Saying nonbelievers (humanists) are only moral because they fear getting caught
is the same thing as saying the pious are only moral because they fear divine
eternal punishment. Wait a minute, the latter is often true.
CaveTroll,So what the LDS church has more influence? duh, the
majority of the state is LDS... the same can be said in Massachusetts and
Catholics, Georgia and Baptist or Methodist, Midwest and Pentecostal.It is part of what living in a community is about, contrary to popular opinion
the Constitution does not prohibit "influence" by a religious group.
Tyler made the point; "Human beings learned to cooperate and show sympathy
& compassion tens of thousands of years before religion was invented.".
In fact religion was created to facilitate this cooperation.
It's the very reason there are so many different religions. Each culture
had to have it's own inherent spin to generate the needed cooperation. Further evidence is the spiritual experiences some have spoken of here.
Christians have Christian supporting experiences, Muslims have Muslim supporting
experiences, Hindus have...well you get it. I'd maybe entertain a
different perspective if a four year old child from a devout Christian had a
near death experience and said hey guess what I met Allah.
Bloodhound, you are telling me that you really would not be able to tell the
difference between Mother Teresa and Hitler if you did not have religion to tell
you? Wow. That is absolutely terribly sad. I don't know where
you get the very flawed idea that without a believe in a god everything is
permissible. Your argument that it is because without a higher moral authority
anything is permissible is. . . well, is just not well thought through, to be
kind. It is a conceit of the religious to believe that they alone
have access to morality, and that without religion morality would not exist. Many beasts show strong elements of morality with never having any
religion. Many beasts take care of their young, some beasts form strong family
units, some practice monogamy, some practice charity, and kindness, and loyalty.
All of this with never having been babtized, or even ever considering it. Many
beasts obviously practice morality. The difference is, humans have
defined it, put a name to it, and some have claimed to know a source for it:
Without a belief in God, everything is permissible. Why? Because there is no
ultimate moral standard to judge things by. One set of beliefs is as good as
another one. Mother Teresa is no better or worse than Hitler. Sorry, atheists
and agnostics. But, belief in God does matter and the letter writer made some
I am gay. Despite what people think, I also have deep religious beliefs. I
believe strongly that all our lives have great importance and God does not
intend us to all be the same. Often, people end up using their religious beliefs
to harm others! I guess that is why I say that spirituality is not the same as
being religious. A person can be very religious and not have a spiritual bone in
his body. Being gay does not make a person immoral. So, it isn't always
easy to judge what those higher standards should be. People discriminate because
of their so called higher values! I think we always need to evaluate ourselves.
We need to treat each other better and try to lift people up, not judge and tear
Re Joe5:"What you choose to believe or not believe evidently has very
little in common with reality and there's nothing I can do about that."
My beliefs are very connnected to reality. The LDS church has a greater say in
laws in Utah than any other group. "Your comment completely ignores
the point of my post which is that all of us should be able to advocate for
their point of view in political discourse." If every group should be able
to advocate, why are people upset that the LGBT community is advocating?"Why are you not up in arms about them?" If the jugde ruled church
must perform gay marriages, I would oppose that. "In fact, I would
suggest that organizations that support SSM have had a greater
"indirect" effect on laws that the church has." The LGBT community
doesn't receive the same attention by our government leaders as the church.
"Pretty lame thought processes in my mind."
I understand his point of view, but many outrageous and harmful acts have been
done in the name of "religion". Strict adherence to religious dogma does
not always lead to a just outcome. I suggest that a religion based
moral underpinning is not necessarily an exclusive foundational prerequisite for
a moral life. .
to joe5 earlier todayWhat about "Lift me up" by 5 finger
re: Mike Richards"Religion has the answers. Government begs the
question."Its not black or white, Mike. Neither aforementioned
entity is going to solve any/all problems. I feel sorry for those who think
either can or will.re: Open Minded Mormon"And Mike
-- PLEASE stop forcing everyone to live a Mormon lifestyle."Ironically!? If this were a discussion about comparing political ideologies
*force* would be bad.
@Neanderthal – “Atheists might be disadvantaged if it turns out
they're wrong and there is a God... It's better to believe there is a
God and be wrong than to believe there ain't and be wrong.”Maybe the best response to Pascal’s Wager comes from Homer Simpson:“Suppose we’ve chosen the wrong god and every time we go to
church we’re just making him madder and madder.”
LDS Liberal: Yes, the song "Imagine" (and I might add "From A
Distance" by Bette Midler) probably provide a pretty good description of the
Telestial Kingdom. To me, that is confirmation that God loves all his children.
After all, except for very few who deliberately disqualify themselves, all his
children will receive that as a minimum reward.However, I have
The older I get, the more right "Imagine: by John Lennon" becomes.
Well, that's interesting Neanderthal. So by that logic, you
believe in Allah. After all it's better to believe Allah is God and be
wrong, then to believe he isn't and be wrong. Right? Or Zeus. You believe
in Zeus, right? After, by your logic. . . Or Apollo, or any of the other
hundreds (or thousands) of gods that have been worshipped. By your logic you
must believe in all of them. Because, after all, if you are wrong about the one
you choose. . . Well. . . Do you really want to take that chance? And some of
those gods are pretty jealous. So good luck.
Atheists might be disadvantaged if it turns out they're wrong and there is
a God... It's better to believe there is a God and be wrong than to believe
there ain't and be wrong.
After all is said and done, I still like the apostle James' definition of
religion:"Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father
is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep
himself unspotted from the world." James 1:27. All purported
religions should measure themselves against this standard.
@2bitsHere is were your logic falls apart, by state law if I own a
car company I cannot sale a car on Sunday, allowing me to make my own decisions
about my business is not forcing you to do anything , same with gay marriage no
one is doing anything other thnn saying gay people get to make their own choices
Noodlekaboodle really nailed it. This Auto Dealer believed that his businesses
should be closed on sundays because of his religious beliefs and pious
appearance. Fantastic for him. However when it came down to it, he was losing
money on Sundays to the dealers that were open. By passing such a law it
protected his bottom line with crony capitalism, that forced his competition to
observe his religious traditions and forcefully remove their ability to profit
from a different business model, that provided a service which was determined by
the "free market."
to 2 bits 9:55 a.m. Jan. 15, 2014Normal is someone else's
definition of whats socially acceptable. to Tyler D 11:41 a.m. Jan.
15But, where would organized religion be w/o motivating through fear
...the role of religious moral imperatives,... Johnny-come-lately role that
emerged only as an addition to our natural instincts for cooperation and
empathy. - The Bonobo and the Atheist - Frans De WaalMorality is
doing what is right regardless of what you are told. Religion is doing what you
are told regardless of what is right. -- AnonymousPeople use
religion for much, mostly to explain their own shortcomings. Books filled up by
foolish people who don't want to take control of their own lives. So, they
look for some divine providence to explain their desires.- Deliver us from Evil
@joe5 – “Tyler D: "(hint: unless you’re God, you
don’t, period.)" demonstrates a pretty closed mind. It implies that
because YOU haven't had spiritual confirmations, nobody can.That’s a fair point but it wasn’t the one I was making…My point was about knowing you have the RIGHT religion or more to the
point, since this is what many believe, that you have the right story and
everyone else does not.In the context of what happens after we die,
there is no objective way of knowing whether the Mormon story is correct or the
Hindu story is or some other religion is (assuming the stories are mutually
exclusive) or none of them are.That was my point…Now whether those “spiritual confirmations” provide factual
knowledge about the objective world is another matter. Personally, I can grant
the possibility that spiritual feelings might lead to subjective truths, but not
that these feelings can tell you, for example, that it is an historical fact the
Jews once lived in ancient America (with horses and steel swords, no less).
@2BitsMaybe you aren't aware of why that law is in place. It's
because a car dealer who owned the Utah Jazz is LDS and didn't want to work
on Sunday. I'm 100% ok with that, but instead of just closing his dealers
on Sunday, and letting other businessmen make their own decisions, he forced his
morals onto everyone in the state, and lobbied successfully to mandate that
dealers could only be open one of two weekend days, essentially forcing all
dealers to close on Sunday. If you don't want to work on Sunday's that
is your right, but why is it one persons right to force all competing
business's to conform to their morals? If you don't want to work on
Sunday, get a job where you don't have to. I mean honestly if we were fair
to all 3 major religions, we wouldn't make anyone work on Friday(muslims)
Saturday(jews) or Sunday(christians) or we could just let them worship their
day, and let the rest of us work or purchase on whatever day we feel like.
@2bitsThat's a good point. I don't care if you buy a car
on Sunday. But should I be required to WORK on Sunday so you can buy a car on
Sunday?I think that is the reason for it. Not just to prevent you
from buying a car on Sunday (or to force you to comply to a moral code).================================Why not let the free market
decide that? If everyone decided to not buy a car on Sunday, the dealerships
would not open. If the demand was there, shouldn't supply be allowed to
match demand?Isn't less government better?
Lots of comments have suggested that the author is trying to force folks into
religion or into obedience to higher laws. I didn't see anything in his
suggestions that included force. Some comments defend athiests as
high-minded, moral individuals, citing obedience to civil laws. Would they also
affirm that most atheists are 100% faithful to their spouses and children? Do
they repent when they fall short of that ideal? If so, then what is the nature
of the influence that leads them to that change?Religious folks are
also prone to attitudes and actions that hurt the family. However, they have an
influence that urges them to repent and change. For Christians, this is
recognized as the Light of Christ.Repentence and subsequent
obedience is the key to a happy life, now and forever.
Happy Valley Heretic,If you need a government law telling you (or forcing
you) to wear your seatbelt or your motorcycle helmet before you can see it is
the right thing to do... then you really DO need government, and more
government regulations.Politicos are like Political parites, vying
for supporters by using the us vs them like am radio.Nope
government, isn't the the key to good behavior.
cavetroll: Convincing you is not high on my list of priorities. What you choose
to believe or not believe evidently has very little in common with reality and
there's nothing I can do about that. Your comment completely ignores the
point of my post which is that all of us should be able to advocate for their
point of view in political discourse. In fact, I would suggest that
organizations that support SSM have had a greater "indirect" effect on
laws that the church has. Why are you not up in arms about them? Simply because
you share their perspective. Pretty lame thought processes in my mind.Tyler D: "(hint: unless you’re God, you don’t, period.)"
demonstrates a pretty closed mind. It implies that because YOU haven't had
spiritual confirmations, nobody can. The fact is that God can and does reveal
things to man constantly. If you aren't on the bandwagon, that's no
reason to assume it's empty. Unless you think you are God. Maybe you do and
maybe you don't but the people in the world are not limited to your
cavetrollRE: "Why can't I buy a car on Sunday"?That's a good point. I don't care if you buy a car on Sunday. But
should I be required to WORK on Sunday so you can buy a car on Sunday?I think that is the reason for it. Not just to prevent you from buying a car
on Sunday (or to force you to comply to a moral code).You realise
that for you to buy your car on Sunday... a lot of people have to work on
Sunday... right? So are you not forcing them to violate their standards and
accept YOUR morality, so you can buy your car?Doesn't seem like
a big sacrifice (not being able to buy a car absolutely any time you want
to).===You have a good point on alchol. I don't
understand those laws. You should be able to get your alchohol any time or
place you want (IMO). Those laws are changing gradually though.
@Joe5 "For almost two centuries, nearly every act of Congress was
rooted in Christian doctrine and belief."At first I thought this
wasn't correct, then I started thinking back on what the 1st two centuries
of America looked like, and you might be on to something.Slavery, yup,
that's ok in the bibleTreating women as subhuman and a mans property,
yep that's in the bible as wellChristians believing that they are
morally superior to the native people of a land, and slaughtering them to take
the land for themselves, yep that's in the bible too.Yes sir, many
fine christian values were reflected in this countries history.....
If you need religion to tell you that stealing is wrong or lying is immoral than
you really do need religion!Christ gave us the golden rule, that was the
only law he taught, the simplicity of this concept is to difficult for many to
follow, because they need justifications hidden in the complexity of religions
to treat others poorly with prejudice or animosity. Religions are like political
parties, vying for supporters by using the us vs them like am radio.Nope religion, isn't the the key to good behavior.
Re:2bits"But quit trying to push their agenda on me by Government
mandate and legislation!" Then why can't I buy a bottle of wine on
Sunday? Why can't i buy any alcohol in some cities on Sunday. Why
can't I buy a car on Sunday? Joe5"The LDS church does
not pass laws." Not directly, but you can't expect me to believe they
in some way or another don't inlfuence most laws in this state. Mike Richards"There are those who want to force us to be godly.
Force is not a trait of godliness." Does this group include you? You seem to
be more than willing to force others to lead your acceptable lifestyle. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"Of course Congress can.
However, using your logic, since my religion believes human sacrifice is an
essential part of worship, can I offer you as a sacrifice to my gods?Of course
not. "As me me and my house, I will serve the Lord. Lord Vader,
Jeff, I respect that you have your religious beliefs but remember that they are
your religious beliefs. Remember that no two Mormons, Catholics, Muslims or any
other religion have the same exact religious beliefs. Beliefs are
interpretations and nothing exemplifies this more than the recent confession
from the predominate faith about their history with race. No one is forcing
anyone to use birth control or enter a same sex marriage. As I understand it a
key tenant of all religion is treat others as you would like to be treated,
respectively. So please, don't scold me when I interpret the Constitution,
Bible or all the Mormon literature differently than you. My faith is personal
and mine. It's up to you to get your own, or not.
@Thid Barker – “If we eliminate religion, life loses all
meaning!”And even if this were true, how do you know your
religion has the correct story (hint: unless you’re God, you don’t,
period.)? What if, for example, the Hindus actually have it right
– and they have been receiving revelations and having profound spiritual
experiences “verifying” the truth of their religion for literally
thousands of years – and we return to the Earth countless times
(reincarnation) taking on different bodies and personalities each time. In that case, yes the lights do indeed go out on you as an individual,
but surely the endless cycle of returning here 3 or 4 generations later to reap
what the former you (and prior generations) have sown is profoundly
meaningful.In fact from the standpoint of ethics and stewardship, I
would assert this to be a far better way to get us to learn the lessons of love
and caring than the Christian story of “we come here once and then leave
it behind for the eternal barcalounger or torture chamber.” That sounds about as consequence-less (from Earth's pov) as it
mcdugall: So instead of just saying it is clear, why don't you explain
exactly what it means.- Does religion mean Christianity as a whole or
individual denominations like Baptists, Presbyterians, or Methodists?- Is
this restriction on Congress only? Do state legislatures have the right to make
establishment laws?Bear in mind these facts:- When the
Constitution was passed, most of the new states did have a "state
religion."- The constitution of every state includes reference to
diety.- For almost two centuries, nearly every act of Congress was rooted
in Christian doctrine and belief.So, since it is so clear to you
despite being unclear to clergy, judiciary, and scholars since its inception,
please explain it to us. And please don't belabor us with your opinion on
the matter but a clear, irrefutable, and conclusive statement is what we need in
our country today.
Another confusing letter (or writer) that mistakenly believes religion &
morality is synonymous. Religion did not give us morality – it hijacked
morality. Human beings learned to cooperate and show sympathy &
compassion tens of thousands of years before religion was invented, for the
simple fact that if we didn’t we wouldn’t be here now. Interpersonal
conflict, not to mention more powerful predators, would have long ago ended our
species without our innate moral sentiments.And the irony of the
“fear of getting caught” comment should not be lost – it makes
me think that religious people (who see the world this way) should definitely
stay religious because perhaps their fear of eternal damnation - and please
explain how this fear is fundamentally different - is the only thing keep them
in check… sad indeed!@Thid Barker – “If we
eliminate religion, life loses all meaning!” Shocking!You mean your day to day life has no meaning including raising children
(who will be here after your “lights go out”) and generally trying
to leave the world a better place? That means nothing to you?I’m speechless…
@Mike Richards - You are misinterpreting the Establishment Clause of the First
Amendment. It explicitly instructs that Congress will not make any law that
establishes or promotes religion. "Congress shall make no law respecting an
establishment of religion.." It really cannot be any more clear.
Three quick points:- The LDS church does not pass laws. The LDS church
does not "force" anybody to do anything. Like the LGBT community, they
enter the public discourse and advocate for what they believe in. The problem is
that many people seem unable to differentiate between advocacy and force. And
don't try to force me away from the bargaining table or the exchange of
ideas. If they only way you can win is silence the opposition, you lack a good
argument.- We should define religion. The root for religion is the
same as for ligament. Simply it is to bind or connect. Ligaments bind muscle to
bone. Religion is designed to bind men to God. That is not a bad thing. Those
that use religion for nefarious purposes are not bound to God but to power,
greed, lust or some other non-religious idol.- All our laws are
moral laws. Whether they are insider trading or traffic laws, they are designed
to enable people to interact with each other in a moral way. What purpose would
there be for a law if it did not do that?
I know of no one who is saying you may not have your religion. What I think we
stand for in this country is that others are free to make choices different from
airnaut,Good point, but I think you misunderstood what I was saying. To
clarify... I don't expect anybody who doesn't want to, to accept my
lifestyle, but they need to be tolerant of it. And I think I do the same for
the GLBT community. I don't care what they do. But quit trying to push
their agenda on me by Government mandate and legislation!
2 bitsCottonwood Heights, UTDon't tell me I must accept
the gay lifestyle as "Normal", and I won't insist that you adopt MY
standards.If we can do that.... we don't have a problem.9:55 a.m. Jan. 15, 2014========= Let's
apply the golden rule, and test your comment;Then don't tell
others they must accept the MORMON lifestyle as "Normal".and
don't insist that they adopt YOUR standards.If we can do
that.... we don't have a problem.See how that works?
@mickOne would find that if you look at all 50 states instead of the
cherrypicked two I did that there's basically no correlation between
religion (or lack thereof) and crime rates. My point is not to claim that
atheists are more moral but that religion doesn't really correlate to
Religion certainly can be a tool used for good.However, many, many
terrible and horrific deeds have been carried out in the name of "God"
Some of the worst thing humanity has done has been under the banner of
religion.Religion certainly can and does add meaning to a lot of
people's lives but to say those without it are not good people is a
I don't expect anybody else to live by the same standards I do, but just as
I am expected to be tolerant of those who don't share my moral code... I
expect them to be tolerant of me and how I choose to live my life.Don't tell me I must accept the gay lifestyle as "Normal", and I
won't insist that you adopt MY standards.If we can do that....
we don't have a problem.
Religion is the one thing that will cause and enable otherwise moral people to
do evil. Suicide bombings, oppression of women, it's all faith based. It is
often necessary to eschew religion in order to live to a higher standard.
GZEWell spoken. When it comes to religon I know of only one fact. The
only ones who know for sure are the dead, and they're not talking. But, if
religon works for you, here on this earth, and it brings no harm to others, than
you should be free to embrace it.
I see it like this...Civil law is the MINIMUM, Religous law is
the HIGHER law.In America, your free to drink, smoke, gamble,
drink coffee, and more.In the LDS Church, you are not.If
you are living your relgion, you are meeting the and exceeding the
minimiums.Let others be free to live life as they see fit, so
long as the meet our civil minimums.And Mike -- PLEASE stop
forcing everyone to live a Mormon lifestyle.How is that any different the
taliban and Sharia Law?
Your letter is a masterpiece. Thank you for stating exactly how I feel in such
eloquent words. It is difficult for many people to understand your letter when
they have different definitions of religion, ethics and morality. "As for
me and my house,I will serve the Lord."
You are free, Jeff, to believe whatever you like. I am happy that your choices
bring you peace. Please allow others the same freedom.
Ranch. How about keeping YOUR religion, of lack of it, out of our Government?
Goes both ways doesn't it? What ever happened to the DOMA? Wasn't part
of YOUR religion was it? Why do I have to pay for your birth control and
abortions which is part of YOUR religion but not mine?
Mike Richards says:"What does the 1st Amendment say about
religion? "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of
religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of
speech""---YES! Please STOP trying to have
"congress" pass an establishment of YOUR religion!
If we eliminate religion, life loses all meaning! If there is no God, when we
die, the lights go out and we cease to exist which means everything we learned
in life, everything we experienced and everything we loved ceases to exist with
us and therefore our life had no meaning! If there is a God, then everything I
learned in my life, everything I experienced and everything I loved belongs to
me forever! I for one can not wrap my mind around the idea that I lived for no
reason, no purpose. That is impossible for me to believe. Therefore, I am
compelled to be a believer because the alternative is not comprehendible.
What does the 1st Amendment say about religion? "Congress shall make no law
respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise
thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech"Read it carefully.
Read it until you understand what it really says. Is there a clause that
separates government and religion? I don't see it. Government can promote
religion. Government cannot restrict prayers without infringing our right of
speech. Government cannot instruct us to remove memorials without inhibiting
our right of speech.Most of the uproar over government and religion
comes from those who will not read nor accept the clear and concise words of the
1st Amendment, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of
religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;".For
example, Congress shall not require the Catholic Church to fund contraceptives
because the Catholic Church is "an establishment" of religion and
"no contraceptives" is doctrine of the Catholic Church.Religion is complex if it is studied. It contains the answers to life.
Reading Cliff Notes on religion shortchanges the reader.God invites.
The Holy Spirit clarifies. The choice to listen remains with each of us.
What were the morals in the Old Testament, from which modern Christianity has
sprung?I'll tell what they were, there really weren't any.
Slavery was acceptable. "Marriage" was more of a man owning a woman as
opposed to what it has become today.There are very little morals in the
Old Testament and there was certainly no civil rights in that society.
Jeff, You don't have to have a religion to have a very fine
moral compass. Furthermore, religions' abuse of "fear" is
unparalleled. And how about the opposite? - a reward (heaven) as a requirement
for doing good? No, the people I trust the most to do the right things are
Fine. Religion is (or can be) good. (Sometimes it isn't). But it is
ultimately a personal thing and something the government should not seek to
influence or implement.
atl134-explain atheism and communism? The soviet union forcing
atheism? Please explain. Was there less crime there? KGB? Gulags? Please
Do we love and serve God because we fear His wrath, or, because we would like to
become as He is, full of love, full of compassion, full of empathy, full of
charity? Religion tells where we came from, why we are here on earth, and where
we will spend eternity. It guides us towards that which we can become - if we
let go of all things that would inhibit us.Man-made laws lack
understanding. There are those who want to force us to be godly. Force is not a
trait of godliness. In fact, force is the opposite of godliness. God invites
and Satan invites. Each of us determines whose invitation we will accept.The challenge of life is to overcome the flesh, meaning that we must
learn to control our thoughts, our feelings, our passions, our appetites, our
desires. Civil laws will not assist us. They promise only punishment. God
invites us to taste the fruit of charity. Government threatens to beat us into
submission. Which plan elevates the soul?Religion has the answers.
Government begs the question.
Religious beliefs have led to many individuals in the USA trying to
"circumvent civil laws". Just take a look at the multitude of states
circumventing the Constitution with anti-marriage laws.So much for
religious moral superiority over plain-old morality.
How is "I better do the right thing now or I'll pay in eternity"
any different that acting merely out of "fear of getting caught"?People can and do find meaning and purpose without religion. People can
and do practice ethical and moral integrity without religion. So I would argue
that religion is not, in fact, the necessary ingredient here. It can act as an
aid to some, but it is not required.
People who believe in God and religions are among the luckiest people in the
world. They are free from the angst and drudgery of thinking and analyzing the
cruel and difficult world we live in. Thus they have a mind free to explore the
universe and pursue the good things in life. But, if this be
true, why are they so concerned about the lives of others? I guess it's
only fair that they want the non-believers to abide by the religious laws
because the non-believers insist that everyone abide by the civil laws. And if
the laws conflict, which should prevail? Should civil business operations be
allowed to place the religious law above the civil law in the civil world?
Well said, Jeff! One of the purposes of religion is to teach and define proper
behavior toward each other, ourselves and to God!
"The absence of religious conviction requires thousands of laws in order to
maintain a safe and honorable society."So, are you saying that
those with "religious convictions" don't need lawa?How
about those on 911? Certainly THEY had "religious convictions"Lying, cheating and stealing are wrong. Not because "religion" tells
us so. They disrupt society. We need rules (laws) to facilitate a structured
and orderly society.Generally religion helps to reinforce those
rules. But then goes overboard in what appears to be the desire to control
others.Rules against murder make universal sense. Rules against
eating meat on Friday, drinking coffee or playing golf on Sunday? Not so
much.Good people don't need so many laws. That does not
require "religious conviction"
I don't adhere to civil laws because I fear getting caught - I adhere to
civil laws because I value and respect my fellow humans and civil laws help
protect us as a society. I don't need a belief in an outside
source to tell me to respect the only planet humans have to live on. I don't need to fear eternal punishment or hope for eternal reward to
know it is important to care for others - I only need to know how it makes me
feel when others act towards me. If religion and a faith in God,
Goddess, gods, and/or goddesses makes your life better and more worthwhile, that
is excellent for you. But to discount me and my ability to lead a
"good" life simply because I don't seek inspiration from the same
source as you shows a narrow worldview. And within and among
religions there are a great many variances of belief and what exactly the higher
power you believe in requires. Additionally, based on world events
and prison populations, religious belief guarantees good behavior no more than a
lack of religious belief guarantees bad behavior.
"Without the belief in something greater, there is a great tendency to
circumvent a given set of civil laws or standards because there would seem to be
no long-term consequences for your actions."New Hampshire is #1
in the nation for highest percentage of atheists. It has one of the lowest crime
rates in the nation. Neighboring Vermont is #2 in atheist percentage and also
has one of the lowest crime rates in the nation. So much for circumventing a
given set of civl laws...