Can You Be A Good Person And Not Believe There Is A God

Recently a Professor of Religion, who is a Christian, reflected on what atheists and believers have in common. Christians often say atheists have no moral grounding and believe in nothing. They never offer evidence the moral values of atheists is worse the their own, they merely have that opinion.

Reality is moral values are cultural, not religious. Invariably, moral values come from a culture. Religions pick them up and claim to be the source.

If we go to the prison population, we see Christians imprisoned in rates at least as strong as their percentage in the population. It is said atheists are under represented.

I will not claim today Christians have lower moral standards. They share the same standards as those of other religions and of those with no religion.

The average person carries around the notion he/she has some self interest in not stealing, killing, cheating or lying. The self interest is that if one person gets away with others will see this and start the same behavior. Bad behavior will then come back to harm him.

I’ve observed the same amount of volunteering to help community causes from atheists as from believers. Community minded values of both are needed everywhere.

I’m in favor of believers believing if it helps them. I’m not in favor of attitudes reflected in survey which show the majority of people will not vote for an atheists running for public office.

This harms us all by limited the number of candidates offering to perform public service.

10 Responses

  1. entech

    Can You Be A Good Person And Not Believe There Is A God
    You don’t have to be a none believer to be good, but it sometimes appears to be a help 😆

  2. Matthew Hauff

    One of my favorite Hitchens lines: ‘Left to themselves, good people will do good things, bad people will do bad things, but if you want a good person to do a bad thing, you’ll need religion.’ I’ve heard countless horrible things said by otherwise wonderful people that could only be said by someone who’s religious. Religion can be seriously dehumanizing

    1. entech

      Mathew, Hitchens was actually quoting Nobel prize winner Steven Weinberg.

      Possibly a similar but more apropos quote would be:
      “Religion is an insult to human dignity. 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.”
      ? Steven Weinberg

  3. Luke N

    “I will not claim today Christians have lower moral standards. They share the same standards as those of other religions and of those with no religion.”

    Mr. Lindgren respectfully this comment is so ridiculous it’s almost comical to me. I don’t recall from recent memory seeing Christians flying planes into buildings full of people or detonating suicide vests in crowds of people, or holding homosexual men by their ankles and dropping them from tall buildings to their death.

    As for secular society I think we have seen a consistent decline in morality over the past century. Conduct unthinkable to generations past is tolerated and celebrated in many cases today. There seems to be a gravitation toward moral relativism where people are deciding for themselves what is morally acceptable and what is not. This is shifting sand with no foundation I believe and the trend toward violence and vulgarity will continue.

    Lastly to count everyone who identifies themselves as a Christian as a true follower of Christ is like counting everyone who identifies themselves as a Vikings fan as someone who watches every game and knows the roster by heart. Jesus touched on this in Matthew 7:21-23. On the contrary those who deny God can be tallied in one lump sum.

    1. entech

      Luke, we had a poster here, very regular for a long time, named Matt Noah. I think you could look back a month or so and you will see he writes in a very similar vein.

      Your last paragraph reminds of quite a long conversation I had on this blog with a very fundamentalist Christian, a very defensive creationist – at one stage he said to me, “I do wish you would stop referring to Catholics as Christians”. It would appear that to many self declared “Christians” there are no more than a few “real Christians” in the entire world. These, of course, being the few that agree entirely with them.

      And most writers to this blog would find this little snippet of truth to be a personal insult and attack.

      1. Juan Ruiz

        “I do wish you would stop referring to Catholics as Christians”.

        This mindset reflect the history of Christianity, as reflected in the dozens of gospels and theologies which used Jesus as a basis for belief.

  4. Luke N

    I’m not aquainted with Matt but I would respectfully disagree with him if his assertion was that Catholics should not be considered Christians. My point was only that external declaration by individuals identifying themselves as Christians cannot be reliably used for comparatory purposes. Whether one is truly in Christ is an internal matter and cannot be quantified by Men, including this one. Any attempt to do so brings with it judgement and this is something as Christians we are instructed to leave in God’s hands.

    1. entech

      On the contrary Matt is one that sincerely believes that only Catholics are Christians, and probably only a subset at that. He may even exclude the current Pope.

      1. Juan Ruiz

        “He may even exclude the current Pope.”

        Wouldn’t be surprised. He once linked to site run by Catholics who were quite vehement about anything from Vatican II on. Seems they consider every pope after Pius XII to be an anti-pope. And ETWN, the Catholic network, is nothing more than a den of convert vipers.

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