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Monday, June 7, 2010

One thing i fear about atheists is that if they could do something wrong/bad, and get away with it (in secret), they would. As for theists, this is impossible as God is the police, omniscient being who knows your darkest, deepest secrets.Any suggestions?

NOTE: This is an anonymous question left on my formspring.me account. To ask a question go to the page Ask Me Anything (above) and click the link.

I think this is a common fear amongst people who don't have Atheist friends. The innate fear of someone who looks or behaves differently is a common problem. That being said, I'm going to talk about my personal life and then get into a study by Gregory S. Paul that I found in the Journal of Religion & Society (all submissions are subject to a blind peer review).
 
I am an Atheist and my wife doesn't believe in God either. I work with men who are disabled and my wife is a Social Worker/Therapist who works with the elderly as well as with troubled families/youth. We have two children, a boy and a girl ages 5 and 8, that we are raising as Atheists (you may do a search in the blog for Parenting and see a few of my posts about raising Atheists). We live in the suburbs in a house with a white picket fence (that needs painting desperately). We are neither sociopaths (people without conscience) nor are we would be criminals.

The study I mentioned is in the Journal of Religion & Society Vol 7, 2005 (click here for the actual study). I am using this article because it shows that countries full of Atheists are not breeding grounds for criminals. It is not necessary for a group of people to believe in God to act in a moral manner.

I'm not going to bore everyone on the specifics, but here are some quotes from the discussion section.
In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy, and abortion in the prosperous democracies.
And this little tid bit.
Higher rates of non-theism and acceptance of human evolution usually correlate with lower rates of dysfunction, and the least theistic nations are usually the least dysfunctional.
I promise this is the last quote!
Indeed, the data examined in this study demonstrates that only the more secular, pro-evolution democracies have, for the first time in history, come closest to achieving practical “cultures of life” that feature low rates of lethal crime, juvenile-adult mortality, sex related dysfunction, and even abortion. The least theistic secular developed democracies such as Japan, France, and Scandinavia have been most successful in these regards. The non-religious, pro-evolution democracies contradict the dictum that a society cannot enjoy good conditions unless most citizens ardently believe in a moral creator.
I hope I answered your question and that you will feel more at ease with people who are Atheists.

2 comments:

  1. Very interesting quotes though. Thing is, the religious have a crutch they can fall back on for forgiveness and will use it at every opportunity.

    Christians in particular have this feature, the sacrament of penance etc. More highly developed in Catholics but the Protestant sects are getting close.

    From my point of reference (I'm a former Catholic) you can be the biggest bastard on the planet, so long as at your death bed you embrace the holy sky fairy you'll go to heaven.

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  2. Axiom: We're talking about ordinary people here, not sociopaths without consciences.

    That said ...

    The way I see it, God is not the police, God (Jesus) is the forgiver. A Christian can seek and receive forgiveness for his or her transgressions. This reduces the deterrent effect of guilt and makes this person likely to transgress again. (They'll be forgiven again, right?)

    An atheist, on the other hand, cannot receive forgiveness from God (Jesus) or any other supernatural entity, and often not from the person or persons he or she has hurt. The atheist must endure the guilt alone. This is a deterrent, as guilt is not a feeling to embrace.

    Lurker111

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