There are religious people (not all of them, I don't even know if it's 10%, 30% or 90%) which are convinced that without god, a person cannot be moral. I have experienced that several times while listening to callers on atheist-experience.com/archive
To think about this, I'll just reduce morality to the "golden rule": Treat others like you'd like to be treated youself. I would describe that behaviour as "symmetric".
Now, religious people say that no one would have any reason to behave symmetrically if it weren't for their god. My impression is that they see atheists as outlaws who roam the land and do whatever they want.
I object to that perspective.
People who have that conviction have been asked if they would steal and murder if there weren't their god keeping track of their actions and presenting the bill in the end or altering their lifes accordingly. Or if there weren't some kind of karma-justice in the system. And quite a few of those, consequential in their argument, reply: Yes, they would behave antisocial like that.
I find that attitude disgusting.
If there were no higher justice at all, would not we, the humans, be responsible to become that higher justice? We don't have to be part of type Y of Christianity in which people are to strive for being like Jesus Christ (unlike type X in which people can be assholes, just repent before you die, and I have no idea how many types there are, but there are several strong groups with very different, even contradicting convictions as to what a true Christian is). We can strive for impersonating the loving god without believing in a real god. Some people do that. They are living proof that you don't need to believe in god to be a good person.
And people who claim that without god you can't be moral... those people effectively dislike the non-religious good people, want them not to be good. Because they disprove their argument. People who claim that without god you can't be moral... they are evil. Because either they don't want non-religous good people not to be - or they are plain lying to speak out for their religion.
Don't listen to someone who has to lie to get you into his club. His position is weak. Don't socialize with liars.
Even if non-believers were as immoral as said religious people *want* them to be... their god is the police. Law breakers get fined or imprisoned.
Now, why did our society come up with a system like that? Did god instate the police force? No. We, the people, did it. We don't want our society to break down, and we don't want harm to come to us or the people we like - or even to anyone.
The police - or morality in general - is the collective will of us, the people. We want to exist, live out our lifes.
If there were no god, a knife would still hurt and a gun would still kill. The people would still not want their posessions stolen or their bodies hurt. The people would still not want harm to come to their loved ones.
It is unbelievable how blatant the lie of said religious people is.
Well, maybe it's not even a lie. Maybe they really believe that without god, there would not be moral behaviour. But then they can only speak for themselves because, as I have proven above, society does not need morals from a god to know that it wants some enforced morality.
So, people who really believe that god is necessary for people to be moral are to be considered dangerous and mentally damaged. They cannot relate to society in a natural way and abuse religion to justify their psychotic attitude.
There are people who just want to be good, who just do not want to be hurtful or negative to others. Maybe they're just intelligent and know that the survival of their herd is generally good for their personal survival. Maybe they just feel some kind of love-emotion towards any person as a default (as long as they don't have reason to look at a person in a negative way).
Maybe those people experience joy by giving joy to others. A thankful smile is a reward. And maybe what goes around comes around later, you never know.
And then there's the possibility that some people just want to be good so that they are at inner peace with themselves, they don't need any reason or payback.
All these variants exist. In all religions. And among atheists.
Now, the religious people who claim that there cannot be morality without god (and who have no moral of their own) are totally unfair because they claim that non-religious people are only moral because religion's morals somehow bled over to them.
At some point, it is useless to keep arguing molten minds. They would find any gap and pour their devil worshipping rotten selves into that and try to keep spreading their lies. That's the point when the argument is over for me.
In spite of the fact that christians are believed to be more moral than Atheists, academics that have undertaken objective research disagree. They found that Danes and the Swedes, who don't go to church or pray in the privacy of their own homes; don't believe in god or heaven or hell, but maybe the most civilized people on earth. They have a well known extensive welfare and health care service. They have a strong commitment to social equality; their murder and rape rate is much lower than god-fearing countries including America. A study that looked at 18 democracies found that the more atheist societies tended to have low murder and suicide rates and relatively low incidence of abortion and teen pregnancy.
A national study showed that Baptists had the highest rate of divorce in the major denominations: 29 percent. Born-again Christians' rate was 27 percent. Atheists/agnostics had the lowest rate of divorce 21 percent. Also: The vast majority of felons incarcerated in the U.S. are Christians. Atheists make up a tiny fraction of the prison population. Researchers found that Christians are no more likely to give assistance to a homeless person on the street than non-Christians are. Christians are no more likely than non-Christians to correct the mistake when a cashier gives them too much change. A Christian is just as likely to have an elective abortion as a non-Christian.
It's very clear that most atheists are not a problem to communities, but sociologists found that atheists are often ostracized and excluded from communities, and do not receive the benefits of community support. The communities with god-fearing fanatics feel that atheists are a threat to their religion; they need to believe that Atheists are miserable, and to prove that they are miserable the fanatics will do everything they can to make them miserable. If they achieve their sick little "purpose in life" goal of (making someone miserable) because they have their own ideas about life, they claim that "god did it." It also serves as an example of what can happen if anyone rejects their religion. Since atheists are being attacked and ostracized by fanatics oftentimes they are not willing to contribute to the communities that exclude them, which is also used against them.
On the other hand, the god-fearing fanatic devotees are supported and facilitated in every possible way in order to prove god made them prevail. In some instances they are financially supported in their work, and this proves to them that there is a "god?" The fanatics often refer to these (put up jobs) as miracle, and never mind the fact that they have churches, officials, and major existing infrastructures to make sure they don't fail. It's a miracle!
Even though there is no "god" they really do need one!
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The ACA Lecture Series continues Sunday, October 11th at 12:15pm in the Austin History Center, 9th and Guadalupe. The building opens at noon. Texas Freedom Network's Dan Quinn will give us an update on their activities. The lecture is free and open to the public.