Well, confused, it seems you are changing the subject just a bit, from whether
atheist thought is compatible with morality, to the development of morality.
Well okay. I think you are right that much of our societal morality
is taught, and developed, over time from our ancestors. Because if this
moralities do change overtime within societies. For example, at one time it was
perfectly moral to own slaves, not so much anymore (except in places like Cliven
Bundy's world).But you say this, "They were taught what is
right and wrong from the bible (or book of Mormon) by their family." Which
may be true if your ancestors come from the minority of the worlds population
that believes those books or even had those books. "right and
wrong is actually based on God's law.."You are assuming
that "God's law" is not just created by man. A huge assumption. I, personally, think the roots of morality are inherent, and they
developed through evolution. Before our ancestors developed religion they
gained advantage by working together and banding together. That's where our
morality came from, and you see it in all group animals.
Morality has its source in the same place we do, and is subject to the same
forces. With the evolution of man, as a tribal or somewhat "herd"
species, behaviors either were beneficial to the group/tribe/herd, neutral, or
detrimental. These are defined the same way as species are created, by the
success of that tribe with respect to others. Those tribes with great internal
cooperation, humans working for the common good, and not harming other members
of the tribe, became more successful than those which did not. Morals evolved
due to the same forces which created species. We can see the same thing today in
chimpanzee species and their shunning of members engaged in anti-social
behavior: they may not reproduce. Those morals we consider fundamental -
regarding murder, theft, rape, etc. were all those that had the ability to
destroy the tribe. Notice too that these morals are flexible, even today, when
members of other tribes are encountered. See: war.
Here is the thing I believe most Atheist, Agnostics, etc do not understand...You say morals is relative, not because of a belief in God, but it is
the naturally way (at least this is what I am getting from your posts).The thing is Right and Wrong is taught by parents, grandparents, others to
everyone.... It is passed down from generation to generation much like you
beloved memento's of past family members. Here is the rub, you
may not believe in God (which is fine in my book), but if you dig deep enough
into your genealogy, you will find some of your ancestors who did. They were
taught what is right and wrong from the bible (or book of Mormon) by their
family.So your feelings of right and wrong is actually based on
God's law..People by themselves do not know what is right or
wrong... they are taught those concepts.
To "Ranch" that is only your opinion. You present only your opinion.
@RedShirt;The problem is you present no truth, only opinion.
To "RanchHand" and that is why I testify of God's truths, and let
you decide what to do with that information. I cannot force you to accept the
truth, I can only present it to you.
@RedShirt;Actually, I'm assuming that the "prophets"
from the OT & NT were also liars.
"There are many absolutes that God has established."Well,
actually, that is just an assumption you make. And that's fine.
Doesn't make it true, though. When you can prove your god, or any god, get
back to me. As far as morality being relative, whatever. In the
bible god says anyone that harms children will be severely punished, and he says
to slaughter children. And stone women. And love one another. And keep slaves.
And all are his children. Doesn't matter. Morality is PERSONAL.
My morality differs from yours, and yours from the next guy. You want to claim
yours is the correct one? Whatever. Knock yourself out. But don't think
that makes it true. I have no idea if what I do now will matter a
1000 years from now. But don't change the subject. It
doesn't matter. I choose to be good, and do good to those around me because
it affects them, and me, RIGHT NOW. I don't do it based on some possible
future supernatural reward, or punishment. In fact, people that do
what's right based on some possible future reward, don't seem, to me,
to UNDERSTAND right.
To "Ranch" and how is that different than the assumptions that you are
making?You are assuming that God no longer speaks to prophets like
he did in Biblical times.You can know the truth of all things if you
ask God. In the Bible it states quite clearly that if you ask God, having faith
that you will receive an answer, that he will tell you the truth of all
things.To "mark" actually morality is not relative. There
are many absolutes that God has established. Just because you claim to be
religious, that does not mean that you can change God's laws. Wrong is
still wrong, and right is right.Again, assuming that you are an
atheist, in 1000 years, what does it matter if you were the image of good or the
image of pure evil? Either way you are dead and your atoms have been recycled
in the earth.
@RedShirt;You are making two assumptions. (1) God speaks to
"prophets" and that they're not just pulling your leg and telling
you that "god" speaks to them. (2) When you find a "prophet"
speaking for god in your search for one, it isn't just someone pulling your
leg. Other than their word for it, how will you really know?Why is
it "right" for god to order people to kill others when he explicitely
commanded "thou shalt not murder"? Killing another person, even in the
"name of god" is still Homicide - even when god commands it.
"Well, I guess I kinda worked it out. If there's no great glorious end
to all this, if nothing we do matters... , then all that matters is what we do.
'Cause that's all there is. What we do. Now. Today. I fought for so
long, for redemption, for a reward, and finally just to beat the other guy, but
I never got it. (Now)...All I wanna do is help. I wanna help because, I
don't think people should suffer as they do. Because, if there's no
bigger meaning, then the smallest act of kindness is the greatest thing in the
world." From the TV show "Angel," by Joss Whedon.
"If there is no God, then morality becomes relative."What
morality is is personal. Even IF there is a god, and even IF that god is the one
you think it is, morality is still personal. At least in this world. IF you are
right then god WILL have his morality that he will judge you on. But if you are
wrong, and it is Thor looking at you, well his morality will be MUCH different
than what you think.But, anyway, it's just your opinion that
your god is real. "If I am an atheist and according to my morals
it is ok to steal your car, who is to say that it is wrong?"The
same thing that says it is wrong if you are religious and think it is moral to
steal a car (or kill in gods name): society. "What does it
matter if people erect monuments to me or if I am known as the most evil person
ever?"Well, I don't care about monuments, but I do want to
get along with people, and have my family, and friends, think good of me. God or
"To "Lane Myer" no, morality is not relative with God. Your
understanding my be wrong, but with God right is right and wrong is
wrong."----------But who's God is God with the
right morals? Is it Allah? You do not believe in him, but there are more
Muslims are in the world that believe in him than Mormons, right? Does numbers
of converts make one's God, God? Or does the Pentacostal Church have the
right God since they all have had those spiritual experience, professing the
truthfulness of their church and they have come to Jesus? Does having spiritual
experiences make any church right? Or does each person have to weigh all that
they have learned in this life and figure out what is moral for them?
Doesn't that make it relative?Or is it black and white? You
seem to think so.
To "Open Minded Mormon" even a transgression is against God's law.
Hence, right is right and wrong is wrong. The only difference between
transgression and sin is knowledge, either way you have done something that is
wrong.If you wish to discuss moral relativity, please review what
has been said over the past 10 years regarding moral relativity. You will find
that the leaders of the LDS church speak out AGAINST it.To
"my_two_cents_worth" the difference is that God owns this earth and all
things that are in it. If God decides to clean house with a flood or by sending
destroying angles, that is his right since we are his creation and he knows more
about the direction the Earth is to take than we do.Eventhough it is
the prophets writing down what they are told by God, the words are still much
better than the words that man alone would come up with.The great
thing is that God speaks to prophets when it comes to things he wants nations or
the world to know. When it comes to each of us individually, he can and does
talk to us. Most don't listen.
@RedShirt"morality is not relative with God."It
most definitely is. Look at the flood and the passover. That kind of genocide
today would be considered highly immoral. "we have the Law of
God as written by Prophets"Actually, you have "law of
god" as interpreted and record by men, warts and all. It's second hand
information at best so must be treated as such."shouldn't
he be speaking with his Prophets now?"Why doesn't he just
speak to all of us? Get rid of the middleman and you'll clear up a whole
lot of confusion.
RedShirtUSS Enterprise, UTTo "Lane Myer" no, morality is not
relative with God. Your understanding my be wrong, but with God right is right
and wrong is wrong.======= RedShirt - You are wrong."Sin is the transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4.), But
-- Where there is no law, there is no sin.Sin cannot be
committed unless (Alma 42:17) people have knowledge of those laws so that they
can violate them. Adam and Eve could not commit sin while in the Garden of Eden,
although laws of conduct had already been established, because
"knowledge" of the laws of good and evil had not yet been given them.It is on this principle also that little children "cannot sin until
they begin to become accountable," because in their innocent state they are
without "knowledge." (D. & C. 29:46-50; Moro. 8:8.) ~ Elder Bruce R.
Reading these comments from front to back it makes you wonder how anyone,
anywhere could possibly believe religion has any positive bearing on life
To "Lane Myer" no, morality is not relative with God. Your
understanding my be wrong, but with God right is right and wrong is wrong.That brings up an interesting argument. Now, we have the Law of God as
written by Prophets. If God spoke to his prophets in Biblical times,
shouldn't he be speaking with his Prophets now? It is still up to us to
find the Prophets who speak with God and can guide us.
Redshirt: "If there is no God, then morality becomes relative."------------Even if you believe in a God, morality is STILL
relative. It is according to your holy books, church leaders and your own
interpertation of those teachings, right?The 9-11 terrorists
believed that they were being moral. Whether or not they were, that is what
they believed. The attackers at the Mountain Meadow probably thought they had a
right and were being moral too. Nephi was being moral when he killed, because
God told him to do it, right?But if Nephi lived today, he would be
charged with 2nd degree murder. Isn't morality relative to the times,
customs and mores of when and where you live? Killing all the people and
children in a town seeems very immoral if done today, but in the Bible, we are
sympathic to what they did.
I was taught [and still believe] that a child 8 years old can figure out what is
right and what is wrong.If you believe in God, If you are LDS,
Then you are a slothful and unwise servant who must be commanded in all
things.Furthermore;I use the Gods gift of the Holy Ghost to
make manifest truth, Not what’s right or wrong.
To "Schnee" put on the brakes there. I never said that a lack of God or
that atheism leads to more crime.I have only asked that you stop and
think for a moment.If there is no God, then morality becomes
relative. You no longer have right and wrong, but you do what feels right to
you.If I am an atheist and according to my morals it is ok to steal
your car, who is to say that it is wrong? You may not like it, but what do I
have to worry about? No matter how I behave in this life I will have the same
reward, death. At death there is no more. What does it matter if people erect
monuments to me or if I am known as the most evil person ever?As for
life and death, think about it. If there is no God, then the birth of your
child is about as exciting as purchasing a new computer with an empty hard disk.
Death is the end of you, so funerals are pointless.
Not everyone does something right because they feel they will be punished by
"God" if they don't! "Some people (I'm hoping that most
people) can think outside the box and do things right because that is what is
good for others and good for them as well. The belief (or disbelief) in God
shouldn't have anything to do with the actions of people towards their
Mike R:"Where did rules come from? Look at the history of
'civilization.' How many societies believed in slavery?"Interesting that you bring up slavery. At the time America was gearing up for
the Civil War, it was actually those favoring slavery who had the better
biblical argument. Fortunately, they had the less convincing moral argument.
@Redshirt1701Oh I'm sorry, I thought that the arguments that atheism
leads to immorality would show correlations between atheism and crime.
Didn't realize you all were arguing there was a tipping point where effects
are completely invisible until one reaches a certain percentage of
atheists..."What value does life have if there is nothing beyond
this life?"If you can't find any value in this life that
doesn't involve the life beyond...If this is all the time we
have, then it's best to make this life as fulfilling as we can. @patriot"More value?? Ok I'm confused. So you are saying a
person who has no belief is somehow more fulfilled?"They might
be, might not. Depends on the individual.'If there's an
afterlife, then the life we have here is not precious. I don't wish
that's the way the world worked' - Penn Jillette"at
the end of their life they did FEAR death."Fun fact: many people
fear death, including the religious.@SCfan" Opinions like
this about the importance of God to civilization really make you guys
mad."I'd say being told they are immoral makes them mad.
@Mike RichardsYou wrote ' "Goodness" comes from God. America
was founded by people who actually believed that our liberties are a gift from
our Creator, our God. Our forefathers wanted us to remember that fact. They put
the words, "In God We Trust" on every coin and on every denomination of
paper money that is issued by the Government.'I suppose by
definition, a member of the past generations of one's family or people; an
ancestor added the words to our money, but your letter leads one to believe you
meant the founders of our country added the words--i.e., that our money has
always had the motto. In the United States, prior to 1838 coins did
not bear the motto "In God We Trust". The motto first appeared in paper
money in 1958.
" Atheism is cold and empty " Different than religious
people atheists obtain their joy in life from life itself not from a belief that
oh my this can't be all. It doesn't matter whether you
are an atheist or claim to be a prophet, you love, you hate, you fear, you have
hope, you smile, you cry, in short you experience the full range of being a
human. Atheists and agnostics take joy in all of this. That's
the meaning of this life to us and the material from which this life is full and
warm. It doesn't require another life to be a complete human.
With over 70 comments posted, it's easy to see who has a moral compass and
who does not. Read and re-read the posts. The posts are a window into the
minds of the writers. See who attacks others by name. Is attacking a
"good" thing? Would someone with a strong moral compass attack another
human being? See who belittles the opinions of others. Is "belittling"
a good thing? Would someone with a strong moral compass belittle another human
being?This thread tells us more than some people would like to have
told about whether those who have a belief in God or those who profess that God
is not necessary have the stronger moral compass.Spend a few
minutes. Read each post. Think about what the post is really saying. It's
easy to see who has a strong moral compass and who is pretending to have a moral
compass. It's easy to see who has a strong idea of right and wrong and who
pretends to have a strong idea of right and wrong.
@ PatriotThe saying does not go, "Live your life as if there are
infinite tomorrows." It is human nature to value something more when we
know we have just one of it."Atheism is cold and empty."Not believing in your god leaves me no more cold and empty than does
your lack of belief in Zeus and Thor. It isn't the principle belief that
guides my life. I presume you would say the same about your nonbelief in Zeus
and Thor. The only aspect of eternal life that ever appealed to me
was its promise of rejoining my lost loved ones. But once I learned that matter
is neither created nor destroyed, I realized that I would be rejoining them and
in the same state as they exist now; indeed, in the same state in which we
existed prior to this life. It seems that, as miniscule a part of this universe
as we are, we are an indelible part. That's eternal, isn't it? And
it doesn't require a suspension of natural laws."We are in
the universe and the universe is within us" seems to be true. This to me is
wondrous and awesome.
I just love how letters like this bring out all the adament athiest/agnostics.
Opinions like this about the importance of God to civilization really make you
guys mad. That should tell you something about how hard you are trying to
convince yourselves there is no god who makes the rules. Human opinion is all
you have, and who is to say who is right? Usually might makes right in human
opinion. Hitler would have been just as right as Ghandi. No getting around
Thank you for writing this letter.
So, uh. . . "patriot", you know what your wife's Aunt was thinking?
Hmmm. Cool. Oh wait, no you don't. You said you "think" that was
the situation. Truth is, you have no idea. There are plenty of religious people
that are scared of death. In fact people react to death many different ways for
many different reasons. And yes, atheists have value to their lives.
And yes, for atheists I would imagine atheism adds more value to their lives
then religion. Many people find value in not believing superstition. Even if
that superstition is warm and fuzzy. I'm not atheist (unless
you want to define it literally: without religion). I'm agnostic. But I
find great value in not believing the absurdities superstitious people swallow.
For instance: "We will all live beyond the grave and that is an
absolute truth."Really? What are you basing that on? Whatever
you're basing it on, it's definitely not absolute truth, except in
your opinion. But like I said, I'm agnostic. I have no idea. But what I do
know, is that neither do you. Which is fine, you want to believe
that? Go ahead.
re:Karen R.More value?? Ok I'm confused. So you are saying a
person who has no belief is somehow more fulfilled? How so? I've know a few
atheists and at the end of their life they did FEAR death. My wife's aunt
comes to mind. The poor woman was terrified of death during her final hours. I
think she knew deep in her heart there was life after death and she also knew
she had squandered away her worldly life and faced an uncertain future of
loneliness. Contrast that to my wife's mother who was an LDS woman filled
with faith. Her final hours were peaceful and sweet. To suggest atheism adds
value is absurd. Atheism is cold and empty especially as a person contemplates
eternity. We all face death - even atheists. No choice in the matter. We will
all live beyond the grave and that is an absolute truth - opinion (yours or
mine) doesn't matter not in matters of absolute truth.
"What value does life have if there is nothing beyond this life?"More value.
Wow, I knew conservatives were a little cuckoo for cocoa puffs on this subject
but the posts on this thread are downright scary. If your primary motivating
factor for treating others with respect, compassion, and love is either a) to
avoid God's wrath, or b) to gain your own eternal salvation then you are
not following either of the Two Great Commandments given us by Jesus Christ. Regardless, belief in a supreme being is not necessary to have order on
this planet. Religion (for those of us who believe) dictates how one acts and
functions at the individual level; however, the rest of society does not
subscribe to my personal moral convictions and cannot be held to those standards
lest we live in a theocracy. Indeed, society itself is shaped and informed by a
different set of rules. In the case of the US, the general accord by which we
all agree to live is the Constitution - which is why we are a secular nation.
Yo, secular ethics. Also, humanism.
Very good letter - very well said. Morality didn't just happen especially
if you swallow the story of evolution where we crawled out of the sea - sprouted
legs and started talking in senteneces. The atheist's tell us we are
nothing more than animals yet animals have no morals whatsoever. Somewhere along
the line someone burned into the very fiber of the human brain the concept that
murder and adultery and stealing and bearing false witness were all wrong. Hmmm
- where did that all come from anyway? I suppose someone might have just made it
all up but whomever that someone was he sure was influencial and powerful to
have such a universal impact on all humanity from Africa - Europe - The islands
of the sea and every other populated land mass on mother earth.
There's a lot of "bashing" going on. "Bashing" is against
the rules, but I guess that rules don't matter any more.Many
posters have told us that they or someone they know is inherently
"moral". They tell us that they or the person that they know always
makes the right decision. My question to them is how do they measure
"right" or "wrong"? Do they think that if someone says or does
something that they agree with, that that person is "right"?
That's a very shallow measurement.Our Creator gave us rules.
He told us that His law is absolute. He told us that only those who absolutely
obey his rules are candidates for His mercy. That's pretty clear to me.
It seems that the first duty that we have is to learn His rules and the second
duty that we have is to learn to live those rules.
With this logic, since there is a God and final judgement, there are no need for
"If " if God (or Gods) does not exist, then Karma does not exist either.
So, what does it matter if you harm others because this life is it?""----------That is like saying that if God does not exist,
then for every action there is NOT an equal and opposite reaction. Some things happen because of your actions and God (if he exists) just sits
and watches. If he doesn't exist, it happens anyway.That is
Karma and it does matter if you harm others BECAUSE this life is it!
To "Schnee" that is nice, but that does not answer the question.But not believing in God does not make them Atheists. According to
recent polling, only 13% identify themselves as Atheists, and 30% are Agnostic.
So, even in Sweden they still have some sort of belief in a higher power.Norway is similar. There is 66% that believe in a higher power, and
another 5% that are not sure. Only 30% say there is no God.If "
if God (or Gods) does not exist, then Karma does not exist either. So, what does
it matter if you harm others because this life is it?"What value
does life have if there is nothing beyond this life?
@Untra Bob,Re: "Robbing a bank is a mans law, not one of God
commandments".... Ever heard of "Thou shalt not
steal"?I think it's one of God's commandments as
well.===@Open Minded Mormon,How many posts do you
get? One time you said they were all under the same account, so you only get 4
total... but that's not true is it?===Re:
"Please - get over yourself"...Good advice for ALL of us
(you included).===I think the message in the original
article has been completely lost in all these rants.He didn't
say atheists aren't moral. He said we ALL know what's right/wrong!He did describe that innate ability to discern right/wrong as the
"light of Christ" (which is a little presumptuous). But if it's
his belief that this gift has been given to ALL men... who cares? Why does
that offend anybody?Who cares where it came from... so long as we
The most moral people that I have ever met have all been atheists, for the
simple reason that they all do the right thing for no other reason than it is
the right thing to do. When you reach that point you can truly walk the world
like an adult.
If there is a God, your argument still holds no more weight. Who is God to say
what is right or wrong? Why would his opinion hold any more weight than anyone
@Redshirt1701"To "Ranch" but if God (or Gods) does not exist,
then Karma does not exist either. So, what does it matter if you harm others
because this life is it."New Hampshire has both the lowest crime
rate in the U.S. and the highest percentage of atheists and a mere 18% of Swedes
and 22% of Norwegians answered yes to "I believe there is a God" while
those nations are hardly killing each other. The people who
can't figure out why someone would be good when there isn't a
punishment/reward system attached to it... those people are the ones who lack a
Mike RichardsSouth Jordan, UtahI do not apologize for my belief in
God. It doesn't matter who twists posts. Misrepresenting things has been
going on since Satan lied to Adam and Eve. Those who think that they
are the source of truth have taken a huge bite from the "Apple". They
reject God. They reject God's laws. ========== You
do not need to apologize for your belied in God.But you crossed the
line and really should take responsibiliy and apologize for a self-righteous
indignate judgement of the beliefs of others.Just because WE --
(which includes many MANY fellow Latter-Day Saints) do not goose-step march and
agree with you 100% does not make any of us taking "a huge bite from
the "Apple". rejecting God. or rejecting God's laws."Please - get over yourself.
It is easy to think that way, but to be fair, being atheist doesn't mean
that they don't have morals. Atheists, I am sure, believe in right and
wrong. Believing in God doesn't mean a person has a good sense of right and
wrong. As a matter of fact, a lot of people have wrongfully been put to death in
the name of God! Thousands and thousands of people in history have died in vain,
all because people had to fight over the identity of God. I have always believed
in God, but as soon as people knew that I am gay, they would treat me as if I
didn't! If you pay attention to people talking about religious freedom, you
will notice that they are not talking about religious freedom for gay people! It
was good that someone is thinking about this! At least there is consideration
about what somebody else believes. I love talking to others about God. I just
don't find too many that would really listen to how I believe. It is sad
because I have a lot of faith in Him
To "Ranch" but if God (or Gods) does not exist, then Karma does not
exist either. So, what does it matter if you harm others because this life is
it. When you die, there is nothing more. It no longer matters if you were
perfectly good or perfectly evil, your fate is the same if there is no God.
Redshirt 1701I agree, what is the point of a funeral? Aren't we
wasting valuable land that could be used for farms or low income housing?Robbing a bank is a mans law, not one of God commandments. The
consequences will come from the men in your society. How do you
come to " Atheism is the worst thing to come to earth. Just in the past 100
years it has killed hundreds of billions of people in the name of ideology"?
If there was a civilization of Atheist people with all the same physical wants
and needs of any other mass of people, would the rules, laws and regulations of
their society be any different that the rules of America except for the rules of
religion? Would they not benefit from the rules that control their behavior and
would they still make rules like don't steal and don't kill.
Mike Richards says:"...then we must also believe that opposition to
Him and to His rules must exist ...""It is a mockery for
people to assign sinful behavior to God."--- Your first premise
is a belief, not a fact, therefore your second is also a belief, not a fact.--- We assign the "sinful" behavior to men. I quoted
"sinful" because, like religion, "sin" is a man-made concept.
Since your god doesn't exist, he can't "sin".God
also "commanded" Nephi to kill Laban in the BOM.The
"Flood" and "Adam & Eve" are just more fiction.Zeus isn't all that merciful if you get him angry. He throws lightning
bolts at you.@FT;I have to think he puts everyone to
sleep. ;)@Redshirt1701;No need for a god to say that
harming others is only going to end up coming back to bite you in the butt
I do not apologize for my belief in God. It doesn't matter who twists
posts. Misrepresenting things has been going on since Satan lied to Adam and
Eve. Those who think that they are the source of truth have taken a
huge bite from the "Apple". They reject God. They reject God's
laws. They elevate themselves to a position that no one can self-appoint himself
to.A dose of humility might help them. George Washington thanked a
merciful God for sparing this nation, but many reject that God as they elevate
themselves. No person can elevate himself into the realm of deity where rules
are made. Only those who have been invited into that realm can enter. Those
who reject God will never receive that invitation.You won't be
the first nor will you be the last to mock. You'll be listed in the
footnotes of human history along with all who mocked our Creator, our God and
those who revered Him.Christ warned us of the great and terrible day
when He would come in glory. But as Ether told us, fools mock but they shall
@Mike RichardsSouth Jordan, UtahIt amazes me we attend the
same Church and Temple Bro. Richards.I'm not motivated by a
fear or wrath of God, this cleansing by floods and burning in eternal fire
and torment you refer to, ya-da, ya-da.The God you descibed is more
like the devil himself.The God I follow is kind, merciful, patient,
inclusive, tolerent, forgiving = Love.with 3 degrees of Glory -- and none
of this fire and brimstone speak.BTW -- the cleansing of the Earth
by fire is a metaphor.Like after baptism [the flood], recieving the Holy
Ghost [the fire].No one that I know was ever baptized and then set
on fire.And we are supposed to be cleasing the earth by fire by
living and sharing the Gospel, it will sweep the Earth like Fire...
"The Lord will cleanse the earth again. This time with fire. Mockers will
have a front row seat."He is your god and you are free to
tremble in fear of his "wrath" all you wish. He is not my god and I
won't fear him. Truth be told, I would be hard pressed to worship a god as
petty and vengeful as this one appears to be. I'll stick to treating
everyone I encounter with the respect and kindness due them and do so because it
is the right thing to do; not because I am trying to impress some far off deity.
I don't think that the people attacking the letter writer actually sat down
and thought about what was written.He didn't say you can't
be a good person that is kind and upstanding.The question is simple.
If there is no God, then who is to say what is right and what is wrong. If God
does not exist, why is it ok to abort but not allow for parents to euthanize a
child that is crippled?How about this, if there is no God, what is
the point of a funeral? Aren't we wasting valuable land that could be used
for farms or low income housing?If God does not exist, why is it
wrong for me to rob a bank to feed my family? It is science that promotes
survival of the fittest, and I am proving how fit I am by obtaining what I need
for me and my family.To "FT" I think you have it wrong.
Atheism is the worst thing to come to earth. Just in the past 100 years it has
killed hundreds of billions of people in the name of ideology.
@ one old man"Doesn't it come down to something called
FAITH on both sides of the coin?"I don't think so because
it doesn't require faith for me to say "I don't know" or
"I am not convinced by the evidence." Both are assessments of material
evidence. Faith is belief, no evidence required.As for the need for
books and conventions, as you suggested, these are reflective of human needs
common to all of us. And particularly when surrounded by dominant, and
sometimes hostile, majorities, it is even more important for individuals to know
they are not alone.I really think the saying, "We're all
atheists as to others' gods. Atheists just go one god further," sums
up pretty well the difference between believers and nonbelievers. Outside of
this, we're all about equally good, equally bad. We're all just --
Anyone needing to bash atheists in order to justify their moral or religious
views probably aren't truly convicted or converted in their views in the
first place. Mike Richards, rather than bash other view points, I invite you to
read and pray for the truth. The Lord instructs us in James 1:5 to ask in faith
and we will receive answers to our prayers. He does not instruct us to bash
other religious or philosophical views. Ask and ye shall receive.
That is what The Lord has told us. So stop bashing and start asking.
@Mike RichardsI bet there is not a dry eye in the tent when you're
done preaching. I feel fortunate that our divinely inspired constitution you
always refer to keeps your beliefs out of our public schools and government. At
least that's the way it's suppose to work.
Mike is this the same Noah that lived over 900 years?Funny how
science shows life spans have increased in modern times yet we only live to
around a maximum of 100 years.
The Lord cleansed the earth with the flood after He had sent Enoch to invite the
righteous to join with him. The flood was necessary and a merciful act because
only those who rejected God were left. The children would be taught false
doctrine. Sometime in the future The Lord will cleanse the earth
again. This time with fire. Mockers will have a front row seat.All
goodness comes from God. He is merciful as long as there is a chance that people
will repent, but when they are fully ripe, He will spare further rebellion by
judging them.Those who think that they, themselves, are authors of
righteousness, have fooled themselves into thinking that all creation revolves
around them. Paul told us that none of us are good, that we all have fallen
short of the mark, yet many still think that they can make the rules that govern
@ marxist, you address the comment of Mike Richards, "How many societies
believed in slavery? " You don't have to go to ancient Israel. The
U.S. will do nicely.
If one requires belief of a higher power and the accompanying fear of eternal
damnation to "treat others as they would be treated" they are lacking in
both empathy and compassion and are "good" for all the wrong reasons.
How many in this forum have had atheists going from door to door preaching their
message? Taking all of history into consideration, who has caused more pain and
suffering than the religious? Get off it and quit doubting your own faith
because your neighbor may not believe, because based of some of the points I
have read here I think there is much insecurity.
@ Demosthenes, you state: "[Atheists] choices have no concrete basis. They
are pure opinion, changeable, debatable, subjective, and contextual."
I'm not arguing for atheism, by no means, but this sounds exactly like what
has gone on in religions for thousands of years.
I don't know, Tyler. But if it's not a religion, why are there so
many books about atheism, why do atheists have an annual convention (in SLC this
year) and why do they feel the need to expound so vehemently in opposition to
religion?But on the other hand, why do religions feel the same needs
to attack atheism?I was just trying to point out that there may not
really be all that much difference between the two. After all, aren't both
of them simply beliefs that neither side can hope to prove?Doesn't it come down to something called FAITH on both sides of the coin?
Uhmmmm... I don't think he was saying that only religious people have a
moral compass.I think he was observing that ALL people have an
innate sense of what's right/wrong. Even atheists and people of every
faith.Like people have pointed out... our culture influences that
innate sense of right/wrong. And we can learn to suppress it (like with
slavery, etc). Your culture may teach you, and you may even accept it as
"right", but there's usually something in the back of your mind
telling you that slaver really isn't right. Being able to
overrule our innate ability to tell what's right and wrong is just part of
being human. And the constant battle we have in mortality and our dual
nature.===I don't think he was trying to be
offensive to anybody by saying we ALL have the ability to discern what's
right/wrong.And he absolutely wasn't inferring that only
religious people know what's right or wrong.I don't know
why some people are so offended...
The good that men do is likely the result of the need of good from others. The
drive to survive demands that we follow every hopeful avenue toward that
accomplishment. And sometimes that requires the help of others. So intelligent
men might set a sharing agenda even without a God. Our mothers often
told us to play nice so that we could enjoy the others to play with. Our world
is greater because we establish rules of conduct that help each other in the
struggle to survive. The Ten Commandments that are attributed to God seem to me
to be the agreement between men rather than the desires of God. I can't
see why God would be interested in people killing other people. Especially when
it seems that more people have been killed under religious banners than for any
@one old man - “Could the bottom line really be that Atheism is actually a
form of religion?Kudos to your “let’s all just enjoy
each others company” statement, but I have to take issue with your quote
above.Is your non-belief in Zeus a form of religion? If so, please
explain.Atheism is simply a word we use (devoid of positive content)
to label those who no longer believe in any of the gods of antiquity, so in that
sense we’re all atheists. But the term in modern usage is applied to those
who extent their non-belief to one more god than you do.So atheism
is a religion in the same way baldness is a hair color, of not collecting stamps
is a hobby, or “off” is a TV channel.
I knew this was going to be a terse blog when a few, frequent posters threw
their religous beliefs out there to support their arguments. Attacking religon
and religous post are easy foder because of it's history and lack of
empirical data. Religon's last argument standing will always be faith and
that's one that cannot be refuted as it needs no evidence, history or
science to support it. It's an undeniable fact that one does not need
religon or God to be moral or just, nor does belief in God or religon make one
pure or just. If you believe otherwise, your believe in your faith is stronger
than fact. I have no problem with that unless you try to govern or impose harm
on others on the basis of that faith.
When you stop to think of it, you might realize that atheists really are people
of faith, just as any person who believes in a God is a person of faith.Each has faith in a belief that they are correct -- or at least that
they HOPE they are correct.We will all find out someday.In the meantime, why not just respect each other and enjoy the company of
other good people who may not have faith in the same things we have faith in?Could the bottom line really be that Atheism is actually a form of
Mike Richards describes the Bible and how they wrote and disobeyed their own
rules...Where did rules come from? Look at the history of
"civilization". How many societies believed in slavery? How many killed
children? How many treated women as chattel? How many had tribes led by war
lords? Where were the "rules" in those societies? Why did they murder
and rape? Do you think that terrorists worship God? Why would you
think that? How do their ACTIONS show that they worship God? Hasn't God
told us to do no murder? Are you claiming that their religion teaches them to
murder?God changes his mind all the time in the bible, murder, rape
scorched earth depends on the prophet at the time.Some folks believed they
were doing Gods work in a little place called Mountain Meadow, not so long ago.
Alright then, Next question -- Who's God?And
we're right back to square one of a stupid, viscous circle.Let the
slaughter continue.====== BTW – pmccombsOrem, UTI have a feeling that people like this atheist friend of
mine may get into heaven before those who think that goodness only matters if
there is a God.•8:04 a.m. April 22, 2014Best comment
ever.Atheist tending to those dying and being shunned for having AIDS.I’ll take an atheist like that at his “works”, Over all the believers and their “faith” any day.
As a devout Mormon, I categorically reject this letter's arguments on
moral, philosophical, and (even) religious grounds.
The author seems to say, "Okay, atheists CAN be moral, but only because God
gave them a moral compass too!"I'll take the concession.
The rest cannot be proven or disproven.He also seems to say that, if
there is no god, society would suddenly deem all laws against murder, stealing,
and fraud (lying) unnecessary. Really? Absent a god, we would all prefer
anarchy to civility and order? Because we see what is happening in Somalia and
other failed states and think, "Yeah – we want some of that!" I don’t buy that one.I think human history shows that
our moral sense has evolved over time. I also think it shows that our progress
has been enormously enhanced by the knowledge and information we have gained
from scientific research. Some religions have kept up with this knowledge curve
and have adapted accordingly. Some have not. But none have been LEADING the
It appears that many of us comment either for or against a religious basis for a
code of conduct. Some hold that God is the author of an acceptable, to Him,
behavioral code. Others seem to acknowledge a need for some "moral"
code of conduct but want to leave God or gods, out of the equation.If no higher authority to which to appeal, then each person's philosophy
on life is his/her god or drummer to which they march proclaiming the
correctness of validity of their position.Reminds me of The Blind
Men and The Elephant, by John Godfrey Saxe. From the last stanza:"So, oft in theological wars The disputants, I ween,Rail on
in utter ignorance Of what each other mean,and prate about and
elephant Not one of them has seen!"Burma Shave.
Re: Mike Richards "How many societies believed in slavery? How many
killed children?..." I believe your beloved God is Israel ordered them to
do just that.
I'm glad we have Atheists to keep the religous Zealots from having their
ways -- stoning for adultery, beheading infadels, the
inquisition, the crusades, Feeding unbelievers to the Lions, Salem Witch Trials, Aztec Human Sacrifices, and even closer to
home -- Mountain MeadowsHeck -- we even have the Religous insisting
the State Kill for Killing, and don't you DARE try to take away our
MR: "How many societies believed in slavery? ...How many treated women as
chattel? ...Where were the "rules" in those societies? ..."-------Why Mike, those two lines describe the US when it first
became a country. Slavery was not uprooted for a century and women only gain
some independence a century after that! There was no law to protect a wife from
being raped by her husband until the latter part of the 20th century. Where was
God? Why didn't he protect those women and grant them the freedom that
white males had from the start? Aren't we a righteous nation? Why does it
take so long for us to change? If nothing else proves to me that
morality is relative, it is the laws of marital rape. Just 50 years ago, a man
still had the right and privilege of "owning" his wife and could engage
in sex with or without her permission. She had no law to back her up and
society, churches, and most men saw nothing wrong with it and had no guilt
associated with that act. Wives were to obey their husbands. It was not a sin
or even unlawful. It sure is today!
@Mike RichardsYou would think that after the thousands of posts you
make you would at least attempt to do a little research. Of course, why let
reality get in the way of your belief system. It took me all of 1 minute to
find multiple instances where God commanded the believers to kill. It is found
in every religion's scripture. As has been stated here by others,
believing in God does not make one moral, and despite the writer's claim,
we are not "born" moral and ethical. It is learned behavior. A lawful
and orderly society does not depend on a vengeful God to ensure compliance,
simply a desire to recognize that everyone has a right to peace. Throughout
history religion has been used to justify war and killing. The 20th century is
unique in that major genocides were committed by people who had disavowed
religion. Prior to that, the greatest offenders wrapped their genocide in
religion.Here are a few scriptures where God says killing is
super:1 Samuel 15:2-31 Nephi 4:18Quran 5:33
"Telling us that "religion" is the cause of evil is
misleading"And that characterization of my post is misleading.
Religion does not inherently cause evil. Nor is it always the impetus for good.
Same with Atheism.Look. I see religion as a generally good force
in this world. But it is not without its warts.While many believe
that the 911 hijackers were misguided in their understanding of their religion,
to claim that they were not religious by definition, is just nonsense.There are many atrocities in history committed in the name of religion.
Perhaps a poor understanding of religion, but related non-the-less. That is
undeniable.Religious teachings have been interpreted to justify lots
of different things, good and bad. People do it all the time. Even to this
day. And, of course, their understanding and their application is correct. Or is it?But back to the topic. It is possible for a
non believer to be a great member of society. Just as it is possible for those
who claim strict religious adherence to be detrimental.And there are
many many examples of both. And why the premise of this letter is clearly
@Mountanman"Do you really want to live in a world where morality is
relative? Really?"Want to know an example of a system that
happens when morality isn't relative? When a nation decides to impose
Sharia Law on everybody. There needs to be a happy medium when it comes to the
laws of a nation.@Mike Richards"Do you think that
terrorists worship God? Why would you think that? How do their ACTIONS show that
they worship God?"If they think they are worshiping God, even if
they're doing it wrong, then they are worshiping God. Which is not to say
he won't have a few choice words for them on the other side, of course.
More people have been slaughtered from "My God is better than your God",
than all the Godless heathens there ever have been combined.9/11, WWII, The Inquisition, The Crusades, The
older I get, the more true John Lennon's "Imagine" becomes.
Nothing to add here.
@ Mike Richards – “I've read the Koran. I found no directives
in that book to murder innocent people.”Check the Bible
– specifically, the part about the Amalekites. Unless of course you
believe they were all guilty, including women, children, babies… farm
animals.I’m always baffled when religious people claim that we
have been given absolute morals by God. What is your evidence for this?
I’ve already cited one example of directing his people to break a
commandment, and the fact is the OT is filled with God commanded or condoned
barbarism and moral relativism.Take slavery – what does the
Bile say about treating fellow human beings like farm equipment? Not only does
the Bible condone it even provides instructions for how to treat your slaves
(e.g., when beating them, don’t blind them or knock out their teeth…
words of wisdom indeed!).By the way, this distasteful fact was what
allowed Southern preachers to regularly trounce their Northern counterparts in
the slavery debates of the 1850’s.
Well then... I guess the letter writer better not lose his faith...
wouldn't want him going on a killing spree... I really don't see how
people can believe this sort of nonsense that atheism makes everything a
The difficulty is there are false Gods and therefore false religions. There are
even some people who apostatize from truth (parable of the sower). Part of our
purpose on this earth is to discover truth and reject falsehoods. Truth is the
knowledge of things as they really are, as they always have been and they always
will be. "Seek (for truth) and ye shall find it", said Jesus. Hint,
"By their fruits ye shall know them".
Joe,"Religious societies" and God's rules don't
always coincide. Do you think that terrorists worship God? Why would you think
that? How do their ACTIONS show that they worship God? Hasn't God told us
to do no murder? Are you claiming that their religion teaches them to murder?
I've read the Koran. I found no directives in that book to murder innocent
people. Telling us that "religion" is the cause of evil is
misleading. If God is the giver of life (which He is) and if God has given us
rules whereby we can learn to love each other (which He has), then we must also
believe that opposition to Him and to His rules must exist (which He told us is
an eternal principle). The question then becomes who or what teaches terrorism,
who or what teaches mutilation, who or what teaches murder? It certainly is not
our Creator, our God, our Heavenly Father. It is a mockery for people to assign
sinful behavior to God.
Mike Richards:And how societies have used "God" as their
justification for slavery and for dominating women?And while
it's true that "bigotry is fading", it often happens over the
strong objections of those who claim to be "religious." Take a look at
any talkback here that involves same-sex marriage...
“If atheists are right and there is no God, then right and wrong are
religious concepts we can dispense with.”If this first
sentence was used on a Logic test, the student would receive an F. @Mike Richards – “"How many societies believed in slavery? How
many killed children? How many treated women as chattel? How many had tribes led
by war lords? Where were the "rules" in those societies? Why did they
murder and rape?"I couldn’t help but notice how accurately
this describes a certain bronze-age desert tribe, even after they were given
rules set in stone by their god.
Re: ". . . Right and Wrong are not exclusively religious concepts . . .
."True. But those conceptual definitions take on a dangerous
flexibility in the hands of those who believe their actions are not subject to
review by a Higher Authority.All you have to do is look at
Hitler's Germany, Leninist/Stalinist Russia, China, North Korea, Cuba,
Syria's ruling elite, Iran's ruling elite, Venezuela's ruling
elite, Bolivia's ruling elite -- even America's ruling elite.
They've all bent, molded, and redefined the "good" and
"bad" concepts to mean things that are attractive to them and their
ideology, but destructive of the lives of real people.
"How many societies believed in slavery? How many killed children? How many
treated women as chattel? How many had tribes led by war lords? Where were the
"rules" in those societies? Why did they murder and rape?"Mike. What you list is occurring in societies today. And the most egregious
instances occur in the most religious societies.
“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not
care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you
have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to
worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a
noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”― Marcus Aurelius
Certainly atheists can be good, moral people, but the point is that their
choices have no concrete basis. They are pure opinion, changeable, debatable,
subjective, and contextual. For millennia, religious texts have provided a
solid basis for societal law and behavior. Sure, there are debates and
vagueries, but let's face it, it works and is superior to anything atheism
I think this is an unfortunate letter. If this is how religion views
morality--as something that only matters if there is a God--then we are in
trouble. Luckily, I have seen better than this. I know an atheist
who disproves this notion. For many years, he sat by the side of terminal AIDS
patients who had been cast off by their friends and families. He told me that
sometimes he would attend as many as one funeral a week. He had empathy for the
suffering and wondered, if there is no God to wipe away their tears, then who
will do it? So he did it himself. And that is perhaps something to
be said about atheism: It allows for the possibility that one might do well for
sake of goodness itself. That, in fact, we might be good because goodness is
found inside of us and not imposed upon us by some religious decree or
commandment, which otherwise we would not care to observe. I have a
feeling that people like this atheist friend of mine may get into heaven before
those who think that goodness only matters if there is a God.
The problem atheists have is moral relativism. If there is a God, the ultimate
lawgiver and the ultimate judge of us all, moral relativism can not exist
because it is God that defines morality and everything else is just an opinion.
On the other hand if there is no God, each person can define morality any way
they want and we get chaos, any free society crumbles and we get anarchists who
enforce their "morality" onto others like Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot,
Castro, Mao ste Tung and dozens of other moral relativists the world has
produced. Do you really want to live in a world where morality is relative?
Where did rules come from? Look at the history of "civilization". How
many societies believed in slavery? How many killed children? How many treated
women as chattel? How many had tribes led by war lords? Where were the
"rules" in those societies? Why did they murder and rape?"Goodness" comes from God. America was founded by people who actually
believed that our liberties are a gift from our Creator, our God. Our
forefathers wanted us to remember that fact. They put the words, "In God We
Trust" on every coin and on every denomination of paper money that is issued
by the Government."In God We Trust" is much more than a
motto. It is a recognition that God is the giver of "goodness", that
His rules apply to any society that wants to be free from the iron boot of a
tyrannical government. The people of America were slower to understand that
concept, but slavery has been abolished. Bigotry is fading.Unfortunately, some have forgotten who gives us "rules". Some tell us
that their self-made rules replace eternal laws. Remove God and you'll
I am no atheist, but the premise of this letter as stated in the first paragraph
is utterly wrong.
Religon is the worst thing that ever happened to God. Christanity is a little
over 2000 years old and Mormonism only a few generations. Human beings lived
with a moral code long before that and many more live a strong, righteous life
without religon now. The most moral, righteous people I've met in my life
are those that freed themselves from the fear of religon and discovered what is
truly right inside of them. Whether people believe in a God or not is irrelevant
to being a righteous person or a just society.
So what you're saying is that the _only_ reason you don't go around
killing people and robbing 7-11's is because you fear punishment? You
truly believe you are incapable of figuring out right and wrong on your own?History refutes the assertion that religious belief equates to moral
behavior.These hyper-simplistic and wildly inaccurate depictions of
atheism by those claiming to be religious is one reason why organized religion
is faring so poorly in our society.
So if religious societies are less violent and non-religious societies are more
violent then I'm guessing Europe is far more violent than the middle-east,
right?South Africa must be a paradise!Brazil, the
world's most catholic nation, must be a very peaceful place without any
violent crime, kidnapping, or drugs.Where is the mafia from
again?And Mexico must never have any beheading or otherwise horrific
acts of crime, right?Anyone familiar with the crusades must laugh at
The saddest part of this letter is that the author believes what he wrote. You
can be a good, decent, moral person without a god. If the only reason you act
in a decent, honorable way is because you're afraid of a god, then are you
truly a moral person? Not imo.
"then we can murder, steal, and lie with impunity. "I am
really sick of hearing that. It is just so easily disproved.Societies, with a belief in God or not, have always had rules to live by. A
society with rules runs better. It is more peaceful. It cannot thrive without
order. Rules are necessary to have order. Heck, even the higher
intelligent animal species have rules within their groups.So, please
dispense with this self serving notion that has been disproven by countless
I agree wholeheartedly that we each have the light of Christ. But that makes
the job of limiting morality to the religious more difficult, not less. Because
those who do not have any religious thoughts are still imbued with a sense of
right and wrong. Hence many folks are moral. Not simply the religious.
"If atheists are right and there is no God, then right and wrong are
religious concepts we can dispense with. " Dispose of them if you wish, but
Right and Wrong are not exclusively religious concepts by a long shot. A good