Of course Atheists sin more {Mod edit - Moved to Atheist vs. Theist}

Technarch
Posts: 127
Joined: 2007-02-06
User is offlineOffline
Of course Atheists sin more {Mod edit - Moved to Atheist vs. Theist}

The argument that Atheists will commit crimes and mass murder is a bit extreme, but the idea comes from the lack of any absolute moral quality in the universe. The response is that Altruism allows people to treat each other with enough respect to ensure life and society sustaining actions. But what about actions that aren't as extreme as murder or mass murder? Since there are no sins, only societal laws, then I can commit any action that isn't illegal or doesn't greatly harm people. I can spend every day masturbating to porn, I can treat people like shit, I can swear, I can be cynical, I can live life with a personality that isn't polite or caring or respectful of others. None of these things are sinful, and I can do all of them without remorse. But look at the religious person who is polite, caring, respectful, kind, and has a positive outlook on life. Aren't they better people in terms of personality and Altruism? Not only do their attitudes follow Kantian principles of treating others positively, but also Utilitarian principles in terms of allowing society to be a more friendly, happier place. Sure the happiness and politeness is driven by something unreal, but without that spiritual motivation, there's nothing to prevent me from being a complete George Carlin style asshole at every opportunity. A job interview or a conversation with police can necessitate forced politeness in order to look out for ones own self interests, but the rest of the time I have no obligation to treat myself or others well. The consequence may be "you won't get along with others and ultimately may find less happiness in life," but that's not important to the person who enjoys being a cynical jackass and wasting every hour whacking it.

There may be some compulsion to fix this kind of person, to make them get along with others and contribute more to society, to make them "better," but it's not required. As far as peacefully getting along with others and maintaining a generally polite and respectful community, aren't everyday religious people still "better"?


BGH
BGH's picture
Posts: 2772
Joined: 2006-09-28
User is offlineOffline
You have a poor

You have a poor represntation of atheists. Assuming because theists believe in god makes them better persons is asinine.


JCE
Bronze Member
JCE's picture
Posts: 1219
Joined: 2007-03-20
User is offlineOffline
Um, your descriptions are

Um, your descriptions are reversed.  Either you must know some pretty fantastic religious people or you need to get out more.  90% + of the area I live in is religious and I assure you there are as many cynical jackasses as there are generally polite and friendly people.  Sometimes they are the same person depending on whether or not they are late for work.  Odds are that most of the cynical jackasses I know are religious folks.


Kaelestis721
Posts: 7
Joined: 2007-05-02
User is offlineOffline
Not every atheist is an

Not every atheist is an asshole and not every Christian is an angel. Being seemingly religious you should know that.  People will be people.  Altho some hold to different beliefs then others do, and while a belief may influence a person.  A person's beliefs' do not shape a person's personality.  This is why there are jerk atheists and jerk Christians.  This is why there are kind and understanding atheists and kind and understanding Christians.

 As far as the masturbation part...religion or lack there of doesn't have a heavy influence on how often a person does that at all.


Technarch
Posts: 127
Joined: 2007-02-06
User is offlineOffline
I'm next to a heavily Mormon

I'm next to a heavily Mormon populace, and because they believe certain things are sinful, they avoid those things.  With no system of "sin" in place, it allows one to commit any actions one wants to as long as it doesn't greatly harm people.  I've noticed these people swear less, insult each other less, and generally treat each other with kindness and respect, along with a creepy friendly smile.   If they didn't have religious incentive to act nice through upbringing or community expectations, I'd assume many of them would have no reason to be as nice as they appear to be.


deludedgod
Rational VIP!ScientistDeluded God
deludedgod's picture
Posts: 3221
Joined: 2007-01-28
User is offlineOffline
People say we need religion

People say we need religion when what they really mean is we need police.

-A sanguine comparison brought up by Dawkins, although this is not his quote. I forgot who it was attributed to. (He used it in the God Delusion remarking on a scenario when the police went on strike) 

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

Books about atheism


Susan
Susan's picture
Posts: 3561
Joined: 2006-02-12
User is offlineOffline
Technarch wrote: I'm next

Technarch wrote:
I'm next to a heavily Mormon populace, and because they believe certain things are sinful, they avoid those things. With no system of "sin" in place, it allows one to commit any actions one wants to as long as it doesn't greatly harm people. I've noticed these people swear less, insult each other less, and generally treat each other with kindness and respect, along with a creepy friendly smile. If they didn't have religious incentive to act nice through upbringing or community expectations, I'd assume many of them would have no reason to be as nice as they appear to be.

Some mormons are pretty scary. 

If you get a chance, read some of the history of the mormon church.  Read The Mormon Murders by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith.  Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer will give you an idea of how scary they can be.

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.


Vastet
atheistBloggerSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 13210
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
Technarch wrote: The

Technarch wrote:
The argument that Atheists will commit crimes and mass murder is a bit extreme

Extreme isn't the right word. Nonsensical fits much better.

Technarch wrote:
but the idea comes from the lack of any absolute moral quality in the universe.  The response is that Altruism allows people to treat each other with enough respect to ensure life and society sustaining  actions.  But what about actions that aren't as extreme as murder or mass murder?

Surely you've heard the phrase "do unto others as you would have them do unto you"? With that in mind, lets examine.

Technarch wrote:
  Since there are no sins, only societal laws, then I can commit any action that isn't illegal or doesn't greatly harm people.

You can do that anyway. All you have to do is apologize to god and it's ok. Christians do it all the time. Confessional I believe it's called.

Technarch wrote:
  I can spend every day masturbating to porn,

Uhm...you have a problem with masturbating? Plenty of theists have no problem masturbating. Maybe you're the weird one.

Technarch wrote:
I can treat people like shit

Golden rule. Treat others like shit and expect to be treated like shit in return. If that doesn't bother you, go for it.

Technarch wrote:
I can swear

Everyone does, including theists. Including yourself! Not one sentence before! This comment has no value.

Technarch wrote:
I can be cynical

You telling me no theists are cynical? Rofl.

Technarch wrote:
I can live life with a personality that isn't polite or caring or respectful of others.

Golden rule.

Technarch wrote:
None of these things are sinful, and I can do all of them without remorse.  But look at the religious person who is polite, caring, respectful, kind, and has a positive outlook on life.  Aren't they better people in terms of personality and Altruism?

Look at the religious person who is rude, uncaring, disrespectful, unkind, has a negative outlook on life, and threatens people with hellfire and brimstone. Aren't they worse people in terms of personality than friendly atheists?

Technarch wrote:
  Not only do their attitudes follow Kantian principles of treating others positively, but also Utilitarian principles in terms of allowing society to be a more friendly, happier place.

Nothing stopping that from happening in a godless society.

Technarch wrote:
  Sure the happiness and politeness is driven by something unreal, but without that spiritual motivation, there's nothing to prevent me from being a complete George Carlin style asshole at every opportunity.

Are you calling Carlin an asshole? I guess that makes you one eh?

Technarch wrote:
  A job interview or a conversation with police can necessitate forced politeness in order to look out for ones own self interests, but the rest of the time I have no obligation to treat myself or others well.

If you don't care about not being cared about, then I guess you don't. So what are you living in society for? Sounds to me like you'd find living alone in a jungle preferable.

Technarch wrote:
  The consequence may be "you won't get along with others and ultimately may find less happiness in life," but that's not important to the person who enjoys being a cynical jackass and wasting every hour whacking it.

You think your pathetically shallow threats of god damnation are going to stop someone? Then why has 5000 odd years of human progression shown that to be a lie? Obviously threat of god(s) and promise of salvation/afterlife isn't good enough for people to be good. The idea it is a universal morality is ludicrous.

Technarch wrote:

There may be some compulsion to fix this kind of person, to make them get along with others and contribute more to society, to make them "better," but it's not required.  As far as peacefully getting along with others and maintaining a generally polite and respectful community, aren't everyday religious people still "better"?

The everyday religious person doesn't come close to fitting with your idealization of them. The everyday religious person participated in the crusades.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


Kaelestis721
Posts: 7
Joined: 2007-05-02
User is offlineOffline
Technarch wrote: I'm next

Technarch wrote:
I'm next to a heavily Mormon populace, and because they believe certain things are sinful, they avoid those things.  With no system of "sin" in place, it allows one to commit any actions one wants to as long as it doesn't greatly harm people.  I've noticed these people swear less, insult each other less, and generally treat each other with kindness and respect, along with a creepy friendly smile.   If they didn't have religious incentive to act nice through upbringing or community expectations, I'd assume many of them would have no reason to be as nice as they appear to be.
Assuming is never the best option.  What you see is more likely a good example of group influence and good upbringing influencing an individual then having actual religious influence.  I've known some mormons from my high school and in the military and they don't really act any differently from anybody else...be it Christian, Buddist (sp?), Islamic, or Atheist...and between you and me Military guys are about the most immoral group of people I've seen...and the ones I saw in high school were not morally any superior as a group then the next person that I saw.


Strafio
Strafio's picture
Posts: 1346
Joined: 2006-09-11
User is offlineOffline
Technarch wrote:

Technarch wrote:
look at the religious person who is polite, caring, respectful, kind, and has a positive outlook on life. Aren't they better people in terms of personality and Altruism?

Hi. I think a good thing to do here would be to ask yourself why this is better. There is a reason why these characteristics are better and because of this reason you will see that atheists have just as much motive as Christians to be these kind of good people.

What do you mean by spiritual motivation?
The spirituality that I understand is the search for happiness, in which case it can apply to atheists also. If you mean 'spiritual' as in having Christian beliefs, what difference does it make?
Are you only nice because you're scared of hell?
Surely you value niceness for the same reason that atheists do?


DeeLock
DeeLock's picture
Posts: 21
Joined: 2007-03-01
User is offlineOffline
We don't need a professor

We don't need a professor with a yard stick watching over us to act like decent human beings.

Being nice is an evolutionary trait.  The nice neanderthals and cave men that treated their tribe with respect and picked the bugs out of their hair once and a while were accepted and thus given a better chance of survival.

Why is masturbation sinnful?  It is a natural thing, even animals do it!  It is a perfectly good way to warm up to your own body and to prepare in adolescence for sex.

My point is that we don't need a bossman looking over our shoulder spanking us whenever we do something "sinful," we only need to hold to the golden rule like vastet was saying. 

Now excuse me while I go masturbate to some gay porn. 

Bisexuality immediately doubles your chances for a date on Saturday night.

-Woody Allen


todangst
atheistRational VIP!
todangst's picture
Posts: 2843
Joined: 2006-03-10
User is offlineOffline
Technarch wrote: The

Technarch wrote:

The argument that Atheists will commit crimes and mass murder is a bit extreme, but the idea comes from the lack of any absolute moral quality in the universe. The response is that Altruism allows people to treat each other with enough respect to ensure life and society sustaining actions. But what about actions that aren't as extreme as murder or mass murder? Since there are no sins, only societal laws, then I can commit any action that isn't illegal or doesn't greatly harm people. I can spend every day masturbating to porn, I can treat people like shit, I can swear, I can be cynical, I can live life with a personality that isn't polite or caring or respectful of others. None of these things are sinful, and I can do all of them without remorse. But look at the religious person who is polite, caring, respectful, kind, and has a positive outlook on life. Aren't they better people in terms of personality and Altruism? 

So you are conceding that a religious person cannot be intrinsically moral?

That their morality must be externally enforced?

This would mean that they are practing a developmentally immature morality, and that they do not actually undertake a moral behavior for the sake of morality itself, but for reward.

You've just demonstrated the shallowness of religiously inculcated morality. Ironically, christian "morality" is based on hedonistic self interest.

 

Kohlberg's Stages of Moral Reasoning

If we look at Kohlberg's stages of moral reasoning, we see that a system built upon punishments and rewards is pre conventional morality, and not a mature moral system at all:

Stages 1 and 2 in the preconventional level involve an "egocentric point of view" and a "concrete individualistic perspective" in which the person makes choices based on the fear of punishment and the desire for rewards.

Stage 1 Punishment/Obedience - Consequentialism. This stage is characterized by avoidance of punishment and unquestioning deference to power as values in themselves. Simple Hedonism. Morality is seen as based on self interest.

Stage 2 - Instrumental Relativist Orientation - defined by a focus on instrumental satisfaction of one's own needs, as the determiner of "right". Reciprocity may be present, but it is of the "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" kind.

Convential Stage (Late childhood, early adolescence)
In Stages 3 and 4 of the conventional level, persons make choices from a "member-of-society" perspective, considering the good of others, the maintenance of positive relations, and the rules of society.

Stage 3 - Interpersonal Concordance (Good boy/girl orientation) - this stage is driven by a desire to please or help others with hope of winning their approval.

Stage 4 - Law and Order orientation - Focuses on the maintenance of social order and the importance of authority and strict rules. This is not the blind, unquestioning belief in power of stage one, however.

Postconventional level (This may develop in late adolescence, more likely in our mid 20s and beyond. It may never develop for most of us.) Persons in the final stages of the postconventional level, Stages 5 and 6, reason from a "prior-to-society" perspective in which abstract ideals take precedence over particular societal laws.

Stage 5 - Social Contract/Legalistic Orientation - This stage involves a recognition of the relative nature of personal values, and the importance of having procedures for reaching a consensus and changing unfair rules. The individual at this stage can separate the legal world from individual differences of opinion.

Stage 6 - Universal Ethical Principle Orientation - This stage involves defining what is "right" in one's own conscience in a way that is consistent with one's own abstract ethical principles that are based on inclusiveness and responsibility to others; there is a clear emphasis on universality, consistency, logic and rationality. The highest stage of moral development in Kohlberg's original theory.

Christian 'morality' (if we leave aside the other problems for a moment) is at best a preconventional morality.. it's external, it's based on obedience, on fear, on punishment and rewards. Such a "morality' is not a 'morality at all, it is mere prudence. It's driven by a hedonistic need to avoid torture and seek out pleasure.

Real morality is both external and internal. It's part of your character, of who you are. It's a set of values - literally things that you value other than just yourself..... It's an inter-subjective standard - the morals of their community, which in turn are founded on human empathy.

In order for a man to be moral, to reach levels 3, 4, and beyond, he must disregard the claims of theism, and move towards intrinsic rewards for moral actions. As the philosopher Spinoza stated: "A moral act is never an act done solely for an external reward, it's done because the act, itself, is rewarding". So again, christianity can only undermine morality through it's infantile use of external threats.

Here's a nice quote from Alan Dershowitz to support this view:

"There is a wonderful Hasidic story about a rabbi who was asked whether it is ever proper to act as if God did not exist. He responded, “Yes, when you are asked to give to charity, you should give as if there were no God to help the object of the charity.” I think the same is true of morality and character: in deciding what course of action is moral, you should act as if there were no God. You should also act as if there were no threat of earthly punishment or reward. You should be a person of good character because it is right to be such a person."

 

http://www.rationalresponders.com/christians_must_steal_from_secular_morality

 

 

 

"Hitler burned people like Anne Frank, for that we call him evil.
"God" burns Anne Frank eternally. For that, theists call him 'good.'


Technarch
Posts: 127
Joined: 2007-02-06
User is offlineOffline
Kickass.  You just won the

Kickass.  You just won the thread.


stillmatic
stillmatic's picture
Posts: 288
Joined: 2007-03-29
User is offlineOffline
Technarch wrote: Kickass. 

Technarch wrote:
Kickass.  You just won the thread.
Technically doesn't Christianity win by default if you are measuring "sin" and not morality?

"A proof is a proof. What kind of a proof? It's a proof. A proof is a proof. And when you have a good proof, it's because it's proven." -- former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien


Ophios
Ophios's picture
Posts: 909
Joined: 2006-09-19
User is offlineOffline
DeeLock wrote: Why is

DeeLock wrote:
Why is masturbation sinnful?

Becuase some primative people a long time ago decided it was.

 

But don't worry, sin doesn't always equal bad. 

AImboden wrote:
I'm not going to PM my agreement just because one tucan has pms.


aiia
Superfan
aiia's picture
Posts: 1923
Joined: 2006-09-12
User is offlineOffline
Technarch wrote:

Technarch wrote:
I'm next to a heavily Mormon populace, and because they believe certain things are sinful, they avoid those things. With no system of "sin" in place, it allows one to commit any actions one wants to as long as it doesn't greatly harm people. I've noticed these people swear less, insult each other less, and generally treat each other with kindness and respect, along with a creepy friendly smile. If they didn't have religious incentive to act nice through upbringing or community expectations, I'd assume many of them would have no reason to be as nice as they appear to be.
It sounds like you are discribing trained animated manikins. Basically what you have here are mindless obedient fools who really are not thinking for themselves, but are following a prescribed manner. I wonder who/what they'd be if religion was removed from their lives, humans perhaps?

People who think there is something they refer to as god don't ask enough questions.


Edger
Posts: 104
Joined: 2007-01-14
User is offlineOffline
My home town is loaded with

My home town is loaded with Hell-fire Christians. It's a small community and it's hard to hide your "sins" (if that's what you want to call them).

There's plenty of kind, happy, honest Christian folks in town but for every good one there's a rotten one that will: steal from his/her neighbor, slander his/her neighbor, run over the neighbor's cat, do a hit and run on the neighbor's car, commit CC fraud against their neighbor's CC account, cuss like a punk, screw their neighbor's wife, beat their own wife,  rape their neighbor's children, rape their own children, beat their own children, beat the neighbor's dog, or beat their own own dog.

How do I know? Like I said, it's a tight community indeed.

I've learned that the most pious, undeservedly arrogant Christians (like yourself), tend to be the most dishonest and morally putrified of the bunch.

Who are you kidding Technarc?

 

 


mrjonno
Posts: 726
Joined: 2007-02-26
User is offlineOffline
Religion or lack of it in

Religion or lack of it in most cases have very little to do with morality

a) A religous fundamentalist who follows 100% the word of the bible is EVIL end of story and likely to end up in jail very quickly

 b) Some religious people follow the good bits of their books and are decent people. Good bits ='those compatible with a modern 21st century society'. Nothing wrong with loving your neighbour. Everything wrong with killing gay people or those who go down the pub on a Sunday

c) Most the rest of us follow the law and personal codes we might have 

 

 

c


Strafio
Strafio's picture
Posts: 1346
Joined: 2006-09-11
User is offlineOffline
Tod, I'm planning on copying

Tod, I'm planning on copying most of that onto another forum.
It's the usual 'public domain' stuff, right?

AiiA wrote:
It sounds like you are discribing trained animated manikins. Basically what you have here are mindless obedient fools who really are not thinking for themselves, but are following a prescribed manner. I wonder who/what they'd be if religion was removed from their lives, humans perhaps?

Actually, in my experience, the morality that he describes is genuine.
What this does mean is that the moral practice of these Christians is more secular than they admit, because if they were true to their theology then they would be the trained manikins as you describe. It's an ironic kind of hypocracy.
Usually you expect someone to preach righteousness and then sneakily sin while you're not looking. Meanwhile these Christians are preaching ugly immorality while secretly practicing true morality, thinking that we don't know! Wink

(Not saying that all Christians have this genuine morality - I guess it depends on which groups you fall in with. The fundies in England are almost always as I describe. I wouldn't know what it's like in America.)


razorphreak
Theist
razorphreak's picture
Posts: 901
Joined: 2007-02-05
User is offlineOffline
Technarch wrote: There may

Technarch wrote:
There may be some compulsion to fix this kind of person, to make them get along with others and contribute more to society, to make them "better," but it's not required. As far as peacefully getting along with others and maintaining a generally polite and respectful community, aren't everyday religious people still "better"?

People are people.  History has shown that theists on power trips are more likely to cause hate and war much more than any non-believer.  What has always been a shameful past, something I wish could easily be disassociated from, "religious people" are not better because they are still people.  People will never amount to God's standard and they will always fall to sin (Psalm 14).  Something I really wish atheists would understand actions from one group of people does not represent every single person who are "titled" the same.  Not every Muslim hates America, not every Christian wants to kill homosexuals, and I know that not every atheist wants to see theists die.

As to the desire to fix someone, any true believing Christian will tell you that one person cannot fix another (another thing that differentiates Christians to Mormons).  Only God will grant the gift of faith and salvation to that person, no man can (Ephesians 2:8-9).

When people stop judging others based on titles and judge them as they come, one at a time, statements that express hatred about any group from that moment on would no longer be qualified by people's actions.  Of course, if that were to happen, I suppose we'd relabel where we live as "utopia".

What is faith? Is it to believe that which is evident? No. It is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, eternal, supreme, and intelligent being. This is no matter of faith, but of reason. - Voltaire


Jacob Cordingley
SuperfanBronze Member
Jacob Cordingley's picture
Posts: 1484
Joined: 2007-03-18
User is offlineOffline
I like to think I'm a

I like to think I'm a better ethicist than the Christian God. I study ethics for Chrissakes. We can create sets of rules that lead to a happy well-ordered society, with a sense of moral decency. Human morality doesn't come from God, it comes from our instincts - we naturally live in close groups, societies etc so we have evolved to have the capability for moral decency, it makes sense for our survival. Since we have this instinct, it would be best to maximise it, so that we can create "the greatest happiness for the greatest number."

A few things you say are sinful...

Masturbation - Why? I hurts no one and it gives you pleasure. Unless of course you count tiny little sperms as lives, but they are just cells, cells die all the time, you don't have any of the same cells aged 18 as you will have when you're 40. And, most of your sperm will never become fertilised so it isn't really like you're depriving them of a right to be fertilised. Also, regular ejaculation is a healthy thing which helps to prevent testicular cancer, you could argue you have an obligation to yourself to wank.

Porn - Well, it can be exploitative, even so called consensual porn could be done through sheer need for money. On the other hand, doing it can be liberating for some people, who enjoy that kind of work. There is nothing wrong with pornographic material per se, just the circumstances in which it sometimes comes from.


JeremiahSmith
Posts: 361
Joined: 2006-11-25
User is offlineOffline
Jacob Cordingley wrote: I

Jacob Cordingley wrote:
I like to think I'm a better ethicist than the Christian God.

I don't see why people go around saying that God's not ethical. I'm just as ethical as God is! I, too, have to kill my own kids whenever I want to change the way I treat others. 

Götter sind für Arten, die sich selbst verraten -- in den Glauben flüchten um sich hinzurichten. Menschen brauchen Götter um sich zu verletzen, um sich zu vernichten -- das sind wir.


Ophios
Ophios's picture
Posts: 909
Joined: 2006-09-19
User is offlineOffline
JeremiahSmith wrote: Jacob

JeremiahSmith wrote:

Jacob Cordingley wrote:
I like to think I'm a better ethicist than the Christian God.

I don't see why people go around saying that God's not ethical. I'm just as ethical as God is! I, too, have to kill my own kids whenever I want to change the way I treat others.

And also being as ethical as god, you like to slaughter people en masse for not agreeing with you, instead of trying to change thier minds. 

AImboden wrote:
I'm not going to PM my agreement just because one tucan has pms.