Atheist Clichés to Avoid – Part 5

References to immoral/evil acts committed by characters in the Bible. Even the most ardent Christians will admit that the Bible contains a lot of fucked-ed up people doing really fucked-ed up things. But just because the Bible describes individuals doing fucked-ed up things doesn’t mean it necessarily endorses those acts (polygamy, adultery, murder, incest, etc). On the other hand there are plenty of stories where the Bible clearly DOES endorse some of the most depraved acts imaginable: mock execution, offering one’s own daughters to be raped by a mob, slavery, and mass genocide. Those are the stories we should focus on instead.

266150a945282d148

This is what theologians mean when they refer to “Objective Morality”.

“Why couldn’t God just…” As a general rule, when atheists raise objections to the Bible in the form of a question, it’s not that they lack knowledge on the subject; it’s they have too much knowledge to not see through the bullshit. And in most cases it’s not that they “don’t know the answer”, there simply is no answer. But the problem with rhetorical questions is when people don’t take them as rhetorical. And the problem with non-rhetorical questions is that they imply a lack of knowledge and/or a lack of understanding on the part of the person posing them, even when the complete opposite is the case. That makes it easy for Christians to dismiss “questions” out of hand, and plays right into the stock Christian responses of “God works in mysterious ways” or “the mind of God is beyond our mortal comprehension” or similar such bullshit. Phrasing objections as statements—instead of as questions—prevents this issue.

“Atheists can be moral too”, or You don’t need God to be good”. Both of these statements are absolutely true, but saying we “can” be moral implies that as a general rule we’re not, and saying that you don’t “need” religion still suggests that religion might make us better people than we already are. Yet the truth is that when compared to the religious, atheists are statistically more “moral” than virtually any other demographic group, often by the very same metrics that the religious emphasize most. For example in the United States, on a per-capita basis, atheists commit less crime, have lower rates of divorce, have lower incidence of teen pregnancy, lower rates of STD’shigher levels of education… And the same holds true when you break it down worldwide; the nations with the highest rates of voluntary atheism have the least crime, the lowest corruption, and (with the sole exception of the United States) the highest standards of living in the world. By virtually any objective metric you can think of (sadly, with the exception of charitable donations), atheists are more moral than the religious, not less.

For the rest of the series:

Atheist Clichés to Avoid – Part 1

Atheist Clichés to Avoid – Part 2

Atheist Clichés to Avoid – Part 3

Atheist Clichés to Avoid – Part 4

Atheist Clichés to Avoid – Part 6

Atheist Clichés to Avoid – Part 7

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Atheist Clichés to Avoid – Part 5

  1. “By virtually any objective metric you can think of (sadly, with the exception of charitable donations), atheists are more moral than the religious, not less.”

    It depends on what your definition of charitable donations is. If it represents tithing, I’m not sure if I would agree with that definition. One could argue that an atheist pays taxes and that is a form of charitable contribution as well because those taxes pay for medicaid, medicare, and other social programs.

    After all, how much of the tithing actually is used for charitable purposes? When one excludes social club dues (building maintenance, administrative costs, religious costs such as bible camp, bibles, proselytizing) from the actual charity (food pantry, homeless shelter, medical services that are akin to doctors without borders) the amount of actual religious charitable giving might be miniscule.

    • “It depends on what your definition of charitable donations is. If it represents tithing, I’m not sure if I would agree with that definition. One could argue that an atheist pays taxes and that is a form of charitable contribution as well because those taxes pay for medicaid, medicare, and other social programs.”

      For purposes of this discussion I’m only referring to voluntary individual (non-tax) donations, but you do raise some interesting points; when you look at the most voluntarily atheistic nations in the world (Japan, Northern Europe, etc) there’s a clear correlation between citizen’s lack of religiosity and their willingness to pay more taxes to fund social programs (and even here in the U.S. you have a clear correlation between those who are more secular and those who support higher taxes). So by that definition, the non-religious (globally) are more inclined to sacrifice their wealth for the benefit of others, not less.

      As for tithing, that is certainly a huge component of the charitable giving from the religious; however, as Dale McGowan of Foundation Beyond Belief notes, even when you exclude church contributions from the equation, religious individuals in America still give more to charities, on average, than atheists do.

      “After all, how much of the tithing actually is used for charitable purposes? When one excludes social club dues (building maintenance, administrative costs, religious costs such as bible camp, bibles, proselytizing) from the actual charity (food pantry, homeless shelter, medical services that are akin to doctors without borders) the amount of actual religious charitable giving might be miniscule.”

      There was a recent, very comprehensive study (I believe by the Center for Inquiry) which found that it is indeed miniscule. Overall, they found that the total amount of tithing that churches actually use for charitable works (as opposed to proselytizing, expansion, and “overhead”) is no more than 10%. To put that in perspective, the Red Cross is the inverse of that, with 90% going towards actual charity and just 10% to overhead.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s