Exactly How Are Nonbelievers More “Immoral” Than Believers?

Essays continue to appear about the immorality of nonbelievers.  This writer said nonbelievers resist the “word” because they would have to give up the immorality they enjoy.

Just what is he, and others who make generalizations about nonbelievers, referring too.  Is it that nonbelievers steal other’s money, cheat more than Christians in personal relationships like marriage, kill and rape more than believers, or what?

No one ever says what selfish and evil immoral deeds nonbelievers do.  Certainly, there is no evidence from crime statistics or any other source that confirms this.  In fact, there are suspicious bits of evidence bad moral behavior comes more often from Christians.

In the Bible Belt, for example, there is much more domestic abuse than in the rest of the country.  Now, there are no statistics which say the abuse is done by believers.  But, this data certainly does not condemn nonbelievers.

Then, there is the prison population.  It is over represented by Christians compared to the general population.  Every time I bring this up, some of my regular commenters get angry, saying an inmate who self identifies as Christian may not be a good Christian.  There is not a box for inmates to check that says, [_] Bad Christian. That they consider themselves Christians is all we know.  The prison numbers need to be brought up so long as there are Christians making undocumented and unethical generalizations about the morality of nonbelievers.

Christians would be well served by not passing judgement on others.


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34 Responses

  1. “Christians would be well served by not passing judgement on others.”

    Amen to that, Jon. No need to pass judgement on unbelievers since they are already under judgement.

    “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.: (John 5:24)

    By the way, you mentioned entech, that he may no longer be with us. Sorry to hear that. I for one will miss his contribution to the give and take on your blog.

    1. Michael 2:47 re: entech

      Both Henry and I made attempts to find out what happened to him with no success. We have only his actual name and Henry figured out he lived near Melbourn. He may have had some illness and will rejoin us. I, too, miss his comments.

  2. Stanta

    Jon, you twist my words again. I said many have no idea what a Christian is. They believe it is hereditary, if grandma goes to church and mom sometimes prays and I went to church at Christmas or I didn’t get any presents…..I must be a Christian. This is not a good/bad Christian matter, would you accept someone as an economist if they couldn’t even define what one is?

    I am not surprised you bring this up again, my personal experience talking with prisoners over the last three years means nothing to someone who has read a news article with ambiguous questions. In any poll it is a good practice to see the actual questions asked. I have been polled before and the questions asked were leading right to a “gotcha” question. As a politician I am sure you have seen or even used similar polls.

        1. Stan 3:50 I prefer to call it a teaching moment. It’s a moment that will reoccur every once in a while when some dufus Christian writer says nonbelievers have lower moral standards than Christians–but offers no evidence this is so.

          I respect what you have found, that the prisoners you talk to know little of the parts of Chrisitanity you know about. Yet, they know they are supposed to mark the box, “Christian”, when being process into prison. They might be called, “cultural Christians”. Some Jews are called “cultural Jews”.

          What it means to be a cultural Christian may well be different than whatever you feel it means to be a Christian. Wanna and I have similar disagreements. He thinks being a Christian is knowing what ever it is he thinks is important. The average Christian doesn’t know what he knows, but they know what ever it is popular culture has taught them. To me, being a Christian is supporting the faith. The faith is about what its supporters think it is.

          So, we can ask, why is it there are cultural Christians? Why is it prisoners feel they should mark “Christian” on intake? My feeling it is because they have been told by the dominent religion this is what they are supposed to do. They were not told this by Freethinkers or Jews or Hindus, but by Chritians. But, you have a problem with me referring to them as Christians. I’m not the reason they marked that box. It is your faith and all the others that caused that. So, you can be angry I refer to them as Christians, but, perhaps, you should be angry with whoever caused them to mark the box. If they hadn’t marked the box, Christian, they would not be in the damaging data pool.

          1. Wanna B Sure

            Jon; Your; ” He thinks being a Christian is knowing whatever he thinks is important”. I have never said that, and if you would think a little, you would admit to it. I have been very clear on this. More twisting on your part. Knowing/ knowlege is not faith. Knowlege of the faith can help prevent “error”, (that hated and misunderstood word for you), but knowledge does not replace faith. Knowledge (OF) the faith will help prevent misunderstanding, thus growth in understanding. Remember “The faith of a child”. A common claim by atheists is that they know the Bible better (knowledge) than Christians, proves the seperation between knowlege and faith. A newly formed Christian; (one new to the faith) may have little knowledge of it, and a vast knowlege OF the faith is not necessary for salvation. As one grows in the faith, and understanding, ( you could call it knowledge, but not in a clinical sense), This is called growing in sanctification, a condition that continues untill death.

            Jon; Your ” …but they know what popular culture has taught them”;. Contrary to what you wish it to be, “popular culture” is not a reliable instructor. The “popular culture” of the Third Reich was a poor instructor. The resulting downfall of the German population , and the destruction of Europe, gives evidence to that. Even a child can see that. “Pop Culture” is not “The rule and norm of faith”, (A term you probably are unfamiliar with). Only time will tell where “pop culture” will lead us and the world. So far, it isn’t very impressive. Again you have put words in my mouth that aren’t there. I do wish you were more thoughtfull, and considerate.

          2. Wanna 1:46 You are correct, of course, that you never said that. I should have said it is my impression and I apologize for that.

            Thank you for explaining how you see a difference between faith and knowledge of faith. My reaction is someone may see in his own mind there is a difference, but, the faith a person has has a big influence on “knowledge of faith”. They interpret information based on their faith.

            The evidence for this is the wide variety of versions of Christianity. If there were really an objective body of “knowledge of faith”, there would not be so much disagreement. Thus, I find the distinction between faith and knowledge of the faith not so clear.

          3. Wanna B Sure

            Jon; As I see it, the real cause for the variations of “the faith”, is due to the now prevelant shallowness and superficiality of of “Pop Christianity”. A hundred years ago, there was little difference in the “essentials” of the faith. Today in “Pop Christianity”, there is a void of the essentials. So much of a void, that what is called Christianity in some circles can hardly be called Christianity. Much of it has DEVOLVED into prosperity theology, self improvement, of the likes of Oprah and Dr. Phill. Pietism is at the heart of it all. None of this is historic Christianity, and it is now part of the “pop culture”. Virtually void of any Christology, and Christology is what makes it Christian.

          4. Wanna B Sure

            Jon; I must also add that today, there is a virtual void in chatechesis. There are a limited few denominations that have chatechetics available to their youth or new members. My church does provide that, so that our members and children not only know why, but what they base their faith. This has been so for hundreds of years with no change. Members that have been so instructed are not so easily swept away by whatever pops up in our pop culture. I see recently some churches that have drifted away from solid chatechetics are now reintroducing it back into their traditions.

          5. Wanna B Sure

            Jon; your 3:32; “…but the faith a person has has a big influence on “knowledge of faith”. They interpret information based on their faith”.—I would reverse your proposition: The “Knowledge of faith” would (should) shape the faith. Your proposition would produce eisegesis, (selective verses to support pet theology) apart from what is said in context. This then IS the cause of all the divergence , and error.

          6. Wanna B Sure

            Jon; Your method of faith/knowledge of faith would produce the past justification of slavery in the South. Not so much a matter of “the faith”, as much as a perversion of the faith to justify the cultural practice of slavery. Two entirely different things.

          7. Wanna I prefer the basics. The myths of the Christian faith follow quite faithfully the myths of other faiths. The god figure the was killed by enemies and popped up alive in three days. Several other god figures were killed by enemies and popped in exactly three days.

            If one does not have faith to muddle their thinking, he can look at the similarities of these ancient stories and try to figure out why they are so similar. Is it because ancients studied the sun and noted it remains at winter soltice for exactly three days and then begins of rise, “come to life”, or, is it for some other reason? If you have faith the only actual god figure was Jesus and the whatevers of the Trinity, you are unable to look at these god patterns objectively. That’s my argument for making faith and facts of the faith one and the same.

          8. Stanta

            Sorry Jon but you are confused as usual. Our three day event is a spring time thing not a solstice event, dated by the lunar calendar. Twisting things again.

            Yes, there have been some other god’s death and resurrections but. None of the others died as a sacrifice for the sins of the people who believed.

            I could give you a couple of websites and books to look at but you wouldn’t bother to read them, just you don’t bother to read the Bible beyond the snippets you get in your Free Thinker websites.

            To get back to the prisoners, they think Christianity is like being Scandinavian, a heredity situation. I believe that as usual you are choosing to “act” dumb, plays well with the low information voters.

          9. Stan 5:25 “None of the others died as a sacrifice for the sins of people who believed.”

            As I recall, some myths claimed the hero died for the people in some form or another. The dying and coming back to life myths are consistent.

            On the 3 day soltice versus the 3 day resurrection in the Spring, how would you explain the frequency of the 3 days of death the mythical heros experienced. I’m not saying I know it came from the 3 day soltice, it’s just a possibility. Would you say the 3 days of death from the Jesus story was historical fact and the other 3 day deaths were merely myths?

          10. Wanna B Sure

            Jon; I can see your thoughts of all the “myths” (your term), being of similar lines. As in aquiring a book, and looking at the index, there is a thread of connectivity. However in each chapter, refference, and footnote, the whole nature of that book is incomplete. As in creation, there are several related myths, the fall, the flood, the times and seasons, and the end are pretty much in most of them one way or another. It is only natural there would be shadows of parts of the whole. Only after you have read and studied the narrative, in relation to the times, and cultures would you see the connections. If you only look for the contradictions you desire, you will not see the whole story. And you will continue to struggle.

  3. buzz marick

    Jon,I haven’t been on your Blog too long and have not known what Moral compass you go by.Would be interested in more philosophy that rules your daily program

    1. buzz 6:18 “Would be interested in more philosophy that rules your daily program.”

      An overview of where our society’s morals come from would be this. We collectively, through our personal interpretations of history gained through our individual experiences, establish our moral standards. So far as I can tell, this is what both believers and non believers use as their moral compasses’. The only difference is believers say they get their’s from somewhere else.

  4. buzz marick

    Jon at 2:26 I take it that your personal view on anything other than the question of Christianity is off limits.unless we bare ourselves to another human(spiritually speaking) we stay locked in our own little world.Just my opinion that has worked for me.Societal norms are useful only as a tool to measure how I fit in the world. I think you politely just said none of my business.

    1. Wanna B Sure

      Sort of like Jon saying; “You show me yours, I won’t show you mine”? Our Jon isn’t a transparent as he would like us to believe.

    2. buzz 6:16 “I take it that your personal view on anything other than the question of Christianity is off limits.”

      No, it’s not. I provided my views on dozens of topics here. It’s just that you ask the kind of question someone who is a Christian would ask, “Where do you get your morals from?” A secular person would not ask it in that way and cannot answer it the way a Christian would answer it, “I get my morals from the Bible” (or, a god, or whatever).

      I’d be glad to discuss any “moral” issue you care to raise, but I can’t say, “I go this this or that source for my moral grounding…” like a Christian replies. It’s because a moral view would have to have some real world grounding, not a mythical grounding.

      Anyway, if you have some specific “moral” issue you want to ask about, go ahead.

    3. Wanna B Sure

      Romans 2:14-15;–” For when gentiles who do not have the Law do instintively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, ” This is where Jon and crew get their moral compass. In spite of this, they reject the source, claiming it as their own. They cannot escape it, yet they reject it. Humanism.

      1. Wanna re: Romans 2:14-15

        Clever is the rascal who wrote Romans 2 and nieve is the person who believes it. The authors of “the Law” got their “laws” from previous generations who worshipped other gods. They claimed they were its inventors. Today they would be defending themselves for patent infringement.

        1. Wanna B Sure

          Jon; I thought you would like Romans 2;13-15. Here is a Bible verse that any Christian cannot deny that people of non-beleief can act morally. You are free to use it. It should stop anyone from accusing you of not being a moral agent. “The Law” by definition pre-existed before any belief was codified, which would include Hammerabi, Moses, or The Christ. Paul would have known this, and his Romans verses do not deny that. I don’t think any knowlegable Christian would deny that either. I believe you are being overly defensive of a verse you can actually use for your defense. I believe your knee-jerk defensive reaction is related to the fact this verse came from the Bible, which you reject. And you continue to struggle with it.

          1. Wanna 12:26 I see what you are saying now. Isn’t that what would be called a “back handed compliment”? I suppose one could use that passage to argument nonbelievers are moral people. It’s more fun to just point to the Christians in jail.

          2. Wanna B Sure

            Not backhanded at all. I thought you would understand right off the bat. Guess your bias tripped you up,——as revealed by your last sentence. A meaningfull dialogue is very difficult with you. I’m about ready to quit.

          3. Wanna 1:00 I apologize for not understanding what you were trying to explain. I do read too fast and miss things.

            When you wrote, “That’s where Jon and company get their moral compass…they don’t admit to it,” etc., I thought you meant we got them from from a devine source we did not acknowledge. I see from you further explanation you meant this scriptural passage acknowledges nonbelievers (too) have these things “written on their hearts”. That’s nice.

  5. Anne

    Hi Jon –
    I’ve read many of your posts and have not had a reason to comment in the past as someone always seems to make the point for me. Though I am approaching this at a very basic level, I agree. I would not judge or assume that someone of faith is better than or more “moral” than someone that does not believe and vice versa. I suppose I can take that back to how I was raised. To treat everyone the same regardless of their background, personal beliefs, etc. Shouldn’t we all be given the benefit of the doubt at the offset? Innocent until proven guilty? And all of those other phrases that apply? Just some passing thoughts….thanks to you and all of your regulars, great debate and lots of interesting things to think on.

    1. Anne 7:21 Thank you for your first time post.

      When I look around a room full of Freethinkers, or, at a convention like American Atheists, I see people who follow the same moral codes and I used to see when I looked around the church sanctuary. The rules you mentioned are the ones both groups follow, generally. The only difference is the church people think everyone is born a sinner and without the threat of hell all manner of mayhem will break out. Those at the Freethinker meeting don’t think anyone goes to hell and they behave anyway.

  6. buzz marick

    I am thankful majority rules still apply in our society. Seems to work for the most part. I am a Fan of the 10 Commandments, the Golden Rule,and the 12 steps of AA and take no offence to where they are posted or displayed. Anyone who would object to something that is helpfull and comforting to others is clueless and mean spirited.

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