God, morality, religion, and evolution?

Todays question comes from Rachel who says…

Name: Rachel
Message: Hi there, I wanna start off by saying that I don’t call myself a Christian because let’s face it, people who claim to be Christians have given Christians a bad name. So, I call myself a believer in God. I just have a couple questions when it comes to what Atheists may believe. I’m not here to argue or convert anyone, I just wanna ask some questions.

If you say you don’t believe in God, what are your reasons for that? Do you believe people have a moral compass that is aligned with the Bible, even though they don’t believe in God? Do you feel religions not just Christianity, have had a positive or negative affect on humanity? Do all atheists believe in evolution?

I don’t know these are just some questions that I have been thinking about. I’m curious to hear your response!

Well Rachel those are all great questions, and most have already been answered here, so feel free to use the search box in the upper right corner if my answers aren’t enough for you.

Why each atheist doesn’t believe in a god is different from atheist to atheist. Some don’t believe because they haven’t been convinced. Some don’t believe because they’ve never been introduced to the idea. The only thing one atheist has to have in common with another is a lack of belief in a god or gods. How they get to that point is their own personal journey.

For me though, it’s because I have a love affair with the truth. I believe that the hardest thing for anyone to do, is to see things as they are and not just how they wished they would be. This means that when faced with the truth of something, even if that something is unpleasant, I am compelled to accept it. My problem with the evidence that people bring to me of their gods is that it always violates how we determine everything else exists. I think I explained it best in this post here where I said…

First of all. Before we evaluate any claim. The first thing that we need to do is define the type of claim. In the case of theism the claim is that a god exists. This is a claim of existence. The next thing we do is we look for a criteria, or in other words a method, with which we can evaluate the claim. When it comes to existence, the only valid criteria is the objective one. For a claim to be objective, it must produce the same results every time. For example if I hold out a rubber ball to you and say to you, “This is a rubber ball” and you understand that a rubber ball is a spherical object made out of rubber, you will naturally accept my claim. Then, you can turn to another and do the same, and so on, and so forth. You can do this over and over and each person will say “That is a rubber ball”. However if I were to approach you with my empty hand held out and told you that “This is a rubber ball” you would see that not only is there nothing in my hand, but that the nothing is neither rubber, nor a spherical object, and it becomes easy to dismiss my claim because it can not be objectively evaluated. We use this criteria every day to determine what exists and what doesn’t exist. It’s how we know when someone has a mental illness and claims that they see elves or pixies or tall 6 foot invisible rabbit named “Harvey”.

So when someone comes to me and says that they know their god exists, and their evidence goes against the criteria that we all use every day to determine existence, I tend to dismiss it. I believe that if there is a god, that he would want us to discover him using the criteria that he set up to discover everything else. To do otherwise would be like saying that the only way to get into heaven would be to study math your entire life but then at the end he gives you a history test. This to me would be deceitful and unless the god in question is a trickster god, I find it hard to accept.

Now as for morality, I think you have it backwards. I think the bible is a reflection of mans moral compass at that time, not the other way around. I explain it in this video…

Do I think that religion has a positive or negative effect on humanity? I believe it’s mostly negative. Whenever you have a belief system that insists that you deny facts it’s going to be bad no matter how much charity work is involved with it. Religion has set back medicine, has denied people basic rights of equality, has started wars, etc. I don’t believe that people help others because of their religion, I believe they do it despite their religion. They do it because they recognize the value of helping others and because it makes them feel good inside. We are social animals, and giving help to others is a great way of furthering the social contract that I described in the video above.

Do all atheists believe in evolution? That’s kind of like asking if all atheists believe in gravity. It’s not a requirement to be an atheist or anything so I suppose there might be a few out there who don’t. I guess those atheists who have never heard of a god or evolution would obviously not have a belief in it. Usually though it’s religious people who can’t accept facts that fly in the face of their religious beliefs that don’t accept the truth of evolution.

Well Rachel I hope that answers your questions. If you have further questions feel free to ask in the comment section below or use the search box to find similar questions and join in on the comments there. Thanks for stopping by!

29 thoughts on “God, morality, religion, and evolution?”

  1. Well Ello Rachel! (That was me doing Ross, from F.R.I.E.N.D.S when he was pretending to have an accent, btw).

    I’m an atheist as well, and I would like to offer my perspective for you to look over. As Erick said, the only thing atheists have in common is our current stance of “no belief in any gods.” Opinions on other topics, and even the reasoning for the atheistic stance, differ greatly.

    So first, reasons for not believing in god. This is a GREAT question, because my first question for believers is, “what are your reasons FOR believing?” Anyways, my reasons for not believing in god, while it sounds cliche, are the same reasons that I don’t believe in the Loch Ness Monster, or that aliens have been to this planet. The reasons are is because they do not hold up to my standards of truth. I am a lifelong atheist, and it is probably significant for you to know that from my experience, most atheists seem to be those who were religious in the past. For me, growing up, I dismissed the notion of a god as soon as I heard about it. I had a strong grasp on reality as a child, and I absolutely loved fantasy stories of magic and heroes. But I absolutely understood what was a story, and what wasn’t. And I’m sorry to say, but the whole god thing sounds like a story to me. I have no reason to consider it a reality because it makes the exact same claims that fantasy stories make, and it comes up with no real world evidence to support that claim. And no, saying “we don’t know, so it must have been god.” is not close to being evidence, because you can replace god with any other unsupported claim and the arguments for it wouldn’t change.

    Regarding morality. No, like Erick, I think the bible took a snapshot of Morality at the time, and some things (especially those that benefit social growth) have stayed in place over the years, and other things no longer have a place in our society. If you read the bible and the horrible human treatment that is inside of it, you would agree that our current morality is not at all in line with the Bible. Morality is shared property if you will, for us humans. It is not owned by a book, a force, or a deity.

    Religion, oh religion. I’m actually an anti-theist (which is not the same as an atheist) myself. I’m not a fan of religion at all. There are many historical reasons to be against religion. As well as current issues involving human rights, politics, and the advance of medicine and science. But you know what, those aren’t my main reason for being against religion. I see relationships ending because one person says they are an atheist. I read about entire communities pretending a previous community member no longer exists because they leave the faith. I know people who have been disowned by their parents, and are ignored by their siblings, because of leaving the faith or joining another. And that’s the saddest thing. When a family can be broken up just because a person decides to think for themselves and decide for themselves what they believe. And all the while, the reasons behind this behavior are unproveable, the existence of god, the validity of scriptures. It is all completely unproveable, and implausible. I see religion as a dividing force in this world. It does NOT unify. Many religions are similar to conquesting dictatorships. “You are either with us, or against us.” And that is wrong. And horrible. And I am happy from the bottom of my heart that religion is losing it’s place in our modern world. Another issue I have is the psychological abuse that religion itself inflicts on believers. Fear of hell, forced “morals”, loss of self importance, self respect, and a lessened appreciation for the quality and importance of ones own life. When you believe this life isn’t “all we have”, I argue that you aren’t living your life so much as preparing yourself for your wonderful afterlife (which will never happen).

    Sorry for the rant, I’m a bit passionate about this.

    As far as evolution, it’s a funny thing. I actually had no idea there were people who did not accept evolution. I live in Washington, so here religion is not as poisonous as it is in the southern parts of America. Honestly I feel anybody who denied evolution on the grounds of creationism would be laughed at and defamed in Washington (that is how accepted it is here). I’m not a huge evolution advocate, but I’ve accepted it as true because I trust the scientific method, and the process of peer review that has lead to evolution being a well-established scientific theory. But you know what? Evolution is such a non-issue. Not only does it neither prove nor disprove a deity, but I personally couldn’t care less if it were true or not.

    Anyways, that’s your atheist perspective from me. Sorry I wrote so much. I hope you took the time to read that.

    1. Thank you for your responces!! I really appreciate it. Adam, I read every word. And I understand your viewpoint fully. I just wanna say that I agree with you on the fact that it is very sad that families are broken up from people leaving the faith. I have been a “Christian” Believer for a very long time, and I used to be a person that probably would have ended up being one of those people. Thankfully I have turned my beliefs into realistic ones. I believe that everyone has a choice on what they believe, it’s not up to me to force any of mine down someone’s throat and then not care about them if they don’t agree. I choose to love people the way I would want to be loved, and treat people as such as well. I would probably be excommunicated if some of my friends heard that but lets face it, reality says, not everyone is gonna agree with you but that doesnt give you grounds to treat them like they dont matter. I have more non-believing friends than I do believing friends. They know how I live my life and I know how they live theirs and we all love each other regardless. Thank you both for your responces, and thank you for not coming at me in a derogatory or attacking manner. =) (By the way Adam I loved your Ross accent line from FRIENDS, it is my favorite show and I literally laughed out loud.) lol.

      1. Thank you for taking the time to read my response. I always enjoy open friendly dialogue with open minded theists (about the topic). FRIENDS is also my favorite American show! So I figure you must be a pretty cool person if you think that as well. I think your outlook is great, and I hope more young people (like us) who are theists end up with a similar outlook. I say this because I know I can’t change minds about the matter, but if at least they wouldn’t let their religion be a source of division or harm, I’d be happy with that. For the record, most of my friends historically have been Christian or Catholic, and they have a similar mindset as you (I choose good friends). The 4 main points about religion that I want to combat are:

        1. The religious treating others, or thinking of others in a negative way purely because of their religious stance (division).
        2. The religious not fully valuing their time on this earth because they truly believe there is something beyond it. (This just makes me sad).
        3. Childhood indoctrination into a religion. basically forcing/brainwashing a child into a religion before the child has a chance to think about the world and come to its own conclusions.
        4. Special treatment of some religions over others in American society, especially regarding public policies, and things like “In God we Trust” on our currency and “Under God” in the pledge.

        I know at this point I’m basically rambling, but I think about this stuff every day. Those are my personal battling points as an anti-theist. It kind of just expands my answer to your question about my feelings towards religion as a negative force.

        Anyways, thank you for taking the time to converse with atheists about what some of us think and feel. It is always good to try to understand one another :).

        1. Adam,
          I’ll be honest that this is really my first time actually opening myself up to the view points that Athiests hold. I am actually taking a class that required me to do so, but I am really glad that I had this assignment. I fully understand your 4 points that you mentioned. Me as a thiest, feel as though your first point, like I mentioned before is a concern of even mine. When it comes to your 2nd point, I feel that theists tend to live their life in a box of sorts. I used to do myself, and I never let the world take me outside of it. I would hope that even though we choose to follow the Bible, that it wouldn’t keep us from valuing our time on this earth, and really embracing whatever life may have for us. Some, sadly allow life to just pass them by. I have many friends who have asked me about this subject and it’s really because of those non-believing friends that I have chosen to live my life a different way than most believers would. Me personally when it comes to raising children, in the religion that I would believe is something that Ive thought about as well. I would raise them up with great morals and believing in what I believe but when it comes down to it, it is their choice to believe it or not. I would never disown or be angry at my child if they chose a different route. I dont know how many other believers would choose my view on that. I think it’s me that is rambling now 😉

          Thanks again for being so nice and having an open, honest conversation with me. Do you have anything you would wanna ask me when it comes to what I believe? You dont have too, I just wanna open it up! 🙂

          1. Adam…in re-reading your post, I have a question for you. Even though our country was based on the morals and Christian beliefs, why do you feel that it is special treatment to religion that we have “In God We Trust” on our currency and “Under God”. I never saw it as favoritism in any way, it’s just what our founding fathers felt was good for our country. I’d really like to hear your mind on this. 🙂

            1. I’m not Adam but I’d like to offer a my 2 cents. First, the country was not founded on Christian principals unless you consider slavery, women as property, child labor, the genocide of natives, and the right of eminent domain Christian principals. Second Thomas Jefferson in the treaty with Tripoli started that the U.S. was not a Christian nation. You can read more here… http://www.nobeliefs.com/Tripoli.htm Just something to think about.

            2. Hi Rachel, as Erick said, the country was not founded on Christian principals at all. That is an “untruth” often advocated by Christians. I’m no history expert, but the first amendment makes it pretty clear that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”. Also most religious aspects of our culture have been (unconstitionally) added throughout history. Of course many religious claim that these have always been there, but that is simply not true, and it is very easy to verify this. Ask any history teacher, or look it up yourself.

              Here is a quick video that addresses this issue: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQrD1ty-yzs

              So, yeah, government endorsed religious actions do bother me. Imagine if all Bible and God references in our policies and practices were instead to the Quran and Allah if you want to imagine how I feel about it.

              Thank you for your continued interest though! I really do hope you watch that 5 minute video, as it is a quick and well made summary on this issue.

              As for questions for you, I know many of the things I might say would come off as an attack, but that’s not how I mean it. I mean these questions as my own sincere curiousity to how you are thinking what you are thinking.
              1. How do you accept that some things in the bible are true? While other are not? Do you think the Bible is just kind of bogus, and “God” actually just wants you to be a good person?
              2. Have you ever thought about why your religion is correct while another one is not? What are your reasons for believing that your particular beliefs are correct while a Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, or Hindu has incorrect beliefs?
              3. Do you believe in Hell?

              For now, that is all that I will ask, I don’t want to overwhelm you. Hope to keep hearing from you.

              1. I just have a few comments. First off, that is a very biased video about our nation. Here is a (also biased [unfortunately, everybody is biased]) video on the same topic from the opposite viewpoint: http://youtu.be/IL5bbFaB8OI . Every one of our founding fathers was not a Christian, however, it is hard to argue against the fact that our nation was founded on Christian principles (see the video).

                I know these questions weren’t posed for me, but I am going to give my two cents anyway.

                Your first question is a good one. It is inconsistent to only accept part of the Bible as true (I believe it is completely true). After all, if some of what God says is not true, then He isn’t much of a God.

                Regarding your second question, I would like to hear your answer to your question. Have you ever thought about why your religion is correct while another one is not? What are your reasons for believing that your particular beliefs are correct while a Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, or Hindu has incorrect beliefs?
                As a Christian, there are many reasons why I believe the Bible is true. My discussion with SmartLX on Right, Wrong, and God (on this site) gives a small sampling of evidence for the accuracy of God’s Word. Your question is a good one, but it is often asked in a “one-sided” manner when posed by an atheist; as if the atheistic beliefs are assumed to be “higher” than other beliefs. A better question would be, “Why do you think Christianity is true while atheism is not?” This question addresses the matter at hand instead of attempting to pit Christianity against all beliefs except atheism.

                As for the third question, I’m not sure what Rachel believes, but as for me, if the Bible says it, I believe it. Therefore, yes, I believe there is a hell.

                I hope you don’t mind me jumping in the discussion.

                1. Like I said if you want to claim that this country was founded on Christian principals then you have to accept the bad with the good. That means slavery, women as property, child labor, the destruction of a native people, and eminent domain must all be Christian principals.

                  1. That is not even remotely true. First of all, it is tantamount to saying that, in order to be a Christian, you have to be completely without sin (which is impossible). Secondly, your claim that our nation was founded without any credence to God, only only shifts the burden to you. If the Nation was founded with the idea that there is no God, then “That means slavery, women as property, child labor, the destruction of a native people, and eminent domain must all be” atheistic principles.
                    Your argument uses an obvious double-standard.

                    1. Wow, let’s take those strawmen you just put up and deal with what I actually said. First, I never said that a christian has to be without sin. What I am saying is that christians romanticize the founding of this country by referring to the good things about this countries founding, and not the bad things. My point is that if you’re going to claim it, you have to take all of it, the good and the bad as being christian principals. Second, I never said that the nation was founded on atheist principals, mostly because there’s no such thing. Atheism is simply the lack of belief in a god or gods. It has no principals or tenets. What this country was founded on was the rejection of tyranny under the rule of monarchy which received it’s power under the supposed approval of god. The founding fathers who were mostly deistic, understood that power should come at the mandate of the masses and not by a religious domination.

                      So I’m sorry. You’re wrong. There is no double standard in what I said.

                    2. That was not a strawman fallacy. “Tantamount” means “equivalent in seriousness to.” In other words, I didn’t misrepresent what you claimed, I made an analogy to help you understand where your reasoning was flawed.

                      To say that our country was founded on Christian principles is totally different than claiming that the sins of the time are Christian principles. Let me explain it this way. I could say that Person A is nice. Does this mean that, in order for my statement to be true, anything un-nice that Person A does must now be considered nice? Of course not. Even nice people do mean things sometimes. In the same way, while the U.S. was founded on Christian principles, this does not mean that everything that was happening at the time was in line with Christian principles.

                      Correct, you never explicitly claimed that the nation was founded on Atheistic principles (nor did I say you claimed as much). However, you are arguing that it was founded without God in the equation. Atheists believe that there is no God, and then they claim that the nation was founded as if there is no God. See the connection? You argued that if the nation was founded on Christian principles, then the sin of the time must be catagorized as Christian principles. But then you argue that the nation was founded without God (the most basic principle of atheism), without considering the fact that, to be consistent, you have to take the bad, along with the good.

                2. Hi Jordan,

                  Of course you would think the video is biased, because it is making a point that is contrary to what you believe. However, even if you think it is biased, it is in no way misrepresenting historical facts. Every argument it makes about a secular government is given in bullet point fashion as a list of historical facts.

                  Regarding your (my) question to me. First, I am not part of a religion. I am an atheist, and I have been since the day I was born. I have never joined a religion. I am not interested in talking about why you believe atheism is a religion, it’s a tiresome argument and you can find an old thread, or make a new thread about it if you really want to get into it. But to answer (my) question. Before I am an atheist, I am a skeptic. I define myself as an atheist because of my skepticism towards all deity claims that I have ever heard. No claim has been more logical than any other in my opinion (although some are better “sellers” than others that’s for sure). For instance, when Scientology started becoming mainstream, everybody called it a cult, but I failed to see how it was different than Christianity in the validity of its claims. Anyways, to answer the question, I reject most claims that do not align with the reality that I’ve had a lifetime of experience in. I reject all supernatural and magical claims. Claims of deities are a subset of supernatural and magical claims, so they are rejected as well. Until I have a reason to believe that the impossible is possible, or that magic really does exist, I have no reason to take any “magical being” claim seriously, and this goes for all religions that pose such things. The question, however, isn’t meant for atheists. The question is meant for theists because theists believe one set of magical claims, while denying others. And the reasons for believing one set over another are important, and that is what I wanted to learn about @Rachel.

                  1. The video only mentions the historical facts that support it’s position. It ignores the historical facts that disagree. In other words, it is biased.

                    While you may not see atheism as a religion, I hope you can see that it is a belief. The reason I brought it up was because the common atheistic question that you posed, implies that atheism is a “higher” belief that shouldn’t be catagorized with other beliefs. This, of course, is just fantasizing. Some people choose not to believe in God, this is simply another belief along with the rest (whether you feel like categorizing it as a religion or not). So the question should not only be, “why do you believe in Christianity as opposed to other religions (not including atheism)?” It should be, why do you believe in Christianity instead of atheism?”

                    1. No, Jordan. You are addressing the claim of a god like it has more validity than the claim of bigfoot (for instance). I do understand this is your position. Saying that atheism falls in line with the array of religious beliefs is silly. Here is a very parallel metaphor:
                      -person A has the position: Bigfoot is real.
                      -person B has the position: The Loch Ness Monster is real
                      -Person C has the position: Aliens have visited earth
                      -Person D has the position: I don’t believe any of those are real or have happened.

                      What you are saying is that person D has the same type/category of viewpoint as persons A,B,C. Which is obviously not the case. Person A, B, and C are making a claim about reality. Person D on the other hand is *not accepting* those claims as true. So yeah, it’s worthwhile to ask person A, B, and C why they think claims A, B, or C are true while the others (A,B, OR C) are false. D isn’t a position that is making a claim, and should be handled separately.

                      But like I said, I don’t have any desire to know why you think atheism is a religion. This type of conversation is not interesting to me and I really hope you don’t drag on about it.

                    2. Although I should make another distinction in that religious claims are mostly mutually exclusive (unlike my A,B,C metaphor). They can’t all be true.

              2. Wow! This thread blew up! lol. Adam, I will answers your questions as truthfully as I can…

                1. How do you accept that some things in the bible are true? While other are not? Do you think the Bible is just kind of bogus, and “God” actually just wants you to be a good person?

                I am under the belief that as a Believer I read my Bible as much as I can and see it as a guide through life, much like the Koran is for Muslims. I do not see the Bible as bogus and I believe that the words written in the Bible were given to people from God. But through the words in the Bible, God calls us all to be “good people” by treating others with love and respect. Other Believers lose sight of the “love your neighbor as yourself” passage. I view the Bible as a guide to live my life. But everyone interprets the Bible differently even though the Words are the same.

                2. Have you ever thought about why your religion is correct while another one is not? What are your reasons for believing that your particular beliefs are correct while a Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, or Hindu has incorrect beliefs?:

                This is such a great question and honestly, I haven’t thought about that. It’s just been a way of life for me as I have been raised in a believing home taught values and morals through reading the Bible. I suppose that as I sit right now, I havent been given anything to make me believe otherwise.

                3. Do you believe in Hell?
                Yes I do believe in Hell. I believe it is a real place.

                Im sorry it took me a day to respond, classes this week have been killer. lol. Hope you’re doing well, and I’ll wait to hear your response. 🙂

                1. Hi Rachel,

                  No worries about the day gap between responses. I don’t expect you to be as obsessed with this subject as I am haha. Well Thank Goodness It’s Friday! I hope you get the weekend to do whatever you wish. I am curious what type of class you are in that requires you to question an atheist? That must be a pretty interesting class.

                  Let’s see, I can go a couple of routes with the answers you gave, but I really am trying to be as non-aggressive as possible. Regarding what you said about the Bible, let me start with that I do love that you are taking that sentiment and applying it to your life. I was raised to be very considerate of others and to essentially disregard much of my own discomfort or suffering in favor of avoiding any social negative. So I really do relate to that whole treating others as you would like to be treated, or even greater than you would ever expect to be treated. It’s been part of the source of these comment appearing many times throughout my life, “Wow, you aren’t Christian? But you are so nice!” Or “Oh, I thought you were a Christian because you are such a good person.” I’m not so much blowing my own horn as I am pointing out that these are actually insults to non-Christians. It’s like saying Christianity has the monopoly of niceness, or being good, which isn’t the case.

                  When I was looking for a girl, my brother in law (who is 20+ yrs older than me) told me I had to find a girl in church, because I was not going to find any other girls who share my values. And honestly, I started to believe it for a while (although I still didn’t go to a church). I started to believe I couldn’t find a good, honest, clean, sober, and happy girl that wasn’t Christian. And that’s just sad, when I recall that I used to think that. I went through phases of my atheism growing up. My first stage was not caring, my second stage was feeling sorry and sad for theists (ages 11-14), my 3rd stage was live and let live, and only recently did I arrive at antitheism. And to tell you the truth, what started me on the path towards antitheism was me trying to get close to Christian girls, and then learning about what they really believe…which lead me to start learning more about Christianity in general, and yeah, let’s just say, the more I learned, the more I was bothered.

                  Anyways, that’s enough of my autobiography, haha, I hope I didn’t bore you. I just wanted to say that I do appreciate the goodwill that the Bible can teach. But I also acknowledge that it teaches other things besides good will. In a sense it is kind of contradictory in that way. Do you ever read things in the bible that just seem against what you believe is right? No matter how it is read. I mean there are parts about killing others, there are parts calling non-Christians liars, deceivers, wicked, and anti-Christs. I guess I’m just curious what goes through your mind when you read those types of things in the Bible? (This is an actual quesiton)

                  I know, I’ve been writing alot, so I’ll try to wrap this up! Hah. As far as other beliefs. The interesting thing is they are mostly incompatible. So if the Christians are right, the Muslims and the Hindus are going to Hell. If the Muslims are right everybody else is going to Muslim hell and so forth. So I think it is interesting to think… that across the world, people are raised and indoctrinated into different beliefs as a child, and that is generally what they grow up and believe. Every single belief system believes they are THE correct belief system, and every indoctrinated child is raised KNOWING that they have been told the correct belief system growing up. But think about the over 1 Billion Indians, who will likely not become Christian because being Christian just isn’t part of their culture, according to most Christians, these people are WRONG, and will go to hell. But I just wonder for Christians (and other religious people) is: seeing these mutually exclusive religions in the world, how do you know that you drew the lucky straw and ended up in the right part of the world where you happened to get into your specific belief system (which is THE correct one)? This question wouldn’t be that significant if Hell wasn’t part of the belief. Otherwise, who cares, believe whatever you want, right? But with Hell in the equation, these people who never have a realistic chance to become the RIGHT religion get eternal suffering and torment for simply being born into the wrong culture. —-I guess I don’t really have a question to pose about all of this, but it is something I think is important for Christians (and other theists) to think about.

                  Anyways, I’ve said too much and I consider myself lucky if you made it through all of that. As you can tell I’m very interested in all of this, and I do like to hear what you personally think. Have a great weekend Rachel!

            3. Hi again Rachel. Hopefully you weren’t scared off! Hah, but my friend just showed me this video that addresses atheism and common misconceptions about atheism. I thought it was pretty good. It’s 10 minutes long, but if you are interested in another perspective feel free to watch. If not, I won’t hold it against you haha. But let me know if you do watch it! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNjEbPfc2d0

  2. I’ve always been baffled by the argument that the US was founded on Christian principles. If the US had been founded on Christian principles, then why did it take roughly 17 hundred years for any Christian to discover those principles, and why were the Christians who did discover them philosophers rather then theologians? If the US was the first nation founded on Christian principles, then it took an awful long time for Christians to figure out what their principles are.

    1. I’m sorry that you are confused. Let me try to un-baffle you. If the U.S. was founded on Christian principles, then it took zero time for anybody to discover these principles. Did you even watch the video I gave the link for? If you haven’t, I would reccomend it. As it said in the video, over 1/3 of the citations of our founders come directly from Scritpure.

      The video Adam recommended, although it admitted to the many references to God in the Declaration of Independence, tried to make it sound as if there is no reference to God in the Constitution. However, even the Constitution uses the words, “in the year of OUR LORD” (emphasis mine).

  3. The other thing that baffles me about that argument is that anyone who’s read the Old Testament knows that there’s many things in it that directly contradict the principles that the US is founded upon. Several times, people are coerced or killed by the Jews for worshiping (or convincing others) to worship pagan religions. That contradicts the notion of religious freedom. God ordering that Abraham sacrifice his son (among other things) contradicts human rights. All the governments seem to have dictatorial power. None are democracies. At least, this is what I recall from reading the Old Testament and why it struck me as being morally absurd.

    1. Actually, most of the principles that our country was founded on are found in the Bible. In the same way that the U.S. has fought many wars against evil, the Israelites fought many wars against evil. The people that were destroyed by the Israelites practiced numerous despicable crimes including child sacrifice, and mob rapping people in the streets.

      Regarding Abraham: he did not sacrifice Isaac. Human sacrifice has never been condoned by God. He forbids it. That is why The Lord provided a ram to take Isaac’s place. Through the whole experience, Abraham’s faith was tested.

      As an atheist, how can you find anything morally absurd? Whatever you consider to be moral is based on your own arbitrary standard of morality. If somebody has a different standard for morality, you have no right to judge them (to be consistent your own worldview) any more than they have a right to judge your moral standard.

      1. Jordan, you’ve hijacked this thread enough. If you wish to you can fill out the question form about if the country was founded on christian principals or is atheism a belief, or is atheism a religion, and we can go from there.

        Thank you.

      2. “I’m sorry that you are confused. Let me try to un-baffle you. If the U.S. was founded on Christian principles, then it took zero time for anybody to discover these principles.”

        Jesus died around 0 AD. Locke came up with his theories about “natural rights” and “separation of church and state” during the late 1600s AD. The United States became a country in the late 1700s. We’re talking about a gap of roughly 1700 years.

        “As an atheist, how can you find anything morally absurd? Whatever you consider to be moral is based on your own arbitrary standard of morality. If somebody has a different standard for morality, you have no right to judge them (to be consistent your own worldview) any more than they have a right to judge your moral standard.”

        I define morality (roughly) as treating others the way we’d want to be treated. This isn’t subjective. Well, it can be a little subjective, varying a little from culture to culture and from person to person, but on the big issues it’s pretty cut and dry. That’s my standard of morality, and I find that it’s almost everyone else’s standard of morality too, whether they admit to it or not.

        If someone actually did have a different standard of morality, then what they mean by the word “morality” is completely different from what I mean by “morality”. If that’s the case, I can still judge whether they’re moral according to my definition of the word.

        The only reason you would assume that my morality is arbitrary is your preconception that what we think people should or shouldn’t do has to either be completely arbitrary or dependent on prescripts issued by an authority. I’m living proof that this preconception is wrong since my morality doesn’t fit this dichotemy.

        When the biblical God asks Abraham to kill his son, it’s morally absurd because ordering someone to kill a child out of blind obedience to an authority figure is something we would normally consider wrong. The Old Testament is filled with lots of things like that which, if they’re read without a Christian bias, would be considered wrong.

        1. Sasha please wait for Jordan to ask his questions in the “ask here ” area. Let’s return this post to Rachel. Thanks.

        2. Sasha, out of respect for Erick, I won’t respond to you on this post. I don’t think Erick will mind if we continue this discussion with our other discussion on Right, Wrong, and God.

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