and millions died.

  • “Nothing in atheism compels a person to be honest.”

    Nothing in religion does either. Christians lie all the time. You just did it by pretending that Christians are compelled to follow the Ten Commandments. You also lied when you said “You don’t get honesty from atheism” – the reality is, atheism is the only honest position to take in terms of the god claim – disbelief due to lack of evidence.

    In fact, you’ve spent most of your time here lying for Jesus and showing a profound lack of compassion for your fellow man that would make Jesus (if he were real) condemn you as a hypocrite. If you are an example of a good Christian, then it’s no wonder your religion is dying

  • “See any atheists… fixing poverty, homelessness, or hunger? How about fixing pollution, resource depletion, or global warming?”

    Actually, yes. They’re called “scientists”, and they’re trying despite the best efforts of many religious organizations and wealthy religious activists like Walton family and the Koch brothers who are working hard to defund them.

    And there are many nonreligious charities working for progressive change, such as the Animal Welfare Institute, Friends of the Earth, the ACLU, Attorneys for the Rights of the Child, Human Rights Watch, just to mention the ones I donate money to. There are many more, including Oxfam, Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders, UNICEF, etc., etc., etc.

    I’m surprised you haven’t heard of any of them.

  • Actually, the USSR was not a declared Atheist state; Stalin only purged the church because it was protecting Tsarists, and he let it come back, later.

    As for China under Mao, half of those deaths were because of sanctions placed on China because we didn’t want their Communism to succeed, and the other half were probably inevitable if you take even a casual glance at Chinese history; tens of millions of Chinese had died in a civil war less than 100 years before.

    Then, let’s look at the alternatives; how are those Theocracies doing?

    Israel, of course, has been systematically oppressing and ethnically cleansing Palestinians for 75 years, now.

    The Vatican is in the middle of a huge money-laundering and child sex abuse scandal.

    Iran is, of course, Iran.

    And it is unquestionable that more people have been killed throughout history in the name of god than for any other reason.

    Keep it up, I guess.

  • Ed, no one in their right mind in 2017 would jump into this fray of his own volition. Would you not agree? You don’t have to discuss these issues with the gods, you don’t have to discuss them with anyone, just like I don’t have to.

    There is one god and this god made this earth, he holds it in place and keeps us all somewhat safe. You and I have the same problem, we both live on His land. It is not unusual for renters to have some rules that they must follow if they want to stay on someone else’s land.

    The Landlord came to me and told me everyone must vacate the land because more and more people are violating the lease.

    In grade school did you ever have to stay inside during recess because one person violated the teacher’s rules? Were you unhappy because you did nothing wrong but you were punished along with the rest of the class? Most older people have had this experience and this is the only message I am conveying.

    In our real time situation we are in, the Landlord has given a lot of slack for a long time but time has a way of catching up to people. So here we are, you and me being kicked off the land because you do not want to negotiate with the Landlord.

    I am stuck back in first grade being punished for something I didn’t do. As silly as this sounds, the world needs your help.

  • “There is one god and this god made this earth, he holds it in place and keeps us all somewhat safe.”

    Assertions for which there is no evidence whatsoever, yet you believe every one of them wholeheartedly. This is the definition of delusion.

  • If I had no regard, I would not be here, but for our mutual benefit I suffer the backlash. That’s right I have a selfish reason, I do not want to see the end of the earth so soon and only you can save the world. You seem to be confused about your role in this drama. Only a friend would ask so much of you.

  • Right, there are thousands of gods and they all made an earth, how many earths would that be? Get your trusty telescope and start counting. When you get to the number two { if you can count that high} see if you can catch the morning shuttle.

  • The scientific community believes the earth may only remain habitable for about a hundred years, of course this could be fake news accounts.

  • No one does good because of atheism. If atheism were true then there would be no reason to be good.
    “Live totally for self; no one holds you accountable! Indeed, it would be foolish to do anything else, for life is too short to jeopardize it by acting out of anything but pure self-interest. Sacrifice for another person would be stupid.” Ayn Rand

  • “The Two Universal Sects

    They all err—Moslems, Jews,
    Christians, and Zoroastrians:

    Humanity follows two world-wide sects:
    One, man intelligent without religion,

    The second, religious without intellect. ”

    Al-Ma’arri
    , born AD 973 /, died AD 1058 / .

    Al-Ma’arri was a blind Arab philosopher, poet and writer.[1][2] He was a controversial rationalist of his time, attacking the dogmas of religion and rejecting the claim that Islam possessed any monopoly on truth.”

  • From http://necrometrics.com/pre1700a.htm#SpanInq

    “Spanish Inquisition (1478-1834), deaths there from, a compilation of sources

    Cited in Will Durant, The Reformation (1957):

    Juan Antonio Llorente, General Secretary of the Inquisition from 1789 to 1801, estimated that 31,912 were executed, 1480-1808.

    In contrast to the high estimate cited above, Durant tosses his support to the following low estimates:

    Hernando de Pulgar, secretary to Queen Isabella, estimated 2,000 burned before 1490.

    An unnamed “Catholic historian” estimated 2,000 burned, 1480-1504, and 2,000 burned, 1504-1758.

    Flexner, Pessimist’s Guide to History: 8,800 deaths by burning, 1478-1496

    Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church (1910): 8,800 burnt in 18 years of Torquemada. (acc2 Buckle and Friedländer)

    Motley, Rise of the Dutch Republic: 10,220 burnt in 18 years of Torquemada

    Britannica: 2,000

    Aletheia, The Rationalist’s Manual: 35,534 burned.

    Fox’s Book of Martyrs, Ch.IV: 32,000 burned

    Paul Johnson A History of the Jews (1987): 32,000 k. by burning; 20,226 k. before 1540

    Wertham: 250,000

    Rummel: 350,000 deaths overall.

    MEDIAN: 8,800 under Torq.; 32,000 all told.

    Punished by all means, not death.

    Fox: 309,000

    P. Johnson: 341,000

    Motley: 114,401″
    One is too many but it is not in the millions !!!!

  • Now for the number crunch:
    M.White, http://necrometrics.com/warstatz.htm#u
    (required reading)

    The Muslim
    Conquest of India

    “The
    likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric
    mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. ”

    Rank
    …..Death Toll ..Cause …..Centuries……..(Religions/Groups involved)*

    1.
    63 million Second World War 20C (Christians et al and Communists/atheists vs.
    Christians et al, Nazi-Pagan and “Shintoists”)

    2. 40 million Mao Zedong (mostly famine) 20C (Communism)

    3. 40 million Genghis Khan 13C (Shamanism or Tengriism)

    4. 27 million British India (mostly famine) 19C (Anglican)

    5. 25 million Fall of the Ming Dynasty 17C (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism,
    Chinese folk religion)

    6. 20 million Taiping Rebellion 19C ( Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk
    religion vs. a form of Christianity)

    7. 20 million Joseph Stalin 20C (Communism)

    8. 19 million Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C (Islam)

    9. 17 million Timur Lenk 14C-15C

    10. 16 million Atlantic Slave Trade 15C-19C (Christianity)

    11.
    15 million First World War 20C (Christians vs. Christians)

    12.
    15 million Conquest of the Americas 15C-19C (Christians vs. Pagans)

    13. 13 million Muslim Conquest of India 11C-18C

    14.
    10 million An Lushan Revolt 8C

    15. 10 million Xin Dynasty 1C

    16. 9 million Russian Civil War 20C (Christians vs Communists)

    17. 8 million Fall of Rome 5C (Pagans vs. Christians)

    18. 8 million Congo Free State 19C-20C
    (Christians)

    19. 7½ million Thirty Years War 17C (Christians vs Christians)

    20. 7½
    million Fall of the Yuan Dynasty 14C

    *:”
    Is religion responsible for more violent deaths than any other cause?

    A:
    No, of course not – unless you define religion so broadly as to be meaningless.
    Just take the four deadliest events of the 20th Century – Two World Wars, Red
    China and the Soviet Union – no religious motivation there, unless you consider
    every belief system to be a religion.”

    Q:
    So, what you’re saying is that religion has never killed anyone.

    A:
    Arrgh… You all-or-nothing people drive me crazy. There are many documented
    examples where members of one religion try to exterminate the members of
    another religion. Causation is always complex, but if the only difference
    between two warring groups is religion, then that certainly sounds like a
    religious conflict to me. Is it the number one cause of mass homicide in human
    history? No. Of the 22 worst episodes of mass killing, maybe four were
    primarily religious. Is that a lot? Well, it’s more than the number of wars
    fought over soccer, or sex (The Trojan and Sabine Wars don’t even make the
    list.), but less than the number fought over land, money, glory or prestige.

    In my Index, I list 41 religious conflicts compared with 27 oppressions under
    “Communism”, 24 under Colonialism, 2 under “Railroads” and
    2 under “Scapegoats”. Make of that what you will.”

  • Sorry, I don’t need the carrot of heaven or the stick of hell to be a decent person. It’s a combination of nature and nurture. I am accountable to myself. If you need religion to do good you might be in trouble.

  • You’re right. No one does good because of atheism, because all atheism is, is the lack of belief in a god.

    We do good for a simple reason, which you would do well to learn: Good is better than evil because it’s nicer.

    As for Ayn Rand? I’m glad to hear that the only reason you do any good is not because of empathy or kindness.

  • Shaming a baker is as low as society can go?you certainly have rather low standards.

    How about shaming a child so much about the child’s natural sexuality that the child commits suicide?

  • No it doesn’t. If the Theory holds up there can be some adverse changes to which we could adapt. After we survive that we’ll have another ice age down the road.

  • You’re just doing your job?

    So were the Nazis, with exactly the same kind of motivation and rationalization. And employing exactly the same kind of lies, slanders, and vituperation, based upon nothing but what you have pulled out of the darkest regions of your heart.

    you have appointed YOURSELF God’s messenger. You say so. Thr LGBT have elevated themselves above godin their minds? You are busy judging the relationship of god with Everyone else, and seeing if it measures up to YOUR standards.

    The one thing you can count on with the Religious Reich is their tendency to project onto everyone else their own darkness.

  • Oh, good. Here you go again, proving that everything you claim to be true about your “faith” you don’t believe even yourself. You once again set yourself above your sock puppet of a god.

    “I do not want to see the world end so soon!” Why not? Isn’t that when Jesus comes and whisks you all off to heaven. that,s supposed to be the point of all of the blather, won’t that prove just how right you are, and that your god is No better than he ought to be, or you are?

  • And given the number of lies you have told about gay people, and continue to tell, and congratulate yourself on telling yet again, there is nothing in religion that compels a person to be honest,either.

  • Mao was a Buddhist, not an atheist. Mao murdered no one in the name of atheism, but in the name of communism, another kind of religion, with him as the god of it.

    But let’s just look at something. Mao killed millions. Your god kills millions. Your god is no better than Mao.

  • A friend doesn’t generate guilt and fear for others to bear based on an ideology. That’s not being a friend at all.
    Shake loose of some your needless paranoia and stop demanding that others alter their lives.

  • “The Landlord came to me and told me everyone must vacate the land because more and more people are violating the lease.”

    I sure never signed any lease with your god, and I certainly challenge you to find what the piece of paper with my signature saying otherwise.

    What a dumb analogy.

  • Ed, no one in their right mind in 2017 would jump into this fray of his own volition. Would you not agree?

    I don’t have any way of knowing whether the people I talk to online are in their right mind.

    You don’t have to discuss these issues with the gods, you don’t have to discuss them with anyone, just like I don’t have to.

    I like discussing them. I just prefer that the discussions remain realistic.

    There is one god and this god made this earth, he holds it in place and keeps us all somewhat safe. You and I have the same problem, we both live on His land. It is not unusual for renters to have some rules that they must follow if they want to stay on someone else’s land.

    I don’t exactly have a choice of where to live. If there’s a God, then he pretty much has a monopoly on all properties. If I didn’t like the rules at my apartment, I could move. Where am I supposed to go if I don’t like God’s rules?

    But all I’m doing is asking some questions about his rules. I’d like to understand them. I’d like to think that they make sense. There doesn’t seem to be any purpose in turning innocent people into pariahs just because of who they’re attracted to. I don’t see any good reason that consenting adults can’t choose their own partners.

    The Landlord came to me and told me everyone must vacate the land because more and more people are violating the lease.

    I hope you’ll understand that I can’t simply accept that as true, based on your word alone. Couldn’t anyone just lie, and claim that God spoke to them? Should I believe and obey anyone who tells me that God has a message for me?

    It seems like it would be very easy for God to visit everyone personally, and eliminate the possibility of people following “false prophets”.

    In grade school did you ever have to stay inside during recess because one person violated the teacher’s rules? Were you unhappy because you did nothing wrong but you were punished along with the rest of the class? Most older people have had this experience and this is the only message I am conveying.

    Sure, but grown ups do things differently from children. A good teacher should be capable of going directly to one person, telling them what they’ve done wrong, and working together to correct it. If another student comes to me and says the teacher wants me to do something, shouldn’t I want to meet with the teacher and confirm this request first? If I never see the teacher, but only have other students coming to me with the teacher’s alleged messages (many of them contradictory), then I might have reason to believe that they are not being 100% truthful.

    In our real time situation we are in, the Landlord has given a lot of slack for a long time but time has a way of catching up to people. So here we are, you and me being kicked off the land because you do not want to negotiate with the Landlord.

    I’d be happy to negotiate with the Landlord, if I could speak to him and conduct the negotiations myself. Instead, I only have other human beings who are presenting themselves as the negotiators on my behalf. I’m afraid I can’t accept those conditions. The Landlord should be aware of this. He should know that merely sending more humans to speak for him is only going to compound the problem.

    I am stuck back in first grade being punished for something I didn’t do. As silly as this sounds, the world needs your help.

    And how can I help? What steps am I expected to take? Should I stop being gay? Should I divorce my husband, whom I’ve been with for almost 14 years, and abandon him? Is there a good reason I should do these things? It would seem remarkably cruel to leave him to handle his disabilities and fend for himself, without a very good justification.

    Should I just automatically believe what other people tell me about gods, without confirming it for myself? Without seeing evidence which supports their claims? If someone was lying to me, wouldn’t it be foolish to allow myself to be so easily manipulated? That happens to a lot of people, so it seems prudent to be skeptical and to demand proof.

  • You’re making ad hoc assumptive assertions about my awareness of institutions? Believe me, I don’t want to get into a logic thing with you, because I know you love philosophy, and I love social science through evolutionary biology. I guess I would ask you to put a rush order in to all the scientists that aren’t complicate with the unsustainable agendas of church-state tribalism and neoliberal capitalism, to rapidly fix the litany of problems affecting the sustainability of Homo sapiens.

  • And Bill Maher’s educational background is in what field?

    From those with PhD’s in religious studies and history:

    From Professors Crossan and Watts’ book, Who is Jesus.

    “That Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate, as the Creed states, is as certain as anything historical can ever be.

    “ The Jewish historian, Josephus and the pagan historian Tacitus both agree that Jesus was executed by order of the Roman governor of Judea. And is very hard to imagine that Jesus’ followers would have invented such a story unless it indeed happened.

    “While the brute fact that of Jesus’ death by crucifixion is historically certain, however, those detailed narratives in our present gospels are much more problematic. ”

    “My best historical reconstruction would be something like this. Jesus was arrested during the Passover festival, most likely in response to his action in the Temple. Those who were closest to him ran away for their own safety.

    I do not presume that there were any high-level confrontations between Caiaphas and Pilate and Herod Antipas either about Jesus or with Jesus. No doubt they would have agreed before the festival that fast action was to be taken against any disturbance and that a few examples by crucifixion might be especially useful at the outset. And I doubt very much if Jewish police or Roman soldiers needed to go too far up the chain of command in handling a Galilean peasant like Jesus. It is hard for us to imagine the casual brutality with which Jesus was probably taken and executed. All those “last week” details in our gospels, as distinct from the brute facts just mentioned, are prophecy turned into history, rather than history remembered.”

    See also Professor Crossan’s reviews of the existence of Jesus in his other books especially, The Historical Jesus and also Excavating Jesus (with Professor Jonathan Reed doing the archeology discussion) .

    Other NT exegetes to include members of the Jesus Seminar have published similar books with appropriate supporting references.

    Part of Crossan’s The Historical Jesus has been published online at books.google.com/books.

    There is also a search engine for this book on the right hand side of the opening page. e.g. Search Josephus

    See also Wikipedia’s review on the historical Jesus to include the Tacitus’ reference to the crucifixion of Jesus.

    From ask.com,

    “One of the greatest historians of ancient Rome, Cornelius Tacitus is a primary source for much of what is known about life the first and second centuries after the life of Jesus. His most famous works, Histories and Annals, exist in fragmentary form, though many of his earlier writings were lost to time. Tacitus is known for being generally reliable (if somewhat biased toward what he saw as Roman immorality) and for having a uniquely direct (if not blunt) writing style.

    Then there are these scriptural references:

    Crucifixion of Jesus:(1) 1 Cor 15:3b; (2a) Gos. Pet. 4:10-5:16,18-20; 6:22; (2b) Mark 15:22-38 = Matt 27:33-51a = Luke 23:32-46; (2c) John 19:17b-25a,28-36; (3) Barn. 7:3-5; (4a) 1 Clem. 16:3-4 (=Isaiah 53:1-12); (4b) 1 Clem. 16.15-16 (=Psalm 22:6-8); (5a) Ign. Mag. 11; (5b) Ign. Trall. 9:1b; (5c) Ign. Smyrn. 1.2.- (read them all at wiki.faithfutures. Crucifixion org/index.php/005_Crucifixion_Of_Jesus )

    Added suggested readings:

    o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.

    2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
    – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

    30-60 CE Passion Narrative
    40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
    50-60 1 Thessalonians
    50-60 Philippians
    50-60 Galatians
    50-60 1 Corinthians
    50-60 2 Corinthians
    50-60 Romans
    50-60 Philemon
    50-80 Colossians
    50-90 Signs Gospel
    50-95 Book of Hebrews
    50-120 Didache
    50-140 Gospel of Thomas
    50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
    50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
    65-80 Gospel of Mark
    70-100 Epistle of James
    70-120 Egerton Gospel
    70-160 Gospel of Peter
    70-160 Secret Mark
    70-200 Fayyum Fragment
    70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
    73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
    80-100 2 Thessalonians
    80-100 Ephesians
    80-100 Gospel of Matthew
    80-110 1 Peter
    80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
    80-130 Gospel of Luke
    80-130 Acts of the Apostles
    80-140 1 Clement
    80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
    80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
    80-250 Christian Sibyllines
    90-95 Apocalypse of John
    90-120 Gospel of John
    90-120 1 John
    90-120 2 John
    90-120 3 John
    90-120 Epistle of Jude
    93 Flavius Josephus
    100-150 1 Timothy
    100-150 2 Timothy
    100-150 Titus
    100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
    100-150 Secret Book of James
    100-150 Preaching of Peter
    100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
    100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
    100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
    100-160 2 Peter
     4. Jesus Database, http://www.faithfutures.o-rg/JDB/intro.html –”The JESUS DATABASE is an online a-nnotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament.”
    5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bis-sar24.htm
    6. The Jesus Seminar, http://en.wikipedia.o-rg/wiki/Jesus_Seminar
    7. http://www.biblicalartifacts.com/items/785509/item785509biblicalartifacts.html – books on the health and illness during the time of the NT
    8. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.
    9.The Gn-ostic Jesus
    (Part One in a Two-Part Series on A-ncient and Modern G-nosticism)
    by Douglas Groothuis: http://www.equip.org/articles/gnosticism-and-the-gnostic-jesus/
    10. The interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Pontifical Biblical Commission
    Presented on March 18, 1994
    ewtn.com/library/CURIA/PBCINTER.HTM#2
    11. The Jesus Database- newer site:
    wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?title=Jesus_Database
    12. Jesus Database with the example of S-u-pper and Eucharist:
    faithfutures.o-rg/JDB/jdb016.html
    13. Josephus on Jesus by Paul Maier:
    mtio.com/articles/bis-sar24.htm
    13. http://www.textweek.com/mtlk/jesus.htmm- Historical Jesus Studies
    14. The Greek New Testament: laparola.net/greco/
    15. D-iseases in the Bible:
    http://books.google.com/books/about/The_d-iseases_of_the_Bible.html?id=C1YZAAAAYAAJ

    16. Religion on- Line (6000 a-rt-ic-les on the hi-story of religion, churches, theologies,
    theologians, eth-ics, etc. religion-online.o–rg/
    17. The New Testament Gateway – Internet NT n-tgate-way.com/
    18 Writing the New Testament- existing copies, oral tradition etc.
    n-tgat-eway.com/
    19. JD Crossan’s conclusions about the authencity of most of the NT based on the above plus the c-onclusions of other NT exegetes in the last 200 years:
    http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?title=Crossan_Inventory
    20. Early Jewish Writings- Josephus and his books by t-itle with the complete translated work in English :earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html
    21. Luke and Josephus- was there a c-onnection?
    in-fidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/lukeandjosephus.html
    22. NT and beyond time line:
    pbs.org/empires/peterandpaul/history/timeline/
    23. St. Paul’s Time line with discussion of important events:
    harvardhouse.com/prophetictech/new/pauls_life.htm
    24. See http://www.amazon.com for a list of JD Crossan’s books and those of the other Jesus Seminarians: Reviews of said books are included and selected pages can now be viewed on Amazon. Some books can be found on-line at Google Books.
    25. Father Edward Schillebeeckx’s words of wisdom as found in his books.
    27. The books of the following : Professors Gerd Ludemann, Marcus Borg, Paula Fredriksen, Elaine Pagels, Karen Armstrong and Bishop NT Wright.
    28. Father Raymond Brown’s An Introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, NY, 1977, 878 pages, with Nihil obstat and Imprimatur.
    29. Luke Timothy Johnson’s book The Real Jesus

    Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth [Hardcover]
    Bart D. Ehrman (Author)

    “Large numbers of atheists, humanists, and conspiracy theorists are raising one of the most pressing questions in the history of religion: “Did Jesus exist at all?” Was he invented out of whole cloth for nefarious purposes by those seeking to control the masses? Or was Jesus such a shadowy figure—far removed from any credible historical evidence—that he bears no meaningful resemblance to the person described in the Bible?
    In Did Jesus Exist? historian and Bible expert Bart Ehrman confronts these questions, vigorously defends the historicity of Jesus, and provides a compelling portrait of the man from Nazareth. The Jesus you discover here may not be the Jesus you had hoped to meet—but he did exist, whether we like it or not.”

  • The Inquisition had this lovely arrangement. They would imprison people. They would torture them, for weeks, months or years. They would extract all sorts of amazing confessions. But they were holy, so they didn’t like to actually kill people. When they were done torturing a person, they would hand the person over to the king along with the confession, and the king would execute them at the direction of the church. Everyone was happy.

    The Inquisition was the embodiment of evil.

  • So you are a sociopath who is only kept in check from running amok by your belief in God.

    I don’t believe in God, but I have zero desire for slavery, murder and rape. You want such things but feel restrained by God.

  • It takes religion to consider murder and rape as something other than evil.

    If you are deliberately harming others, its evil. You don’t need God to know that. At least everyone who isn’t a raving sociopath knows that. With you, I am not too sure.

  • Mao created a religion with himself at its head. It had its own theology, its own clergy, its own rituals and ceremony.

  • Well, if I were he, I wouldn’t believe in Me. So help Me Me. I wouldn’t be the kind of person that I would like to hang out with, especially not for eternity.

  • “It’s all preferences based.”

    Good. So let’s consider a hypothetical question, but a simple case nonetheless.

    God commands you to rape a man—let’s say either Ryan Reynolds or Donald Trump. There is absolutely no doubt in your mind that it is god, and what he has commanded you to do. He even gives you the means to accomplish it.

    Would you rape either Ryan or The Donald?

  • And thank you SO MUCH for demonstrating once again that you have no morals, no understanding, and that your whole idea of god is simply inside of your head, your preference, you might say, your desire to elevate yourself above your fellow humans.

    God Commands murder. That’s ok with you.

    god commands slavery. that’s OK with you.

    God commands other people to rape and murder, and that’s ok with you.

    But god commands you to become that which you hate beyond measure, and suddenly, god wouldn’t command it.

    Sick.

  • Duh – get a grip – don’t you understand His Word?

    Genesis 1 – He doesn’t want to hang out with himself – he’s lonely; he needs distraction from his awesome perfection.

    That’s why he creates mankind; to be adoring, semi-autonomous, co-dependent, sycophantically-devoted super-puppies.

    Gets that wrong of course (even though he knew in advance that he would) so he arranges for his son to be tortured and killed so that we can get him off the hook for his inadequacies. Can’t help feeling that either his parents weren’t the sharpest knives in the block or he had a terrrrrrible childhood.

    Wonder if he learnt from the mistake and gave his next creations the ability to understand good and evil BEFORE punishing them for not knowing the difference – I have my doubts.

  • I’ve very patiently explained this to you before, but I guess I have to do it again.

    If you are going to go around being rational, logical, and consistent, there is simply no hope or you!

    And besides! You left out the flood. He could have fixed the problem then, but he didn’t. And he would have known that the flood wouldn’t work, but he didn’t, even when Noah got drunk five minutes off the boat and did something naked with his sons,

    It’s almost as if his grand design from the very beginning had some logical flaws in it, and we made him so mad that he decided to kill himself. It’s an old story for these gods. Odin did exactly the same thing.

  • All men have some kind of morality that they live by. The atheist has his moral code only in his head and he can only make it up.
    The Christian’s morality is grounded in the nature of God. The 10 Commandments are an example of this. God will hold all men accountable to His moral standards in the Judgement after death.
    The atheist morality is not binding on anyone.

    God never commanded murder. Killing someone for a just reason is not murder.

  • Nah. It really wasn’t a nice try. It just means that if god tells you to murder someone, it’s ok. But if god incontrovertibly tells you torape someone that you don’t want to rape, well that’s just too much.

  • “Disengagement from religion means disengaging religion from one’s morality and values, from how one lives one’s life …”

    I think some of what is happening is a disengagement from the exclusivity demanded by so many religions and a recognition that many different religions have moral views that are valuable for social groups to incorporate in how they get along.

    And people change their minds about a particular belief of a religion, and decide that a particular moral belief is wrongly conceived. Think slavery. Think homosexuality. Think the roles of women in the world, the family, in faith practices. These changes in belief are a struggle between “sides” inside a religious body. People leave, start new branches of a major religious group or become “spiritual but not religious” because there really is no place for them – for a while.

    A thought. Perhaps humanity carries inside of us a God given impetus to love, to live in company with others in peace. Science tells us we are social creatures. Religions take that impetus and give it form, words, rules – the “thou shalt nots” of a particular religion.

    One more thought. In the modern world, can we have stable societies defined by particular religions? Is the U.S. a “Christian nation?” Can Islam exist in a secular society – do Sunni’s and Shia Muslims need to live in separate societies with different laws? The problem in maintaining religious exclusion is instant communication and global movement of people. Can we live together?

  • The evidence is in fact quite good, but many people are unable to sift it out of the mass of influences that affect us all. Humanity has always been inundated by stimuli, seen and unseen, that jar and tumble us about which makes it difficult to find our mooring. The evidences that individuals obtain in the own experience are often not translatable to others in a purely quantitative fashion. Sometimes all it takes is the suspension of unbelief, and the gates of illumination open and nearly all (if not all) becomes quite clear. There will always be scudding wisps of obscurity that the greatest of spiritual meteorologists will not pierce, but the basic pattern is clear, definable, and most distinct. You will pardon my philosophical whimsy.

  • I’d listen to self-critical atheists more than to paid-per-view poll-vaulters if I were you, brother Mark Silk. Truth is:

    (1) According to Stephen LeDrew, an atheist himself (cf. The Evolution of Atheism: The Politics of a Modern Movement, Oxford University Press, 2016): To atheists, “techno-scientific progress is equivalent to social and moral progress … [They have, then, an] intolerance [that’s] quite dangerous. … [as they] exhibit some totalitarian tendencies with respect to the use of state power … [Worse, atheists have a vested interest in the] defense of the position of the white middle-class Western male, and of modernity itself [which, to them, are both] under threat by a swirling concoction of religious ignorance, epistemic relativism, identity politics, and cultural pluralism.”

    (2) According to CJ Werleman, an atheist himself (cf. The New Atheist Threat: The Dangerous Rise of Secular Extremists, Dangerous Little Books, 2016): Atheism has “become a pro-white supremacy movement [of atheists] who peddle fear, suspicion, and hate. … [Like, they can’t even] see Palestinians beyond their Muslimness … [For them] the road to broader public acceptance … does [indeed] travel through the persecution of another minority”.

    (3) According to Daniel Fincke, an atheist himself (cf. “Why I Criticize My Fellow Atheists”, Camels with Hammers, June 17, 2013): To atheists “becoming an atheist only is a matter of becoming right about a few more things but then as likely to be wrong about anything else (and wrong on special new topics that represent special new blindspots unique to atheists) … Sometimes [you know] … atheists … are wrong, have bad habits, fall into intellectual errors either peculiar to [them] or common to people generally. … [But they don’t] feel like a hypocrite if [they] didn’t take those fewer chances to criticize [their] ‘own’ side when they arose … acknowledg[ing] when and where [they]’re wrong too … [even as] a nice antidote to self-righteousness. … [Atheists] settle for sloppy thinking or become ethically lazy or self-righteously self-satisfied. … [They’re] just looking for flaws in theism or religious people’s behavior out of some animus … prejudice or malice. … Some atheists really do seem to have gotten into this movement to indulge in their feelings of superiority to those they pitilessly disparage as ‘stupid’ or wicked. … They are just in this to throw rocks at the ‘retards’. I have no sympathies with such people and am ashamed that they’re associated with me. … Since my fellow atheists profess to share many of my core intellectual and moral values, I am all the more disappointed in them when they are in violation of those values. I don’t want them to be hypocrites with respect to those values since their failures make all atheists, including me, look bad and set back our cause.”

  • They are atheists. Great.
    but since atheism has almost nothing in the way of organizations, and since atheism is nothing more than a lack of belief in gods with no other organizing principles, it proves absolutely nothing except that some atheists have an opinion.

  • Damien Priestly, an atheist, but of course: “There is good evidence that non-believe[r]s may actually have a better moral foundation” than believers.

    Stephen LeDrew, an atheist himself: To atheists, “techno-scientific progress is equivalent to social and moral progress … [and so they] exhibit some totalitarian tendencies with respect to the use of state power … [and are into the] defense of the position of the white middle-class Western male, and of modernity itself [which, they think, are] under threat by a swirling concoction of religious ignorance, epistemic relativism, identity politics, and cultural pluralism.”

    CJ Werleman, an atheist himself: Atheism has “become a pro-white supremacy movement [of atheists] who peddle fear, suspicion, and hate … [can’t] see Palestinians beyond their Muslimness”.

    Sikivu Hutchinson, an atheist herself: According to atheists, “oppressed minorities are more imperiled by their own investment in organized religion than [by] white supremacy. Liberation is not a matter of fighting against white racism … and classism but of throwing off the shackles of superstition.”

    Daniel Fincke, an atheist himself: To atheists “becoming an atheist only is a matter of becoming right about a few more things but then as likely to be wrong about anything else (and wrong on special new topics that represent special new blindspots unique to atheists) … [It’s not possible that] sometimes … atheists … are wrong, have bad habits, fall into intellectual errors either peculiar to [them] or common to people generally. … [Far be it for them to] feel like a hypocrite if [they] didn’t take those fewer chances to criticize [their] ‘own’ side when they arose … acknowledg[ing] when and where [they]’re wrong too … [as] a nice antidote to self-righteousness. … Atheists “settle for sloppy thinking or become ethically lazy or self-righteously self-satisfied. … They give little impression they are interested in the kinds of ongoing introspection and self-suspicion that are invaluable to personal growth. … [They’re] just looking for flaws in theism or religious people’s behavior out of some animus … prejudice or malice. … Some atheists really do seem to have gotten into this movement to indulge in their feelings of superiority to those they pitilessly disparage as ‘stupid’ or wicked. … They are just in this to throw rocks at the ‘retards’. I have no sympathies with such people and am ashamed that they’re associated with me. … Their failures make all atheists, including me, look bad and set back our cause.”

    HpO, an atheist-wannabe: You’re right, Damien Priestly. Like you’ve pontificated irreligiously, “There is good evidence that non-believe[r]s may actually have a better moral foundation” than believers.

  • Ian Cooper, an atheist, but of course: “For good people to do evil – that takes religion.”

    HpO, an atheist-wannabe: For good people to do evil – that takes atheism too, according to:

    (1) Stephen LeDrew, an atheist himself: Ever since, to atheists, “techno-scientific progress is equivalent to social and moral progress … [their] intolerance [is] quite dangerous. … [They] exhibit some totalitarian tendencies with respect to the use of state power … Major intrusions by the state on individual freedoms, as well as imperialist projects, are frequently legitimated ideologically through the rhetoric of security and protection. … [In the meantime, atheists have a vested interest in the] defense of the position of the white middle-class Western male, and of modernity itself [which are both] under threat by a swirling concoction of religious ignorance, epistemic relativism, identity politics, and cultural pluralism.”

    (2) CJ Werleman, an atheist himself: On the one hand, American atheists put their faith in “the beneficent U.S. secular state.” On the other hand, their atheism has “become a pro-white supremacy movement [of atheists] who peddle fear, suspicion, and hate … [and who can’t] see Palestinians beyond their Muslimness”.

    (3) Sikivu Hutchinson, an atheist herself: Because atheists’ put down of religion has “limited cultural relevance for people of color … [their atheism] preserves and reproduces the status quo of white supremacy in its arrogant insularity. In this universe, oppressed minorities are more imperiled by their own investment in organized religion than [by] white supremacy.”

    (4) Daniel Fincke, an atheist himself: “Sometimes … atheists … are wrong, have bad habits … [They don’t dare to] take those fewer chances to criticize [their] ‘own’ side when they arose … acknowledg[ing] when and where [they]’re wrong too … [as] a nice antidote to self-righteousness. … [They’ve] become ethically lazy or self-righteously self-satisfied. … Some atheists really do seem to have gotten into this movement to … just in this to throw rocks at the ‘retards’. … Since my fellow atheists profess to share many of my core intellectual and moral values, I am all the more disappointed in them when they are in violation of those values.”

  • codejack, an atheist, but of course: “If atheist is so bad, where are the negative consequences?”

    HpO, an atheist-wannabe: Here’s where, according to:

    (1) Stephen LeDrew, an atheist himself: Since “techno-scientific progress is equivalent to social and moral progress … [the atheists’ agenda is] the universalization of the ideology of scientism and the establishment of its cultural authority … [And since they tend to] exhibit some totalitarian tendencies with respect to the use of state power … [atheists’] intolerance [is] quite dangerous. … [Which explains their] defense of the position of the white middle-class Western male, and of modernity itself [which, they say, are both] under threat by a swirling concoction of religious ignorance, epistemic relativism, identity politics, and cultural pluralism.”

    (2) CJ Werleman, an atheist himself (cf. The New Atheist Threat: The Dangerous Rise of Secular Extremists, Dangerous Little Books, 2016): Atheists put their faith in “the beneficent U.S. secular state … [as they spearhead] a pro-white supremacy movement … peddl[ing] fear, suspicion, and hate … [and refuse to] see Palestinians beyond their Muslimness”.

    (3) Sikivu Hutchinson, an atheist herself: Atheists intend their critique of religion to have a “limited cultural relevance for people of color … [This way, atheism] preserves and reproduces the status quo of white supremacy in its arrogant insularity. In this universe, oppressed minorities are more imperiled by their own investment in organized religion than [by] white supremacy. Liberation is not a matter of fighting against white racism … and classism but of throwing off the shackles of superstition.”

    (4) Daniel Fincke, an atheist himself: Atheists are “just looking for flaws in theism or religious people’s behavior out of some animus … prejudice or malice. … Some atheists really do seem to have gotten into this movement to indulge in their feelings of superiority to those they pitilessly disparage as ‘stupid’ or wicked. … They are just in this to throw rocks at the ‘retards’. I have no sympathies with such people and am ashamed that they’re associated with me. … Since my fellow atheists profess to share many of my core intellectual and moral values, I am all the more disappointed in them when they are in violation of those values. I don’t want them to be hypocrites with respect to those values since their failures make all atheists, including me, look bad and set back our cause.”

  • No one was killed in the name of Atheism, but in the name of destructive ideologies.

    And of course, hitler’s murders of 6 million Jews was simply the end point of 1900 years of official CHRISTIAN antisemitism. Germany was a CHRISTIAN country before the holocaust, during the holocaust, and after the holocaust. It still is,in fact.

  • I don’t get the word “belief” in this article’s title – “The rising belief in moral atheists”. What of their “belief”? Did Mark Silk mean the following, surely?

    According to Stephen LeDrew, an atheist himself (cf. The Evolution of Atheism: The Politics of a Modern Movement, Oxford University Press, 2016): Atheism is now “a form of belief – rather than a lack of belief … [It has] moved from simple negation of religious beliefs to an affirmation of liberalism, scientific rationality, and the legitimacy of the institutions and methodology of modern science – and thus from religious criticism to a complete ideological system.”

    I didn’t think so either. So, what “belief” is “rising” among “moral atheists”?

  • No, not “They are atheists. Great.” But, “They ARE great atheists. Period.”

    I didn’t know there’s a healthy tension going on among the Religiously Nones-Sensical Atheists of America Unlimited, circa who-knows.

    My 1st great atheist hero is Jurgen Habermas and the Critical Theory School of Thinkers.

    Your 1st great Christian hero is … you got any, Ben in Oakland? Let’s trade cards.

  • I think the article means that there is a rise in the belief that there can be moral atheists. So the belief is among the general populace. I don’t think it is about the actual beliefs on morality held by atheists.

  • Sorry sir.

    What must I do to become irrational, illogical and inconsistent – and how much does it cost over and above any integrity I’ve managed to retain so far.

  • Or, more accurately, the child’s wounded, infected and maimed sexuality. Healing and warm cleansing are needed. Biblical grace and biblical truth are needed. The incomparable Christ is needed.

  • It is typical for you to be far more concerned about your faith than you are about the suicide of a child because of your faith.

  • I didn’t even get through two paragraphs, way too long and tedious…try making a point without writing endlessly! Maybe just refer to your sources and clarify with a paragraph or two. ..

    …And don’t accuse others of pontificating after writing a 500 word essay in a comment post section.

  • Him joking, “Have Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder play ping-pong together. That’s a miracle.” – Had made you an atheistic believer in miracles all this time, then?

    Him joking with Nixon live, “”Mr. President, Mr. President, if you coulda be any animal in the world, whata would it be?” – had made you an atheistic believer in reincarnation all this time, then?

  • Ah I got it now – thanks! Make-believe immoral atheists vocal about a make-believe God, are now dwindling in number, even though being vocal about a make-believe God hasn’t changed a bit. But wait, mathematically, that’s impossible and that’s cheating. For if one decreases, then everything that it is must also. Which isn’t the case or scenario here at all.

  • Arbustin: I agree that people probably answered the question accurately based on their, possibly outdated or inaccurate, understanding of the terms *atheist* and *agnostic*. I think that Ian is addressing that the question criteria, being based on that interpretation of labels, very likely skewed the results. Many in the atheist community agree that asking if the person believes in a god or lacks a belief in a god would result in a more accurate statistic instead of leaving interpretation of labels and identifiers up to the subjects.

  • Perhaps the change noted by the Pew researchers is more evidence of a rising understanding and acceptance of people who are different. It’s a change that has been increasing over the last 50 years.

    At first, there was a lot of sectarian prejudice between Protestants and Catholics. After the Second Vatican Council and other changes this broke down, and prejudice against Jews also moderated when the West confronted what had happened in the Holocaust.

    The sexual revolution helped to break down a lot of prejudice against women and gays, and the increase in world migration brought a variety of Eastern religions to the West. All this helped to break down many prejudice against people on the grounds of race and religion.

    Now, the same process is happening with those who are not religious. When we become increasingly comfortable and accepting about human differences about race, religion, sex and sexuality this helps all of us to live peacefully and amicably together.

  • Unfortunately fundamentalism cannot accept any changes that conflict with their literal interpretation of their scriptures. Unfortunately for them they are welded to an archaic, inaccurate book.

  • Don’t worry about the cost. It’s a small thing when compared to confusing your own desires with the Crestor of the Entire Infinite universe.

  • Morally a cesspool book. Don’t forget that. Murder the innocent, and get believers to call it Holy.

  • WHAT FOR this and that “change noted by the Pew researchers”? Is America polls-driven nowadays ever since Hillary tried to win over Donald? How many polls have there been out there since the start of Election 2016 and why have they not stopped? Who’s paying these paid-per-view polls-vaulters and why? And why it’s always religion-related polls? Is public opinion being manufactured along the way? But heading toward what, exactly? Are we duped into these polls-realities? In short, something’s up, like Bill Burr used to joke about.

  • Oh yeah. Wholesale slaughter of people (including children) and animals – the Flood, conquest of Israel and the yet realized slaughter at Armageddon. The events, of course, did not (and will not) actually happen though fundamentalists believe they did and are OK with that.

  • The first born sons of Egypt, he that pisseth against a Wall, the children of job (and that Just to win a bet with Satan), and don’t forget…

    the Ultimate Victim.

  • There are immoral atheists. Atheists generally don’t claim to be moral because of atheism.

    There are immoral theists. Theists claim to be moral because of theism.

    Morality and religion, or morality and theism, are simply different concepts entirely.

  • I’ve been meaning to pass this atheist’s advice along, Ben in Oakland, now that you assert another of your typical comparative statement: “Atheists generally don’t claim to be moral because of atheism. [But] theists claim to be moral because of theism.”

    Atheists tend to think that “it’s … up to [their] enemies to assume the best of [themselves, rather than] up to [them] to demonstrate it.” (Daniel Fincke, “Why I Criticize My Fellow Atheists”, Camels with Hammers, June 17, 2013.)

    Incorporating what you said, this now reads: You tend to think “it’s … up to [theists] to assume the best of [atheists, rather than] up to [atheists] to demonstrate it.”

    Bottomline: you haven’t puffed up atheism, you’ve only put down theism. Not the way to go, according to your fellow atheist, Daniel Fincke. I agree with him. It’s time you guys demonstrate the best of atheism, instead of the worst of theism.

  • Our moral instinct is an intrinsic feature of the human mind. It does not require religion. Our minds see the universe around us in two dimensions. Our intellect helps us break down the the empirical universe into the world of “fact”. But we also see that same world in terms of “value”, which is our ability to apply a significance or value to those facts that allow us to act on those facts. It is this second ability that is the basis of our morality. A variety of different things, like religion, politics, family, etc etc all contribute things that allow us to give substance and content to this world of value. But they are not the source of our sense of value. Atheists share in this dimension of human reality as much as anyone else.
    If I can use an analogy with the animal kingdom. An antelope has a remarkable perception ability allowing it to see, hear, small, sense the presence of a lion. However if its brain simply says…”Oh, a Lion. How interesting.” it will not be around for long. It also has to have a sense that gives meaning/significance/value to this perception and leads to action….”Run like hell!” Our moral sense is the human equivalent of this second aspect of our perception of reality. Religion is just one of the ways we enhance the details of the “values” that allow us to act on the world we perceive.
    But religion is somewhat different than the other values. It involves the perception of another consciousness which penetrates into our minds…God.
    However, I have to add that religion is potentially the greatest source of evil in our lives. For example, I do not think that ANY human being thinks it is morally ok to attach explosives to yourself and blow up innocent men women and children in a marketplace. But unfortunately, in the minds of some, The Big Guy in the Sky is the one Being who has the authority to tell us to ignore our moral conscience.
    Most other evil impulses are ultimately seen to be deriving from corrupt and dysfunctional parts of our minds. But this evil is authorized by someone who claims to be good!

  • It can take time to overcome a literal interpretation of the Bible. However, it happens. That is why Christians have stopped slaughtering witches (despite Exodus 22:18) and Catholics have accepted that the earth goes round the sun (despite Psalm 93:1)

  • My comment had nothing to do with Hilary, Donald, the 2016 election or paid per view polls. The work of the Pew Research Center is generally well accepted.

    In any case, the changes noted by the Pew researchers mirror the changes noted in other English-speaking countries, including the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

  • I have to disagree with pretty much all of this. As I said, fincke is an atheist with an opinion. There is only one thing, and one thing only, that characterizes all atheists. We have no belief that a god or god exist. That is not the same thing as believing that god or gods don’t exist. That is anti theism. Fincke’s opinion of what all atheists think is fincke’s opinion.

    It is theists— and Fincke’s comment makes him sound like one— well, conservative theists, that insist that faith is tied to morality. No atheist I know would make that statement. Quite the contrary, as I and others have averred. I have known atheists who were highly moral, and others that are not. Atheism isn’t a philosophical or religious or ethical system, it is simply a lack of belief in god or god. It can imply things like personal responsibility for ones actions, but that’s not itself a part of the Atheist Code, because there isn’t one.

    Likewise, I have known many religious people who are highly moral. And far more than I would like of people who are not. Unlike atheism, religion bills itself as a moral or ethical system, and often claims that this comes from god or gods him/themselves. Followers of those faiths make that claim about themselves, but it clearly isn’t true. It’s the opposite of personal responsibility; people like Kim Davis can sin left and right, claim that Jesus has forgiven them, and move right on to attacking others, right before she moves on to marriage number 4.

    Show me good, incontrovertible evidence that the Christian story is true, and you’ll have a convert. Simply insisting that it is true, or showing me a bible, or claiming to be moral instead of simply being moralizers, isn’t going to do it.

    There is nothing uniform or unifying about atheism except a lack of belief. You cannot ask us as a group to show “the best of atheism”. I live my life as an example of an atheist who is good, not a good atheist. Whatever judgments I direct towards theists is not directed at all theists, and I usually strive to make that clear. But there is a real difference between religious people who are good, and religious people who expect others to adhere to their own form of goodness regardless of the costs. I believe in personal responsibility, not a group mark of Cain.

  • As I have stated repeatedly, with evidence, fundamentalists who claim that atheists are simply moral relativists are in fact the biggest moral relativists ever.

    Mao. murders millions, and he’s a horrible, immoral atheist.

    God murders millions, and he is only exercising his rights as the fount of morality.

  • There’s wide disagreement, then, Ben in Oakland, between you and fellow atheists:

    (1) ON HOW CONSENSUS IS REACHED, IF AT ALL.

    BEN IN OAKLAND: “Fincke’s opinion of what all atheists think is fincke’s opinion. … Fincke’s comment makes him sound like … conservative theists”.

    DANIEL FINCKE, Atheist: “Atheists … get … p*ssed off when [some of them] either criticize atheists or say anything positive at all about religions.”

    (2) ON WHAT ATHEISM IS ALL ABOUT.

    BEN IN OAKLAND: “Atheism isn’t a philosophical or religious or ethical system, it is simply a lack of belief in god or god. … There is nothing uniform or unifying about atheism except a lack of belief.”

    STEPHEN LEDREW, Atheist: Atheism is now “a form of belief – rather than a lack of belief … [It has] moved from simple negation of religious beliefs to an affirmation of liberalism, scientific rationality, and the legitimacy of the institutions and methodology of modern science – and thus from religious criticism to a complete ideological system.” The endgame is “the universalization of the ideology of scientism and the establishment of its cultural authority”. To atheists, “techno-scientific progress is equivalent to social and moral progress”.

    CJ WERLEMAN, Atheist: Atheists are “secular fundamentalists … [Theirs] is a completely illiberal secular ideology”. They put their faith in “the beneficent U.S. secular state.”

  • I would say there is a wide difference between what each of these men think, and what I and Just about everyone I know thinks. There is certainly a huge difference between there insistence that “all theists think x” and the reality of every atheist I know or read.

    Ledrews comment is especially offensive, incorrect, and reeks of an ideological bias I don’t share and wouldn’t want to share. But all three do.

    I do put my faith in a beneficent US secular state, when we have one. And that faith includes complete religious liberty, but not religious domininism and not religious exceptionalism.

  • Whenever I want to see absolute dishonesty and immorality, I will always look for someone who readily Declares himself to be a True Christian (TM), and who likes to use his OR her faith as a weapon. You’re not disappointing me.

    You wrote “Obama’s exit speech included the proclamation: “The constitution is just a piece of paper. It has no power.” Your cLear implication was that Mr. OBama had no respect for the Constitution or country.

    But what did he actually say, in context?

    “But remember, none of this happens on its own. All of this depends on our participation; on each of us accepting the responsibility of citizenship, regardless of which way the pendulum of power happens to be swinging.

    Our Constitution is a remarkable, beautiful gift. But it’s really just a piece of parchment. It has no power on its own. We, the people, give it power. We, the people, give it meaning — with our participation, and with the choices that we make…”

    The rest of the speech was in much the same vein, with a lot of decrying the forces of division and hate that infest our country. Forces of division and hate that you and your homosexuality-obsessed fellow religious hyper conservatives exemplify in spades.

    Mr. OBama wanted to lift gay people up to be the equals of heterosexuals— not lifted out of the small little cesspool into which you and your ilk imagine to confine us, but out of the legal and cultural closet to which law and prejudice have confined us. Our lives are every bit as valuable as yours.

    You, on the other hand, wish to attack, degrade, and denigrate us for the crime of being different, all the while justifying plain old fashioned— and this is an ancient prejudice— bigotry as “sincere religious belief” or “God’s will”. What the hell kind of an excuse is that? As if your bad intentions towards people whom you don’t know and know nothing about justified anything.

    If America is in its last days, I can tell you, it’s not from accepting gay people, but quite the opposite. You all voted Trump, arguably the worst thing this country has done in my lifetime. Fundelibangelists are hopping mad, damnably mad, that they people they thought were the lowest of the low, the walking antithesis to their religious beliefs, wer first decriminalized, then accepted, then made the legal equals of them, and then accepted even more.

    Fundelibangelists are so hopping mad over this that the man who promised you that your dominion over others would be restored got your vote: a self confessed serial adulterer, on his third marriage, this time to a woman for whom there exist images that are the antithesis of what few values you have left.

    If he doesn’t get us into World War III, our deficit, destroyed trade agreements, and insults directed at every one of our allies will get us, if climate change doesn’t. So, you are getting Exactly what you want— quite possibly putting us in our last days— and all because the very thought of two men in love, or having datnastyseks, scares the living bejesus out of you— or entices, threatens, titllates, fascinates, obsesses you.

    Take your pick.

  • Morality DOES NOT require religion. Religion like many other systems that focus on the world of values can contribute both positively and negatively to true morality, but it is not the source of morality.
    Regarding Mao., while I am sure religion has its share of negative issues, the only human activity that is consistently worse is politics. People like Mao, Stalin , Hitler etc are driven by political ideology. Radical Islam today is the probably the main example of religion leading to moral perversity, but it reaches its worst when it tries to mix religion AND politics.

  • Whenan atheist is sorry for his behavior, I suspect his sorrow is genuine and he recogizes the evil of his actions. In the case of some religious people, they may only be worried that they might lose their eternal salvation.

  • Radical Islam may be the most violent and Loud example, but evangelicals voting for Grabby and the Burmese mess certainly are right up there.

  • I will declare that it is libelous for religious people to denounce the non-religious as immoral. There is plenty of evidence that like dogs, cattle, horses, crows and porpoises, instinct makes us both social and moral.

    I choose my words carefully. I’ve found that immediately upon saying it, people like to bring up the example of the murderous “atheist” communists. But strangely, communism resembles religion. It has all the trappings of most religions except gods. However not even that makes it unique. There are forms of buddhism and confucianism that are also godless. What it DOES have is everything else; a vague, mystical promise about the future that can’t be examined, cults of personality, holy books, a “priesthood” engaged in grand hypocrisy, vigorous self-promotion, censorship, terror, schisms, heretics and… intolerance of other religions. I have often awarded the Holy Inquisition/Islamic Mutawa/KGB Golden Waterboard; it’s for those who don’t notice the resemblance between those three organizations.

  • The hundreds of millions murdered under Marxist atheism in the USSR, China, Cuba, North Korea prove atheism is the most brutal force in the history of humanity.

  • Even though here, in the Turkey we have conservative-Islamic government but still non-religious society getting bigger! Because we have technology, internet and limitless knowledge. That’s a good sign for the humanity.

    Check that article to learn opinions about atheism in the Turkish society:
    http://turkishatheist.net/?p=19

  • If God told you it was OK, would it be? Yes or no? What if god told you to toss a freshly baptized baby into Hell?

  • Just imagine what the world would be like if we let rapists, serial killers and slavers run rampant and you’ll see why we have laws against these things and criminal courts to try/prosecute them. We have coined a term for such actions: “Immoral”. They are provably immoral by means of the very definition of the word immoral.

  • But he did’nt say “iI wouldn’t do this if I were religious.”. Your argument is a total fallacy. Please admit this.

  • Where in the Bible does it say god wouldn’t do that? I ht edible god orders pregnant women ot be ripped open in the book of Joshua. he tortures people day and night forever and ever. he say s rapist is supposed ot buy and marry his victim (Deuteronomy 22;82-29. He approves of slavery (Exodus 21). How can you dare se he’d never do that, which is a Red Herring fallacy anyway? And would he never do that because it’s wrong, or is it wrong because he’d never do that?

  • Objecitiv amorality exists in the atheist worldview, as I already explained. To convince me otherwise, you’d have to convince me that without a god, we’d juxt let serial killers, rapists, slavers, thieves, etc. run rampant with impunity.

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