I haven't noticed this on any site before though I'm sure it has been discussed. Religious apologist frequently say that athies have no morals, or at least no moral compass. I really think this is more true of the religious. Catholics sin(everything from god's name in vain to murder), go to confession and viola, sin gone. I'm not certain but I believe some folks get saved and they're automatically covered/forgiven for whatever they do.
It's a good thing our justice system doesn't work like this, although Catholic priests seem to have immunity. Televangelist also seem to be able to rip off the multitudes, even though this contradicts Jesus' teachings, with impunity.
The usual argument I hear is that there is no OBJECTIVE moral standard among atheists, no hard and fast rulebook which dictates correct behavior. My response is that not only are the rules set out by Yahweh in the OT not horribly moral, the old boy doesn't even follow his own instructions. He says, "Thou Shalt Not Kill," then instructs the Israelites to slaughter other tribes by the thousands. He says, "Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness," yet he lied to Adam and Eve about the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. "Thou Shalt Not Steal" gets negated when he sends the disciples out to get a donkey to bear Jesus into Jerusalem, and if I bothered to dig, I have little doubt that I could find multiple other examples. This doesn't even mention the horrid morality spelled out in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, where women get stoned to death for being raped and not crying out, gays get the ultimate sanction without any justification other than "god sez so," and clothing made of two differing threads gets you stoned to death. And of course, the one issue at the top of this heap is SLAVERY. How easy would it have been for this fool of a god to say, "Thou Shalt Not Own Another Human Being As Property" ... but he didn't.
My own attitude on the topic (and perhaps many others here) is as follows:
My morality comes from a recognition that actions have consequences which can impact both me and the society I live in. As it happens, I care about that and the people I live with. Some people don't care for whatever reason, and because of that, we establish laws and standards of behavior which are designed to mitigate such aberrant behavior as best as can be managed in what is admittedly an imperfect society. I don't need a god for that, nor does anyone else.
Morality in the final analysis is a survival mechanism for society, which evolves from the society itself. It is the recognition of the needs of the one AND the needs of the many and the attempt to balance those to an optimum result. It isn't a perfect system, but nothing in this world is perfect.
And that's another issue: societies change, evolve and grow. Any moral system which cannot follow along is going to be problematic at best, and that is where the bible, the quran, and every other holy book ever written fall flat on their faces. They are incapable of change, indeed they are expected NEVER to change, because they are viewed as an absolute standard. Worst of all, being absolute and not subject to alteration, such a morality is simplistic, without nuance, subtlety, empathy, or understanding, and as I have said elsewhere:
When has justice ever been as simple as a rulebook?
-- Commander William T. Riker
Very well said Loren. I might add that theists do not understand a lot of this because a great many of them do not know the difference between objective and subjective morality. It follows as well that they do not know differences between objective and subjective reality and that is the whole problem here. Religion just doesn't fall into an objective reality setting.
An excellent point, Michael, and one I've made a couple times at least when arguing with them. They want to take personal revelation or, to borrow from William Lane Craig, "the self-authenticating witness of the Holy Spirit" as having the same weight as hard evidence and lend it the same credibility. That crap from Craig is especially galling, as he assumes that EVERYONE has that experience and claims that atheists are suppressing it in order to deny their god. If I EVER had such an experience, I'd want to pursue and understand it, because it would be a part of who I am, but the fact is that I have NEVER had such an experience, though numinous events and I are no strangers to each other.
I wonder ... if I asked Craig to QUANTIFY – to describe in detail – his self-authenticating witness and to justify why every person on the planet has it, could he do it?
Add again the fact that the book of Revelation became a part of the canon around 412 AD (CE if you will) and you see that this Holy Spirit is slow to get his scriptures in order. This doesn't phase anyone, and even the non-believers are wanting to know what Craig has to say about god, but Craig is supposed to be a bible believer. When you don't believe the bible how could anyone think this man had any words of wisdom about a god?
Is there any way that this could make any sense? Not in my mind.