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Does God give people a reason to be moral or is being moral because you fear God a weak reason to be moral?
Atheists are among the most hated people in the US. Is it founded or just prejudice?
Does atheism lead to immoral behavior?
Tags: atheism, morality
This entry was posted on January 11, 2014 at 2:07 AM and is filed under Agency, Faith, Freedom, Morality, Mormon, Mormon Belief, Mormon Culture. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
To me, atheists seem to be responding to the same sense of inner morality that conservative Christians have. Atheism is a fundamentalist religion, a fanatical insistance that no supernatural ream could possibly exist. It trusts in the authority of science in the same way a conservative religious person trusts in the authority of the Bible. Both fundamentalists and atheists appeal to reason as the basis of their beliefs. To a conservative Christian, belief in the Bible is not a matter of faith, but of fact: apologetics. They know the Bible is the word of God because it is self-evident and rational. They say: “If science discovered the bones of Jesus, I would no longer be a Christian.” Likewise, atheists know the Bible is false because it contradicts rational, proven science. Both sides mock each other because both believe the other side is decieved, is not reading the evidence correctly. But this war between them masks the fact that they are actually responding to exactly the same inner sense of moral fundamentalism: certainty, universality, idealism, judgement, prosletizing. The details of their respective “moralities” may be dramatically different, but at the core, I think they are responding to something very similar.
So I consider atheism to be a very strong religion, with a strong set of beliefs and morals. The dangers of atheism are the same as the dangers of fundamentalism: lack of empathy, respect, blindly following secular or religious authorities, prejudices which prevent learning and growth.
Liberal Christians and agnostics represent the opposite extreme: moral relativism, ambiguity, faith, doubt.
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In the same way there are faith-driven religionists and cultural religionists, I think there are purposeful decided atheists (see Nate’s post above) as well as those who might be called atheists but who really haven’t given the matter any thought.
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Most atheists I have known have had at least as high of moral standards, if not higher, than those who were motivated by religious beliefs. Atheists tend to find motivation for their morality in the here-and-now, rather than from any expectation of future reward. Their motivations are often grounded in the universal standard of treating others as you wish to be treated, and making the world they live in more of a place that they would *want* to live in and to pass on to their children. I find those moral motivations highly commendable. Not sure why so many Christians think and speak ill of atheists.
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How about a choice for “No, atheists usually find equally valid reasons to behave morally”?
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THOSE who want to misbehave will missbehave. like husbands who decide that the grass is gr An atheist dont have to justify it. those who dont want to follow God will claim they are atheists. eener on the other side. So they use the excuses, ie oh i must be an atheist just so they can feel good about going against Gods laws of marriage. This is their way of justifying their cheating.
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THOSE who want to misbehave will missbehave. like husbands who decide that the grass is greener on the other side . An atheist dont have to justify it. those who dont want to follow God will claim they are atheists. . So they use the excuses, ie oh i must be an atheist just so they can feel good about going against Gods laws of marriage. This is their way of justifying their cheating.
number five is messed up it didnt copy right so i did it over in 6
Religion hasn’t stopped people from doing bad things, so why should a belief in no god be any different? Also, atheism is no where near a religion. You can’t accurately assign other characteristics to a group of people based on the fact that they share only *one* belief.
All atheists want is verifiable/reproducible evidence that god exists. Is that too much to ask?
I find it rarher shocking to entertain the idea that I would hate someone for their religion or indeed their lack of it. The issue of morality is another one-most first generation atheists are atheists of conviction and consideration whose experience of life has led them to their own conclusions. Often their parents have belifs that have led them to raise their children within a moral framework that may or may not work consciously for their kids, but the apple never fall to far from the tree , and those values stick. What’s more problematic is when we raise kids in a value free zone out of fear of dominating their own agenda, all very commendable but the results seem to be that morality of any type nevegets addressed. I see really good kids who find it difficult to make good choices because someone might feel it was good and they are supposed to be acting in a self determining manner, according to the narrative that they have recieved. They finish up in a quagmire of consequences that they have not consciously chosen, take serial monogamy for instance, and thew complications abound.
I’m not intending to make any moral judgements myself, but to note that there are consequences that none of us are equipped to deal with, and broken homes doesn’t adequately describe it. How kids can go on to learn in so much stress and chaos in order to prepare to make a living is impossible to imagine, but some do.
Lynda Rowan, your position suggests that atheists are just people who actually *believe* in God but pretend not to for their own convenience. Surely you cannot be serious? It’s not possible for you to imagine that someone else might *actually not* believe in God, simply because you do?
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Handlewithcare, your post assumes that atheists might be able to access a framework for morality for their own lives, but that they would be incapable of teaching this framework to their children without benefit of a religious superstructure to reinforce it. You seem to indicate that atheist parents would raise their children in a “values-free” zone in which any sort of behavior would be acceptable. I think this is a huge assumption on your part.
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“Atheists are among the most hated people in the US.” I’m not sure if the initial premise is accurate, especially among Christians who would profess to love their neighbor. Is there a study or poll that supports the initial assertion?
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IDIAT: This claim is usually supported by polls demonstrating that the majority of Americans would still not vote for a president who was atheist because they do not trust atheists.
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babaroni: what i was trying to say is that i know someone that is saying that he is athiest to get out of being accountable for what he is doing which he knows is a sin in Gods laws. He is/or was a christian. But his mental condition now is turning him away to do bad things and so he is using the atheiest aspect to make it right in his mind.
I see, Lynda. You were referring to a specific person and his reasoning. Sorry, I misunderstood and thought you were making a generalized statement about atheists. Thanks for the clarification.
IDIAT- this link discusses several recent studies, and provides some data. Yes, it’s quite true that atheists are the most hated, mistrusted and otherwise maligned group in the USA, as compared to groups like Muslims and gays. Take a look:
Nate, I’m a little shocked at your level of ignorance about atheism. For someone who is usully very thoughtful and measured, I think you’re just wrong on this one. I have met very few atheists who claim anything close to the level of certainty you are ascribing to them. the vast majority of atheists do believe that the supernatural realm could possibly exist. They’ve simply come to the determination that it likely doesn’t because they’ve seen no evidence of it. I’ve never personally met an atheist who would deny the existence of God if some credible, empirical evidence of it were produced to support it. Some atheists are fanatics, as are some members of any group. It seems to me that you’re attempting to put convenient labels on people when the reality is far more nuanced. In any event, I think your description of atheists generally is grossly inaccurate.
As to your labeling atheism a religion, it most certainly is not, at least not by any currently accepted definition. If you look up religion in any dictionary it is tied to a belief in god. You are free to redefine the word if you choose, but short of that atheism is, by definition, not a religion.
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I think the claim that atheists are hated is nonsense. Just b/c people would prefer a religious president to an atheist one doesn’t mean they hate or even think poorly of atheists.
Babaroni–the link you posted starts with the assumption that Americans hate Muslims. Which is false. Then is goes on to assume that if Americans prefer Muslims over atheists that they must really hate atheists. The reasoning here is truly twisted.
allquieton, if you don’t believe that many USAmericans hate Muslims, you need to come visit my town.
By the way, I’ll be wearing hijab on February 1 in support of my Muslim sisters for World Hijab Day. I encourage others to join us. If you don’t believe Muslims are hated and feared in this country, you might find it educational to wear hijab for a day and see if you can notice any difference in the way people behave towards you.
So according to your article, a few hundred signatures (out of a population of 105,000) were gathered to protest building a mosque. That could be as little as .25%, or one in 400 people. The article also shows that many of the reasons for protest have nothing to do with religion, but are concerns about traff ic, noise pollution, etc. So the numbers are even less.
So, no this doesn’t show that “many Americans” hate and fear Muslims. This is a lie. Quit slandering Americans. American people are generally very, very tolerant and peaceful.
I have been around Muslims in the US. I actually live very near Temecula. I work with Muslims. They get teased or harassed far less than I do as a Mormon.
Also wearing a hijab is enforced by organizations like the Taliban and Hamas. So it probably does get a reaction out of some people. But the reaction isn’t just b/c you’re a Muslim—it’s b/c you’re wearing a hijab, which is a symbol of oppression to many.
Also, none of this indicates in any way whatsoever, indicates that atheists are hated.
allquieton, if you actually live in the Temecula area, you should know that: 1. the mosque protests were most definitely religiously motivated and carried out mainly by conservative churches in the area (not Mormons, in this case — mainly evangelicals, particularly the Baptist church across the street from the proposed Mosque site), and that the supposed “traffic” issues were a smokescreen and utterly specious, and 2. Mormons make up a reasonably large percentage of the population in this area, as compared with the rest of CA. We have the largest Mormon population of any area of CA here in the Inland Empire, and Mormons here are not likely to face harassment. Muslims, on the other hand, most definitely *are* a discriminated minority around here.
I don’t like notion of “hating” anyone based on their religion, or in this case, irreligion. The question was, IMO, poorly worded. I see no inherent ability to judge an atheist on the basis that he self-declares; he may be the most ammoral brute or for whatever reason a genuinely nice fellow. Good and/or bad behavior aren’t necessarily a direct function of one’s professed religion (or disdain of same). That being said, I consider the atheist’s position (as opposed to an agnostic) as being intellectually vacuous and dishonest. How indeed would an atheist have the knowledge of time and space to be honestly able to state “there is NO God?”. It’s not intellectually wrong to say that he doesn’t believe in the existence of God save it can be proven to his senses, however. Such a person simply rejects the concept of faith, to his detriment. There is, of course, the conumdrum that IF one doesn’t not believe in deity or any “Supreme Power”, then naturally the concept of accountability for one’s life goes away. Therefore, unless one subscribes to a moral code simply b/c he feels that it’s in his best interests to do so (feel good, fair exchange with others, pass on values to offspring, whatever), then life becomes not what is “right and/or wrong”, but, rather, “What can I get away with?”. And if you don’t believe yourself accountable to a God(s), then don’t damn yourself for being wrong, damn yourself for getting caught.