Re: [asa] Re: good atheists?

From: Cogan, Susan L. <>
Date: Fri Sep 04 2009 - 11:15:02 EDT

On 9/3/09 4:52 PM, "Ryan Rasmussen, P.E." <> wrote:

> I came across this post and had to share an excerpt from Theodore Beale's
> ('Vox Day') book "The Irrational Athiests" with you that speaks to the issue
> of athiestic morality. The rest of the book (free download from his site)
> is also quite informative and
> entertaining. While I don't agree with all he has to say, it certainly is
> refreshing to see Dawkins, Harris, get thrashed at their own game.
> Anyway... on to atheistic morality in Mr. Beale's eyes:
> Most atheists abide by the morality of the culture that they inhabit, not
> because they have taken the effort to reason from first principles and
> miraculously reached conclusions that bear a remarkable similarity to the
> moral system of those around them, but because lacking any moral system of
> their own, they parasitically latch on to the system of their societal host.

When I first heard that argument in the mid-1980s I was furious because it
was so incredibly arrogant. Now it's like running into someone from high
school that you didn't like much back then.

> That's a negative way of describing what is essentially a good thing, and it's
> why atheists in Christian cultures behave according to an individual morality
> that has more in common with the surrounding Christians than with Hindu
> atheists or Islamic atheists with whom they theoretically have more in
> common.

Why would they have more in common with someone from a different culture?
There is not a nickel's worth of difference between Islamic morality, Hindu
morality and Christian morality. If you rob a bank or cheat on a business
deal you are going to receive societal censure in each of those societies.
Everyone in all of those societies knows stealing or cheating is wrong.

>In practice, this tends to work out as the dominant local moral system
> minus the proscribed behavior in which the individual really wants to engage,
> which is usually something involving sex or money. But this positive moral
> parasitism can never be confused with the possession of an independent system
> of morality, so the problem is that a voter has no idea which specific aspects
> of the dominant moral system have been rejected by the atheist politician.

Or by the Christian politician. Or by the Hindu politician, etc. Religious
affiliation or lack thereof is not a predictor of behavior. The conduct of
all of the politicians in the last few years exposed/convicted/accused of
misbehavior was around sex or money and every single one was a professed
Christian. The only avowed atheist in congress is, as far as I know, squeaky
clean. Atheists are quite underrepresented in prisons. The vast majority of
people in prisons consider themselves either Christian or Muslim. Does that
mean that per capita atheists commit fewer crimes? Maybe. Again, it could be
a cultural rather than a religious thing.

> While the atheist next door is likely to limit his rejection to the specific
> aspects that proscribe premarital fornication or gluttony and indulge himself
> in the sort of everyday moral failure to which even the most devout Christians
> are susceptible, history demonstrates that the ambitious atheist who seeks
> political power is significantly more likely to reject the moral proscription
> on things such as slaughtering large numbers of people who stand in the way of
> establishing a godless utopia.

All available stats show that atheists are less likely to divorce than
Christians. Does that mean they are more faithful? I don't know. It may be
an artifact of culture (most divorces are in the "red" states). Gluttony?
Are you serious? Have you ever been to a church potluck?

>The peg-legged crack whore, on the other hand,
> only wants to shift agricultural subsidies from cereal crops to coca plants
> and poppies and install disco balls in the White House.

Hahahahahaha!!!! Ok, this is a parody and I've been hooked.


80+ years ago a handful of dictators committed some atrocities. Well, two.
Stalin and Mao. Hitler wasn't an atheist. Yet in modern times a lot of
countries are led by atheist Prime Ministers and Presidents and many of them
have majority-atheist populations, yet they are the most peaceful and
prosperous nations in the world. In Bosnia Christians slaughtered Muslims.
In Africa Muslims are slaughtering animists. The reasons for those genocides
are almost certainly racial and cultural rather than religious, but being
religious hasn't slowed any of them down.

I don't think that "Religion poisons everything." I think when someone wants
to rationalize their behavior they will find something. Anything. Sometimes
it will be religion. Sometimes it will be "law and order." Sometimes it is
"my opponent is a two-legged crack whore" and thus has no humanity.

A lot of these "foundations of atheist morality" arguments seem to be
predicated on the idea that morality isn't good for you. It's not something
you want to do and therefore has to be imposed on you. Moral behavior is not
something you would ever do willingly. That's true for children and a few
adults. Mature adults, though, know that you can only be happy if you live a
moral life. Most people know that intuitively. That's how Japan and Sweden
have peaceful, law abiding societies in spite of huge atheist populations.


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Received on Fri Sep 4 11:15:56 2009

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