Many say 'So what?' to religion, atheism

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  • m.g. scott LAYTON, UT
    Jan. 2, 2012 10:30 a.m.

    To Vanka the Atheist
    I want to hear your answer to the next question. Where did all the matter that makes up the universe come from? You are either stuck with the absurdity that something can come from nothing or you are actually where any person ulitimately finds themselves, agnostisism. No one can be a 100% atheist. To be such one would have to "know" there is no creator, prime mover, intelligent designer, ect. You don't know that, nor does anyone else. You may say I don't know there is a God, but I do know that there is matter that causes life and existence. My God explains that, your atheism does not.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    Dec. 31, 2011 3:41 p.m.

    @Joan Watson

    Read my second post and you will see that atheism is more complex than the definition you find in the dictionary. If you have never educated yourself or have educated yourself very little about atheism then you have very little understanding of it, especially if you have never questioned your own religious beliefs and not looked beyond them. I believe questioning and learning about all beliefs whether religious or non-religious is important because if you never do you have all the information you can to make an informed choice or decision? I learned about religion and atheism as well as many other beliefs before making a final choice....have you? It is better to find your own answers and make an educated decision, than to intentionally remain uneducated and make a fearful one.

    I cant disprove leprechauns, smurfs, or anything that I dont first have proof of in the first place. You can only disprove something by showing how the proof of it is not valid. Religious beliefs so-called proofs can easily be invalidated or explained naturally. Religion requires belief in something that in no way can be proven to be real.

  • The Vanka Provo, UT
    Dec. 31, 2011 3:25 p.m.


    I don't need to consult a dictionary to know what an atheist is, anymore than a Mormon needs to consult a dictionary to know what a Mormon is.

    I am an atheist.

    I have already read the book about Thomas Jefferson you cited. It is not the authoritative work on Jefferson... not by a long shot. And based on much better biographies and histories than that, it is clear Jefferson was not a "believer" in any sense that would be recognized as "Christian" today, much less any other kind of "religious" person. Jefferson rewrote the New Testament, turning Jesus into a mere teacher, and stripping out all the "hocus pocus" miracles and "divine" nonsense. Jefferson included restrictions on the teaching of religion of any kind at the University of Virginia.

    You are barking up the wrong tree, my friend.

  • Joan Watson TWIN FALLS, ID
    Dec. 31, 2011 10:07 a.m.

    FYI Refer to New World Dictionary for atheist definition.

    Thoms Jefferson was a long way from being a deist/agnostic as was the contentious Thomas Paine.
    Jefferson admired Paine's writting skill in 'Rights of Man', but the association between the men was not close - and Jefferson did not agree with Paine on many points both politically and in religious beleifs.

    Again -highly recommended reading: Thomas Jefferson A strange Case of Mistaken Identity Alf j. Mapp, Jr
    Also, a study of Thomas Jefferson letters and papers.

  • als Atheist Provo, UT
    Dec. 31, 2011 8:28 a.m.


    Don't scratch too deep. Jefferson was definitely a deist, at most. I repeat, nobody said Jefferson was an atheist. The quote you quoted is referring to His POLITICAL orientation, which was similar to and consistent with the political orientation of many other nonbelievers.

    As for the "definition of an atheist", where did you get that? Wikipedia? Do you trust definitions you get off the Internet above the word of a self-declared atheist? Shall we trust "the definition of Mormonism" we get off the Internet, or should we trust self-declared Mormons?

    Now I'm scratching my head over why you are scratching your head. My comments so far have been clear and accurate. What is the issue?

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    Dec. 31, 2011 12:33 a.m.

    I do not believe in god. That is what atheism means. What is your point?

  • Joan Watson TWIN FALLS, ID
    Dec. 31, 2011 12:05 a.m.

    Yes, there was a comment that wrote that Thomas Jefferson was an athiest.

    Definition of an atheist - person who beleives that there is no God.

    The Commnent read "Many of us consider ourselves to fall into the political tradition of Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine and other non belivers."

    By the way Thomas Jefferson was not a deist - Paine was.

    Then too, Im still scrating my head over this posted comment.

    "Atheism is not a belief it is absence of a belief Therefore it cannot possibly require faith to believe in atheism."


  • Stay the Course Salt Lake City, utah
    Dec. 30, 2011 11:21 p.m.

    Vanka skirting the question aren't you? From your answer I take it you wont come out definitely and say you don't believe in God am I right?

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    Dec. 30, 2011 9:47 p.m.

    There is no evidence of a personal god. There is no good reason to believe that there is a personal god. Just as there is no evidence and no reason to believe there are leprechauns, pixies, Santa, and the tooth fairy.

  • George Bronx, NY
    Dec. 30, 2011 9:40 p.m.

    do you thing you could really know any less about atheism marx or the people you claim are marxist? Did you know that Marx was a regular at church? Marx was not an atheist as many claim he was actually a protestant. He did not think religion was bad what he actually proposed was that his countries government use of religion (state sponsored religion) to control people was the problem. Did you know that HItler was a Christian not an atheist? Did you know that Marx actually espoused ideas far closer to capitalism then to anything Stalin, hitler or Mao said or did. Stalin, Hitler and Mao where dictators which is completely opposite of what Marx considered the best political/economic system. Marx believed the means of production needed to be given to the individual not to the state or anyone else. would hardly call that socialist in nature either would you?

  • Stay the Course Salt Lake City, utah
    Dec. 30, 2011 9:10 p.m.

    So Vanka what you are saying is
    you really don't know if there is a God or not Correct?

  • The Vanka Provo, UT
    Dec. 30, 2011 5:47 p.m.

    "...the political tradition of Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, and other nonbelievers..."

    Nobody said Jefferson was an "atheist". It is well known Jefferson was a Deist, and one who espoused "natural religion" - which, of course, today would fit him firmly in the class of agnostics. But he certainly wasn't "Christian", and would easily qualify as a "nonbeliever" by any of today's standards.

  • Joan Watson TWIN FALLS, ID
    Dec. 30, 2011 9:57 a.m.

    Thoms Jefferson an atheist?

    "I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man"

    "May that Infinite Power which rules the destinies of the universe lead our councils to what is best, and give them a favorable issue for your peace and prosterity."

    "indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever; that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events; that it may become probable by supernatural interference." Thomas Jefferson had attempted to write into the Declaration of Independence, a condemnation of slavery. He argued that it was inconsistent to deny to others the freedom for which the colonists declared that they wre fighting as a God-given, but slave holders from the Deep South and slave traders from New England defeated him - Thomas Jefferson, Alf j. mapp, Jr pp406
    Highly recommended study: Thomas Jefferson - A Strange Case of Mistaken Identity, by alf j Mapp, Jr

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    Dec. 30, 2011 7:25 a.m.

    "I knew the subject of the article, would attract the apathetic, the atheist or just someone who does not want to be controlled by centralized power."

    Isn't that what most religions are all about...a centralized power attempting to control the lives of as many followers as they can proselytize to the cause?

    There is no such thing as "free will" with religion. One either submits completely to the tenets of the faith, or one faces the eternal consequences...there is really no choice.

    Many religious leaders successfully exploit people's fears of the unknown by cleverly laying out a controlled pathway to salvation that serves only to shore up their own powerbase.

    Despite the fact that religious creeds simply don't logically add up, "simply follow me, do what I say, pay the tithes I request, and complete the tasks I outline, then have no will be saved. Choose differently, then woe be unto you."

    I believe that this is what most people are reacting to as evidenced in this article...they don't want to be controlled by a silly centralized power that makes little sense. They are seeking spirituality elsewhere.

  • IMAN Marlborough, MA
    Dec. 29, 2011 5:00 p.m.

    How bout those "Christian Monks" at the Church of the Holy Nativity today in Israel? I wonder if it makes one proud or embarrassed to proclaim oneself a Christian when these types of all too common events take place. Has an act of terrorism, Jihad, violence or genocide ever been committed by devout and proclaimed atheiests? Not likely.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    Dec. 29, 2011 4:39 p.m.


    Obviously, you make unsupported assumptions based on a very narrow definition of atheism. Atheism is a complex term to define, and many definitions fail to capture the range of positions an atheist can hold. The exact meaning of 'atheist' varies between atheistic people and caution must always be shown to make sure that discussions of atheism are not working at cross purposes or that the person presenting an opposing opinion about atheism actually knows about the complexity of the definition of which Marzism is only a small part and does NOT define all atheists.

    The moral compass of religion also includes mass murder crimes against humanity and is supported by both the Bible and history. Did you forget religion's crimes? The moral compass of both religion and atheism shows that BOTH are capable of moral atrocities. That is one reason why secularism is preferrable that both.

    Let us all diligently preserve our liberty to believe or not believe. Neither need be enemies! Society will flourish better as secular while accepting both religions as well as non-belief in all it's complex definitions.


  • iron&clay RIVERTON, UT
    Dec. 29, 2011 3:44 p.m.

    You are right to say that Marxists have a moral compass.

    A Marxist's compass tells him to go ahead and commit crimes against humanity as long as it brings about control of all people and ownership of all property by international collectivism.

    This is the moral compass that mass murdering dictators like Mao and Stalin followed.

  • iron&clay RIVERTON, UT
    Dec. 29, 2011 3:26 p.m.

    The response to my comments was what I expected since I knew the subject of the article, would attract the apathetic, the atheiest or just someone who does not want to be controlled by centralized power.

    We are allies against any institutions and governments that would FORCE us to submit to believe as they do.

    Having our free will is a right that our founders claimed was an endowment from Deity. I'm sure that we all value our free will even if you think you don't believe in God.

    Mao, Stalin, and Hitler were all Marxist Socialists. The history of their crimes against humanity makes any defense of a Marxist having a moral compass laughable.

    Let us all diligently preserve our liberty.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    Dec. 29, 2011 2:40 p.m.

    Atheism doesn't make a person a Marxist since atheists can be wholely secular. Secular means without religion. Non-religious people lead secular lives. Secular government runs along rational and humanistic lines. This is the norm in democratic countries. The individuals that make up the government are rightly free to have whatever religion they want, as are the populace. Secularism is the belief that religion should be a private, personal, voluntary affair that does not impose upon other people. Religion will become more hollow, surviving for a while on empty until loss of active membership forces them into obscurity. Secularism does not mean rejection of all religions though. It means respect for all religions and human beings including non-believers.

    Mounting evidence says younger generations are alienated from organized religion by its increasingly conservative politics. During the 1980s, the public face of American_religion turned sharply right. Political allegiances and religious observance became more closely aligned, and both religion and politics became more polarized. After 1980, both churchgoing progressives and secular conservatives became more rare. Some Americans brought their religion and their politics into alignment by adjusting their political views to their religious faith. Surprisingly, more of them adjusted their religion to_fit_their_politics!

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    Dec. 29, 2011 2:31 p.m.

    "Atheism and religion are lumped together in this article because they both require faith to believe."

    Atheism is a name given BY early Christians to those who did not believe in [their] god.

    Atheism is not a belief. It is the absence of a belief. Therefore, it cannot possibly "require faith to believe" in atheism.

    Nor can an absence of belief be equated with Marxism in any way. It is also completely inaccurate to say that Marxists have "no moral compass". Their morality may not be the same as yours, but that does not mean it does not exist.

    I find your completely erroneous, unsupported assertions to be at best laughable, and at worst, offensive, especially to atheists such as myself, who are freedom-loving, patriotic, moral human beings. Many of us consider ourselves to fall into the political tradition of Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, and other nonbelievers.

    Please refrain from misrepresenting the beliefs (or lack thereof) of others. You are no good at it.

  • Joan Watson TWIN FALLS, ID
    Dec. 29, 2011 1:15 p.m.

    From one who feels keenly dismayed that so many are rejecting a belief in God, or are becoming apathetic towards religion. However, one recognizes that others can freely believe what they may concerning religion, with no interferance. The early founding fathers of our country, extended that right to each citizen - based on the tyranny and supression by state run churches and believers in the old country.

    Hopefully my whole hearted belief in God the Father and in his son Jesus Christ - of whom I testify and in whom prophets both ancient and modern have testified, which is backed by scriptures - is not violated as did happened in Russia and other Communistic or ungodly repressive governments. The consequences in such governments were/are awful and severly demeaned human life and dignity.

    "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may."
    LDS Articles of Faith #11

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 29, 2011 12:58 p.m.

    'Atheism and religion are lumped together in this article because they both require faith to believe.' - iron&clay | 12:17 p.m. Dec. 29, 2011

    You have to BELIEVE in Atheism...

    just LIKE religion?

    'Citing articles by Marxist journalists is like using a comic book to support Superman.' - iron&clay | 12:17 p.m. Dec. 29, 2011

    So, the Deseret News staff are...Marxists'?

    '*'Faith and the millennials: Progressive-minded generation has a hard time relating to organized religion' - By Joshua Bolding, Deseret News - 11/17/06 - first quoted: Pagan | 9:32 a.m. Dec. 29, 2011

    It's official.

    You DON'T know what the words mean, you DON'T know how they are supposed to be used and instead...

    you toss around the terms with no CLUE as to how they are supposed to be addresed.

    i.e. if anyone disagrees with you, they are a Marxist, Athiest...

    who belives in God.

    iron&clay, your post's entertain but are not based in reality. You do more harm to your cause than anything us 'Marxist's/Atheist's' can.

    Citing that Athiests/marxist MUST believe in a God..

    when the entire Premise is that they, do not.

    Good day.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Dec. 29, 2011 12:37 p.m.


    It is not necessary to live a "Christian lifestyle" to have a moral compass. Our form of government does not require a "Christian lifestyle" to succeed.

    "Marxist governments want all control and obedience to the Collective, with no rights for the individual to worship how, where, or what he/she may. "

    This sounds much more like religions than governments. Take the Orthodox Jews in Israel right now and the Orthodox (rightwing) Christians in America right now for examples.

    Religion is all about restricting your individual rights and to worship how, where, or what you may. Developments over the last few years hightlight that quite explicitely (New York Mosque, Anti-Muslim ordinances, Prop-8, Anti-reproductive-rights, etc.).

  • iron&clay RIVERTON, UT
    Dec. 29, 2011 12:17 p.m.

    Atheism and religion are lumped together in this article because they both require faith to believe.

    Atheists are vulnerable to the fallacious Marxist philosophy of dialectic materialism.

    Marxists, who are without a moral compass do not think it is possible for man to govern himself and therefore has to give up liberty for security. Consider the Patriot Act, the Department of Homeland Security and other evolutionary legislation and Executive orders that chip away at our written guarantee of individual rights in the US Constitution.

    A Constitutional Republic can only endure when it's citizens are willing to live a Christian lifestyle.

    A Marxists God is an international collective. Marxist governments want all control and obedience to the Collective, with no rights for the individual to worship how, where, or what he/she may.

    Citing articles by Marxist journalists is like using a comic book to support Superman.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Dec. 29, 2011 10:34 a.m.

    Excellent article - so what, to religion.

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    Dec. 29, 2011 9:43 a.m.

    Most of what are called the Ten Commandments were recognized as principles of "morality" long before Moses claimed to have received them from God on the mountain, and they were recognized by countless societies, cultures, tribes, and groups other than just ancient Hebrews. Once again, religio-centrism influences some people to set themselves on a pedestal and take credit for goodness and virtue that they and their gods do not deserve.

    Human embodiment, sociality, and temporality naturally give rise to basic principles of morality that are common among human groups, as also among many animal species. Attributing such moral principles to a god, much less "your" god, is disingenuous, syncretic, and dishonest.

    Human morality as it has been developed over the millenia is superior to the distorted moral "systems" created by religion and used to gain and hold power, wealth, and fame. This fact is evident in our ability today to easily judge much of the "law" given in the Old and New Testaments as fundamentally immoral and inhumane: for example, stoning disobedient children, genocide against the Amalekites (1 Sam 15:3), or the immoral, apathetic pacifism of "Loving one's enemy" and not resisting evil.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 29, 2011 9:32 a.m.

    'I read recently in the Book of Mormon that if humans go contrary to the nature of God they are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness.' - iron&clay | 7:52 a.m. Dec. 29, 2011

    So, you are using the Book of support it's teachings.

    That, is circular reasoning. That the SYMPTOM is supported due to the SOURCE.

    That is like using a Comic Book to support Superman.

    "The real dirty little secret of religiosity in America is that there are so many people for whom spiritual interest, thinking about ultimate questions, is minimal," says Mark Silk, professor of religion and public life at Trinity College, Hartford, Conn.' - Article


    *'Faith and the millennials: Progressive-minded generation has a hard time relating to organized religion' - By Joshua Bolding, Deseret News - 11/17/06

    And yet, the article lumps Athiesm WITH religion.

    When, they are contrary.

    As such:

    'I do not think that word means, what you think it means.'

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Dec. 29, 2011 8:03 a.m.

    "But Rabbi Micah Greenstein of Temple Israel, Memphis, is not so alarmed. He sees people behaving spiritually caring for each other and the world even if they skip the label."
    --- Exactly!

    "... spirituality is practical. When you see something that is broken, fix it. When you find something that is lost, return it. When you see something that needs to be done, do it. "

    --- Holy moley batman, THIS!

    Do to other as you would have them do to you. Why is this so hard for the religious to understand. You do not need a god to be good. You do not need a religion to be 'moral'. I think I may just be one of these 'so what' kinda guys.

  • iron&clay RIVERTON, UT
    Dec. 29, 2011 7:52 a.m.

    Liberty is about individuals being able to control themselves enough to honor other peoples rights and property. The Judeo-Christian rules as laid out in the Ten Commandments or the Sermon on the Mount is a pattern for living that those in the article who were interviewed were, whether ignorant of Gods law or not, had a beacon of goodness within themselves that drove them to happy and successful lives.
    I read recently in the Book of Mormon that if humans go contrary to the nature of God they are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness.