Morality Doesn't Come From Religion

posted May 25, 2011, 1:26 AM by Garrett Fogerlie   [ updated May 25, 2011, 4:14 AM ]
By Garrett Fogerlie

The thought that morality comes from religion is so very wrong. I am often confronted with someone that says, “Well if you don’t believe in Heaven and Hell, what’s to stop you from killing people?” This is an outrageous question! I sincerely hope that it is asked out of ignorance however every time I hear it I can’t help to wonder how little concern the person who asks it has for life. The thought that people are only good because they are afraid of burning in Hell for eternity is an incredibly scary thought!

If we look at the animal kingdom, we see animals risking their lives to help other animals, elephants risk getting stuck while trying to get others out of mud pits. Wolves, lions and other animals sharing food with members of their pack so they don’t starve. Mothers sacrificing themselves when predators attack so that their offspring can have a chance to get away; these things are noble and they are hard coded in these animals and in us. It’s rare to see animals killing other animals when it’s not for food, security or mating. The idea that human beings are less moral then far less intelligent animals is preposterous. And then to go further the thought that if you don’t think you will be caught or punished, then why not start murdering is inconceivable. Even the bad apples that do end up being serial killers, it is usually associated with a disease or/and a very traumatic childhood.


None the less I hear this question all the time. My number one rebuttal to this is that Atheists make up around 18% of the American population, while they only make up 0.2% of the prison population. There are less Atheists in prison than Scientologists. With any other religion (except possibly the Amish) their ratio between population and prison population is pretty much a dead match. That means that the percentage of Catholics is around 36% and the percentage of Catholics in prison is also around 36%, as you would think.

I have heard many tries to refute these stats but survey after survey confirms them. However I will point out the more common ones. A standard one I hear is that the actual Atheist population in America is not nearly 18% saying that it is less and at the same time they say that people don’t want to admit to being Atheists so they aren’t telling the truth. These two points contradict each other; it would be like taking two different temperature readings with the same thermometer and then saying the outside readings seem too high, so it must be the thermometer and I’ll just lower those readings manually while on the inside it is too low so I will raise them. It’s poor logic and there have been many studies that have all showed consistent results. The other idea I have come across, by a pastor no less, was that Atheists tend be more intelligent and more educated and this keeps them out of trouble. Perhaps this adds to it, but I’m sure prison has as similar ratio of people with above average intelligence as the standard population does. But this idea, actually this fact, that people that are more intelligent and better educated are more likely to be atheist has to make you think that maybe they are on to something. We listen to scientists and doctors about tons of important things; things that we may barley understand but we know that since these people are more likely to know what they are talking about then we should listen to them this applies to everything except religion! Why? How can people be so ass backwards about this one thing?

To be honest though the stats amazed me when I first saw them, however since I know a lot of religious people I see that the majority of them have little reverence for human life, amongst other things. It’s similar to several police officers I know that openly talk about wanting to kill drug users. I suppose if you though that after you die you get another life, like it’s a video game, you tend to be less careful with the one you have now. Not to diverge here too much, but just in the possibility that there is no life or world after this one, shouldn’t we do all we can to make this one wonderful for us and our children? The worst case scenario in this idea is that we work a bit harder and life is a bit better, and if by chance there is another life then even better no harm was done. We should hope for the best but plan for the worse.

Doing good deeds because you fear the consequences is not moral! Doing good for goodness sake is and it has absolutely nothing to do with the bible. Do not belittle yourself by thinking that you would be a crazy evil person if you didn’t have religion. You are better than that. As Steven Weinberg says,

“Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”

This is a very good point. The extremist Muslim terrorists that have been responsible for so many deaths as of late probably would have gone their whole lives without killing anyone, without blowing up buildings and causing devastation all around the world. Without religion there would have been far less wars and far less death. But not even that extreme, without religion, stem cell research could be much further along; the Dark Ages would have been very different. There may not be a prevalence of Gay hate, and picketing funerals and bombing doctors. This is why I believe that God is mans biggest mistake, not the other way around. If there actually is a god, the devastation that he has caused by his random fiddling with peoples lives and civilizations shows that he at the least is not all knowing and more likely he is not a good or amazing god, and does not seem to care at all for the suffering that he has cursed onto this world!


Comments...

Anonymous said...

Hi, I find it extremely entertaining to read through your blog, considering no one else does. Not one comment, not one check mark, nothing. Looks like your having an argument with an invisable debater. Have fun exterting your energy and time for an audience of ZERO. Loser

April 15, 2011 4:50 AM
vibe4philo said...

I have recently found your blog through Twitter and I would just like to say that I also find it extremely entertaining. But probably for different reasons to the previous poster. I think your writing style is good and easy to assimilate. When you quote people you always credit them. The information you put on your blog, I happen to agree with, so for me it's preaching to the converted, but utterly entertaining none the less. Keep up the good work and I wish you well with your endeavour.

April 16, 2011 5:28 AM
Leigh said...

Maybe Anonymous is in prison, and does not have free access to a computer as he did sign his post "Loser".

April 20, 2011 9:56 AM
Anonymous said...

I just wish the people around me would bother to read and reflect about meaningful articles like this... or else it proves that there is no cure for ignorance...

April 21, 2011 9:30 AM
Mika Galipeau said...

I found your blog because of a random follow on Twitter. As someone who writes for a living, I most certainly can state that the quality of your work is easy to read, adaptable, and excellent overall.
I do believe that the prior critics have more of an issue with the subject matter than the grade of your esssays and thusly have gone with the lowest common denominator. Do not permit insults to detraact you.

Keep on rockin' in the free worlsd, while we still have one.
Mika Galipeau
Roofer On Fire

http://rooferonfire.blogspot.com

April 21, 2011 11:04 AM
Anonymous said...

Altruism is hard-coded into our genes, it is a means of survival. Becoming self-aware and realizing death is inescapable is what led to people imagining gods and an afterlife. Anonymous #1 is just in denial about the truth. There is no god, we are the best we have.

April 24, 2011 6:37 AM
ShyGirl480 said...

@Anonymous (the first one) First off, your negative comment made me want to read the article more, so thanks :) Why do people have to stoop to harassment and name-calling to disagree with someone? Secondly, your article was very well thought out. I sometimes struggle with this issue as a new atheist, so it helped me alot. Keep it up, and don't bother with anyone who can't even post a decent comment.

May 8, 2011 8:23 PM
Garrett Fogerlie said...

ShyGirl480, thanks. To answer your question, I have found that people resort to harassment and name calling when they don't an educated rebuttal or a leg to stand on.

To everyone else, thanks! I'm sorry I haven't had the time to reply to your comments, or add new material this week. I'm busy getting our entire site, www.EvilTheists.com up and running. I have a bunch of new content that should be up within the next week.

Thanks, for all the support everyone!

May 9, 2011 3:47 PM

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