Atheists are just morally flawed

Mike’s Weekly Skeptic Rant examined a crude atheist-bashing article.

I can’t be bothered to try to refute the claims since they’ve already been refuted by Mike and many many people before him over several hundred years. I decided to write my own version instead. Here goes.

My friend Billy was telling everyone else in the school-yard that Santa doesn’t exist and that it was just a fib told by parents to make us all behave.

I thought about Paul, a kid who would bully everyone in school and showed no remorse for this. His dad couldn’t control him at all. The reason why Paul could behave so badly is because he didn’t believe in Santa. He thought that since Santa didn’t exist, he didn’t have to behave himself since he wasn’t going to get any presents at Christmas.

It’s this kind of non-belief in Santa that allows Paul and the vast majority of bullies to think they can just do what they want.

I don’t think all kids who don’t believe in Santa are bad. Some are okay but it’s this non-belief in Santa that makes their bullying behaviour possible. Non-belief in Santa offers no compelling reason for kids to behave.

If a kid doesn’t believe in Santa, they have no guiding force to make them behave. Any kid who doesn’t believe in Santa, if put under enough pressure will bully other kids since there’s nothing to make them resist the urge to bully.

Non-belief in Santa is a belief system in itself. This belief makes everyone equal, the bullied and the bullies are just as commendable. A non-belief in Santa may even make bullying more attractive since they can steal lunch money from the other kids.

Some of these non-believers in Santa claim that good behaviour is a natural thing but they still can’t explain how they can be “good without Santa”.

Some non-believers think it’s better to be without Santa and that we can just treat each other nicely when we play. The thing is, the world has seen a lot of evil bullies who’s actions were driven by their non-belief in Santa. Joseph Stalin, and Hitler Pol Pot didn’t believe in Santa and look at what they did!!

Finally, here are points.

1) Aren’t religious people capable of evil? If the US has such a high proportion of religious believers compared to similar western countries, how come the US locks up more of it’s population than any other country? It seems that religious people are quite capable of evil.

2) Atheism is based on a simple idea. There is no evidence for the existence of gods so what is the point in believing in them? Atheism is not a belief system, it’s a rational decision to not believe in something due to a lack of evidence. If I claim to be the Fire God Ranbalaba, would your refusal to believe my claim constitute belief equal to the belief that the Rabbi and many others have in their invisible friend in the sky?

3) People who rely on religion for their moral code are weak. Isn’t it better to simply be a good person because you believe that humans are worthy of respect and that we should all make the most of our limited time here?

4) Would the article be acceptable if he were to give the atheists a break and instead accuse black people of being morally flawed?

Rabbi Avi Shafran, you are condescending and intellectually weak. Not what I would expect from someone who should have a decent education that allows more than a re-hashing of tired accusations. The Florida Jewish News shows itself incapable of sound editing if they allow such a pedestrian article to be published.

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10 Responses to “Atheists are just morally flawed”

  1. gymbrall Says:

    His article may be weak, but I think yours is infinitely more so.

    You said: People who rely on religion for their moral code are weak. Isn’t it better to simply be a good person because you believe that humans are worthy of respect and that we should all make the most of our limited time here?

    How is the atheist any different from the non-atheist in this statement? Where is your proof that humans are worthy of respect? How do you propose to make the most of time? Your post is full of value statements without supplying any underlying value (except your personal assertions)

    Maybe I just don’t get it.

  2. Sean Kehoe Says:

    His article may be weak, but I think yours is infinitely more so.

    Half of this article is intentionally weak since it’s a parody of the Rabbi’s writings. The other half, well some is made up of assertions, some observation and some based on statistical research. I’m glad we agree regards his article though, I don’t think he does theists any favours.

    Where is your proof that humans are worthy of respect?

    Co-operation is a successful evolutionary trait in humans and other species (although not all). Respect is necessary for co-operation. Most of us respect the right of a person to own a house and so we won’t attempt break a window and gain access. In turn, we expect others to respect our rights.

    A society spreads the cost of policing, medicine and other services across the population. This is far cheaper than everyone simply trying to provide these for themselves.

    You’re right that some of this is wishful thinking but the fact that society holds together would suggest that the majority are interested in co-operation. I’m not suggesting all humans should be revered but it seems wisest to offer that respect unless they give you a reason to do otherwise.

    This is a generalisation since we’re dealing with two very over-simplified terms but here’s the core difference. An atheist decides to participate positively in society because there is a rational reason for doing so – everyone gains by pooling resources and providing a civilised society in which to live. A non-atheist is participating positively because they believe they will be rewarded (or punished) by a supernatural being.

    Regards the differences between atheists and non-atheists.. The atheist’s views are adaptable as society changes since their decisions are based on modern rational thinking as outline above. A theist does what they do because they fear the wrath of God or are following hopelessly contradictory religious texts.

    The non-atheist is tied to their religious texts unless they’re willing to change them in which case how on earth can they decide that they know better than God? How can someone decide suddenly that God shouldn’t be feared or that

    How do you propose to make the most of time?

    How I decide to make the most of my time is a personal decision that we all have to take. It would be impractical to provide you with a long-term plan since I don’t really have one. I think being happy with the place I live and the people around me is a good strategy.

  3. gymbrall Says:

    I guess some of what I was thinking is that you sort of make some of the Rabbi’s points for him. For example, in your reply to me, you make the following statement.

    Most of us respect the right of a person to own a house and so we won’t attempt break a window and gain access. In turn, we expect others to respect our rights.

    To me, this says, we respect others for no other reason than that it is beneficial. The moment it ceases to be beneficial we stop. In the Rabbi’s article, he accuses atheists of having no moral restraints other than [perceived] personal benefit. I guess I don’t see you substantially challenging that. Even your argument Aren’t religious people capable of evil? falls far short of swaying me. Anyone can say they believe something, their actions are far more telling.

    You seem a decent fellow (I mean for an atheist and all – I’m assuming you are, maybe I need to read more of the stuff you’ve written), so I’m bookmarking your blog, but I think there are holes in some of your theories (not that I’m all rock solid or anything)

    Anyway, thanks for the discussion.

  4. Sean Kehoe Says:

    True, maybe the only reason we respect one-another is because we know that we gain personally from this. I don’t think that in itself is a bad motivation. All good deeds are done for reward.

    If a man helps another, he feels good and this is his reward. I think it’s very rare for someone to truly carry out a completely altruistic act.

    I do still cling to the idea that man is able to overcome basic selfish instincts. This in itself is a bit vague and I see what you mean when you ask how this differs from religious belief. I suppose it’s just a simplified system of belief when it comes down to it.

    Take care,

    Sean.

    PS. Yep, atheist but a nice person most of the time. Some of what I write will be a bit angry and that’s mainly because of the religious upbringing I’ve had and also seeing how religion has affected us.

  5. fed up Says:

    I didnt know the Jews hated us atheists as much as the christians and muslims do.

    There are some points that us atheists need to clear up when it comes to people of beliefs writing about atheists leaders.

    First of all Hitler was a CHRISTIAN. It was his belief in the NT that made him hate Jews, just like Mel Gibson. The NT is VERY anti-semitic and it seems even Jews are affraid to point that out.

    Now, Pole Pot and Mao were atheists, but they were atheists in the same way buddhists are considered atheists. They still follow religious beliefs and doctrine but do not believe in a supernatural sky daddy. They believe god is the higher self therefore Pole Pot and other Asian leaders believed they were god.

    Moving on to Mussilini and Stalin. Who were both raised in devoutly religious homes and were VERY much influence by religious beliefs and like everyone else, believer or not have accepted the a vast amount of morals and traditions set fourth by religion(i.e., sexism and male bias attitudes that even atheists show) And lets not forget that every single one of the so called atheist rulers(minus the asian ones) were in bed with the catholic church and the church knew damn good and well what was going on and were even in on some of the killings. The church did nothing to stop it and even gave them the green flag.

    So, IMO, religion is still what reeks havic NOT atheism!

    And another thing I want to point out to those believers that think atheism is a free ride to rape and kill. Why are all the sexual serial killers here in the U.S. believers?? Most are upstanding memebers of their churches??? I have never heard of an atheist sexual serial killer. As a matter of fact if atheists are so immoral why arent the prisons full of them instead of god fearing believers?

    I, an atheist feminazi, am morally superior to god and thats all I have to say about that. 😉

  6. Sean Kehoe Says:

    Heh heh, Mel Gibson – nice example. It’s funny how he’s claiming that he didn’t mean what he said. Where my wife comes from they have a saying that goes something like “The truth be heard from drunk people and children”. The man definitely appears to have some dark insane stuff cleverly buried below the facade of insanity on the surface.

    I’m not sure I’d call Hitler a Christian (any more than some christians say he was an atheist) but we can’t deny the fact that him and Stalin both had a nice religous upbringing.

    The soon people can learn to base their morals on real-life instead of the words written down by some bronze age lunatic the better. I wonder what will happen to a society if their god is categorically proven to be incorrect. I wouldn’t want to be around when their superior moral system falls apart.

    Hail atheist feminazi 😉

  7. Janez Says:

    Damnit, Hitler was not in any way atheist. He might not belong to a religion but he was obsessed with all thing occult, spiritual, etc. He was just insane about it. But even if he was an atheist, and even if all those murderers were atheist, it is a *really*, *really* weak argument. Maybe it’s there to remind people you can’t judge a group based on it’s individuals.

  8. Sean Kehoe Says:

    Hi janez. Thanks for stopping by.

    I agree completely. Hitler is a great example of what happens when people ditch rational thought and lurch headlong in to beliefs, faith and psuedo-science.

    He is no more an atheist than I am a methodist minister.

  9. okay Says:

    Jesus is God.

  10. Sean Kehoe Says:

    Jesus is God.

    Prove it.

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