I get that same question by theists all the time.
The question is: Since your Atheist, you can commit whatever crime you want right?
This article is very good in explaining Atheism and Ethics.
by Frank R. Zindler
One of the first questions Atheists are asked by true believers and doubters alike is, “If you don’t believe in God, there’s nothing to prevent you from committing crimes, is there? Without the fear of hell-fire and eternal damnation, you can do anything you like, can’t you?”
It is hard to believe that even intelligent and educated people could hold such an opinion, but they do! It seems never to have occurred to them that the Greeks and Romans, whose gods and goddesses were something less than paragons of virtue, nevertheless led lives not obviously worse than those of the Baptists of Alabama! Moreover, pagans such as Aristotle and Marcus Aurelius - although their systems are not suitable for us today - managed to produce ethical treatises of great sophistication, a sophistication rarely if ever equaled by Christian moralists.
The answer to the questions posed above is, of course, "Absolutely not!" The behavior of Atheists is subject to the same rules of sociology, psychology, and neurophysiology that govern the behavior of all members of our species, religionists included. Moreover, despite protestations to the contrary, we may assert as a general rule that when religionists practice ethical behavior, it isn't really due to their fear of hell-fire and damnation, nor is it due to their hopes of heaven. Ethical behavior - regardless of who the practitioner may be - results always from the same causes and is regulated by the same forces, and has nothing to do with the presence or absence of religious belief. The nature of these causes and forces is the subject of this essay.
Psychobiological FoundationsAs human beings, we are social animals. Our sociality is the result of evolution, not choice. Natural selection has equipped us with nervous systems which are peculiarly sensitive to the emotional status of our fellows. Among our kind, emotions are contagious, and it is only the rare psychopathic mutants among us who can be happy in the midst of a sad society. It is in our nature to be happy in the midst of happiness, sad in the midst of sadness. It is in our nature, fortunately, to seek happiness for our fellows at the same time as we seek it for ourselves. Our happiness is greater when it is shared.
Read the rest here.
Karim, thanks for the USA Today article. As I finished it I wondered what kinds of responses it stirred up.
The FFRF newsletter publishes the hate mail it gets. Most of is mean; some of it is vicious.
I get that FFRF newsletter - you can see how moral the Xtians are when reading those letters from them. It's scary Tom.
Yeah, Steph, I would like to quote some of the hate mail for a speech in a Toastmasters club but the language would shock the xian members.
Great post, Steph. I tend to agree with Herbert's assertion that respect for truth is the basis of all morality. This is particularly important in a theism / atheism discussion because--as we're all too aware--theists have deep and extensive defenses against annoying things like facts and logic. So in this sense it may be the insistent belief in imaginary--and forgiving--beings that allow people to go on committing transgressions against their fellows.
Thank you Doubting Thomas. I agree that theists are not logical and ignore facts.