Sunday, February 13, 2011

On Immorality & Atheism

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The notion that atheists are immoral because they claim godlessness is tripe. There is no reason to suggest that a person is immoral because they don't believe a certain god, or any gods exist. Such a conclusion is hopelessly illogical: where's the connective tissue between the propositions "I don't believe in God/gods" and "disbelievers are immoral"? Something has to fit between those two propositions, otherwise concluding disbelief equals immorality is a categorical confusion and a lackluster syllogism, at best.

At worst, the implication that people can only be moral if they believe in a God/gods makes believers terribly dangerous people to associate with: are they suggesting that it's only their belief that restrains them from psychopathic rampages, and all manner of hideous crimes?

And what are we to make of pre-Judaic times, before the alleged giving of the 10 Commandments? Were people just given to their impulses with no thought to consequences? Were human beings wantonly viscious with no capacity for restraint until God burned a few words in stone? The fact is: people are moral despite their beliefs, and even without beliefs, because morality is part of our organising instincts and our efforts to promote the survival of ourselves and others.

Your morality is not a cape you are given by some God; it is part of your human composition and does not depend a whit on what brand of religion you choose to adopt.

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