I ALWAYS see people on the internet saying "how can you have morals if you're an atheist?" or "what are you living for, why don't you just kill yourself?" It gets really annoying having to explain why i love my life and why I want to be a good person, all the time.
I think its really creepy and sad that a book is the only thing keeping some people from being thieves and murderers, or committing suicide.
Any thoughts are welcome.
Interesting video on morality with Richard Dawkins:
Very interesting video, thanks.
see also the video thread > videos from Jonathan Haidt.
Logically, morals CAN'T come from God because in order for humans to sense God's goodness and make a free will choice to follow Him, human morality would have to already exist. Otherwise, there would be no way to know the difference between a good God and an evil God that had merely programmed humans to see Him as good. Furthermore, the God described in scripture does not support a consistent moral code. He frequently demands that his followers commit immoral acts in His name, and promises extreme punishment for behavior that is not immoral.
Therefore, the only way to be truly moral is to ignore God, and to follow a consistent moral code such as Humanism.
"how can you have morals if you're an atheist?"
--because I live in a society that's just chock full of different morals. It's quite simple to pick out the ones that I think are helpful to me.
"What are you living for, why don't you just kill yourself?"
--Because I don't believe in an afterlife, and this is all I have. It's all atheists have, it's all anyone who doesn't believe in reincarnation or an afterlife has. So instead of looking to something that's not guaranteed by any means(in lots of christian sects you may or may not be written in the "book of life", as well), we are focusing on the here, the now, making this world better and more equal for the people that are poor, discriminated against, or suffering now, in this world, rather than giving them some unknown unnamed future after-death skycake.
I have honestly been less suicidal as an atheist than when I was trying to be christian or wicca or anything that had a sky daddy. I will assume it's because even though most atheists are also activists--you don't have to be an activist if you're an atheist. You don't have to do anything, except not believe in a deity. I personally take a very "communist" view on the world, but that's because I want to see humanity helping one another, rather than fighting, killing, or sectioning people off to 'better' and 'worse'.
I usually turn it on the head.
"How do you have morals if you're only worried about a skydaddy spanking? Also, can't you be forgiven for anything. Why not go be a horrible evil person your entire life, then just ask for forgiveness before bed or right before you die? It's the same thing, right? It's -all that matters-? Obviously deathbed regressions into religion count just as much as childhood ones."
"Why haven't YOU killed yourself? Food is tasty, but you're obsessed with dieting because somehow being thin makes you a better person morally? Sex is great, but you can't have it, and it's not good to enjoy it? You can't enjoy ANYTHING too much otherwise the devil may be in it? You can't enjoy violent video games(which hurt absolutely no one, btw), you can't enjoy driving fast or getting boozed up or even read funny webcomics without taking information from some person who is going to tell you "no" and "go worship me some more"? Also, heaven isn't going to be one vacation--even if it does exist. It's going to be loud--full of angels worshipping Yaweh, and you'll be expected to join in, and do it happily for eternity. I'd honestly rather go to hell. At least you can do what you want there. and it's away from god, who doesn't care about me anyways."
And the webcomics part is true. I've had christians tell me they can't read Questionable Content(which is hilarious and I love it and the author--at the very least, not christian), because QC makes them "feel funny" or "feel less godly." So they miss out on a great and interesting story because sky daddy reached down, spoke to them, and told them that he doesn't like it. When more likely it was something that expanded their thinking--that you can be a good person AND have sex before marriage, or similar, and rather than enjoying it, they turn their heads the other way. Xtians are very good at ignoring things, especially if they question sky daddy.
and Skycake. Are my favorite references to various religious terms.
Skycake is from our very own adorable nerdy atheist, Patton Oswalt:
I have discussed the idea of skycake at length with various atheist friends, and we all find it hilarious--of course, it makes religion sound a lot less dangerous than it could be.
I'm holding out for SkyBaklava, though. Mmmmmm baklava. honey-coated phyllo dough and nuts. I could also go for some SkyLemonMerengue. Or lime. or Grapefruit.
How adorable! I didn't know him. :)
I particularly appreciate his historical perspective :)
Because liturgy states that playing god by 'deciding for yourself' when you die is a sin. Not entirely different from our legal system having large punishments for imposters.
As a born atheist, third generation, never had any faith, IMO there is no 'meaning' to life, no 'right' no 'wrong'. There are desires and needs and happiness and sadness, and a willingness or not to coalesce into groups of similar societal priorities to accomplish whichever social objective is set forth. I have a I'll believe when I see it philosophy. And the seeing part is not limited to a momentary burst of my optical nerve, I mean it in the widest possible sense. :) As for the modern benefits of technology, I require not only the possible benefits, but also the possible costs/disadvantages, before I make up my mind on if it is worth investing public money or public policy into that line of research.
Why don't animals just kill themselves? they're not religious..., they just do their thing, and after their usefulness on earth is done, they die. No mystery, no questions to resolve. I don't see anything 'sad' or 'wrong' with suicide per se. Usually it's the family and peer group who lose out after a suicide, not the dead person. I like the old creed you save a life, you're responsible for that life. Generally, if a person wants out, that is their decision.