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Old 09-23-2013, 06:51 AM
 
Location: Middle of nowhere
20,332 posts, read 10,467,447 times
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Can someone please explain why some Christians seem to think that atheists live an anything goes life?
Do they honestly think this? Is the only reason they aren't out raping and killing is that their book tells them it's bad?

I really don't understand this line of thinking.
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Old 09-23-2013, 06:59 AM
 
3,404 posts, read 2,254,157 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjrose View Post
Can someone please explain why some Christians seem to think that atheists live an anything goes life?
Do they honestly think this? Is the only reason they aren't out raping and killing is that their book tells them it's bad?

I really don't understand this line of thinking.
There are two lines of thinking. One is that atheists are amoral and thus essentailly act morally on accident, sort of like a stopped clock being right twice a day.Some of these folks are loud, but there are not so many of them

The other line of thought is that atheists can act morally, and often do ( being clear that this is not enough for salvation). But since Atheists cannot appeal to divine authority for the source of their morality, they are hypocritical and misguided. The mere fact that they don't kill and rape indiscriminately is supposed to prove that they unconsciously follow God's morality, since it is part of humanity being created in the image of God. Thus the fact that atheists don't kill people is proof they are wrong...

These two ideas are often conflated, and when not referring to someone they know, theists do often make the assumption that atheists, particularly in any leadership position, will make poor moral or ethical choices. At the very least, somehow the fact that someone claims ot be a believer is supposed ot make them a safer choice to trust.

-NoCapo
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Old 09-23-2013, 08:19 AM
 
Location: Sitting beside Walden Pond
4,609 posts, read 4,118,471 times
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A lot of us believe that other people are just like we are.

If a Christian believes that he gets his moral values from his religion, then he may believe that all of us need a religion to give us our moral values.

Therefore, if we don't have a religion, we must be immoral.
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Old 09-23-2013, 08:59 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,197 posts, read 9,099,963 times
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As an evangelical I assumed atheism was unworkable, since I didn't personally know any atheists and had been told all my life that they led nihilistic, despairing existences that were bereft of hope and moral compass, and that they tended to devolve into hedonistic practices, as what else, exactly, was there?

I was also subtly inculcated with the notion that being around unbelief was dangerous and undermining and would rub off on me. There is actually some truth to this: truth is subversive, after all, to both untruth and to unsubstantiated belief.

Of course what I believed about atheism and atheists was near-total nonsense and had nothing to do with the facts on the ground.

To the point of your question, no, theists aren't raping and pillaging only because their book says not to. For the most part they aren't raping and pillaging because they are good people who wouldn't even need some book to tell them not to do it. If you really lust to wreak violence on others the most a prohibition of any kind is going to do is slow you down a bit -- and if you're the rebellious type it may actually speed you up by giving you something to push back against.

However, theists often attribute their goodness, not to their nature or their conscious decisions to sublimate the shadow aspects of their nature, but to their reliance on god. This causes them to not give themselves credit for their actual qualities and legitimate accomplishments, and it causes them to believe the fiction that letting go of god is letting go of who they are and their ability to function in the world.
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Old 09-23-2013, 10:46 AM
 
Location: Missouri, USA
4,411 posts, read 2,989,261 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjrose View Post
Can someone please explain why some Christians seem to think that atheists live an anything goes life?
Do they honestly think this? Is the only reason they aren't out raping and killing is that their book tells them it's bad?

I really don't understand this line of thinking.
Think less, not more. You'll understand it better.
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Old 09-23-2013, 12:50 PM
 
Location: Somewhere out there.
6,870 posts, read 3,796,240 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjrose View Post
Can someone please explain why some Christians seem to think that atheists live an anything goes life?
Do they honestly think this? Is the only reason they aren't out raping and killing is that their book tells them it's bad?

I really don't understand this line of thinking.
I get so tired of this accusation that atheists have no morals.

It's based on fear. If you don't behave in this life you will be punished in the next.
If you treat people badly you will go to hell.

How about living a good life for the reward of living a good life?
How about treating people well because of the reward you get in this life? I'm not talking about material award but living life with a clear conscience and the joy of knowing you have made someone else happy?

How about doing something good knowing there is no reward? Isn't that actually morally better than expecting something in return in the supposed afterlife?

Heck, I tear myself apart when I think I have written a post on here that someone might have found slightly upsetting then fret about it all day!
It is very easy to know the difference between right and wrong.
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Old 09-23-2013, 06:50 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
41,162 posts, read 18,609,914 times
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Originally Posted by Cruithne View Post
I get so tired of this accusation that atheists have no morals.

It's based on fear. If you don't behave in this life you will be punished in the next.
If you treat people badly you will go to hell.

.
In fairness a portion of my moral system is based on fear. I certainly do not want to wind up in prison and that partially governs my decisions. I do not want any traffic fines, that partially governs my driving behavior.

I think most normal morality is based on the fear of how you will be perceived by others if you behave in a selfish, harmful manner.

If all fear was removed, religious, social, cultural, familial, I suspect the result would be a far less moral world.
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Old 09-23-2013, 07:57 PM
 
Location: NJ
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Well, I did just get home from a long day or raping and pillaging.
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Old 09-23-2013, 08:07 PM
 
Location: Middle of nowhere
20,332 posts, read 10,467,447 times
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Thank you for all of your comments.

I just needed to vent for a minute after reading some threads this morning.
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Old 09-23-2013, 08:22 PM
 
794 posts, read 1,197,130 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hiker45 View Post
A lot of us believe that other people are just like we are.

If a Christian believes that he gets his moral values from his religion, then he may believe that all of us need a religion to give us our moral values.

Therefore, if we don't have a religion, we must be immoral.
The corollary to this is that an accusation is a window into the soul of the accuser. If someone tells you their religion is the only thing keeping them from raping and killing, stay well clear of them.
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