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7 Things A Friendly Atheist Wants You To Know

Disclaimer

These are my personal opinions expressed and do not reflect the opinions of everyone in the atheist community. I was, however, inspired by many fellow atheists and theists who I am on good terms with. This articles discusses one view on religion and is not written specifically to convert or belittle all religious people. I understand that this is a sensitive topic and that my views will contradict the views of many others. This is only meant to be my own personal reflection as an atheist. With that being said, I hope this can clear the air on some of the rifts in our community.

"Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn't anyone who doesn't appreciate kindness and compassion."

— His Holiness the Dalai Lama, from "Kindness, Clarity, and Insight"

1. I Believe In Respect

Respect me and I'll respect you. It's truly that simple. If you don't give me a reason to question my swell regards for you, then I'll continue to offer my kindness. The blatant disrespect that people have for each other over religion is one of the reasons why I want to be especially cautious of the way I treat others.

It's not just about respecting me though. Any person can cherry-pick who they're good to. If you're nice to me but mean to other people I'll probably feel a bit less interested in being your friend. If you're mean to me and other people I won't be interested at all.

More than anything, I want to see you being good to those around you. The way you treat the people that your belief system deems "immoral" is an important thing that I look at. I have a high value for respect, altruism, and understanding. Not as an atheist, but as a human being. Of course I want to see those things circling the world as much as possible. If I see you being hateful towards any innocent group of people I'll definitely have a lower opinion of you. If it's bad enough I'll probably even call you out on it.

But it's not just about how you treat the world around you. It's about how you treat yourself. How can people be good to you if you're never good to yourself? I have seen insecurities in people and sometimes they can be connected to their beliefs. I'll naturally want to help if I see you tremendously unhappy with your life and engaging in destructive habits. But I can only offer my advice so much before I react to neglect. I can respect a broken person but I struggle to respect a person who is given the tools for repair and chooses to throw those tools away. So if you see me debating with someone over personal health and happiness in relation to religion, it's not me attacking them for their beliefs. It's me trying to show them that they can respect themselves a lot more. It's not an effort to convert them. In fact most of the time they can do this without completely resigning from their faith anyway. I recognize that many people even turn to monotheism to lead them away from harmful lives of drugs, violence, and addiction. I want to see good people being happy, regardless of who they are.

Source

2. I Am Open To Friendly Debates

I love a good conversation, especially when it involves critical thinking and philosophy. I also love a good debate and even a heated argument every now and then (if I'm to be completely honest). But in the majority of my day to day life I'd rather avoid confrontation. I will gladly talk to you about religion as long as we both stay on respectful, open-minded terms. I don't mind questions about my beliefs or what made me leave monotheism behind. But I will not tolerate belittlement, attacks, or blatant disrespect. If our conversation turns hostile I will probably end up retaliating.

Again, my life goal isn't to go out and convert everyone I meet. We will most likely leave our talk with our beliefs unchanged, but as long as we have learned something from each other then I consider it a worthwhile conversation.

"The essence of the liberal outlook lies not in what opinions are held but in how they are held: instead of being held dogmatically, they are held tentatively, and with a consciousness that new evidence may at any moment lead to their abandonment. This is the way opinions are held in science, as opposed to the way in which they are held in theology."

— Bertrand Russell, from "Unpopular Essays"

3. My Life Is Not Meaningless

A lot of people seem to think that since I believe in "nothing" that my life has no aim or significance. This is one of the biggest mistakes that people make in their views of atheists. Our roots in science and logic do not make our world cold and empty. In fact, the more I learn about the way the world works the more "blessed" I feel to be living in it. My interest in science has led me to not take so much for granted and to see the natural beauty of the universe around me. I have realized how small I am in this world, yet I still know how much power I have to make a difference as a human being. My life as well as the lives of others means a lot to me. I want to exist peacefully with everyone and I do not want our opportunity on this Earth to be squandered. My worth is not placed in the hands of a deity, it is placed in my own. I must hold responsibility for my own actions, I must realize the consequences of my actions, and I must make things happen for myself. I enjoy living this way and I put a lot of worth in everything that I do.

We love our families, friends, and experiences on as much of a deep emotional level as anyone else. Learning about the origins of the universe has enlightened me to how incredible it is to be a conscious living being on this planet and I work to cherish it every day.

We are not immune to spirituality. Some atheists may believe in some form of consciousness separate from the body, while others believe that an afterlife is possible. Some believe there may be a higher power, but we just don't know or cannot know of its existence at this point in time. We can be very deeply thoughtful of ourselves and our environment, we just don't follow the dogma of certain religions. We share many qualities with considerate, empathetic human beings regardless of religious belief.

Source

"Your beliefs don't make you a better person, your behavior does."

4. I Have A Moral Compass

The psychology of a healthy human enables us a primitive idea of right and wrong. We are empathetic like other highly-developed species and have our own unwritten code for morality. Because we have empathy, we understand the consequences of our own actions. This is how we can be good without divine guidance. I never needed anyone to tell me that the killing of innocents was wrong, or that rape is wrong, or that stealing is wrong. It was set into my being from early on because I understood respect for other people's bodies and possessions. I would also not like anyone to harm me so I decided that I wouldn't harm other people, knowing that they are like myself.

Social deviance isn't a supported trait within our community. We base our interactions on human compassion. We will gladly condemn anyone who does cause harm to someone else because we realize that it is not right. We may not follow the same sexual guidelines or strict commandments that religious people do but that is only because we believe we can guide ourselves to make healthy decisions in our lives. We understand that human sexuality, appetite, and desire are acceptable in good moderation. There's a misconception that being a monotheist automatically makes someone more moral than someone else. If that was the case then crime and deviancy would not be so prominent in a country where 90% of the population states that they believe in a God.

When people point to the famous atheists of the world who have committed atrocities, you have to consider that their immorality was individually cultivated and goes against the general atheist method. No sane human being would support the slaughter of masses amounts of people. No sane human being would condone crimes against humanity. If you find one bad apple within the bunch, do you burn the entire tree? Or do you discard the apple and continue picking? To sacrifice an entire group for the fault of one is counterproductive and simply foolish.

Source

"Businesses must and should be required to comply with neutrally crafted laws of general applicability...Once the law starts permitting exceptions based on 'sincerely held religious beliefs' there's no end to the mischief and discrimination that will ensue. In this case, the owners happen to be deeply Christian; one wonders whether the case would have come out differently if a Muslim-run chain business attempted to impose Sharia law on its employees."

— George Takei on contraceptive coverage in religious corporations

5. I Don't Support Your Beliefs As Law

Our country was founded on the idea of freedom of religion. The debate on it being a Christian nation or not could go on forever, but the truth of today's nation is clear. We have many belief systems and religions that exist within our country and it would not be just if we were to favor one of those systems over another. This is why I don't believe in politics or laws based on religious belief in any country. It always comes back to basic human rights which should not be taken away because someone's religion tells them that it is wrong. Monotheism is already prevalent in our culture and lifestyle and it's not being threatened as much as people make it out to be. We believe people can practice what they want within their own lives as long as it is not harmful. Naturally, we would not support things such as child marriages, faith healing in replacement of medical treatment, or marital abuse even if it is supported by their holy book. This comes back to basic human rights and respect instead of being an attack on religion all together. I do not sneer at every church I pass or avert my eyes from crosses or priests. I do, however, fight for human rights within my government and I believe that I'm in the reasonable realm to do so.

When it comes to politics, I don't believe that "Freedom of Religion" means freedom to infringe on the rights of others. Yes, I am Pro-Choice and I support things like gay marriage, proper sex education, reproductive rights, evolution taught in schools, and stem-cell research. I don't believe that these infringe on the rights of those who oppose them because no one is saying that they have to engage in those things That's like vegetarians trying to outlaw meat just because they don't believe in eating it. We have come so far from the ages where life was still poorly understood and medical, technological, and psychological advancements had not taken hold yet. We live in a very different time than that of the holy books. There was once a time when slavery was being justified by books such as The Bible. We realized that it was not just and abolished it. This is a time to make change and to realize that individuals can make their own healthy decisions in life without governmental guidance that is based on a religious system that isn't universally supported. Again, this is my support of equality more so than an attack on personal beliefs.

"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."

6. I Don't Advocate Ignorance

I associate with many open-minded and knowledgeable theists in my life. They don't treat science as a threat to their faith and enjoy discussing and studying these subjects in school. The amount of people who feel as though they must deny basic knowledge and understanding in order to stay true to their faith is staggering. I don't want people to think as if it's "Science v.s. God." when they interact with me. People enjoy debating religion in its most literal sense but I personally treat it as something abstract, something that doesn't need to fight or disprove science in order to "win". Any and every person who attacks a subject so important to every day life isn't doing themselves any favors. I follow a creed of enlightenment, one that is hungry for knowledge and understanding. Exposing yourself to various views and information is important for intellectual development. I love learning about the religions of the world and the culture and art that is tied to it. I find it all fascinating and would gladly teach it to my children and hope that they would learn about Humanities in school. I don't agree with people who would vehemently deny their child information on school subjects that they find "sacrilegious". In English class I read plenty of books with religious contexts and I did not feel threatened or offended by it because I understood that it was relevant to the subject we were talking about.

A closed mind is dangerous in the possession of any person. I feel we're all responsible for accepting the information that we have at our fingertips. Contrary to popular belief, my main mission in life isn't to be you're enemy. I expect out of you what I would expect out of any person with intellectual potential.

Source

7. I Don't Need To Be "Saved"

Many of us are people who have previously been religious and left for one reason or another. Some of us are just atheist from the start. Either way, we have had much time to reflect on why we believe in what we believe. Like I said previously, I don't mind friendly conversations or debates on religion but I don't need to be pestered to convert. Threatening me with the idea of eternal damnation is certainly not going to earn my amiability. I've heard it over and over again about why I need to follow this creed or that one and it only gets tiring. I don't go out of my way to change the people around me into atheists, so I don't appreciate the demand for conversion I experience on an almost daily basis. I will gladly talk to you about your religion and I will recognize why it works for you but you must also realize why it doesn't work for me. This all goes back to the idea of respect. Respect my beliefs and I shall respect yours.

"Human beings by nature want happiness and do not want suffering. With that feeling everyone tries to achieve happiness and tries to get rid of suffering, and everyone has the basic right to do this. In this way, all here are the same, whether rich or poor, educated or uneducated, Easterner or Westerner, believer or non-believer, and within believers whether Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and so on. Basically, from the viewpoint of real human value we are all the same."

— His Holiness the Dalai Lama

What led you to choosing your religious/secular beliefs?

  • My parents raised me this way, it's what my family believes in.
  • I contemplated and explored before choosing something myself.
  • A significant life event occurred and inspired me to change.
  • I don't recall, I feel like I've always been this way.
See results without voting

© 2014 Michelle W

Comments 47 comments

Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 23 months ago from Australia

Michelle

I appreciate your vibes on this topic.

My own beliefs are Theist.

Understand that the really hard calls in life are already soundly based on law. Its how society functions.

Personal interelationships aside the bigger questions need immense wisdom to solve and deal with. Some of these bigger questions were decided long ago, perhaps as far back as our pre human past. Example, compassion for the weak in society.

Laws evolved very slowly out of Theism. Even today these ancient ideas are still influencing laws.

Its the bigger life questions that need to be seen and responded too.


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 23 months ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

Great hub, voted up.


ArdencyAdrift profile image

ArdencyAdrift 23 months ago from Kansas Author

Oztinato, thank you. I do know that religion has inspired many laws that we see in society today and that doesn't bother me because we're humans and having religious belief is certainly a characteristic of our culture.

Most people I know, theist or atheist, would agree that murder is wrong. However modern day issues such as reproductive rights aren't agreed on as consistently because of some people's personal beliefs about it, although these common rights shouldn't be prevented because of that. The lack of these rights hurts more people than the idea of enacting them ever will. These are for the people who want to take advantage of them to be able to take advantage of them, not for us to impose any treatment on people who don't want it.

We can learn a lot from each other and from our beliefs, and even if I don't attribute myself to one denomination or another I am still inspired by belief systems all over the world.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 23 months ago from Australia

Ardency

If either of us like it or not we are all still subject to the law.

I am sure murder rates would sky rocket if there were no laws against it. No laws against it means its legal.

Anarchy has never worked (wiki)


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 23 months ago from Australia

Ardency

If either of us like it or not we are all still subject to the law.

I am sure murder rates would skyrocket if there were no laws against it. No laws against it means its legal.

Anarchy has never worked (wiki)


C.V.Rajan profile image

C.V.Rajan 23 months ago from Kerala, India

Accepted!


randomapples profile image

randomapples 23 months ago from Houston

Interesting and debatable

:)


ArdencyAdrift profile image

ArdencyAdrift 23 months ago from Kansas Author

Of course I believe that laws should exist against murder, I mean it's one of the first tenants that people develop as they progress in their society. I have met few atheists who believe in complete anarchy, a lot of us just believe in a system of equal rights that, whether originating from religious belief or not, is not discriminatory or hurtful to one group over another. For example, if atheists tried to push a law that banned crosses and memorials from being displayed in public I would be against it because I think that all levels of secular and religious belief should feel free to express themselves publicly through non-vulgar imagery.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 23 months ago from Michigan, USA

Michelle, thank you for adding yet another voice to the ongoing discussion of what it means to be an atheist in a mostly theological world. As a fellow non-believer, I'm always interested to hear another's take on it.

Also...I wish you a belated welcome to HubPages! I look forward to reading more from you on topics like this.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 23 months ago from Australia

Ardency

There is a wide and conflicting atheist spectrum of belief.

Now that AI systems are almost upon us there is no time for tinkering with the much older principle of the rule of law. Maybe in another 100 years atheism might coalesce into less anarchic forms. A possible johnny rotten AI is not a good idea at this time in history. I would rather have a JC or Buddha style AI.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 23 months ago from Michigan, USA

Of course, I can speak only for myself, but I fully embrace a "wide and conflicting" "spectrum of belief" -- not just for atheists, but for everyone, no matter their philosophical persuasion. And it's not "anarchic" at all. In fact, it's what helps us grow as a species and as a civilization.

Certainly, there are political and philosophical memes which atheists tend to embrace, like separation of church and state and respect for the scientific method, but I like to think (or, at least, I hope) that such notions have a more universal human appeal.

And speaking of "anarchy," there could be no more anarchic AI system than one based upon the personal philosophy of Jesus of Nazareth -- a man who told us to "take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself." Anarchy, indeed!


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 23 months ago from Australia

There do seem to be logical limits to wide and conflicting beliefs eg war. Its occurs when beliefs reach the archetypal good vs evil point. At this point esoteric and ethical or spiritual game changers occur. Nazis, Isis, etc have beliefs which conflict with us but having a cappuccino and a chat isn't going to cut it. On a mundane or cafe level yes it is good to have wide and conflicting beliefs, but the bigger questions demand a Lord of the Rings struggle.


ArdencyAdrift profile image

ArdencyAdrift 23 months ago from Kansas Author

Paladin, I certainly agree with you. I couldn't have said it better. This is why I emphasized that interests in equality and compassion are not atheistic traits but traits found in any considerate human being.

Thank you for welcoming me!


Allison Loker profile image

Allison Loker 23 months ago from Brooklyn

I've spent the better part of the past fifteen minutes trying to make heads or tails of one commenter's increasingly disjointed argument on this thread. And then it occurred to me that I really just want to applaud you, ArdencyAdrift, for a thoughtful and excellent hub!

Atheism really doesn't imply an abandonment of sound moral judgement or a lack of compassion for life and I'm so sorry and frankly sick of hearing from anti-atheists exactly that! I'm atheist and I also happen to enjoy volunteering with orphans and homeless animals. I oppose the death sentence too. Imagine that!

Thank you so much for having the courage and fortitude to write this much needed hub!


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 23 months ago from Australia

Peeps

Atheism is supposed to be just a disbelief in God. Period.

However durring ths last few decades certain authors have tried to make money out of atheism with books/lectures claiming atheism as an entire philosophy which practices religious intolerance.

Yes there are good and bad atheists and yes there good and bad theists.

Many, but not all, atheists choose to abandon normal sound moral jusdgements for fashionable reasons (ie books, money, fame) just as ISIS does.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 23 months ago from Michigan, USA

Oz, I think you're confusing atheists with "anti-theists."

Atheists, as you acknowledge, simply lack a belief in God. Some of them are quite vocal about it, but it isn't a matter of being "fashionable," or even being against religious belief. It's simply a matter of promoting and popularizing atheism in a world that has been promoting and popularizing religion for millennia. When one is a vocal minority, they always sound more strident to the majority -- especially when that majority is hostile, as it often is in this case.

Anti-theists, on the other hand, are those who proactively oppose religion or religious belief on principle, and do what they can to destroy and diminish it wherever and however they can. The late, great Christopher Hitchens was perhaps the most notable anti-theist. In fact, he often used the term to describe himself. He may have even coined the phrase. I don't know.

In the final analysis, whether one is an atheist or an anti-theist isn't simply a matter of how vocal one is. For example, Sam Harris, while soft-spoken, puts forth a great amount of effort promoting atheism and criticizing religion, but I don't believe he's an outright anti-theist. In fact, he embraces some aspects of Buddhism, and appears to have great respect for Jainism.

It's more a matter of one's ultimate agenda that determines whether he is an anti-theist or just an atheist. For example, like Hitchens, I am both an atheist and an anti-theist. I also believe that religion -- more specifically, belief in God -- "poisons everything," and I do whatever I can to diminish and destroy religious belief, one believer at a time.

Ultimately, I see it as an effort to free those I consider victims of a parasitic delusion that has afflicted the world for far too long -- compromising their integrity, warping their morality and making them susceptible to all sorts of chicanery, foolishness and outright evil.

While I fully support the RIGHT of people to their religious belief -- as Hitchens clearly did -- I will do whatever I reasonably can to open their eyes to the truth. I won't go knocking on their door handing out fliers saying "God is dead." And I won't go to their churches trying to get them to teach evolutionary theory in Sunday school -- the reverse of what many constantly try to do with creationism in public schools. But I will do battle in the public arena, in a war of ideas. That's why I'm here now.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 23 months ago from Orlando Florida

Wonderfully, thoughtfully, and beautifully done. I have written some atheist-themed hubs myself (See Good without God), and I will have another one ready in a couple of days. You have done a great job in explaining atheism. I hope it has got the people who totally misunderstand atheism to change their attitude of condemnation and disrespect. I'm voting up and giving it an H+ and sharing it on facebook. thanks for writing this.


littlething profile image

littlething 23 months ago

Wonderful hub! I'm not much of an Atheist, but I don't really prescribe to any of the large religions either. I would much rather judge a person by who they really are, than opposed to judging them by what religion they practice. Too many times have I seen the "good Christians" be very nasty people to deal with. I have also seen atheists be nasty people as well- which is why I can definitely get behind #1 on your list! This is a great hub that made me think. Good quotes too!


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 23 months ago from USA

I'm glad you wrote about your own perspective. People can be very intolerant and judgmental when it comes to the issue of religion. I try to assess people by their behavior rather than what they say they profess, as so many times I have seen that the espoused labels and values don't match actions.


varonny profile image

varonny 23 months ago from TORONTO

For many years now, I have tried to put into words why I not follow a deity or religion, even though I was raised in a religious family, surrounded by religious friends in a country that is mainly Catholic. I have to say I could have not said it better! I agree with every word you have put out here.

Just like you, I have experienced many people imposing their beliefs onto me, which I find it a little disrespectful actually. Both my family and my partner's family are religious and with a daughter it becomes quite hard to get people to understand that I do not appreciate them telling my daughter her mom is wrong, when it comes to religion. Especially, when they simply assume that I tell her that God does not exist (something I never said to anyone, much less to my daughter). I am quite careful to answer my daughter's questions about religion in a manner that does not impose my beliefs onto her. I believe it is her right to learn, explore and make up her mind about topics such as religion.

Anyway.. just wanted to commend you on a great and meaningful article.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 23 months ago from Australia

Paladin

you are seeing what you want to: there are hubs and questions on HP written by atheists that clearly state atheism is now claiming to be an entire philosophy and not just " a disbelief in God".

Some atheists I note seem to pine for some semblance of spirituality and claim that an obscure Buddhist sect doesn't believe in God: this is erroneous as this obscure sect believes we are all "Buddhas" or "gods" (a Hindu concept), that reincarnation exists and that there is an alternate state of consciousness, that angelic beings exist,etc which are all strong characteristics of religion and a concept of "God as within all". As JC said : the kingdom of heaven is within.


Allison Loker profile image

Allison Loker 23 months ago from Brooklyn

Paladin,

Great comment! It sheds some light on the two. I actually wasn't even aware of anti-theism but definitely seem to share your feelings. I wish I felt more comfortable being outspoken about my atheism and mistrust of religion and its historically catastrophic effects on followers. I definitely don't agree that "you are seeing what you want" and think that your comment was a great addition to this already fantastic hub!


Cody 23 months ago

That fact that there is still an undeniable desregard by some to simply accept that everyone is entitled to an opinion show that the article in question is relevant. I am an atheist that never promotes my status or ideas, simply because people give me that initial 'look', like they are waiting for the punchline. I do believe however, that those who are religious, promote healthy morals (new testament, not old). The Bible has been re-written many times to reflect the changing society that we live in. So while I choose not to disclose 'my' lack of religion, I do have respect for those who use sitting in church every sunday as a reason to be nice to one-another. I love my fellow people, and wish that he could try to learn from each other, and not just try to figure out each other.


Cody 23 months ago

Oh and atheism is a philosophy. Choosing to abandon all religious philosophy in in itself a philosophy. I once stated that all religions can consider each other a 'cult', no one understood my logic but depending the part of the world that you live in, if your religion is the minority, it then resembles what the American society sees as a 'cult'.

cult

/kəlt/

noun

noun: cult; plural noun: cults

a system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 23 months ago from Michigan, USA

Thank you for your kind words, Allison.

No, Oz, I'm not just "seeing what (I) want to." I was pointing out to you the difference between atheism and anti-theism. You're referring to something else entirely.

Sadly, your are correct in that there are some who want to make atheism about more than just a lack of belief in God. They call themselves "atheism plus," and they represent a schism now occurring among the atheist community.

Led by so-called "social justice warriors" (a derogatory term applied by us, not them) like PZ Myers and Richard Carrier, they wish to use the growing strength of the atheist movement to promote other causes unrelated to atheism -- primarily strident feminism.

While causes like social justice and equality are things I believe in, and are worthy of activism, they have NOTHING to do with atheism, and don't belong in our movement (which certainly has enough on its plate without dealing with a thousand other issues!).

Unfortunately, these social justice warriors are notorious for using the same sort of dishonest tactics often used by our conventional ideological opponents -- creationists and religious apologists -- in that they prefer to suppress, ignore or mischaracterize opposing viewpoints instead of honestly engaging them. And they add to that the extremely dishonest tactic of shutting down any debate by accusing the opposition of being misogynists or bigots.

It's disgraceful and it's distracting, and it's pushing many of us more conventional atheists to withdraw from various aspects of the movement, like conventions and forums. In the end, it just makes our job that much more difficult!


Brian Laverentz profile image

Brian Laverentz 23 months ago from Texas

Oz,

You keep bringing up the governing power of law, but I must remind you just because a law exist doesn't make it right. A great example would be the laws created during the Jim Crow era, also the fact that laws are constantly changed or otherwise removed due to its lack of ethics. A law is defined as the minimum standard of ethical behavior. Ethics itself is really studying the grey area of what is virtuous. What Ardency, I think, is trying to say is that laws should not limit our ability to make a choice that is within that grey area of debate. Law is not a determining factor of what is right or wrong but rather a determination by society as to what is right and wrong. The issue with that is that man as a part of society or as an individual is not infallible and by such notion can create unjust laws. The basic principles that we define ourselves by are not truly based in religion. In fact, they are based in the simple concept that society cannot exist without them, and more specifically one simple rule, the golden rule. While I assume you know the golden rule I will say it anyway; Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 23 months ago from Australia

Brian

I am basically reminding certain people who advocate a fanciful atheist nihilism that laws exist as they seem to forget about that!

The historical fact is that the concept of law and ethics evolved out of religion.ie the golden rule is a biblical quote.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 23 months ago from Michigan, USA

While the so-called "golden rule" may, indeed, be a biblical quote, its origins are certainly NOT in the Bible. The concept of "do unto others..." has been around probably as long as humans, and it's perhaps the most common-sense facet of human morality.

For example, Confucius is known to have expressed an almost identical sentiment five centuries BEFORE Jesus. And it is also part of Hindu religious text, MILLENIA before!

As for whether the concepts of law and ethics evolved out of religion, I'm afraid I don't know enough about the history to have a conclusion about that one way or the other. But, based upon what I DO know of history and religion, I'd wager that law, ethics and religion evolved TOGETHER.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 23 months ago from Australia

Paladin

Another convoluted "explanation"

All these truisms and philosophies come from religion. Confucious was also a Taoist and a religious man


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 23 months ago from Michigan, USA

Oz, I have only two words for you regarding your assertion that "all these truisms [i.e. the 'golden rule'] come from religion:

Prove it.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 23 months ago from Australia

Paladin

Thus so called golden rule is a direct bible quote. Do unto others etc is identifiably a JC quote.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 23 months ago from Michigan, USA

Yes, and I acknowledged that from the beginning. But the Bible is not its origin, as I attempted to demonstrate you.

You keep insisting that "...the concept of law and ethics evolved out of religion," but have, as yet, been unwilling or unable to provide compelling evidence for this claim. Until you do, you're just talking...


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 22 months ago from Australia

Paladin

I have proved what you asked. Many religions have similar rules.

Its now up to you to prove ancient atheists came up with it. As if.

No long winded convoluted back flips PLEASE


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 22 months ago from Michigan, USA

No, Oz, you haven't proved a thing. All you did is make a bunch of claims about religion and ethical laws and precepts. I'll jog your memory:

"...The historical fact is that the concept of law and ethics evolved out of religion."

"...All these truisms and philosophies come from religion."

All you've offered in the way of 'proof' for these assertions thus far is ONE QUOTE (the "golden rule"), which you claim originates from religious texts -- which is essentially a repetition of your original premise! If that's what you consider 'proof', perhaps you need a remedial course in what that word means...


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 22 months ago from Australia

Paladin

you have only given one quote! I proved where it came from.

Its up to you to provide more questions about ethical and spiritual wisdom and I will endeavor to show you that it evolved out of religion.

I can't do all the work.


littlething profile image

littlething 22 months ago

Oztinato, just an odd question. Why are you so intent on proving Paladin wrong? Both you and paladin have made very good points. Why do you keep arguing? It's nearly impossible to "prove" where all of this came from. Take into account that the bible was an oral tradition for thousands of years before it was written down. Even then, it has been changed many times after.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 22 months ago from Australia

Littlething

I am not trying to prove him wrong; I am trying to lead him in the correct direction. I am merely patiently responding with knowledge to certain misinformation. He is obviously young and misinformed.

If people ask questions I am morally obliged to reply with an honest answer as I am doing now to your question.It is also my right to respond ie free speech.

I don't think he is making good points at all and he often ties himself in knots. For example, it is a historical and well recorded fact that ethics and culture evolved out of religion.

Question: Do you believe it is a person's right to respond to questions on HP?


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 22 months ago from Michigan, USA

Littlething, Oz has FINALLY made one statement that is correct: He is, indeed, not trying to prove me wrong. He's trying to shift the burden of proof. After all our online debates, he should know by now that I don't fall for such ruses.

Oz, you have made the assertion once again that "it is a (sic) historical and well recorded fact that ethics and culture evolved out of religion," yet, AGAIN, you offer no proof. Instead, you insist that I prove you wrong. So, after all, it now seems clear that you DON'T understand the meaning of the words 'proof' and 'evidence.' So I'll give you a quick remedial course.

Webster's Dictionary defines both 'evidence' and 'proof' as "something which shows that something else exists or is true." Note the words "something else." What this means to any objective, rational person is that 'evidence' or 'proof' is something IN ADDITION to what is asserted -- not a mere repetition of the assertion itself.

To be fair, you've offered ONE piece of evidentiary support -- the "Golden rule" -- for your claims, but have offered no support that your 'proof' itself is anything more than yet ANOTHER unfounded assertion. You claim that you've "proven" where the quote comes from. But you haven't. Again, simply repeating the claim that its origins are religious doesn't make it true.

In the end, you could have suggested that religion is a POSSIBLE source of ethics and laws, as exemplified in the "Golden rule." You could have even claimed that it was the PROBABLE source, and would still have been on fairly firm ground. Instead, you assert that religion is THE source of all ethics and laws -- to the exclusion of ALL OTHER possibilities.

THIS is the standard you've set for yourself, and the assertion you must prove. And the fact that you're now trying to shift the burden of proof to me suggests that you're now beginning to recognize and understand the size of your blunder.

So, again...You've made the assertions. Where is your proof?


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 22 months ago from Australia

Paladin

I must tell you I don't read long rambling posts.

In short, if I or anyone else can Google history in a few minutes you should be able to.

I also need to clarify that you are often telling other people what I am supposedly saying quite often. This is unethical misrepresentation. Please stop it.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 22 months ago from Michigan, USA

Oz, I'm not going to do your work for you. If you wish to make assertions and not be thought a fool, then provide proof.

As for quoting you, I've literally copied and pasted what you've said, so how can I be "misrepresenting" it? You're drifting off the deep end, my friend.

So, again, I'll ask you -- where is your proof for your assertions? (was that short enough?) ;-)


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 22 months ago from Australia

Paladin

Personal attacks will be reported.

Do you homework or go to bed without your supper


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 22 months ago from Michigan, USA

Personal attacks? Do you mean like this?:

"...Many such Hubs exist full of atheist vacuous self congratulatory praise."

"...By now it should be clear that many atheists are not interested in reason and science when it comes to serious discussions about God."

"...All I see is the usual atheist denial and baseless ridicule of an eminent scientist."

"...Although I admit to an admiration of your enthusiasm as it has a hint of sincerity..."

"...Many, but not all, atheists choose to abandon normal sound moral jusdgements (sic) for fashionable reasons (ie books, money, fame) just as ISIS does."

How's that for doing my homework? ;-)

Incidentally, I see you STILL haven't offered any proof for your assertions. Will we see it anytime soon?


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 22 months ago from Australia

Paladin

A personal attack is an attack upon a person not an idea. This is why I can't talk to you as you get basic stuff wrong. I am free to attack ideas not an individual person.

I can't keep educating you as I am too busy.

Bye


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 22 months ago from Michigan, USA

Oz, perhaps you could point out to me where I've personally attacked you. And, if I supposedly have, how those comments are different from your own words that I've quoted above.

Or perhaps you could point out to me what "basic stuff" I've gotten wrong.

Or perhaps you could explain why you consistently refuse to offer any evidentiary support for the claims you make repeatedly on numerous hubs.

If you're too busy, I suggest you stop making assertions you're unwilling to defend, and stop wasting everyone else's time.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 22 months ago from Australia

Paladin

Adios


snowwhitecat2014 profile image

snowwhitecat2014 22 months ago

I really enjoyed your article on this. As an atheist I agree with a lot of the points you make here. I live in the Bible belt where there aren't a lot of atheists but tons of Christians who just don't understand what it means to be an atheist. It can be very frustrating because people don't understand I don't believe in nothing, that I can be moral without religion, and more. What I would love is people to want to have friendly talks with and the ability to find middle ground within the religious community. Ignorance in understanding atheists often leads to anger and judgmental attitudes. Really well done article.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 18 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Great hub! I hope you continue to write as you seem to have a good grasp of writing in general as well as a good eye for design and function. Thanks for helping to generate a positive view of atheism.

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