Breaking the monopoly of morality by underground
April 2, 2008, 4:43 am
Filed under: Philosophy, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I’ve often been frustrated by how I’m perceived as an atheist. In the media, in politics, by family and by friends. Contrary to popular belief, even those without souls still have hearts.


It is a commonly held belief among those of religious persuasions that adhering to their religion, and only their religion is vital to living a moral existence. I have many Christian friends and relatives, and I am often perplexed when they credit their religious beliefs for making the right moral choices in life. It is as though it is their belief in the bible and the commandments that restrain them from committing heinous crimes. If this were indeed the case, I am then indebted to Christ and his teachings for enabling those I care about to not kill, rape, or whatever else they may have otherwise felt compelled to do. However, I have never killed or raped anyone, and I do not follow the teachings of Christ, Mohammed or Moses, nor have I read the Bible, Koran or Torah. I have the same vices as many of my Christian friends, I drink the same beers, play the same violent computer games, have had similar relationships with girls as they have, yet have completely different religious beliefs.It is apparent to me that despite our differing ideas on the existence or otherwise of God, we have more in common morally than we do not. It is therefore interesting to be implied that you are immoral for not following a religious doctrine, despite sharing the same values. Often though they are hypocritical and don’t practice what they preach, or they devise loopholes to validate their actions. I suppose then an old acquaintance I once considered a friend was at least consistent when he claimed I was not his friend, for I did not share his religious convictions.

Such personal experiences may resonate with other atheists.

Of course I am not arguing that atheists are a persecuted minority, we are hardly a minority in the political sense of the term (in most secular countries). I am not comparing the current situation to the inquisition or the Salem witch hunts! My concern is with rise of extremism, as can be seen especially in the fundamentalist Christian churches and their onslaught of opposing points of view. Politically, religion is considered synonymous with morality. Political parties, even in secular New Zealand, try and ‘out god’ each other, espousing ‘family values’, whatever on earth (or heaven!) those really are. Lobby groups pressure political parties with ‘good Christian values’. The most ridiculous is when someone’s reputation is defended or highlighted with the term “good Christian”, such as “he was a good Christian father”, or “but we are a good Christian family.” Like their religion makes a difference to how ‘good’ they are.

And to this atheists should take offence. I, as an atheist, am seen as immoral and without ethics. To be without any god, is to be seen as without any good.

I’ve met some fantastic Christians and to hold their religious beliefs against them would be disgusting. If they can truly credit their religious beliefs for their acts of charity and kindness, good for them. However, I cannot see acts of kindness and charity as exclusively religious by-products, for those qualities can also readily be found in people with no religious bearing whatsoever. There are murderers who are devout Christians, there are murderers who are convinced Atheists. When you consider paedophile priests, suicide bombers and the inquisition, God, or the lack of, has nothing to do with ethics.

When there’s no life after death you have on average 75 years of existence. Make them count.


2 Comments so far
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I wont live an average of 75 years, i’ll die at 65 years of age unfortunatly. I will get hit by a train in Denver.

Comment by Mike Wilkes

[…] Fortunately many authors have come to our aid, to try and explain the science that supports a god-less universe and also propose how atheism is as moral as theism, if not more. Which is helpful, when often atheists are portrayed as unethical. (See Monopoly of morality) […]

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