Time and time again when speaking of atheists, the question of whether one can be moral and upright without God and/or religion unfailingly comes up. For years, I have believed that the traditional interrogative is absolutely wrong. The right question is why believers even with God on their side cannot be moral and upright despite trying to put the onus on nonbelievers.

With 76 percent of the country claiming Christianity, it is obvious the problem and the answer rest in the same place—within American Christianity. Long lost in the majority status of Christianity is that in practically any instance the likelihood of Christian involvement is not only high, but nearly guaranteed. Bluntly said, the issues constantly raised by the religionists rest firmly within the Christian community, unless the non-Christian 24 percent of the United States is uncommonly immoral, that conclusion is nearly inescapable. Simply said, Christians have a problem with the behavior of other Christians, a point that obviously goes unnoticed.

Below are just a few examples of Christian behavior that goes against what they preach and not practice:

  • Crime—Christians fill American penitentiaries. With nearly 80 percent of the country claiming Christianity the possibility of it being different is almost nonexistent. Again, with the ratio of Christians compared with the “rest” so dominant, there is no way to avoid it.
  • Racism—In countries with a higher percentage of religious people it is more likely that tolerance for minorities is low.[1],[2]
  • Homosexuals—When Christians criticize homosexuals, they speak of other Christians, although considering their treatment how long that will last dwindles each second.
  • Abstinence—More than two decades of effort and millions of tax dollars focused on refraining from sexual intercourse until marriage,[3] went up in smoke after studies showed what most innately know—abstinence programs are about as effective as no program.
  • Unwed Mothers—Following a comprehensive review of abstinence programs deemed to have strong evaluation components—reached the same conclusion.[4]
  • Abortion—Abortion services, a little research would tell them 65-70 percent of those receiving abortions are Christian.[5] Additionally, one out of six abortion patients describes herself as a born-again or an evangelical Christian,[6] making it clear that Christian religionists need to start preaching to the choir as it appears their robes are dirty. Those professing no faith make up 22 percent of abortion patients.[7] Those professing no faith make up 22 percent percent of abortion patients.[8]

While the Evangelical Right hunts snipe and the answer to who rests in Grant's tomb, people die on American streets every day of starvation. Hundreds of thousands of human beings die daily in unsanctioned wars while capital punishment continues killing despite its ineffectiveness as a crime deterrent, but religionists seem unconcerned and certainly oblivious to the admonition that “vengeance is mine.” National polls by the Pew Research Center and Gallup among others, show the insignificance of other's lives to religionists, as large majorities of Christians support all of these life-taking actions, except for starvation although they are in favor of ending social programs that could make a difference in saving lives for the unfed.

Simple numbers say that of thieves, liars, adulterers, pornographers, pedophiles, cheaters, abusers, perverts and more, the majority will be Christian. They may not fit the mold Christian religionists wish, but they are part of the 76 percent, which religionists are loathe to alter and risk the claim of being a Christian nation. Realizing the implications of nearly 8 of 10 Americans being Christian, points the finger where X marks the spot in the majority's home. Which brings back the question of the morality of atheists compared with believers and the answer is clear: The question of morality and behavior is being asked of the wrong group. It is clear that even with a belief in any gods, nonbelievers and atheists consistently demonstrate higher levels of morality than religionists.

It is clearly a case of preaching to the choir while the church burns to the ground.

[1] The Political Carnival: Gallup poll: Religion, intolerance related, Gallup Poll, April 8, 2009, http://thepoliticalcarnival.blogspot.com/2009/04/gallup-poll-religi...

[2] Ronald J. Sider, Evangelical Voters, Practice What You Preach, Beliefnet, March 2005, http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Christianity/2005/03/Evangelical-Vo...

[3] University and College Sex Survey, "CampusKiss and Tell", CampusKiss.com, February 14, 2006, http://www.campuskiss.com/defa...rvey=show&homepage=true

[4] Four in 10 Adolescents Now Live in States Not Participating in Federal Abstinence-Only Education Program, Guttmacher Policy Review, Winter 2008, Volume 11, Number 1, http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/gpr/11/1/gpr110123.html

[6] RK Jones, JE Darroch and SK Henshaw, Patterns in the socioeconomic characteristics of women obtaining abortions in 2000-2001, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2002; 34: 226-235

[7] Women Who Have Abortions, The Alan Guttmacher Institute & National Abortion Federation,2008

[8] Women Who Have Abortions, The Alan Guttmacher Institute & National Abortion Federation,2008

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Comment by Donald R Barbera on September 3, 2014 at 6:41am

In my book, "The 80% Solution," everything mentioned here is exactly the point I try to make. I tried to go through all the major "sins" Christians harp about and I found that in every instance Christians are the leaders by far. Murders? Christians. Abortions? Christians. Stealing? Christians, etc. Part of the problems is that many join their club because it sounds good on their resume. They've lied about church attendance. I listed a brief list at the end of each chapter of preachers that made the news for murder, rape, prostitution, drug dealing, bank robbery, domestic violence and, of course, pedophilia. By my estimate, there are only 20% of all people who consistently display the so-called Christian ethic and that includes every religion and non-religion--just people. The number holds true around the world. In the United States the same applies. With people consistently calling the US a "Christian Nation," then the other 80% need to start behaving like the club name they so proudly espouse, thus the name "The 80% Solution."

Comment by Grinning Cat on August 22, 2014 at 12:00pm

In God: The Failed Hypothesis, Victor Stenger suggests (among many other prongs in his argument) that if there were a god that cared about humans, heard prayers, and didn't hide from sincere seekers, surely that god would at least consistently help leaders of one true religion be shining and upright moral examples. Ain't happening. We keep hearing over and over about ministers, priests, archbishops, imams, rabbis... who are moral counterexamples.

Comment by Donald R Barbera on August 22, 2014 at 9:44am

Freethinker31--I hope you are right. It just burns my ass that they ask about our morality when their morality is on regular negative display everyday. It is not numerically possible that all the bad things that happen in this country can be blamed atheists, humanists, nonbelievers etc.



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