Do Atheists Hate Theists?

I do not hate theists. I am a firm proponent of the Constitution of the United States (COTUS), which makes me a Constitutionalist. I feel that everyone on this planet has the right to believe (or not believe) whatever he or she wants, and I respect his or her right to believe (or not believe) whatever he or she wants. While the COTUS guarantees the right for people to believe whatever they want, it does not guarantee the respect of those beliefs.

I respect the right for people to have any beliefs, but I do not respect all of those beliefs. There is a HUGE difference.

The actions of some theists certainly make us angry, but we don’t hate theists.

I respect the right of the KKK to believe as they do, but I do not respect their beliefs. I respect the right of the Christian Identity to believe as they do, but I do not respect their beliefs. As a black friend of mine once said, “It’s only against the law to discriminate. It is not against the law to be a racist.”

In that same sense, I respect the right of Christians to believe as they do, but I do not necessarily respect those beliefs. I respect the right of poison drinkers and snake-handlers to risk their health, but that does not mean I do not think the act is stupid.

There is only one time that I hate theists and that is when theists use their theistic beliefs as a means to justify the start of war, spread hatred, spill blood, or trample on the rights of others. There are many examples of people like this throughout history. To start a war and to spill blood over religious beliefs is incredibly stupid. There is no other way I can think of wording it. It is just plain stupid. Converting by the sword, religious intolerance, and ethnic cleansing are spiteful and hateful ways to live and they contradict the “religion equals morality” argument that theists often like to throw in the faces of non-believers.

Christians are often fond of saying, “Hate the sin, not the sinner.” Why should a Christian hate in the first place? Would they appreciate a modified version of “Hate Christianity, not the Christian?”

The theists that I hate are the theists that kill abortion clinic doctors. The theists that I hate are the theists that kill anything or anyone and say they did it because their God told them to. The theists that I hate are the theists that use the blind faith of the masses to create havoc, chaos, and bloodshed. It is for this reason I set forth the requirements needed to aver that morality requires God. When theists behave like this then there is no foundation in saying that religion equals morality. Ask the victims of these people about religious morality.

Just for clarification, I hate atheists that do the same thing (Stalin is a good example).

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Are Atheists Immoral?

First, we need to establish what morals and morality are.

Morality

A doctrine or principle of moral principles or conduct.

Moral

Pertains to character and behavior from the point of view of right and wrong. Good and virtuous in behavior and character. Concerned with the principle of right and wrong, ethical, and capable of understanding the difference between right and wrong. To have a conscience which is often confused with conscious.

What makes humans unique is our ability to behave in a society in such a way that benefits the society in which we are living. We are social animals just like ants. Our behavior is based upon our societies and our societies are based upon our behavior. Our behavior can be altered and controlled based upon the needs of our societies (Nazi Germany is a good example).

Isn’t the law a “higher authority?”

We have a conscience that tells us right from wrong. We know right from wrong based on the needs of our society and, more importantly, from our experiences when we perceive wrongs committed against us. For example, if you feel sad when someone steals from you, then you associate that feeling with that action and do not commit that action yourself against others.

Why is it wrong to steal? Stealing is not beneficial to the overall society. If everyone ran around stealing all the time then you would not hold onto stuff very long. What you stole would only turn around and be stolen by someone else. You would have chaos and the society would crumble.

Killing someone only creates enemies out of the loved ones and allies of the person you killed. That is not very beneficial in the end is it? Alliances and friendships are important in societies.

Unfortunately this societal based morality can be (and has been) perceived as immoral when societies clash. For example, the Germans thought they were doing what was morally right as dictated by their society. Other societies thought their actions were immoral.

To understand humanity and the morality thereof you need to understand the cycles of societal behavior and the establishment thereof. For example, I can answer a question as an individual, as a member of the human race (society of humanity), or as a member of the many societies and sub-societies that we form. Examples of these societies are:

  • Our immediate familial society includes our spouses and children.
  • Our extended familial society includes our blood and marital relatives.
  • Our neighborhood society includes the surrounding homes on our street.
  • Our cultural society includes societies based on our religions, our gender, our sexual orientation, our activities and hobbies, and even our careers.
  • Our village, town, and city societies orientate themselves around the places we call home.
  • Our state society brings the villages, towns, and cities under a common flag, if you will.
  • Our country society brings the states under a common flag.
  • Our world society brings all countries and creeds together, for a common good or to fight amongst each other – united in humanity.

Each of us plays a different role in each of these societies. Within each major category of society are sub-societies that we participate in both directly and indirectly. As a member of each society we are required to justify ourselves to said societies. Take away the society and the need for justification (or morality – which is a higher form of justification) goes away.

Where does the “you can’t have morality without religion” come from?

The biggest proponent of religious based morality is the Fundamentalist. This group of theists composes less than twenty percent of the world’s population and is unmistakably the most vocal group of all.

We have already discussed the psychological needs of theism and gods. These psychological needs and the religious answers we generate to quench those needs mandate that our societies become spiritual and religious in nature.

Why do religious criminals outnumber their per capita equivalents?

Throughout history, our religious beliefs have based laws and rules. Leadership dictates morality by Divine Right of Law. God is said to grant sovereignty to the leader and the leader rules under the premise that god granted him or her power to dictate morality. This system worked until the Feudal Systems died out at the realization that state-mandated morality through god oppressed the people. Other governments and countries tried different variations of this theme and some hid the mandated morality behind other forms of government that appeared in essence to help the people.

The founding fathers of the United States realized this and wrote a Constitution that ensured the government could never mandate morality or religion through a singular group. Mandating religion through laws based on our personal religious beliefs is not the same thing, by the way. There are still countries where Divine Right of Law exists, though, even today.

What came first? Did societies form before organized religion? Of course, societies formed first. Why would there be a need for god authorities if there were no one that needed a god authority? Societies formed and established a societal code of morality based on their personal experiences. As religion developed, the morality incorporated into the religion and the religion swallowed up morality. To this day, many insist that there cannot be morality without religion.

Does that mean that without religion there can be no morality? We know that some of our laws are “based” on the religious convictions and views of our lawmakers – but that does not mean that the laws are religiously moral. For example, our laws surrounding murder are supposedly of a religious nature. If you look at the Ten Commandments, it is easy to make that connection. However, the sixth Commandment says, “Thou shall not KILL“. It does not say MURDER – it says KILL (although newer Bibles are replacing Kill with Murder (how convenient)).

As a nation that made those laws we wage war and kill others. If religion based our laws then we would never KILL. There would be no argument about the death penalty, abortion, war, or euthanasia. Therefore, while the religious beliefs of the lawmakers helped them formulate the law – it did not dictate it. The religion did not dictate the morality.

We use many things to create our laws. Where is the religious morality in the laws about no speeding, swimming after dark or illegal fishing? Our experience and non-religiously based morality base those laws.

There is no denying that belief in gods and the religiously dictated morality have shaped some of our current laws. When Tennessee has a law that any sexual position other than missionary is criminal then you know religious beliefs played a major part in making that law.

Before a theist (especially the Fundamentalist) can assert that God dictates morality, they must answer a few questions:

What morals have your god dictated to you?

Remember that laws of worship have nothing to do with morality so “have no idols before me” is not a moral issue. Also, remember that laws of justice have nothing to do with established morality; so stoning someone to death for adultery is not a moral issue. The adultery is the moral issue not the punishment. Also, remember that laws are not morality, either. So “eat no pork” is not a moral issue. It is a law. Please write down every moral established by your god.

The reason I ask this is that before one can assert that there can be no morality without a belief in a god, several issues need proving:

  1. There can be morality with the belief in God.
  2. God is a good moral role model.
  3. God does not promote, condone, endorse, or sanctify immorality.
  4. God defines morality and the morals thereof clearly and concisely.
  5. God adheres to his definition of morality and the morals thereof.

Once done, then one can make a beginning assertion: there can be no morality without a belief in god.

Once asserted, it will need proving. It will need proving that atheistic religions (such as Buddhism) are immoral. It will need proving that atheistic beliefs derive their morality from god.

Is Our Morality Just a Social Convention?

Yes and no. The major influence is societal but other influencing factors act directly and indirectly in the role of societal influence. The human animal is a social animal. If the social drive were to disappear overnight, things would change drastically. The compelling need for moral guidelines goes away when the influence of society and the drive to be social disappears. The need for cooperative living goes away. The need for self-preservation increases and the desire to preserve self over all others becomes a primary mission.

There is still self-preservation within a society but focused differently. If human beings were not social animals, the self-preservation factor would increase drastically. That is to say, that flight or fight become more important than it is now. Another human being in your territory becomes a threat and you must eliminate it. Human beings would only gather to copulate and reproduce.

Human beings living in isolation away from other humans and feral children show no signs of increased morality because they lacked a society that created a need for morality. The isolated human becomes aggressive and territorial. The image of the “mean old man” living in the woods by himself is somewhat based on the reality that isolation from society removes the need for a larger morality and self-preservation becomes the main driving factor.

It is the fact that we are social animals that requires morality to form. As social animals, can we run around killing everyone that walks through our grass? As social animals, can we run around stealing everything we want? No, a society will not last long under such conditions as those.

The question then becomes, what guidelines did the first societies use to establish the rules and guidelines that evolved into a complex moral structure? Several factors play into the formation of the rules and guidelines.

Perhaps Christians should be more concerned about justice here and now instead of being judged before their imaginary friend or a “day of judgment.”

Why are we social animals? What drove the solitary hunter/gatherer to associate with others of his kind and form the first mini-societies? We have all heard the phrase, “There is safety in numbers”, and we take it for granted. There really is safety in numbers. We can gather more food, hunt larger prey, more females tend to the young, and more males protect the group.

At the formation of the group, the guidelines and rules had to be established and they had to pick a leader. Obviously, there is no way to know exactly what procedures did they use to choose a leader back then. By looking at primitive cultures today, we have a basic idea of what may have happened. When they choose a leader and the guidelines and rules are set up, they have accomplished two things. They created the foundation for a moral structure and a moral “law enforcement”.

Personal experiences, group experience, knowledge of the known world, etc., is what developed the guidelines. In other words, if someone steals something from you how does it make you feel. Do you feel bad because you know its wrong, or do you feel bad because someone took your stuff? Because you feel bad, you associate that act with being bad and create a rule against it. The first societies established their rules and guidelines based on their personal experiences. They established new rules and guidelines as new situations developed, which required the intervention of a leader. The leader would make a choice and that choice would become a new guideline.

What it boils down to is that our personal experience with things done against us helps us to establish what is wrong or right. When someone does something to us and it makes us feel bad then we know what that someone did was wrong. We know what we did is wrong by instinct and feeling – not because someone tells us, it is wrong. If morality were nothing more than a code of laws, dictated down by a Supreme Being, then there would be no emotion attached to things done against us. We would know something is wrong because god told us it was wrong – not because we felt it was wrong.

Our leaders, regardless of how chosen, create the guidelines and rules we live by based on those experiences and other factors. Even to this day, our representatives in government make guidelines and rules based on their experiences. Our feelings about actions against others and us create laws and morality.

We, as an animal species, want to protect our species and specifically, our young. We know how it makes us feel when our young are threatened. We know what a mother and father’s protective instincts feel like. These feelings toward our young reflect in our social morality and the laws we create based on that morality. We create child restraint laws (mandatory seat belts), laws requiring children to use bicycle helmets, and a multitude of other laws to protect our children. Does religion base these laws? No, they are based exclusively on our personal experiences that we have had with our children and based on our feelings when we hear of a child’s death that could have been prevented if “a” was used or “b” was prevented. Then we create laws to ensure that “a” is used and to prevent “b.”

Of course, that does not justify emotional unthinking legislation. Unthinking legislation is another issue altogether.

Do Atheists Fail In Relationships?

Atheists actually do better than theists do.

This statement refers back to religious morality. It should say, “Atheists fail in relationships and marriage because it is not sanctioned by God.”

Atheists have a lower divorce rate than religionists. Atheists do not rely on an invisible man to solve their relationship and marital problems: they rely on communication with each other.

Marriage has nothing to do with God, even if the ceremony does for many people. Marriage is about two people that love each other and want to spend the rest of their lives together in a monogamous relationship. The theistic view of no sex before marriage and no cohabitation prior to marriage actually sets marriage up to fail. How do you know that you can live with someone for the rest of your life if you have no experience in living with him or her or experience in sexuality with him or her? No matter what theists say – sex and sexuality are a major part of any marriage.

Christianity puts unfair expectations on marriage for Christian couples. Do not talk to each other, pray to God, and he will solve your marriage strife. Is that sound advice for married couples? Does prayer end our differences and create peace in a marriage? Nope.

Which denomination has the highest and lowest divorce rates in the United States? The highest divorce rate in the United States goes to Judaism at 33% followed by Baptists at 29%. The lowest divorce rate in the United States goes to Atheists/Agnostics at 21%.

Perhaps the cohabitation and sex before marriage are good after all. Perhaps discussing our problems with each other instead of praying to an imaginary friend that cannot solve our problems is better. You bet its better!

Atheists succeed in relationships because they have realistic expectations of that relationship. Atheists realize that in order to solve a problem you discuss the problem with your partner; that God does not cure broken marriages – couples cure broken marriages. Atheist couples are not afraid to seek the mediator help of a marriage counselor because they know that prayer and God as a mediator do not work.

What About Death?

I explain death scientifically without any superstition attached to it.

Death starts as soon as we are born. The cells that help us grow actually causes our own death in the end – we begin to die the day we are born. The hormones and chemicals that we release cause our own death.

We are at a time where people are living the longest they ever have (The Biblical account of people living to be 400 or 700-years-old is a myth and not factual.). This is the first time in human history that we are able to see why we die as well as the causes of death. It is this technological advancement in medicine that will allow us one day to effectively counteract the causes of aging and perhaps even turn the Biblical mythology of living to be 700-years-old into fact.

This of course goes back to the psychological reasons for inventing religions. If man were to advance his medical technology far enough to create immortality (either physically or by transferring the conscious) then we eliminate the need for an afterlife. If we create our own immortality, then there is no longer any reason to fear death – the afterlife idea becomes irrelevant and is realized to be the mythology that it is. Religions would have to find another way to exist in the minds of followers – if they did not collapse altogether.

Atheist Tombstone: All Dressed Up With Nowhere To Go. ;)

Death is a natural event. It can be an unnatural event if we die at the hands of others or at the whim of a man-made machine or the often-brutal methods of nature. However, no matter how death occurs – the processes afterward are the same.

Our bodies recycle and decompose and we become nutrients in the soil for plants, insects, and other animals. The plants, insects, and other animals become food for us – and we recycle. The best way to describe it is, as the Lion King put it, The Great Circle of Life. In an odd sort of way, we are reincarnating as energy transfers from our dying cells to the environment around us. The environment soaks up our energy and it passes it along to other living creatures.

Why do we use dead leaves and twigs as compost? In the death of the leaves and twigs, nutrients create our soil rich and fertile. Death creates life.

I can hear the question already, “What about the soul?”

I have concluded that the soul does not exist. I know that we have a conscious and this conscious is often confused as the soul. Our conscious is really nothing more than who we are; our memories, dreams, emotions, feelings, and characteristics make up a collective that we call the conscious.

Electrical activity in the brain regulates our conscious. If that electrical activity goes away, so does the conscious; and that is death. The scientific definition of death is simplistically “loss of brain activity.” Your heart can stop all it wants, but you are not technically dead until electrical activity in the brain ceases. When that happens then you are truly dead.

There have been teams of Christian “scientists” working to prove that souls exist for nearly 35 years. I put the word scientists in quotations because the teams were not practicing science because they disregarded the scientific process – they started with a conclusion and went looking for data to back it up: avoiding contradictory data along the way (like Creationists do). They made absolutely no progress in proving that souls exist. They cannot measure any transfer of energy, protoplasm, or whatever pseudo-scientific word you want to call it, during death.

So what is the scoop with Near-Death-Experience?

NDE is not a hot trip to Heaven. Air Force and Navy pilots know what an NDE is. They noticed the same “tunnel effect” during high G testing in a centrifuge. The pilots lost consciousness and began to see a tunnel of light and they felt like there was something pulling them into it.

Scientists quickly began a more dedicated research into the phenomenon and found that during times of unconsciousness and death the brain released hormones as much as ten times as normal. These hormones act like a narcotic to the brain and reduce pain stimuli to the nerve center. It causes the brain to focus in on whatever stimuli are left. This causes a tunnel effect.

Belief in an afterlife is soothing for some: it’s why so many visit graves for years after a loved one has died. Accepting reality is psychologically healthier.

High stress situations that involve fight or flight also cause this effect. Victims that escaped crises recalled not being able to hear anything or see anything except what was immediately in front of them. Everything else was blurry. They had a sense of walking down a tunnel and being in “automatic” mode.

This tunnel-like apparition is often associated as ascension to heaven in a great tunnel of light, we hear our relative’s voices calling for us, and a great knowledge is at the end of the tunnel.

During an NDE experience, two parts of the brain increase electrical activity at the release of these chemicals: the memory and the senses. Chemicals dull Pain, memories and stored knowledge are active, and our sense of hearing and sight are greatly enhanced, but focused intensely, causing a tunnel-like vision. The end of the tunnel contains knowledge because our memories are active and everything we have ever learned and memorized is racing through our brain.

As science continues to understand why we experience the things we do, religion loses its credibility in providing the answers to our emotional and psychological needs.

Religion no longer explains lightning, earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanoes, comets, meteor showers, and other scientific phenomenon. Science now understands what an NDE is and why it happens. Yet gullible people across the world continue to believe people that insist they have actually ascended to heaven and returned.

Have religionists not noticed that no one comes back with an NDE if the patient is brain dead? The only time an NDE can occur is if there is still electrical activity in the brain. There is a simple answer for this that religionists refuse to acknowledge – NDE is a brain-generated phenomenon, not a trip to an afterlife.

Where Do Atheists Turn For Strength In a Crisis?

Instead of begging an imaginary being for strength in a crisis, I reach to others and myself. During times of crisis I do not ask, “God please help me” or “God give me the strength”. I simply state, “Come on, Blair, you can do it!” or “There are worse situations than this Blair, you can get out of this.” Alternatively, I will ask for help from my family and friends.

Atheists do not cry out to an imaginary god when injured or sick or in crises: we call 911, see doctors trained in medical science, or rely on our friends and family for help.

I analyze the situation logically instead of emotionally. I figure out the best way to get out of a crisis. I walk into a hazardous and dangerous situation, take charge of it, and think it through. I take control of all the assets available to me, solve the situation, and get myself out of danger. I have fought fires, chased bad people, and been in some desperate situations. Each time I was able to gather my own inner strengths and battle the situation head-on.

That has not to say that I am not emotional or that I do not react emotionally. It is hard not to react emotionally since our biology evolved to do such. Our emotions help us survive. I have seen lots of blood and damaged bodies in my time and I have never reacted emotionally – my training took over and I did what I had to do. When my daughter got hurt, it was different – my biological instincts overrode my training and I freaked out. It took me some time to come down, react logically, and get my act together in order to get her to help. One thing I never did during that time was pray to god or ask for help from a supernatural being. I did it on my own and got my daughter to the science of medicine – not the pseudoscience of church.

Another thing that helps me get through situations like that is my own body and the chemical reactions and processes that take place inside it. Adrenaline will do wonders in an emergency!

I seek help from people and things that can really help me. I do not seek help from imaginary beings that theists give credit to for doing something themselves. I find strength and help from some of the following:

  • My children, family, and friends
  • Laughter
  • Meditation or Biofeedback
  • Adrenaline (Yes – I am an adrenaline junkie!)
  • Music

Prayer and gods do not cure our diseases or solve problems during times of crisis. Where prayer and faith help is by calming the fears people have because prayer acts as a form of meditation and faith can have a biofeedback or therapeutic influence. Prayer and faith may give people the courage and emotional strength to continue, but they do not solve the problems we face.

We, as human beings, solve those problems ourselves. Imaginary beings do not give us the answers. We come up with them. Why do theists give their gods credit for their own actions? Why do theists deny themselves the credit they deserve for being human beings with the ability to think on a higher level? Give yourself credit where credit is due.

I do not know how many times I have heard theists say to people suffering from clinical depression, “Pray to god, and he will help you.” God and prayer do not cure clinical depression. Prayer may act as a form of therapy – but it cannot cure clinical depression. There is a big difference between feeling an overwhelming sadness and clinical depression. There is no arguing that prayer may help someone overcome sadness or “feeling depressed”, but prayer cannot cure clinical depression. As a society, we over-abuse the word depression and often associate it incorrectly with sadness or “the blues”.

Clinical depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain that prayer cannot cure.

If you are a theist and have ever told someone to pray to get rid of his or her depression, you owe that person an apology. In addition, you should advise that person to seek medical help for their condition.

Often we find this argument being used in the “there are no atheists in foxholes” statement. There are atheists in foxholes. I served in the Navy for almost ten years and encountered several life-threatening situations. Not once did I pray to a god to get me through the crisis.

If anything, I would aver that there are no theists in foxholes. When we are in the heat of battle, our training and experience take over and we do out jobs. It is not until after the battle is over, when we have a time to reflect upon what happened, and upon our morality, the theists begin to thank their gods and prayer.

When someone chucks a grenade into your foxhole you do not pray that god gets rid of it – you grab it and chuck it back out. You may pray latter if you are a theist – but when your life was in danger you relied on your training and your instincts – you saved yourself.

Medical Science has extended the lifespan of human beings: not prayer or belief in magical sky faeries.

Talking to fellow sailors and soldiers, I have learned one thing about god during a crisis: people forget about him. During a battle or major crisis, people forget about god most of the time. They attack the situation head-on and either save themselves or dig themselves into a deeper hole or cause their own death. Only afterwards, do people start reflecting on the situation and thank a god for saving them. God did not save them – their quick action and ability to think during a crisis saved them.

My father served in Vietnam. Vietnam made him realize that there was no god and he became an atheist in the foxhole. The foxhole made him an atheist.

Several friends of mine served time during war and each of them found strength in their atheism instead of finding a god in their foxhole. War to him or her was proof that there was no god.

One of the things that I have noticed during times of major crisis is that the hyper-religious often served as a hindrance to getting the job done and saving our butts. The hyper-religious would start to pray and cower to their god while the non-religious or the lightly religious would accomplish the mission or objective.

During any time of crisis or times when death was around the corner, I never turned to a god for help. It was my own inner strength and my own ability, as a thinking human being, to figure out my dilemma and a way out of it.

Often after a major catastrophe, we hear people say, “I had a guardian angel watching over me” or “God saved me from dying”. That is nice that they think their god saved them from death – but what about the other people that died. Did they not pray hard enough? Did their god not listen or were they not worthy?

When you hear about people that were praying to a god during a time of crisis it is important to pay attention to their story. Often you will find that those that were actively praying during a crisis were in a stagnant mode. They were hiding under a desk (as we witnessed at Columbine) or were hiding in a basement or bathroom (such as in tornado activity) or were doing something else that left them inactive during the crisis. Those that were taking action talk about thanking God after-the-fact.

The last couple of years of my life have found me in several crises with my family and environment. In each of these cases, I turned to my family, my friends, and myself for the strength to tackle these situations. Together we pulled through each crisis without any help from an imaginary being. Together we came out of each crisis stronger and closer than ever before.

There are atheists in foxholes. Foxholes create atheists.