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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I will contact you on more ethics discussion Phoneix-Wanderer .. appreciate it

I have that problem myself.  I have two bumper stickers on my car that tell people I'm an Atheist and some guy who passed me called me a Communist.  I'm fortunate to live in a community where apparently, there aren't a lot of religious zealots, but I still experience my fair share of rascism.

Sorry to hear that Chris

It's funny that he would call you a communist of all things.  What with the obvious parallels between organized religion and communist institutions.  For instance: the overthrow (often violent) of the ruling class in order to create an oligarchy (ultimate power centralized amongst a few; church leaders for instance). This would be dominion-ism in the US and Fundamentalist Islam elsewhere. The deification of a leader who has absolute moral authority (jesus/yahweh/pope) and the unwavering obedience to a particular creed and code of ethics above all other things including your obligations to the state or family.  Not to mention the tax exempt status of churches and the amount of government assistance and subsidies they get.  There is nothing at all democratic or capitalist about organized religion.  On the other hand, look at the 'tenants' or atheism (yes, I'm being facetious) "truth, rationality, evidence, logic" none of these are assumed.  None of these are unquestionable or above rational discussion/debate.  Everything an atheist holds dear (and I'm speaking of skeptics, humanists, and the like) are very much in line with democracy.

That's actually not the dumbest thing anyone's ever called me.  I once got into a Facebook feud with a white Baptist boy in Wisconsin who called me the "n" word.  You know, that word that African Americans can use but white guys can't.  And he actually sent this to me in a message so he saw the profile picture of me sitting next to my 4-year-old cousin.  I got back at him reporting him.

Anyway, some idiots have made an assertion that atheism and communism are linked.  Hitler was one of these idiots. 

Right .. thanks

 

If a fundamentalist says that you as an atheist cannot know what is right and wrong.

Then ask her if she knows what is right and wrong from scripture and only from scripture.

Ask her to confirm that we can only know what is right and wrong from scripture.

Then ask her why she is not killing adulters, people who work on the sabbat, eat shrimp, pork, etc.

Then she will most likely say something to justify why some commandments are more important to her that others are.

Then say to "Now you are making moral judgment based on what you yourself think is right and wrong. You just told me that without scripture you cannot see the difference between right and wrong. But if you do not have the capacity to know right and wrong from outside scripture, then you will have to accept all commandments of her scripture, all of them without exceptions. They would all be equally important and all equally moral to you. You would according to your own claim not be able to distinguish if a commandment in scripture is right or wrong. If your god commands you to stone a person working on the sabbat, or to love jesus more than your children, then that has to be morally good for you.

Further if there is some situation where a human is suffering that the scripture don't say this is good or bad or even if it's there, but you just don't know it, then you will have to be left untouched by and indifferent to the suffering, cos unless you get get it from scripture, then you would not know what is right and what is wrong. If is as you claim that you can only get moral from scripture, then you don't have a moral it would all be the same to you.

No that is not true even you evaluate what is right and wrong by a faculty within you or in society/culture that is outside scripture.

If you didn't have that capacity, then you would not be able to have the notion that what is written in the scripture is good in the first place. You wouldn't know what to hope for, what to strive for and even what to pray for."

"A fundamentalist finds a child crying violently, it's injured and covered in blood. The parents has been spanking it. The fundamentalist picks up his cell phone and calls his priest."There is this child, making these sounds with it's mouth, I think it's is in some kind of pain or what. Is this right or wrong, what does scripture say about spanking a child? The priest will say oh the bible says it's good. The fundamentalist will now be happy and thank his god that the child is being spanked so hard."

No all humans has the same capacity to know what is right and wrong no matter what scripture they believe or do not believe in. We are all the same. But religion and other totalitarian ideologies has a tendency to block our capacity and make it possible for us to transgress.

Thank you Anders ..  I will take your advise.

Not so much morally depraved, but they often seem to think I am unhappy and that I'm missing out on something important.  I even have one friend that insists that I'm not really an atheist and I'm just trying to be contrary.  

Seriously? What's your reply to that?

That's a very common issue and it reflects a fundamental part of how our minds work: if we're dependent on some set or beliefs or identity, we can only recognize substitutes for that. If somebody eliminates that piece of identity entirely, with no substitute, then our only perception is that they have an  absence or an unfulfilled need. Since even the mind abhors a vacuum, retaining a stable personality with a major absence seems incomprehensible-- so either you're unstable or not missing it.

 

For that reason, presenting your beliefs in the negative (I don't believe in...) is a poor way to find social understanding. Instead, it's better to re-approach those people with a positive description (instead I do believe in...) of your ethical beliefs, life goals, etc. so that they can understand that religion is replaceable. 

I had a coworker tell me that she couldn't believe I was an atheist and my wife was agnostic because we were too nice.  I did have to explain the difference between being an atheist and an agnostic.

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