Whenever I come out Atheist .. they assume I must have no ethics or morals whatsoever and that I am willing to do just about anything --- like lie, cheat and steal.

Anyone else have this happen to them?

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Yes, we are legion and I actually new the definition of the word without the Webster link. But I do appreciate the link because I love looking up words. Sometimes ones I already know.

We are ALL BORN ATHEISTS ... so modeling religious belief as a learned dependence is a perfectly valid supposition.

Loren and Davey, I absolutely agree with you 100%, modeling racial bias  is a leaned behavior as well, babies aren't born believers and practitioners.

That is very correct Loren. We are born Atheist and then indoctrinated unfortunately.

Davey, Your ramble is responsible, reasonable, rational and thoughtful! Thanks!

Oh dear, I didn't mean to use a prayer looking face, but a contemplative one. Oh well, contemplating an idea doesn't necessarily mean prayer. 

I took the face to mean contemplation and thinking.

By compassion we make others' misery our own, and so, by relieving them, we relieve ourselves also
Thomas Browne, Sr.

Read more: http://www.finestquotes.com/select_quote-category-Compassion-page-0...

The question is not what you look at, but what you see.
~ Henry David Thoreau

I like this. 

Steph, Makes good sense. 

I found this compelling quote at your recommended site:

"We often think of peace as the absence of war; that if the powerful countries would reduce their arsenals, we could have peace. But if we look deeply into the weapons, we see our own minds - our prejudices, fears, and ignorance. Even if we transported all the bombs to the moon, the roots of war and the reasons for bombs would still be here, in our hearts and minds, and sooner or later we would make new bombs. Seek to become more aware of what causes anger and separation, and what overcomes them. Root out the violence in your life, and learn to live compassionately and mindfully."
It is difficult to have compassion for those who bring so much pain and suffering into the world. But of course Thich Nhat Hanh speaks wisely.  

Peace is not the absence of war, but the presence of justice.
-- Harrison Ford, "Air Force One"

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