I love this quote from Penn Jillette and a wonderful interview.
The question I get asked by religious people all the time is, without God, what’s to stop me from raping all I want? And my answer is: I do rape all I want. And the amount I want is zero. And I do murder all I want, and the amount I want is zero. The fact that these people think that if they didn’t have this person watching over them that they would go on killing, raping rampages is the most self-damning thing I can imagine. I don't want to do that. Right now, without any god, I don't want to jump across this table and strangle you. I have no desire to strangle you. I have no desire to flip you over and rape you. You know what I mean?
Ron Bennington: Now what do you say to people though that say, whether or not there’s an afterlife, it’s still important to have this because it keeps us morally based, it keeps us family based and even at the end of this life, if nothing happens, it’s still good to have these set of rules.
Penn Jillette: Well, you know, God told Abraham to kill his son, and his proof of Abraham’s devotion was his willingness to kill his son. Jesus says very clearly, “abandon your father and mother, abandon your children and come with me.” There’s nothing pro-family about Christianity. That is all layered on. That is all-American. The American Christian church has a great deal of family values, but those aren’t found in the Bible, those aren’t in the root material. We have a lot of evidence, [Christopher] Hitchens, a good friend of mine, we miss him all the time, but Hitchens had a standing offer for a religious person to name a moral thing that was done in the name of religion that had not been done by an atheist. All of your self-sacrifice, all of the help for communities, have all been done by religious people and by atheists. But I’ll tell one story that I just love, I brought a date once, because this is the kind of guy I am, to hear an atheist speaker. We’re sitting there in a college-type atmosphere, probably about 150 people in the audience, and I even forgot who it was speaking because there were a lot of people that day, it might have been [Michael] Shermer, and he speaks and he finished and he opens the floor up to questions. The person on the other side of my date stands up and says, “Well if there’s no God, what’s to stop me from raping and killing everyone around me?” And my date raised her hand and said, “May I change my seat?” [Laughter]
Ron Bennington: But maybe it’s because we distrust each other, we’re so afraid of other humans, that we have that, you know?
Penn Jillette: It’s amazing, and I always bring this up, that religion is for people who kind of at some level don’t like people. And I love people. And I think if you take the 7 billion people on the planet and you round it off, about 7 billion of them are good. To find bad people is really difficult. Not people doing bad things, but really bad people who get up in the morning and say, How can I fuck people up? That’s a really rare thing. Misguided, you know, mistaken, but I just can’t understand how this view of humanity that all we want to do is horrible things to each other and it’s just this belief in something else that stops us. And that that is what you see over and over again through the Bible. There’s reward and punishment but there’s no – I mean, nothing feels better than helping someone out. I mean, there’s nothing better, nothing better in the world than someone whose life was fucked up and you do a little something and now their life isn’t. I mean, you can talk about the joy of sex, hedonistic joys of food, and you can talk about the joy with your children, but man, someone is going through a hard time and you help them out, man you feel good for months.
Read the rest here.
I've said this before, but 'Ethics' as a field of study and subject of discourse was invented by the ancient Greeks, and then pursued by the Romans. And neither attached this subject to any part of their religion.
The simple fact that you think murder is wrong, and so does everyone else, seems to prove God exists. Why would everyone know murder is wrong? This makes no sense if there is not a God.
Once again, John Johnson, you are a moron. Murder is wrong simply because it is wrong. This has nothing to do with existence of any supreme beings.
Right - thank you so much Booklover! I agree with you - the bible is full of murder and rape and all sorts of "sins" and god condones this unethical and immoral behavior.
Dennis, a long-delayed response:
Murder is wrong simply because it is wrong. This has nothing to do with existence of any supreme beings.
I agree that murder's being wrong has nothing to do with existence of any supreme beings.
You are repeating what I long heard when you say it's wrong simply because it is wrong.
I've learned since that law schools teach students that murder has a price.
The prices murderers pay (if caught and arrested) depend on several variables, including its degree, the effectiveness of trial lawyers, the biases of jurors, and the attitudes of judges..
Murder is wrong simply because we value our lives and would like to live in society without being afraid of being murdered. We all have a sense of right and wrong quite independent of any supposed supernatural authority -- and that includes religious believers, who frequently reject older scriptures and teachings as being obviously immoral. (Slavery anyone, just for starters?)
As Joan Denoo stated succinctly in a recent discussion:
I think John Johnson needs to study under the great sage: AronRa (Ace Of Clades).
I'm certain he would learn how seriously idiotic his current concepts and faith are.
Enjoy and get some education: Please
Don't be a drongo all your life M8!
This is one of the most absurd accusations against Atheists. Atheists don't have any supernatural, external influences to blame for their bad behaviour. I cannot blame the Devil. I don't believe he exists! Atheism is a set of beliefs that does not depend on absolution or eternal life. As an Atheist I have had to accept the fact that I'm going to die and that will be a total end to life. I have also have had to accept the fact I am ultimately responsible for my thoughts, utterances and thoughts. I have no supernatural demons to shag the responsibility onto. I am amazed at the duplicitous rationalizations of idealists to blame behaviour they are guilty of onto Atheists.
This reminds me of the wailing of muslims in Quebec about the Charter of Secular Values. How does the group of zealots who shot Malala in the head get to wave their symbols around in our democracy in the name of tolerance.
Peter, you cannot blame the devil because he is part of the mythos that god came from. If there is no god how can there be a devil?
I agree with you Peter ... Atheists don't believe in anything supernatural.
Let's not forget our own too-recent past.
Here in an allegedly enlightened California, marital rape became a crime only a few years ago.
As I recall, Oregon may have been the first state to make it a crime.
What's the situation in other states?
On C-SPAN yesterday, a Latina Republican activist (who in 2012 supported Jon Huntsman) speaking in New Hampshire (that's Kelly Ayotte country and when she was NH Atty-Gen was no friend to women) said her Party should require its male members to take a course in the female reproductive system.
She added that male Republican candidates should mention the word rape only in a criminal context.