1st March 2010

“Believing in god is very damaging to personal morality.”


31 Responses to “1st March 2010”

  1. solomon Says:

    Dear MagicAintReal,

    Apidium, Aegyptopithecus, Ardipithecus, Australopithecus=early primates=monkeys

    As have expected….

    Whaaaa…..Ka Ka ka ka…..

  2. John Says:

    Exactly! Look at how sick in the head the religious become…

  3. steve Says:

    Well, I guess if your only reason for helping someone else is to escape the made up fires of hellfire, your personal morality might be lacking.

    I used to feel really sorry for the son of the Baptist preacher, given the lack of choice he faced in his every day life. That was until I saw him out of sight from his father. Poor bastard had a lot of repressed humanity.

  4. Greg Says:

    I agree with Steve on this one.

    I find it hard to keep a straight face when I see “Christian charity” in action. Seriously. What is your motivation? Salvation? Bullshit! You don’t have to be a believer to help someone, and if helping someone doesn’t make you feel good you’ve got some serious issues!

    God has nothing to do with charity. You do it because it’s the RIGHT thing to do, and if you’re doing it ONLY because your God says it’s the right thing to do, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons.

  5. CaptainZero1969 Says:

    Again, a little context. Here is the letter that this quote cam from:

    “There’s a terrible feed-back loop in the “christian” right in the states and elsewhere. That is that rich people think that they must be rich because their “god” approves of them, therefore their wealth is a gift from god, proving their superiority and righteousness. They think that less “blessed” people must deserve to be in the gutter, otherwise god would “bless” them too. It ends up with the rich despising the poor, which is what we call “right wing”.

    It’s the same kind of thinking that makes “born-again christians” the most dishonest of the customers I’ve had in eight years of self-employment. They think their god sent me to repair their computer, so paying for it seems extremely vulgar in the circs.

    Believing in god is very damaging to personal morality.”

    What the above writer is referring to is called Prosperity Theology, an odious doctrine that if you’re rich then God approves of you, if you’re poor it’s your fault for not being righteous in God’s eyes. Sadly, this view is supportable within the bible using the supposed Christ’s own words.

    So, yes, here is a good example of belief in God (or at least the biblical God) leading to a damaged morality.

  6. NoReflection Says:


  7. PEB Says:

    There is a much better quote by Steve Weinberg that more or less says the same thing without labelling every god botherer as immoral:
    “Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you’d have good people doing good things and evil people doing bad things, but for good people to do bad things, it takes religion.”

  8. Atheist MC Says:

    What annoys me is when the church assumes it has the the right to pronounce on everything from a “moral perspective” as though it was self evident that religion was moral. In fact a cursory knowledge of scripture shows that fundementally it is anything but. When people point out to me that there are many christians and muslims that are inclusive, non-discriminatory and tolerant people I have to point out that they are that way despite the doctrine of their religion, not because of it. In other words they are moral (relative to modern societal norms) because they want to be, and choose to enterpret religion in a benign way.

  9. steve Says:

    PEB, I have to quibble a bit. Good people do bad things all the time, with or without religion. But for my money, religion will allow good people doing bad things to ‘believe’ they are doing the right thing.

    Of course, this will ultimately come down to how we define ‘good’ and ‘bad’.

    Captain, thanks once again for your insight. I think that most of us instinctively thought about something like ‘prosperity theology’, but that put a ribbon on it, and tied it up nicely.

    AMC, good point as well. I guess the fact that they are inclusive in spite of the dogma would make them ‘bad’ believers? hehehe.

  10. solomon Says:

    Agaim the Qoran are the true words of god.Allah did’nt mention that when youre rich you are blessed or if youre poor you are condemned.Allah says that he grant wealth to anyone he wants & limits his gifts to anyone that he wishes.

  11. Atheist MC Says:

    What the above writer is referring to is called Prosperity Theology, an odious doctrine that if you’re rich then God approves of you, if you’re poor it’s your fault for not being righteous in God’s eyes.

    But isn’t this just the religious being smug. “If I’m happy it’s Gods blessing so I’m good, if I’m rich, if I’m healthy if I’m anything I want to see as a gift from God it is a validation of my faith. If you don’t have that you are less than me in Gods eyes”.
    The problem with seeing everything as the will of God, regardless of whether scripture supports you in believing you’re blessed is that it is bound to become a moral value judgement. If you accept that your wealth is down to your own hard work, or just dumb luck you won’t think so badly of the have nots (maybe)

  12. steve Says:

    AMC, I think that is a fair assessment as well. It is easy to be smug when god(s) on your side and things are going well for you and yours.

    Even more so when you can quote from a ‘holy’ book like the koran or bible, two books which are notorious for ‘custom’ interpretations.

    If I were called upon to act like a raving believer, it would be an interesting mental exercise to base all my crazy beliefs upon the works of Dr. Suess, J. R. R. Tolkien, or Mark Twain. I bet it could be done.

    God does not like green eggs and ham!

  13. Atheist MC Says:

    Heh Steve!

    Your right. What’s the real difference between “God speaks to me” and “Horton hears a Who”?

  14. Holysmokes Says:

    I noticed this discussion appears to mix religion and a god in the same bowl. I think a distinction should be made regarding this quote between believing in a god and believing in a specific religion. I’ve met several people over the years who feel that christianity, islam and other religions are pure BS, but still think a god exists, at least in some kind of general sense. They cannot quantify it, or toss any evidence around, but I don’t think it effects their morality.

  15. Atheist MC Says:

    Interesting point and I guess it’s not necessarily correct to conflate belief in God(s) with adherence to a particular religion.
    I guess the question then becomes, if you believe in God, without the trimmings what kind of God do you believe in. If it’s the Spinoza type of absent deity, God becomes whatever you want him to be, your morals become his morals (rather than vice versa and so you will be no different from an atheist who is “good” for it’s own sake. God just becomes a metaphor for your own concience.

  16. solomon Says:

    How is gods words true in that whem god wants someone to be rich,he pave the way for that someone to arrive to that goal.All his thoughts,actions,plans or schemes is guided or directed by god out of his full concious.His schemes will be near perfect and is easily supported or achieved.In other words he posseses the finishing touches.His ideas are well executed as if he posses the power pact to create opportunities to succes.When god wants someone to be poor,his climb will be hard.Always have a low esteem,lack in confidence,reluctant to try or take chances in other words always accept self as a loser.Their minds are shut dead with nothing to start with.Their dreams or hopes are short lived.They does’nt have any schemes or plans.Being rich or poor does not mean god is on or against your side.Being rich or poor is just a test for every individual to see how well you make use of gods resources.The one whose on gods side are the ones who submit totally to god.

  17. GoodWithoutGod Says:

    ‘The Secret’ (you know that book that was heavily hyped by that woo-woo wonderwoman Oprah?) is based loosely on Prosperity Theology. It might be wrapped up in a cute, shiney little book, but it’s the same old craziness.

    HS, I like to think that most ‘thinking’ people who adhere to a specific religion – if they were to be honest with themselves – would fall into the category of “god exists in a general sense but I can’t quantify it and no one else can”.

    But perhaps I’m being overly optimistic…

  18. Atheist MC Says:

    It might be wrapped up in a cute, shiney little book, but it’s the same old craziness.

    Best catch-all description for The Bible, Qu’ran, Gita, Book of Mormon etc I ever read.

  19. steve Says:

    HSmokes, fair enough. I am guilty of painting with a broad brush.

    My guess, given your scenario, is that they will create a god in their own image and so then it becomes a circular argument as to which taints whom…

    However, even though they will tell you that islam and xtian religions are pure bull, they will not have deflected all of the cultural biases of religion.
    My suspicion is that they will indeed have their morality affected by institutionalized religion from the surrounding culture.

    Errgh! I have just been forced to think about my own views being biased by religion in my culture, and I realize that I still suffer from the occasional delusion of superstition. (i.e., exclaiming god-damn-it when stubbing my toe)

    Errgh! (2) Assuming that the semi-rational types that HSmokes refers to would exist within a culture of islam as well, this makes me wonder to what extent they are tinged by the quorun? More of a benign misogyny, perhaps? A firecracker vest?

    Maybe I need to just be happy that there are ‘believers’ that have not totally swallowed the hook.

  20. PEB Says:

    “I realize that I still suffer from the occasional delusion of superstition” – on that note. Happy St David’s Day everyone!

    Dydd Gwyl Dewi hapus.

  21. steve Says:

    Fair play to you, PEB.

    Today is my birthday, so a Happy St. Steve’s Day as well!

    Dah-doo-run-run-run, dah-doo-run-run!

  22. CaptainZero1969 Says:

    Holy – your point is well made about distinguishing between religion and belief. I think that one is religious only to the degree that their belief causes actions intended to please a deity or avoid punishment. If they go about their lives behaving well toward their fellow man without such considerations then I think it’s fair to say their belief is irrelevant to their moral or ethical behavior. Such a believer is a deist or pantheist in action if not in name, right?

    Belief only becomes the issue when it drives you to impose your doctrines on others. Since most here have no god-belief most attacks in that direction should be understood to be against religion, not toward the imaginary.

    Do I think belief is ultimately harmful? That depends. Some people can live a long life unaffected by the cancer they don’t even know they have. Others die in weeks. Depends on the strain.

  23. steve Says:

    “Depends on the strain.”


    Now I must wipe my nose and then wipe up all the chocolate milk I had been drinking…

  24. Holysmokes Says:

    Hmmm, most of you make valid points. Hypothetical scenario; I think a valid deity was responsible for the creation of everything …and is still with us. But I don’t believe the variety of religions floating around. Where does that leave my morality? I have no written text to follow. I have no clergy to bounce information against. I admit that I have no data on how to act in light of this god/being/creature. I may be a loony for thinking a god exists, but I don’t see this belief affecting my day-to-day morality. I have no basis for deciding how this god would want me to act, therefore I act the way I want. Yes, I agree that other religions would tend to taint my view, so it’s an interesting question. Too bad there is no way to test it.

  25. steve Says:

    HSmokes, I think you have accurately characterized the thoughts of millions of Americans.

    Now what?

  26. John Says:

    I still contend that that was the reason for the “in god we trust” on the US money. Now go out and buy something and use your gods…

  27. CaptainZero1969 Says:

    I’d call you a deist, HS. And as Steve points out, you’d be in good company. I’m sure most don’t bother to explore the roots of their social goodness but I’d describe the underpinnings as more or less “the golden rule”, that is, social contract.

  28. Holysmokes Says:

    I’m inclined to agree with all of you, but the part I’m the most curious about is why? Why do so many people just decide there is some sort of a god out there? Is this caused as a sort of “spring board action” from other religions they have learned about ….or as many of you pointed out, influenced from? I find this phenomena quite perplexing, primarily because of all the gods humanity simply decided to create over history. It’s as if we are predisposed to inventing the dam things each time we cannot figure out a “natural world” event.

  29. steve Says:

    Hsmokes, you have it absolutely correct.

    Nature does not abhor a vacuum, humans do!

    Being aware of our mortality, we ‘invent’ something to embrace a continuum, since we cannot imagine the world without us.

    I really believe it is that simple.

    It is hard to look at the world around us with any understanding of our insignificant place in the universe and still muster up the kind of arrogance that would let us create a god, but we seem to manage quite nicely.

    That, or it is all because of a couple of white mice somewhere…

  30. CaptainZero1969 Says:

    I recommend “Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon” by Daniel Dennett. Hitchens has spoken convincingly as well. He says religion was our first attempt at science, our first go at explaining the things that went on around us that we had no better explanation for. From an explanatory standpoint, our earlier polytheism made a lot of sense. People had jobs they were responsible for, why not have gods responsible for various domains as well. Finally, Dawkins makes a good argument for religion’s continued success in his description of the “meme”, that is, a unit of social inheritance, similar to a gene, a unit of genetic inheritance.

  31. The Heretic Says:

    I am betting on the white mice.