Misc Thoughts on Atheism and Christianity

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chimp3's picture
Dawkins was right that the

Dawkins was right that the Universe is amoral. The universe has no consciousness. We are left here to ourselves with no help from sky fairies. If we want a peaceful planet we have to make it one. What strides we have made we have made with out divine assistance.

TheScientist's picture
The universe is indiffrent to

The universe is indiffrent to us. There's no good or bad. We created these labels, our brains did.
We evolved morality and good/bad is a consequence. Hitler was bad because he fits our criteria - human criteria - for being bad.
The universe has no moral criteria

xenoview's picture
Larry A

Larry A
The universe has no morals. Your god has no morals. Which god do you worship? What is it's name? Humans created morals. Morals change as humans deem them good or bad.

SBMontero's picture
@Larry A.: For parts. First,

@Larry A.: For parts. First, there's no a materialistic and non-materialist view of the universe -I say right, of the universe, not of the world, or life, no, of the universe-, there's a scientific and a non-scientific view of the universe, a vision that is ruled by specific physical and chemical laws, and another that is governed by imaginary friends floating in the air, heavens and hells, sex is sin, grow and multiply, cut a piece to your son's penis, remove the clitoris to your daughter, abortion is sin, holy war is good, expect a lot of virgins in paradise, don't eat meat on Holy Friday , don't eat pork, don't eat cow, don't eat mollusks, don't drink wine... to summarize.

Do good and evil exist? It's obvious that, after what has been said, religion isn't going to teach anything about it, no need any comment.

If our Sun explodes, Would that be good, or would it be bad? From our point of view, we live next to it, would be very, very bad, from the point of view of the universe would not even be a remarkable event. Does that mean the universe is evil? No, that means that good, or bad, depends on the point of view. Kill a human being is bad, that is something that we've embedded in our behavior through our genetic collection, like the rejection to the cannibalism, or the incest, and all this is very well, is very good... until the point of view changes. If someone bursts into your house and tries to rape and kill your daughter, Is killing that intruder okay, or is it wrong? If you find yourself isolated on a deserted island after an airplane crash, or a shipwreck, there's no food and there're several corpses around you, Is eating any of the corpses okay, or is it wrong? Ehm... I know we don't like to think about it, but even to commit incest there're acceptable points of view.

Of course, one thing is this, and another very different moral relativism. The first thing is to know if someone kills another person for acceptable reasons, to defend his/her children, and the other that you express, which, by the way, doesn't appear anywhere in the text of Richard Dawkins.

The universe has no fucking idea that you exist, nor lack that makes it to him.

The question that Richard Dawkins proposes is that there's no divine plan, because there's no god, to began because you don't give a shit to the Universe. Does that mean murder doesn't matter? Where does that say in "River out of Eden"? Nowhere.

There's a question that would be good to ask yourself, if you really read the book instead of taking quotes to misrepresent them, Is god necessary in the universe? Why exactly? Because we know that no and I can prove it.

Pitar's picture
Many people give Dawkins a

Many people give Dawkins a nod but he was as internally conflicted as anyone else. He simply takes a position on things coincidental with the same internal conflicts affecting lots of other people, and lists to the side that carries more weight to him. People are not all that different because the species does not fall very far from its own tree, meaning, there's only so many ways people will observe and resolve themselves and it's all been said before without his voice in it.

If nothing is of consequence, as Dawkins might apply his own brand of nihilism, how does he manage a phrase like "meaningless tragedy" without exhibiting the paradox of that delusion? How can he assign to tragedy a loss in some measure to human kind and at the same time claim it carries no meaning to or from him. He confounds himself with an internal struggle that can only be resolved as compassionate stoicism.

Too much drama resides in the passionate embrace of the Holy Expulsion of theism. Enough already.

Lawrence Andrade's picture
Let's see what you folks will

Let's see what you folks will do with this quote. It comes from John Locke, a political philosopher the American Founders learned much from.

"Experience shows, that the knowledge of morality, by mere natural light, (how agreeable soever it be to it,) makes but a slow progress, and little advance in the world. And the reason of it is not hard to be found in men’s necessities, passions, vices, and mistaken interests; which turn their thoughts another way: and the designing leaders, as well as following herd, find it not to their purpose to employ much of their meditations this way. Or whatever else was the cause, it is plain, in fact, that human reason unassisted failed men in its great and proper business of morality. It never from unquestionable principles, by clear deductions, made out an entire body of the “law of nature.” And he that shall collect all the moral rules of the philosophers, and compare them with those contained in the New Testament, will find them to come short of the morality delivered by our Saviour, and taught by his apostles; a college made up, for the most part, of ignorant, but inspired fishermen."

Source is John Locke, The Works of John Locke, vol. 6 (The Reasonableness of Christianity) [1695]

mykcob4's picture
So what Larry. It doesn't

So what Larry. It doesn't PROVE that morality comes from any god. It is just one man's opinion and nothing more.

Lawrence Andrade's picture
We would not have had the

We would not have had the declaration of Independence but for this man's thinking - and probably no Revolutionary War. He was a major influence on the American founders.

Follows from Washington's Farewell Address:


"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice ? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.
It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?
Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened."

Washington very much reflects Locke's thinking here. Limited government needs morality and the best way to promote that is through Christian preaching. Thus Christian churches are as vital to free government as Universities are.

The founders also believed that God - the Christian God - only accepts voluntary worship - that is a New Testament idea and actually an Old testament idea as well. This principle of volunteerism went a long way to making America the country it is - Universities and colleges as well as Hospitals have been founded and endowed by voluntary gifts - philanthropy - very often the motivation was Christian belief and charity - the desire to benefit our neighbor. Today secular philanthropy is big - many are secularists or agnostic of atheist - let it be said - and are moral people - let it also be said - but the model came from the founding and was intrinsically bound up with Christian motivations and belief.


Lawrence Andrade's picture
From "Memorial and

From "Memorial and Remonstrance" https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Madison/01-08-02-0163

7.   Because experience witnesseth that ecclesiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of Religion, have had a contrary operation. During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution. Enquire of the Teachers of Christianity for the ages in which it appeared in its greatest lustre; those of every sect, point to the ages prior to its incorporation with Civil policy. Propose a restoration of this primitive State in which its Teachers depended on the voluntary rewards of their flocks, many of them predict its downfall. On which Side ought their testimony to have greatest weight, when for or when against their interest?

mykcob4's picture
Larry, I am so tired of

Larry, I am so tired of theist trying to hijack patriotism and morality as if they only depend on christianity for their existence.
1) Although John Locke's writings did influence the founders, only PRT of his writings influenced the founders. The part that they adopted was the RIGHTS of the individual and ONLY that philosophy.
Since at the time, much of the world was headed by a monarch, and the founders abandoned the idea that a king was chosen by god, they adopted the idea of self-determination. In fact, you could argue that the founders rejected religion without discriminating anyone's belief.
2) The morality or values of this nation were not founded upon christian tenets, but rather in the tenets of individual freedom.

You are profoundly incorrect of your assertions And you are almost criminal in hijacking patriotism.

I don't give a good goddamn if every founder was an evangelical (they weren't). What they designed and why they designed it has nothing to do with religion except for the fact that they made it criminal to persecute an individual based upon their faith or non-faith. I have proven that this is a SECULAR nation and was always meant to be.
Individual freedom is the antithesis of christian idealism.
Your right to believe and practice your religion is purely individual. This nation is not bound up or dependent on christianity. You can't force me to obey your christian tenets, nor can the law deem me immoral for not following YOUR religion. I am a very moral person, but none of my morals are based on christianity. The laws of this nation cannot be nor shall they be based on christianity. The laws of this nation are based on individual freedom. Thus we are a nation of laws and not men. That is an important statement. This is why. England was a nation of men, meaning the king was the law and he was the law because he was chosen by a god. America became a nation of laws, not men. Meaning we are and were self-governed with no obligation to adhere to what a god wants or ordains.
When you realize that and realize that morality is from society and NOT christianity, then maybe you will keep your religion to yourself as your religious freedom is ONLY an individual freedom.

jamiebgood1's picture
Mykcop4 Wow! PREACH!!!

Wow! PREACH!!!

algebe's picture
@Larry A: "men’s necessities,

@Larry A: "men’s necessities, passions, vices, and mistaken interests; which turn their thoughts another way: and the designing leaders, as well as following herd"

All of these distractions seem to affect Christians far more than any atheists I've known. The herds troop into churches every Sunday, and the designing leaders stand up in pulpits or TV stations and promote their warped messages while demanding more and more money from their flocks. I think the Catholics in particular have had a few problems with men's necessities, passions and vices.

John Locke was a man of his time, and he was just a man. His opinions are interesting, but they prove nothing.

Lawrence Andrade's picture
Ben Franklin wrote to someone

Ben Franklin wrote to someone saying something like "I don't hold the abuse of a good thing against it." Separation of church and state is a good thing but it imposes responsibilities on people - they are responsible for their beliefs and what they do with them. As for phony preachers - no worries, they will answer to God.



algebe's picture
@Larry A. "they are

@Larry A. "they are responsible for their beliefs and what they do with them."

So with or without religion, people have to take responsibility for their own actions.

Lawrence Andrade's picture
With or without they should.

With or without they should. We can agree on that. But I would go with Locke on this. I came from a dysfunctional home but ended up with a very responsible job - had college grads working under me - because my reading of the New Testament helped me to deal with destructive emotions regarding the way I was - in my view - being mistreated or not mentored as I thought I could have and should have been.

Because of my eventual position I had to deal with some people with similar kinds of issues but who never grew up. That made them very poor employees and caused all kinds of problems in their personal lives.

So in my case, Christianity served the purposes the Locke and the founders thought it should and hoped it would. That was to help people to grow up emotionally. The church I go to belongs to a denomination that has several colleges and universities. Though it is not a large denomination - small or medium sized, I guess. But several colleges and universities. They recognize that people have emotional and intellectual needs as well as spiritual ones.

As society becomes more secular we are also having to deal with more and more visible anger and immaturity that is caused by people failing to grow up - they become drug or alcohol addicted instead. More and more crime and today in America we have a large
population in prisons. We could populate three or four states with those folks. And the costs are astounding.

A minimum security prisoner costs as much per year as it would to send him/her to a four year state college. Medium security to a four year private and max security to Harvard or Yale. Astounding costs!
And the emotional and personal costs to victims and the criminal's own family members. Lots of avoidable pain here, it seems to me.
Locke thought that the best way to help people to grow up was through preaching the Bible because it is based on the authority of God and you teach them every week.
Even today, churches are seen as a part of the social and cultural props of society - they still do a lot of good work among minorities and inner cities and the drug addicted. So churches like schools and hospitals and museums add value and stability to society.

But yes, people need to be self responsible and responsible for their own actions. How do we teach that on a wide scale when so many homes are dysfunctional or don't teach it?

I am describing how things should work and often do but , of course, Christians are people and we come short and so do our institutions - we come short but even in coming short some positive things still happen.

And of course some churches fail completely - there are idiots and ignorant everywhere.

But I think most of the ills atheists blame on religion - and some are bad - very bad indeed - but its not religion its the human condition. Individuals are complex and sometimes good and sometimes bad - do good or bad. One a large scale that gets expanded - in the last century far more were killed by communists and Nazis then by the religious. But by the religious too.

But is all this because of the atheism or religious beliefs or because of the heart of man is bent on evil?

Is full of hate and is self centered and wills to power? Christianity says its because the heart of man is evil - left to itself it will descend to evil. That's why we need a Savior - to save us from what - from our own impulses. We need someone to remake us - to make us new individually and to make us better. Better would include the ability to be more responsible.

I don't see heaven as relieving us from being responsible but rather as being a situation where all are truly responsible. Where they desire to be and are enabled to be fully to be self responsible and to act in a fully responsible way toward others.



jamiebgood1's picture

I see where your coming from and don't deny that religion has helped many people deal with lifes problems and tragedies. Especially if you grew up in a dysfunctional home. Was it a christian home?
I think the heart of the issue is christianity says we are evil hearted and Jesus can save us from our own impulses. Have you known many catholic school girls?
For me, at this point in my life one of my thought challenges is to believe in myself to make moral choices. I was always taught my evil heart and thoughts needed a savior to rescue me from myself. Im shocked to find I have great morals without god. More morals actually because my focus is now on people not a god that believes I'm prone to immoral choices.
Oh and mykcop4 explained how hitler and his nazis were driven by christianity.

Lawrence Andrade's picture
No mine was not a Christian

No mine was not a Christian home.

Something Ben franklin wrote to Paine comes to mind :

"..You yourself may find it easy to live a virtuous life, without the assistance afforded by religion; you having a clear perception of the advantages of virtue, and the disadvantages of vice, and possessing a strength of resolution sufficient to enable you to resist common temptations. But think how great a portion of mankind consists of weak and ignorant men and women, and of inexperienced, inconsiderate youth of both sexes, who have need of the motives of religion to restrain them from vice, to support their virtue, and retain them in the practice of it till it becomes habitual, which is the great point for its security. And perhaps you are indebted to her originally, that is, to your religious education, for the habits of virtue upon which you now justly value yourself..."



jamiebgood1's picture
If your childhood home was

If your childhood home was christian you might have attempted to escape from it rather than embrace it. I cannot tell you how many converted criminal testimonies I heard through my childhood. I agree in the way that in some cases religion can steer people away from their bad choices. The alternative can be worse. The problem is that people who believe they have no morals without Jesus tend to either stand at the podium and shout Jesus' praises, often hypocritically. Even more often they use it at a cop out to make immoral decisions, because god is always going to give them a clean slate. Thats just from my experience of almost 3 decades dedicated to god. I do think I could learn things from you and other theists, because all people can gain wisdom from life experience regardless of their religious affiliations. :)

jamiebgood1's picture
For most of my life I

For most of my life I despised atheists and secular society for the negative affects its had in our society. Its just not true through. Do you think us atheists are screwing up the world? If so, please explain, how because that is so far from how I see it now.

Lawrence Andrade's picture
I think Christ lived , dies

I think Christ lived , dies and rose again - all in history - so I think these are historical facts. I think its up to me to believe and to be as responsible as I can. I have screwed up in the past - big time sometimes - but inadvertently , not because I thought - "well, I can do this and get away with it - I'll be forgiven". For the rest, the world is full of idiots - the churches have there share as well as atheists and others.

But see the rest of my posts if you have time.

Political freedom needs a philosophical underpinning that places a high value on individual people - that values conscience and private thinking - historically that came to us through a mix of Christian philosophy and enlightenment
thought as well. But the emphasis should be on Christian thought - read
"Memorial and Remonstrance" - an important summation of American political thought - its a Christian document.

W/O Christian teaching I don't think the world would have ever known the degree of political freedom that thrived in Western Societies - though it was never perfect - I also think we will lose that as society becomes more secular - there will be an increasing pressure to shut up and conform.


" It is unalienable, because the opinions of men, depending only on the evidence contemplated by their own minds cannot follow the dictates of other men: It is unalienable also, because what is here a right towards men, is a duty towards the Creator. It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage and such only as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty is precedent, both in order of time and in degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society. Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governour of the Universe.."

How would you ground the value of the individual person from atheism? If we did not have this document and the cultural supports that it rested on - how would you do it?

If we lose respect for this "Governour of the Universe" - were will that leave us? Nazism and Communism answer that the individual doesn't matter - only the state does.

It may seem like you will be able to maintain freedom right now because we still have something left of our legacy - but for how much longer? The founders thought we needed absolutes for their form of government to work - you need the people to voluntarily restrain themselves , to take responsibility for themselves.

So these are some of my thoughts.



mykcob4's picture
Horseshit Ben Franklin was an

Horseshit Ben Franklin was an atheist. He wrote many letters to many of his atheist contemporaries to prevent them from public admonishing religion BECAUSE at the time that type of declaration could get you killed. He wasn't defending christianity, he was protecting the atheist!

algebe's picture
Well Larry A, I think that

Well Larry A, I think that for evil to triumph, all that is necessary is for good men to do nothing, and for everyone else to entrust their consciences to popes, priests, politicians, and dictators. Christians entrusted their consciences to the Popes, and we got the Inquisitions and the Conquistadors. Modern Catholics entrusted their consciences to the church and let priests get away with atrocities against children. Germans entrusted their consciences to Hitler, and we got the Holocaust. Now Americans have entrusted their consciences to Donald Trump, and I'm not sure what we're going to get.

Religion has never prevented wars, atrocities, genocides. It's either caused them directly, or aided and abetted the perpetrators. So as long as people keep looking up to the sky for help, they'll continue to get bird shit in their eyes. We all need to grow up and grow our own consciences that tell us personally this far and no further. Religion actively prevents that.

SBMontero's picture
@Larry A.: Are you trying to

@Larry A.: Are you trying to prove that morality comes from any god... quoting philosophers who were Christians? Ehm... well, if that's what you're doing, I'm sure you can find better things in Santo Tomas, San Ignacio de Loyola, or Rabindranath Tagore, for example. I for help.

Lawrence Andrade's picture
I can point to a history

I can point to a history where - in spite of a great deal of evil - I can call it that because I believe there is such a thing as real good and real evil that exists objectively just as the physical world or universe exists objectively - but in spite of all of that evil - because of the Biblical influence we eventually develop a system of Government where human life and freedom is valued in large measure.
Shortcomings and problems remain - they certainly do - but we have made real progress. We made that progress because of the New Testament teachings and examples.
It is a fact that political freedom emerged in Western nations and those that have their historical roots in Biblically informed nations.
Atheist thinkers were a part of that - but it is not possible to separate there thinking from the prior achievements of people like Augustine , who cased their fundamental values on New testament teachings.
You need a philosophical foundation to build these things on. You get that from the value God places on individual human persons.
You can't get it from a morally indifferent universe.

Or perhaps can.

Please tell me why you think we can. Where do you ground your thinking on the value of the individual.

I get mine from the fact that God stepped into history and willingly died to save individual people from their sins.

Madison and others did it in Christian belief also - though Christian belief as influenced by enlightenment thought - and also because they greatly desired freedom for themselves.

. See his "Memorial and Remonstrance"



SBMontero's picture
@Larry A.: By parts, again...

@Larry A.: By parts, again...

First, no, it isn't true and anyone can prove it, we matter to the universe a pepper, if we disappeared from the universe, and predictably that will happen anytime in the future, hopefully in a long time, it would not matter to anyone.
Second, Democracy isn't born thanks to biblical influence, Democracy was born in Greece eight hundred years before the first gospel was written... by the way, also in Greece. And the first constitution was the Creek, this, yes, written in America. Do you want to play something to which this Constitution also had no biblical influences?
Third, I have read to you to say that the Nazis were judged by the New Testament and Biblical influence. It's also a lie. Not only that a new crime had to be created in order to be able to judge the Nazis, crimes against humanity, but also, through the influence of the new testament and Jewish Christian ethics, crimes against humanity were committed as the selective murder of twenty Millions and half of Indians only in America, religion even denied them the right to have a soul... I can put the estimated figure in Africa so that it makes us sick to look at a cross and a Star of David for the rest of our lives.
Fourth, There's no atheist who doesn't believe in the human being, but to the human being believe is at odds to believe in god... and any atheist can prove it.

Oh, and, if you want quotes, that's philosophy, not the bible...

The needs of many outweigh the needs of few, or the one.
Religion hates possibilities and gray.
To all my friends the most human was always my dog, and never had religion.

Live long, and prosper (hehhehhehehehehe) ¬¬)-♫

LogicFTW's picture
A quote comes to mind:

A quote comes to mind:
"A society is only three meals away from anarchy."

Take any group of people and see how long their morals last them when they go without any food at all for 3 meals, or a full day or two.

See how long this "god created moral system" lasts.

SBMontero's picture
@LogicForTW: "Every man has

@LogicForTW: "Every man has an anarchist in him" (Sorry for the pronouns, quote isn't mine) - Carrillo.

That's exactly what I was trying to explain before, and that, by the way, Larry didn't answer me, for obvious reasons. Not even the moral guidelines that we have integrated as social animals, which are very simple, I reduced them to three, endure if circumstances change and the human being is pressured to break them to survive. Human beings are what we are thanks to our incredible ability to adapt, we are omnivorous because we adapt to eat whatever, from carrion to soybean shoots, that also includes our ability to adapt socially, if we go hungry we become cannibals, and to justify it culturally we surround it with rites; We hate to kill our fellow men, but if someone invades our crops we call it war and we justify it because our children have to eat, and the gods bless the warriors.

You explain it much better in three words, I mess up like a sunblind.

Lawrence Andrade's picture
A point well taken. But doesn

A point well taken. But doesn't that confirm the Biblical teaching that our hearts are deceitful above all things and that none of us are truly good - that we only have a venire of "goodness" - the social appearance of "goodness".


SBMontero's picture
@Larry A.: Well, there's no

@Larry A.: Well, there's no goodness, there's the genetic urge to help other people waiting or the same deference if happen us the same thing, also happens to the birds and it's genetic (you need read to much science... Larry), and, of course, isn't at all anything related to Judeo-Christian morality (science is very fucked up).

Live long, and prosper ¬¬)-♫

mykcob4's picture
A side note for Larry.

A side note for Larry.
Hitler was so immersed in christianity that he embarked on finding 3 particular artifacts of the christian faith.
1) The spear of destiny
2) The ark of the covenant
3) The holy grail

If Hitler was atheist or pagan he would not have even searched for these items. They had significance for him. he would never had committed vital resources to try and find them if wasn't christian.


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