The Myth of Atheist Superiority

Quite possibly the most blatantly ignorant representation of history I've ever seen.
Quite possibly the most blatantly ignorant representation of history I've ever seen.

“The question is not whether you can be a good person without God, but rather, is there any rationally impelling force to it?  The answer is no.” – Ravi Zacharias

Often one will be faced with the oft-repeated argument of the atheist that those countries with higher percentages of atheists are more lawful and economically stable than countries with a higher percentage of those identified as "religious." It's become quite a foundational argument to the atheist, so much so that it is spouted as a matter-of-fact- something no longer in the realm of opinion or conjecture, but a statistically verifiable truth.

Some time ago, I'd seen this argument proposed by a so-called "freethinker" in the local newspaper of my hometown, and even prior to researching this claim, it seemed suspiciously biased and reeked of statistical manipulation (hardly surprising, given that any argument using statistics as its foundation will inevitably be on shaky ground). It took little time to come to the conclusion that the assertion of atheist superiority is an illusion skillfully crafted to give credence to a world view that is painfully at odds with philosophy, history, physics, religion (obviously) and science. The following hub then, begins with the atheist argument, and is followed by my rebuttal. But by all means, don't take my word for it, do the research yourself. It should take but a small portion of your time to conclude how baseless the atheist argument is. After all, everything the atheist stands for ceases to be relevant upon death, right?

The Atheist Argument

The following article is written by Jeremy Fejfar, an atheist.

Those who don't Believe in God can still be Good

The case is sometimes made that belief in a god is healthy for a society, that it somehow keeps a population behaving well and not reverting to behavior more akin to our other primate cousins.

Some say that even if there is no god watching over us, it is better to believe that there is for the sake of society. But is this actually the case?

The Vision of Humanity is an organization focused on working toward global peace. In 2008, it conducted a survey of 144 countries and allocated them a Global Peace Index score based on

23 indicators derived from political, social, economic and academic factors. This score ranged from 1 to 5, with 1 being the most peaceful. They then lined the countries up, from 1 to 144 according to the score they received.

For countries with a Muslim majority:

· Iraq: 144 (3.341)

· Afghanistan: 143 (3.285)

· Somalia: 142 (3.257)

· Sudan: 140 (2.922)

· Palestine: 139 (2.888)

· Pakistan: 137 (2.859)

· Nigeria: 129 (2.602)

· Yemen: 119 (2.363)

· Saudi Arabia: 104 (2.167)

· Iran: 99 (2.104)

For countries with a Christian majority:

· Colombia: 130 (2.645)

· Venezuela: 120 (2.381)

· Honduras: 112 (2.265)

· Guatemala: 111 (2.218)

· Ecuador: 109 (2.211)

· Brazil: 85 (2.022)

· United States: 83 (2.015)

· Ukraine: 82 (2.010)

· Cuba: 68 (1.856)

· Argentina: 86 (1.851)

Compare those numbers to the following countries with large atheist populations:

· Sweden: 6 (1.269)

· Vietnam: 39 (1.664)

· Denmark: 2 (1.217)

· Norway: 2 (1.217)

· Japan: 7 (1.272)

· Czech Republic: 11 (1.328)

· Finland: 9 (1.322)

· France: 30 (1.579)

· Germany: 16 (1.392)

· Hungary: 27 (1.575)

The average ranks for where the groups fell on the listing was 129.2 for Muslim countries,

96.6 for Christian countries and 14.9 for atheist countries, and every one of the atheist countries were more peaceful than the United States.

In 2009, another study that examined the differences between religious and secular countries was published in the online journal Evolutionary Psychology. Gregory Paul's study looked at 25 different measures of social dysfunction, and compared how religious societies fared against secular ones. By now it should come as no surprise that the secular countries fared much better than the religious ones. Here are just some of the aspects where improvement was strongly correlated to a society being more secular: homicide, incarceration, suicide, infection with sexually transmitted diseases, abortion, teenage pregnancy and the human poverty index.

Is this effect also seen within the United states? A 2008 Gallup survey asked the question, “Is religion an important part of your daily life?” The 10 most religious states were: Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, Louisiana, Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Texas. The 10 least religious states were: Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Rhode Island, Nevada and Connecticut.

Crime rate statistics from 2009 ranked the 20 most dangerous states. which included nine out of 10 of the most religious states, whereas only two of the non-religious states made the list (Nevada and Alaska).

When one looks at prison populations, atheists are dramatically underrepresented when compared to the general population. Surveys show the atheist prison population to be well below 1 percent.

Certainly atheists are not the evil, immoral degenerates that we are often presented to be. In fact, 93 percent of the members of the National Academy of Sciences do not believe in a god, yet they continue to advance the frontiers of human understanding and immeasurably improve our lives.

When one looks at the available evidence, it is clear that the correlation between secularism and societal health is strong. But this should not be extended to conclude that religion causes social dysfunction. Correlation does not necessarily equal causation. There could easily be other factors that are causing or contributing to the negative effects that are seen.

So while we cannot conclude that religion causes societal harm, what can be said is that a high level of religiosity in these countries and states has not prevented or remedied the societal ailments that are present. Also, the assertion that societies or individuals lacking a belief in a god are more immoral or lawless is soundly refuted.

A Christian Rebuttal

Thank God for Statistics!

In his article, “Those who don’t Believe in God can Still be Good” Jeremy Fejfar has decided to look at an absurdly large statistical study with a complex web of factors such as economic health, military stockpiles, foreign policies, etc., and has made a positive correlation with his own belief system (sorry, “non-belief” system). It’s a neat trick really, and with a little creativity nearly anyone can pull it off. Observe: “The majority of countries rating best on the Global Peace Index have sprung out of Western civilization, indicating that Christian background and influence lead to peace and economic prosperity.” Whether or not this statement is true is not the issue. It is a biased assertion bred out of one’s personal agenda.

Furthermore, there are telling absences from Jeremy’s lists. Those religious countries that do score well on the global peace indicator (Chile, Portugal, Malaysia, etc.), alongside those countries with a high atheist population that score poorly on the GPI (Russia, North Korea, Azerbaijan, etc.) evidently did not make the cut. And let’s not forget that those countries conveniently penned “atheist” by Jeremy are, for the most part, still inhabited by a Christian majority (Or, in the case of Vietnam, practice state-sponsored religious oppression) and possess a Christian history and ethos that has allowed secular humanism to both exist and to openly criticize the very tenets from out of which it was born.

And what of those “enlightened” countries that have chosen humanism over God? Well, Sweden, for instance, suffers from above average incidents of violent crime. France is increasingly intolerant of religious diversity, and Japan and Russia’s suicide rates are among the highest in the world. And while on the topic, it should be interesting to note that one need only reverse the figures used by Mr. Fejfar to illustrate that when it comes to suicide-rate comparisons between religious and non-religious countries, the statistical pendulum suddenly swings far into the other direction. Does this indicate that gross unhappiness ravages “atheist countries?” Perhaps, but the point is this: Statistics are among the most commonly and easily manipulated data around.

James White vs. Dan Barker

Bear in mind, I am not making the argument that atheists or those countries with a high population of them are somehow more depraved than others. However, how exactly does the removal of God increase moral standards? The oft-repeated critique against atheism bears repeating here: If the world and all material matter are the mere leftover trinkets of a random and ultimately pointless cause, if all concepts of right and wrong are malleable social constructs dictated by the whims of humanity, in what purpose lies anything but pure, unabashed selfishness? Bear in mind also, that the entire sweep of Mr. Fejfar’s argument, that atheism produces a higher standard of goodness, is rendered utterly redundant by the very belief system he espouses. Morality is relative, remember? What may be repugnant to me may in fact be noble to you, and with only humanity as our guide, who is to say what is good? Is peace moral? It depends. Some may stand to profit by less than peaceful societies, and with no absolutes, who am I to judge their right to earn a substantial income?

Unfortunately, the atheist who argues his or her own “goodness” treads on rocky ground, as by their own assertion, the concept can and will be drastically reinvented over the course of time. Jeremy’s argument then falls flat on numerous points, which is unsurprising, since any one-sided assertion based upon statistical evidence will inevitably face opposition based upon the exact same statistical evidence. It seems the only thing being “soundly refuted” by Mr. Fejfar’s article is the idea that atheists are somehow above using propaganda and misinformation to further their cause.

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Comments 83 comments

Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 5 years ago from back in the lab again

I'm an atheist and I have to say that I agree with your overall conclusion (though the way you arrive at it contains many questionable moments), that atheists are NOT morally superior to believers. There are plenty of immoral rat-bastard atheists and plenty of decent Christians, the reverse is ALSO true. There are going to be some bad apples in any demographic or group.

I don't think we atheists NEED arguments or misleading statistics to prove we can be good without God, I don't think we need to prove it at all. It's obvious. Obviously the supernatural isn't required for empathy, compassion and a sense of conscience.

"Unfortunately, the atheist who argues his or her own “goodness” treads on rocky ground, as by their own assertion, the concept can and will be drastically reinvented over the course of time"

See some of Sam Harris's recent work. The greatest measure of how good a person is is how they treat other people. Sam Harris suggests that we deal with morality in terms of human well being and use medical science to measure that well being.

Admittedly what we label good and bad WILL change over time, that's what comes from not dealing with absolutes the way religious dogma does. This fact actually inherently makes flawed human morality BETTER than that provided by religious dogma. For instance Biblical scriptures condone slavery in no uncertain terms and nowhere is room made for opposing that dogma if it handed down by some absolute word of God. It seems obvious that being able to realize slavery was an error and correct that and overcome religious dogma is an advantage to a sort of societal morality that we decide on collectively.

Now let's look at a few places where you went wrong shall we:

"It took little time to come to the conclusion that the assertion of atheist superiority is an illusion skillfully crafted to give credence to a world view that is painfully at odds with philosophy, history, physics, religion (obviously) and science"

Atheism is not a worldview. Atheism is not believing in god(s), that's it. Anything beyond that is not atheism. You wouldn't exactly call being unconvinced that Bigfoot exists a worldview would you? Now there are 'atheistic' worldviews, such as Secular Humanism, but those are additional to atheism not logically derived from it.

"If the world and all material matter are the mere leftover trinkets of a random and ultimately pointless cause, if all concepts of right and wrong are malleable social constructs dictated by the whims of humanity, in what purpose lies anything but pure, unabashed selfishness?"

But the same thing could easily be flipped around to critique theism. In a world that was created magically on the whim of a supernatural being what point is there to anything? Especially in a religion like Christianity where all sins are worthy of death, where murder is the same as unbelief and both earn you a one way ticket to Hell. Adding an arbitrary supernatural element to any aspect of life doesn't add meaning. The reason good is meaningful is because WE human beings give it meaning, there doesn't need to be any more meaning that that. Attempting to attach a God immediately falls prey to the Euthyphro dilemma.

Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 5 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

Hi jreuter - it's a nice article, yet I submit that the rebuttal is no more relevant than the original claim, because, in the end, there either is, or there is not, a God. Religions have answered a raft of psychological needs, such as: a dislike of uncertainty, a fear of death, etc. Religions have provided both simple 'answers' and complex systems of belief based on these simple answers, some of which have been very beautiful. But they have also made claims which have not stood up to the advance of objective knowledge, and have had to repeatedly give ground or take entrenched positions which most reasonable people find laughable, or sometimes frightening.

I suggest that much of faith is less than honest, consisting in taking sides where there is no clear justifying evidence. There is nothing wrong with leaving the unanswerable questions open. That way, honest seeking for answers is not suppressed.

aslanlight profile image

aslanlight 5 years ago from England

'...not reverting to behavior more akin to our other primate cousins.'

What's wrong with our primate cousins? They behave a lot better than we do!

How many people would call themselves 'good' because they keep laws? Is this true goodness?

And doesn't goodness include the ability to accept others wholeheartedly whatever their beliefs? Live and let live? He doesn't choose to see the good in others. If he did he wouldn't be attacking Christians. But then many Christians are also guilty of attacking others for their beliefs, or lack of.

I'm tired of this fight. When will we learn to accept each other because diversity makes life colourful and interesting.

jreuter profile image

jreuter 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

YES! Sorry Y'all, I haven't read your comments yet, I'm just really excited to be generating some controversy. It's quite comedic to me that after writing for almost three years here, I've never gotten 3 comments within fifteen minutes of publishing a hub, that is, until I titled one "the Myth of Atheist Superiority." Anyways, I've been studying and writing for three hours straight, and if I read your comments I will be forced to respond, and sleep appeals to me so much more. So thank you all for commenting, and reading, and taking the time to do it all, and I will respond very soon. Oh, and atheists, I mean no disrespect, please understand this. I would be absolutely joyful if this could be a hub where everyone offers thoughtful and respectful comments in hopes of gaining insight and understanding, but that may be the idealist in me speaking, ha ha. Time will tell. Good night!

Pierre Savoie profile image

Pierre Savoie 5 years ago from Canada

Yes, I have heard of the Global Peace Index and findings by religion of countries, portrayed here:

I think that is a very substantial result because it is an INDEX. It combines several factors about living-standard together. If it is "manipulating statistics" somehow, you'd better show HOW it is doing so, and speak the language of the statistician when you're doing so (Two-Way ANOVA? Factor analysis? Binomial or Poisson distribution?) Statistics are a really big, big baby to be throwing out with the bath-water; I'm not going to let a non-expert say "oh statistics can be manipulated any which way". It's meant to save work and avoid having to count every human on Earth, or every factor.

Whenever standards are picked to make a formula that produces a number on the index, you have to stick to that formula CONSISTENTLY. It would be wrong, for example, to pick only suicides as a standard. We have to pick a multiplicity of factors each contributing to what we want to measure, in this case, the concept of "peace". If you ask them how they arrived at that formula, they'll tell you. I doubt there will be any conceivable way of picking factors with positive outcomes that will show religious countries on top.

You criticize these statistics also by saying it does not explain WHY a country's being religious would lead to negative outcomes. Your inability to conceive problems with religion, though, is not a point of argument. I could see many reasons why. In any belief-system where leaders claim to see invisible spirits that the population (let's admit it) do not, they set themselves up for authoritarianism: stupid authoritarians being in control of the smart (the ultimate injustice, in my view!), subjecting people to unrealistic standards of behavior, oppression of those not belonging to the "right" religion or the "right" sexuality, reductions in labor efficiency from mandatory religious services (a Muslim only has 84% of the waking life of a real person; wasting the remainder, 2.5 hours a day, praying into the void). Yes, off the cuff I can find many reasons. Give me a few million dollars in funding and I'll write you a fuller report...

Pierre Savoie profile image

Pierre Savoie 5 years ago from Canada

There are also "flies in the ointment" at the best of times. You mentioned something about Sweden. There is rising trouble in Denmark with the 5% of people who are raging theists: Muslim migrant workers. These consume 40% of the Welfare and commit the MAJORITY of rapes in the country now. But the Index does not allow subdividing a country into a religious component and a non-religious component, so it might SEEM that rapes increased with increased secularization just because the country is mostly secular. Oh, well.

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

I don't need charts and graphs to tell me there is a Creator. All I need is to sit on the back porch and watch the butterfies flit among the flowers to realize that such beauty came from a Loving and Guiding Hand.

Pierre Savoie profile image

Pierre Savoie 5 years ago from Canada

No, WillStarr, your poetic statement is a SUBJECTIVE INTERPRETATION of what you see. Butterflies are not so nice anyway, they have nasty little insect-heads with compound eyes. Why don't WE have compound eyes? Wouldn't a real God have given the same kind of eyes, the best possible sorts of eyes, to ALL creatures? Hmm. The Grand Canyon is beautiful too, but it was not hand-carved. It was eroded by river-action over millions of years. Rainbows also are beautiful but are not created either; they are an inevitable development of optics on falling rain.

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Your never-ending bitterness and anger serve only to convince me more than ever that you are a troubled man in need of God.

I will pray for you.

jreuter profile image

jreuter 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Paraglider- As always, an intelligent and thoughtful statement. Thanks for that and for reading.

Pierre, as usual, an inflammatory appeal to non-belief. It is more than a little sad to me that you appear to only view life scientifically. But still, thanks for reading.

aslanlight, thanks for your comment! Haha, good point about primates.

Titen, thanks for your comments. I don't have time to respond to everything, but I will point out that your statement "In a world that was created magically on the whim of a supernatural being what point is there to anything?" really makes no sense to me.

Obviously if there is a creator, and an ultimate destiny for the souls of individuals, then the very core of our existence is meaningful. I've never heard this argument before, and for good reason I think. Regardless, thank you.

WillStarr, awesome point. Thanks for keeping us grounded in what really matters. Not statistics and arguments, but the beautiful things in life that testify to creation.

The bottom line for me is this: How can anyone buy what atheists are selling? And why are they selling it so vehemently? Slick arguments akin to sophistry can be applied by anyone, but at the end of the day, the "gospel" of the atheist says I am nothing more than an evolved mammal whose life is no more meaningful than that of an amoeba. On the other hand, the Christian offers a message that preaches peace, freedom from things like depression, anxiety, hatred, and ultimately, salvation and eternal life. This is precisely why the message of atheism will never appeal to a majority of people. I get the arguments, sure, but I'm just not buying them.

Thanks again everyone for your comments, they are truly appreciated.

Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 5 years ago from back in the lab again

"Obviously if there is a creator, and an ultimate destiny for the souls of individuals, then the very core of our existence is meaningful."

But that immediately devalues any choice that we make within our lifetimes, especially if its an ultimate destiny pre-determined for us before we are born. Even if it were something we freely choose (Heaven or Hell) it would still make most human endeavors entirely moot as the only thing that would make a true difference is whether you chose to believe and obey or not. I also don't think that living forever or burning forever are all that meaningful, they don't accomplish anything. In my opinion the meaning of life comes from its brevity, if it lasts forever than it is truly meaningless. Now it's true that you could concoct a scenario in which the existence of a God did give life meaning in some sense but most of the traditional religious ideas we have now don't do that in my opinion.

Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 5 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

Are you more interested in the prettiness of an offering or in its accuracy? You do come across strongly as someone who favours Christianity because it is comforting and cares little for whether or not it is true.

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"You do come across strongly as someone who favours Christianity because it is comforting and cares little for whether or not it is true."

But if one does not first believe it is true, where's the comfort?

Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 5 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

Will - why should there be comfort? Personally, I would try to make children feel comfortable and happy, but without lying to them, but adults should probably face up to reality. If that reality doesn't include a benevolent heavenly father and eternal life, so be it.

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"If that reality doesn't include a benevolent heavenly father and eternal life, so be it."

And there's the presumed superiority of the atheist. You do not believe, therefore it is not true. End of discussion.

Got it.

jreuter profile image

jreuter 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

"You do come across strongly as someone who favours Christianity because it is comforting and cares little for whether or not it is true."

Hmm...have you been paying attention Paraglider? I'm honestly a little floored by this statement, as it leads me to believe you really haven't read anything I've written at all. If anything, I'm usually accused of intellectualizing my faith and lacking the compassion and love which should more strongly define it.

I've spent nearly my entire life embattled in some fashion against those who would maintain that no God exists. I grew up in a household where debate was the order of the day, so your assertion that I cling to something for comfort without investigating the accuracy of it is beyond false, it's offensive.

But I'm smart enough to know that arguing with atheists on a hubpage forum is largely a waste of time. The idea of our existence arising from nothingness requires a heck of a lot more faith than what I assert, so I'm not really engaged with reason versus faith, I'm engaged with faith versus something akin to religious zealotry. And given this reality, I may as well argue with any other host of fundamentalists here on the internet. It's a huge waste of time.

My purpose here is largely to encourage other believers that our faith is rational, reasonable, grounded in every academic discipline, and is more than capable of standing its ground.

We can eternally go in circles arguing our respective beliefs, but at the end of the day, nothing short of a miracle will convince you of the faith that I hold. Fortunately, I do believe in miracles, and have seen the most hardened, staunchly anti-god atheists come to a faith in Christ, and the change in demeanor is unexplainable. Hence, I use angles like this to argue against atheism. Personal experience and the testimony of my own faith go a lot further than arguing the historical validity of the resurrection, for instance. After all, most atheists simply reinterpret the historical record to fit with their own presuppositions, giving us no solid ground to stand on at all.

Belief in God is intellectually valid, yes, but God's effect on the heart is a far more compelling argument for belief than any I could ever make.

Pierre Savoie profile image

Pierre Savoie 5 years ago from Canada

WillStarr, if you go on like that, with a dogmatic attitude against others, then I fail to see where the joy, where the wonder is, unless the only joy you take in life is to torment the 99% of people not of your good ol' boy American religious clique. That gives you much more of a charge than admiring butterflies and flowers, I'll bet. The KKK didn't just lynch Blacks, they lynched Catholics, too...

And jreuter, freedom from faith is not itself a faith. You have to EXPLAIN and JUSTIFY this belief in an invisible sky-pappy. No one is making assumptions any more, not in person nor, apparently, in the government constitutions of modern nations.

Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 5 years ago from Jamaica

This is one of the best hubs I have come across. The arguments are so interesting.

I am a Christian and there are times I wonder about God and creation. There are times in each of our lives when we doubt that God really exists. So we ask the questions

Where do we really come from?

Who controls everything?

What formed the universe?

How is the wind formed and why can't we see it?

Are spiritual beings real?

There are many questions we ask because we want to know. Many persons have shut their minds off from the reality around them because they find the questions too profound to answer.

The fact that atheists have to defend their non-belief, says a lot to the effect that maybe there is something to this Higher Power thing.

One question that always have me reaffirming my belief is that: If I controlled my own ultimate destiny, then why everything doesn't go my way, or why I cannot control how I die or when, or how my blood in my veins flow or my very own heartbeat.

I know its a long question but a relevant one.

jreuter profile image

jreuter 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

And somehow you are free from explaining and justifying the existence of intelligent life from random chaos? Pierre, denying the existence of a creator when the evidence is so painfully obvious all around us is the greatest assumption of all. Atheism is no less silly than denying that a carpenter made my house. I have no idea who did it, or when, but a house exists, hence, so too did the carpenter. Of course I'm certain you'll weave some seemingly logical thoughts together to "disprove" this line of thinking, but really, it's common sense, and it's the belief of an overwhelming majority of people since the beginning of time. If a computer that puts all other computers to shame exists (the human mind), is it even remotely possible that atheism is a tenable theory?

The fact that you can't have a discussion with Christians on this topic without labeling them dogmatic or implying racism or a lack of intelligence proves my point swimmingly. Why do the majority of atheists so perfectly fit the stereotype of the reactionary, emotional, sarcastic and demeaning individual with a complete misunderstanding of the Christian faith?

Here's a fun exercise: type atheism into google images. You'll find that the majority of images are either mocking religion or mocking those who follow religion. Then type in "Christianity." You'll be lucky to find even five images mocking atheists or atheism, however, once again there will be a fair portion of pro-atheist images using sarcasm, belittlement, mockery and outright blasphemy to mock the Christian faith. Now please, explain to me, if atheism is true, why do atheists appear so very, very unsure of it? Is it not extremely obvious that insecurity is the very backbone of your belief?

jreuter profile image

jreuter 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks for your comments Cardisa, glad you enjoyed my hub!

Pierre Savoie profile image

Pierre Savoie 5 years ago from Canada

Belief about "the invisible wind" will, however, lead you to the realization that scientists have the MONOPOLY on proving and presenting invisible things to the public. The wind (determined to have a density of 1/1000th that of water) is invisible, but scientists have characterized it well enough. Scientists have also characterized planets past Saturn, X-rays, the electron, quantum particles. All these are scientifically determined. Religion has NOT presented us with any new knowledge, proven and made plain to all. They are just a talking-club, and they disagree with all the other talking-clubs from people of a different color.

So I reject categorically the claim that God is a purposefully invisible thing like the wind. You STILL have to prove invisible things the way scientists have. There is no question so profound that it is EXCLUDED from the rules of evidence.

And jreuter, just what is your "painfully obvious" evidence that you allude to, but do not present in a formal scientific way? You then go into a version of the Watchmaker Fallacy. Richard Dawkins already wrote the book THE BLIND WATCHMAKER years ago, and he said the Fundamentalist Christian argument was that you walk along a beach and you find a watch, you reasonably conclude it could not have come about by itself, a Watchmaker made it. However, Dawkins said further, you go along a beach and see a large nuclear reactor. Do you, then, say the Watchmaker made that too? No. There are multiple explanations. Watches, by the way, evolved. Watches evolved and took their shape from sundials, which in turn took their shape from simple sticks in the ground. And putting a stick in the ground does not need to be an act of conscious volition: the wind can do that too! If men copied something that had a natural explanation they can hardly be said to have had the idea itself. Watches have never been MADE by anyone, only perfected.

jreuter profile image

jreuter 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Huh, no one ever made a watch. Now I've heard it all. I'm not the first one to criticize Dawkins of less than compelling philosophical arguments, and I certainly won't be the last.

Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 5 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

jreuter, I assure you I read every word and intended no insult. The problem might come from trying to keep comments brief. As to the origins of the universe, we are finding out more and more every day, because we are continuing the search. That seems important to me.

Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 5 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

@Will Starr "And there's the presumed superiority of the atheist. You do not believe, therefore it is not true. End of discussion."

Completely wrong. I do not believe, therefore I keep asking questions. It's called rationalism. You, and dogmatic atheists alike, are the ones ending the discussion.

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

You declared there is no 'heavenly father'. That's not 'asking questions.'

jreuter profile image

jreuter 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

No worries Paraglider, I do respect your comments, as always.

Titen-Skull, I did something I've done only twice in three years of Hubpages: I deleted your comment.

For one, it's bordering on it's own hub. Two, it's insulting and pedantic. And three, I've just got no patience for kids who live with their parents telling me how much smarter they are than me. Call me ageist, but for whatever reason, I have no problem with grown men with life experience and real education criticizing me, but I do have a problem with kids with nothing better to do sitting in their mom's basement, regurgitating the latest garbage they swallowed whole by Dawkins and Hitchens and posting it on my page.

Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 5 years ago from back in the lab again

I merely defeated your reasoning and pointed out where you were wrong. If your best counter argument is to censor my comment than I'll consider that a validation that my arguments were sound.

Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 5 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

@Will - "You declared there is no 'heavenly father'. That's not 'asking questions.'"

I think you'll find I used the formula "If there is no.. then..etc" My position is to reserve judgment where I don't know. I think yours is to believe first and then say you know. I'd find that hard to justify, but it's your choice.

jreuter profile image

jreuter 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Oi Vei, I tell ya, kids these days. I shudder when I consider that I used to think like that. Don't worry Sxull, with any luck, you'll someday understand how silly that comment is.

jreuter profile image

jreuter 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Take a note from Paraglider T-Sxull, he disagrees without demeaning. It's a good tool to use on the internet.

gamergirl profile image

gamergirl 5 years ago from Antioch, TN

The watchmaker analogy is an old one, from the early 1800's, and is, flatly, a regurgitated spin on an argument for intelligent design. The many arguments regarding evolution are the logical answer to the watchmaker analogy.

To be clearer - the watchmaker analogy is this: If I find a watch lying on the ground, my thought is not that it simply "came into being" (a correlation made here in reference to the belief that the Earth just "came into being" through divine will) but that there was a watchmaker who fashioned the watch, and some person simply dropped their watch where I found it. Intelligent design taken to a simplified topic that most can understand without resorting to pointing at nature - like Kirk Cameron's banana analogy. The watchmaker analogy is one of many that William Paley made, and were his interpretations based on faith rather than evidence.

I return you gentlemen to your discourse, but wanted to (hopefully) clear up the analogy presented.

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qwark 5 years ago

I read this hub and all the comments.

I am an "ignostic."

My "holistic" impression of it all, paints a portrait of "man" as being that which I've written so much about i.e., an incipient, infantile, result of the processes of "natural selection" which has evolved an anomaly called "consciousness."

The uniqueness of that "anomaly" has engendered that which no other life on this planet experiences: "curiosity."

That human characteristic causes questioning and the imagination runs wild in an attempt to explain...EVERYTHING!

"Living in the dark," creates fear in minds of the abjectly ignorant.

Fear is the "mother" of supernatural divinities!

One day, far into the future, we MAY "grow up" and the children of tomorrow will study their history and, with wide eyed wonderment, will be educated and entertained by the childish, deadly foibles of their progenitors in the name of imagined gods!

We have only begun and our end may be near!

The concept and intent of this hub is "childish."

It is, tho, well written and expressed!


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jreuter 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Gee, thanks Qwark. You shouldn't have. Really, though, you shouldn't have, this comment is the most frightening of all. You sound like Dr. Manhattan of The Watchmen. Keep thinking like that, and soon enough we will all be insects in your mind, if we aren't already. *sigh* Once again the superior mind of the atheist comes to enlighten my childish notions of divine origin.

qwark profile image

qwark 5 years ago


I am rotfl!

Obviously! you don't know what an "ignostic" is.

" childish notions of divine origin." are just that: "childish."

You and your ilk will be the ones studied by future students. You will "amaze" and astonish them by your obviously primitive beliefs and proclamations.

But, thanks for responding. :)


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jreuter 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Yeah Qwark, it's not rocket science. Despite your demeaning assumption, I understand what an ignostic is, but at the end of the day, it's just an inflated variation of agnosticism. Sorry, I'm just not too impressed by your attempt at maintaining uniqueness, as I just see ignosticism as yet one more way mankind can shrug off the burden of accountability. I get the impression that you are really trying to come off as intellectually superior and uber enlightened, but it's nothing new Qwark, just the same old self-deception in a shiny new suit.

By labeling my beliefs as childish and primitive, you come across as disturbingly arrogant, and once again, prove my point about the character of a man who refuses to submit to God so much better than I ever could.

But given the words of Christ concerning the child-like mind inheriting the kingdom of God, I'll choose to take your intended insult as a compliment.

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Pierre Savoie 5 years ago from Canada

Where exactly do your beliefs come from, jreuter? Did they come from an enlightened civilization, worked out from years of philosophical debates, or did they come from ignorant rural shepherds, written on the skins of sheep they killed personally? You seem very detached from the origins of your faith. "Those who enjoy sausage and respect religion should not see how either one is made."

You now have to live in a world where respect for religion is NOT a given, especially not in the halls of academia. If there is some merit to religion, maybe you can make it shine through, but this will not stop the foot-thick coating of phlegm it will receive from the rest of us.

And I don't see any positive value from having a child-like mind. Children will be made to believe in Santa Claus, they will be made to believe they should lay down their lives for the faith in wars against the Other, they will be made to believe a lot of deadly things.

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jreuter 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Pierre my friend, I think we are just gonna have to agree to disagree. I'll toss up a prayer for you now and then. After all, it can't hurt, right? Do you have any requests I can offer up to my imaginary friend in the sky? ;)

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qwark 5 years ago


Tch, tch!

My intent is "NEVER" to insult!

In "FACT," one can only be "insulted" if one allows oneself to be. To be insulted is, absolutely, a willful reaction.

Your response indicates that you don't understand the concept of "ignosticism." I can understand that from one who is predisposed to monotheistic bigotry.

For the religious bigot, "learning" ends with the last word of a montheistic tome.

Again you expose your lack of knowledge of religious history when you make these kinds of statements:

"But given the words of Christ concerning the child-like mind inheriting the kingdom of God,..."

The "Christ" you speak of (jesus,) never wrote or spoke a word of what you read in the NT you so devotedly adhere to and quote from. It is "all" heresay.

But THAT level of ignorance, referring to christian religious followers, is common.

The majority of believers in supernatural divinities, have not done their homework. They are, simply, led!

If my honest expression of my feelings about the subject of this thread seem to be "arrogance," who am I to challenge your sincere response?

I just offer my thoughts bluntly, directly and sincerely and express myself as clearly and concisely as I possibly can.


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jreuter 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Wow, what a fascinating approach to reality you possess. You lack any semblance of respect or etiquette, and yet I'm the childish one. You refer to me as bigoted, ignorant, and childish, and yet any sense of insult is entirely my fault. And my, how you love you make assumptions about my relationship to my faith. I'm not gonna waste your time with my own testimony or the history of my education, but this assertion that I'm some sort of idiotic sheep following the herd is baseless and laughable. If you had any idea of my own life experience you'd understand that, but defending this point is, well, pointless. (incidentally, this assumption of every Christian's stupidity and conformity to dogma is the hallmark of nearly all arguments I've held with atheists, agnostics, and those generally opposed to the faith).

But the best part of this discussion is that whether or not my own arguments are considered sound, or whether or not I can prove my own adherence to critical thinking and independent revelation, you defeat yourself by your own pedantic and rude comments. This, most of all, seriously damages your credibility, and I should think that this will speak volumes to my readers. I do hope so at least.

qwark profile image

qwark 5 years ago



"...I should think that this will speak volumes to my readers. I do hope so at least."

It's been an entertaining and "enlightening" experience to have chatted with you...:)

My expectations have been met and I have not been disappointed.

I chuckle as I leave you to wallow in the supernatural fantasies of your fertile imagination.

I hope that your remaining yrs, occupying space in the "isles-of-the-blessed," are "blissful," if you catch my drift.

Big smile!


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jreuter 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Oh Qwark, I suspect you'll be quite surprised one day.

Stop by anytime.

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Pierre Savoie 5 years ago from Canada

Oh, yeah, RIGHT, the implied threat of a Judgment Day favourable to one religion and not the silly is THAT? They FAIL to explain how the world was "created" by an invisible sky-pappy, then they fail to explain how this sky-pappy will reconstitute the bodies and memories of the dead long after they have turned into carbon-dioxide gas, widely dissipated across the world's skies...or whether a creature with such a hobby is really reconstituting a REAL person or just a simulacrum when they do that. The most craven sinner, once safely dead for decades, is beyond God's ability to punish. We KNOW that scientifically now. Whether he wants to intimidate the crowd with a simulacrum that LOOKS or TALKS like this dead person is mute.

I'm afraid, jreuter, you are going to argue in a world were disrespect for religions is the BASELINE. After all, we are free to investigate the history of religions. We will also re-examine the lie that religious belief "can't hurt", maybe take away their driver's licenses since, not only are their minds like children, but they freely admit they may suffer "visions" at any time, of beatific religious things, anything but that 18-wheeler actually bearing down upon them. Oh, yes, in the sensible world order, religious persons will be registered with the police, stamped, numbered, catalogued, and denied drivers' licenses, forced to take public transit driven by Atheists.

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qwark 5 years ago


Thumbs up! I loved it. :)


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jreuter 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

By all means gentlemen, comment all you want.

Reveal your anger, insecurity, and hatred through belittlement, sarcasm and mockery. The more you write the more you prove my case for me. You've done more than my hub ever could have hoped for, and the amazing thing is, you don't even know it.

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Hxprof 5 years ago from Clearwater, Florida

Jreuter-Thanks for the enjoyable piece. You can bet that if you write more articles discussing atheism that you'll attract ALOT of attention.

I don't bother arguing or even 'discussing' my faith with atheists-it's a waste of time. I do have an atheist friend with whom I've never argued about religion/faith/atheism; I know where he stands and he knows where I stand...done.

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jreuter 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks Hxprof, yes, as I'm discovering, the intolerance runs deep with most atheists. Pierre's statement about numbering and stamping the religious is sickening, but I have to assume he is joking.

I personally really enjoy face to face dialogues with my agnostic and Muslim friends, but there is something about the atheist that won't allow tolerant and respectful dialogue. It really is a waste of time, and a frightening look into the mind that exists in total rebellion to God.

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Pierre Savoie 5 years ago from Canada

No, I'm NOT joking. You Christians surround yourselves with insulation of information and you fail to realize how much of a danger you have made yourselves to others. Because of your willingness to believe in invisible nonsense and ignore the very visible, the very same practice of "faith" allows you to whitewash blame and guilt for all the negative things on this planet CAUSED by Christians. They don't exist; disturbing realities self-cancel upon demand! Because of you, I think special measures to keep the genie of loony thinking plugged inside the bottle are needed.

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jreuter 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Wow, such hatred and intolerance spew out of your mind Pierre. I can't imagine what a life spent hating your creator must feel like, but you are giving me a pretty accurate, and disturbing look. What else can I say? I'll be praying for your peace. Be well.

AntonOfTheNorth 5 years ago

No, you're wrong!

No, YOU'RE wrong!

Really? That's the best we have?

Science requires proof. Faith requires belief in the absence of proof. Using a requirement of proof to defend faith is antithetical. Requiring a scientist to take the leap of faith and calling it science equally so.

"This cow is a better chicken than that horse".

Believe what suits you.

Harm no one

Seek happiness.

The rest is discussion; interesting, engaging, enlightening, could even be fun.

Intolerance is not the sole property of either side in this discussion.

jreuter, I thank you for writing. I have my concerns with statistics as well, though I admit I don't know enough about it to provide insight, but as I work for a government, I've seen my share of statistics interpreted in ways the statistician would not approve of so it is the political uses, not the science that I question here.

My only addition, though, is that while we are questioning any book, we should legitimately question them all especially if we are basing our view of the universe on the conclusions we draw.

In the end, we cleave to those that appeal to us on an emotional level. It is not always rational, but that doesn't tend to change how we feel.


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jreuter 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Cheers to you as well Anton! Thanks much for a thoughtful, smart comment, and for taking the time to read my work.

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jreuter 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Anton, an unrelated question, but why don't you have your own profile here? You should. It seems to me you've got the writing props to do it.

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M. T. Dremer 5 years ago from United States

You're absolutely right that statistics can be (and frequently are) misused by public figures. It's like you said, a counter-argument can be made using the same statistics as the original argument. There is no greater offender of this than politics. But this isn't a political debate. I can see where Jeremy was coming from; one of the most commonly asked questions of atheists is: where do our morals come from if not religion? Similarly, atheists are one of the least trusted groups of individuals, so it's a difficult thing to hear when you're doing your best to lead a good, upstanding life. He was trying to prove that atheists do have morals and are just as trustworthy as religious people. Having said that, I think Jeremy took the wrong route to express his opinion. He decided to instead suggest that religion makes things worse. When ever making a point, it's not a good idea to attack the other side right out of the gate. In that case, they aren't going to listen. In my mind, atheist morals aren't random, nor are they entirely in the eye of the beholder. While something appalling to a christian might not be appalling to me, most likely we are going to share the very basic morals like 'don't kill people'. This moral doesn't come from any one source, but stems from the simple concept of 'I want to live, you want to live, so we can be happy if neither of us kills each other'. As an atheist myself, I try very hard not to offend people who believe in one religion or another because I believe everyone has the right to follow whatever they want. But I think every side needs to recognize their own faults. I've seen atheists who act as if anyone who believes religion is stupid, and I've seen christians who believe that atheists are soulless monsters. If we could just respect each others opinions, we would all probably be a lot happier.

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Pierre Savoie 5 years ago from Canada

Only a conspiracy theorist says "statistics can be misused by public figures". Statistics are a branch of MATH, if they have been fiddled with, you can PROVE where they have been fiddled with, can't you?

Clever people once played a joke on Dwight D. Eisenhower. They got him alarmed by telling him that half of all Americans were below-average in intelligence. He was up in arms and wanted to establish a committee to DO something about that, until he was taken aside and given some basic statistical knowledge...

Atheist morality is based on the ancient Greek principle from Protagoras, "Man is the measure of all things." It makes no sense to establish "divine laws" or laws motivated by belief in the supernatural. That is an intrusion trying to mix in nonsense with sense. We must consider only human nature and human limitations. The Christians have been at fault for millenia for defining masturbation as a "sin" -- something every human male, and more and more informed females, can't help but committing. A humanist-centered morality system developed by reason would not come up with such silly laws.

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jreuter 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

M.T. Dremer, excellent comment! If more atheists followed your example, we could more easily engage in dialogue, and not see our discussions devolve into personal attacks and name-calling. And yes, I fully agree with you, and that's sort of what I'm driving at, that the two extremes (the religious are stupid, atheists are evil) should be avoided. But my thoughts on the issue are best summed up by the quote I begin my Hub with. It's not that atheists can't be good, the problem rather, lies with there being no compelling reason to be so. With humanity as the measure of all things, humanity alone determines "goodness" and that seems a very scary thing to me. Pierre's comment (and most of his comments in fact) is a good example of the shallowness of human-centered morality. When we relegate something like masturbation to a genetic impulse that "we can't help but commit" (and honestly, that's more our culture talking than anything, it's not impossible to refrain from that at all), at what point do other activities enter into that equation? Couldn't I just as easily cheat on my wife, and say I couldn't help myself, it's how I've evolved? Where's the line? Where's the standard by which we adhere to? Humanity? Dear Lord, that's a frightening concept.

Anyways, thank you so much for taking the time to read my hub and to leave an intelligent, thought-provoking response M.T. Dremer. I look forward to checking out some of your hubs as well.

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Pierre Savoie 5 years ago from Canada

Oh yeah? And how were YOUR efforts to refrain from masturbation successful? You think it's ONLY CULTURAL that all boys masturbate, and if they were raised in the Lord's Own gated community in Armpit, Nebraska they suddenly would stop doing it? Hell, no. Claims of God are always invisible and unreal, whereas sex is always real and under 3 feet away. So the "divine laws" set up by such Christians, for things like that, make NO SENSE at all! I want you to agree that Christian laws and precepts of the past have served humanity poorly. If you still want to preserve all these precepts intact, we have nothing to talk about. Oh, and keep on sprinkling Holy Water on those mysterious stains in Junior's pants...

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jreuter 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

For someone who has propelled "reason" above all else, you are an extremely unreasonable person Pierre. Not to mention emotional, reactive, and angry. Have you ever considered taking a few deep breaths before you type your responses? You make absolutely no effort to understand another point of view when religious belief is involved, and you come across as argumentative and intolerant. Surely you understand that you could get a lot further with people if you refrained from CAPS, sarcasm, and belittlement?

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Pierre Savoie 5 years ago from Canada

Jreuter, I know you have EMPTY POCKETS because instead of talking subjects you are starting to talk about ME. The topic of this hub is not ME, it has never BEEN me. Prove that what I'm actually talking about is wrong! Otherwise, everyone sees you have an empty holster.

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jreuter 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Empty pockets? Hmm...I've never been accused of such a thing before. I assure you, my pockets are plenty full (and I can thank God for that), but by all means, feel free to think what you want, my comments and hubs speak for themselves.

Like I've said before Pierre, you are just one more of a group of reactionary and emotional atheists here on Hubpages who have no desire to earnestly learn from others, rather, you just want to argue, insult, and tear down. True intelligence doesn't react in such a way, and I'm honestly only excited about engaging people who have matured beyond the ways you, and people like AKA Winston, Fatfist, Mark Knowles and the like, communicate. I'm not a teenager anymore, hence, I'm not going to argue like one.

I guarantee (and you know this is true) that once I defend a point, you will instantly fire back with twenty different and unrelated criticisms of my faith, interspersed with various implications of what an idiot I am for believing in it. Beyond this, I really can't take anyone seriously who has actually argued that the "religious" should be stamped and numbered like cattle. An opinion such as this goes far beyond science, or reason, or rationale, and comes from a very demented and sick place.

The reason I deal with YOU, Pierre, is because YOU are the greatest argument against your own belief system.

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Pierre Savoie 5 years ago from Canada

What do I have to learn from YOU? All your doctrines are irretrievably welded to the Doctrine of the Talking Donkey. Since we can easily reject talking donkeys as absurd, we MUST reject the rest of it. You look PRETTY SILLY trying to insist on the truth of a talking donkey! Yet your Bible is irretrievably welded to that doctrine! It is all related, and you can't wish people to temporarily ignore what's in the Bible to tell them we should listen to you! You're a FREAKING IDIOT if you push a doctrine with a Talking Donkey in it! There are no two ways about it!

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jreuter 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

I assume you are referring to Balaam's donkey, but I'm not sure why you refer to this passage as doctrinal, as it has little to do with doctrine. I guess I have to ask, who are you to reject God's ability to perform miracles? Can we, in our limited perspectives, fully reject the idea of the miraculous?

I would never insist that people ignore the biblical record of Balaam, but at the same time, I don't PUSH even doctrinal issues, let alone non-doctrinal issues such as this. I merely share them. I personally believe in a God who is not limited in any way, shape, or form, and who has interacted and continues to interact with humanity. If God chooses to make an animal talk, I don't have a problem with it. The fact that I've never witnessed such a thing hardly precludes the possibility of such a miracle occurring in the past, and as much as you find it totally absurd, you can no more disprove it than I can prove it.

As strange as it may seem to you, I've never had an inkling of a problem with the existence of God, or of his ability to do things which defy our idea of what is normal and rational. Is this not even a possibility for you Pierre?

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Pierre Savoie 5 years ago from Canada

First of all, the "we are all limited-perspective, wiggly worm" rap is nonsense. We apparently have out-done God's own flight-speed record. God apparently only moves at the speed of sound ("Like lightning in the East, which is heard in the West") but we beat that in 1947.

And WHY DO YOU KEEP BRINGING UP THE *FALLACY* OF BURDEN OF DISPROOF?! It is not up to ME to DISprove a talking animal; it is up to YOU to PROVE there could have been such a thing! You had better start PROVING there is a God in the first place before you ascribe all manner of miracles to this God.

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AntonOfTheNorth 5 years ago


I came back to this to see where it has gone.

It's right where I left it.


"Only a conspiracy theorist says "statistics can be misused by public figures". "

Your faith in science is treading on easy observation. There are whole branches of politics that misuse statistics solely to gain support for their regime. They are called 'spin doctors' and they depend on the general public not actually reading the study that they are quoting.

And you don't have to be a public figure. I had a comment debate right here in hubs (I think you were part of it) where the non-religious person quoted one line of a study about prayer as proof of a conclusion that the study authors did not themselves make.

It happens all the time. Your assertion that it does not and the attempt to demean by the 'conspiracy theorist' remark is the hallmark of most of your reponses here.

To save yourself the time. Just write 'scoff - ridicule' in your comment and have done with it. You might be happier.

Or not.


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ruffridyer 5 years ago from Dayton, ohio

The idea of marking and locking up all christians, well apparently the atheist is backing the stand of the beast from the bottomless pit, even the Anti-christ from revelation's. How embarrising for him. By the way didn't The athiestic Governments of Stalin and Mao advocate locking up all christian's.

As for richard dawkins and his blind watchmaker. First off, if I find a watch on the beach I will assume,silly me, that some one created it. If I find a nuclear reactor further down the beach I will assume some created that. Probubly not the same creator but some one. Besides, isn't a Blind watchmaker still a Watchmaker? I don't want to comment on pierres talk about self abuse. Just noted that the idea that we do things because we are programed and have no choice means Any act some one commits is not their fault so Ted bundy, Hitler and your local pediaphile should be allowed to do whatever they want. It is not their fault.

Krisse 5 years ago

Pierre Savoie, there is such a thing as arguing too much, You might not even notice it, but your coming off much more combative than the people that you're flaming are. Especially considering they (for the most part) simply said statements akin to 'this is what I believe, and why I believe it' whereas you came off like 'Your belief is wrong, this is why, i'm the only one correct here, admit it.'

Regardless of what the subject is, that's not a good way to communicate.

Now for my opinion on the article.

“The question is not whether you can be a good person without God, but rather, is there any rationally impelling force to it? The answer is no.” – Ravi Zacharias

People are unable to knowingly do wrong unless they either believe it isn't, justify it, or ignore they are even doing it in the first place. There is NO counterargument to this concept that I have yet found.

Fairly good article (if only because the comments and parts of this article are humorous).As for morals and atheism, you can be 'good' (socially[considered by others to be]) without God, but using your much vaunted rationality and logic, there doesn't seem to be much of a point. The definition an atheist normally gives for morals is 'that it changes depending on the society', so the point in life is to do as well as you can, have as much fun as possible, feel good about yourself, how depressing XD. If morals change depending on the society, no laws being universal, 'good' may include frequent murders, muggings, thievery, etc. Just my two bits, heavily exaggerated as they are. Depends on the person whether it has any truth value, but just having no standards to logically back up 'why?' can easily become turn into 'why not?'. Should I steal answer 1. Why should I, there are far better ways, and its wrong. Answer 2. Why not? Who says its wrong? I need the money.

I'm aware that we Christians can be a bunch of backstabbing hypocrites(no dip?), but for those who actually obey the book the number one rule is to love others as yourself. Christians being absolute jerks means that though they talk a big game, their beliefs are guidelines to say they tried and can feel better about themselves. Though, since nobody is perfect *Sarcasm Alert, Joke Incoming, no flaming please*(except me, and i'm not conceited because conceits a fault and I have none)*end Joke* I guess it depends on what you consider 'standing up for what you believe' to be.

Christianity gives (to those who actually do it) a baseline, one rule that if you do it, is ultimate morality. Love your neighbor as yourself, here's what you don't hear 'I love you man, so i'm gonna kill ya! Isn't that great?', 'Since I love you so much, i'm going to treat you like crap and rob you blind. Aren't I kind? For the most important of things, that one little rule solves all when it comes to morality.

For those who think morals (and religion for that matter) do not place us above our primate cousins. Consider this, they aren't sentient; even though animals can show a facsimile of what looks like emotion, it's maternal and survival instinct in all cases. Humans have emotions, and are self-aware, if they had neither of those, like other animals, there might be less violence among humans, but would the price be worth it? Morals are, in the end, a great part of what separates us from animals. The chimps don't have it better than us, they still fight, and furthermore, aren't even able to be called self-aware. Animals run on instinct, humans on thought.

The endless rambles point: This article is not entirely wrong on its base point, Christianity in itself does promote morals. Providing one simple, elegant rule to always know right from wrong.

There are many well-meaning, well acting people that are Atheists. However, it seems a depressing and shaky road to walk, based almost off of how much you care what others think of you, what they consider to be 'right', morals are then a struggle. To even have an opinion on what to believe, you have to have a source, and there is only one I know of that can't easily be thrown into contention. That is belief in God, prove to me he exists? Prove he doesn't? No matter what you say, the belief in God is hard to shake, and because I do, i'll always strive to do what's right.

P.S Quit flaming. air your opinions, don't trash other people's. Pierre Savoie, your flaming worse than anyone on the board XD cut it out. God Bless you all (for you atheists, take that as a have a nice day, i'll say it that way because it's the kindest thing that can be said to myself.) Anyway, God bless.

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jreuter 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

I'm remiss to meet an endless ramble with an endless ramble, so I will just point out that a string of run-on sentences mired in bad punctuation, no matter how well-intentioned, is pretty hard to follow.

I can't tell if you are disagreeing with the R. Zacharias quote or not (and if you are, I'm putting my money on Ravi), but this line really eludes me: "People are unable to knowingly do wrong unless they either believe it isn't, justify it, or ignore they are even doing it in the first place."

Umm...if a person believes an action to not be wrong, then how can they "knowingly" engage in it? You've pretty much said, in a very roundabout way, that people can't do "wrong" when they redefine what "wrong" is. But aside from my nitpicking, are you seriously contending that there has been no one in all of human history who has committed an immoral act without redefining morality, justifying the act or ignoring it? I fully disagree. You then go on an unrelated tangent which just serves to further confuse me as to what your main point is. Yikes. Comments like this make online writing quite taxing.

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jreuter 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Good points ruffridyer, thanks for stopping by.

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cooldad 5 years ago from Florida

This was a very interesting hub, I enjoyed reading it. I'm an atheist and I often become offended when other atheists portray themselves as intellectually superior to believers.

In your hub, the statistics presented in the atheist argument are just that, statistics. I always have difficulty relying on statistics of any kind, because they can always be manipulated to fit a certain opinion.

While I don't believe in god, I have no problem that others believe. I do think religion can offer people a good influence to live by, but I am very open minded and tolerant.

Personally, I think that religion is one of the biggest cons every perpetuated on society. But, who am I in the grand scheme of life?

I do have one very serious question that I've always struggled with in my path of belief and disbelief. If there is a god, who created him?

Great hub, I look forward to reading more. profile image 5 years ago from upstate, NY

This Hub is really making me try to think! Excellent writing and good point not to lean to heavily on stats because of their ease of manipulation! Its also important to get to the philosophical root of the issues to judge the merits of an aurgument.

Lone Ranger 5 years ago

There are lies, damn lies, and statistics.

Although statistical assumptions may save time and are quite useful for producing sweeping generalities, clarity is often sacrificed in favor of brevity.

It would be wise to keep in mind that the error in statistical analysis is directly proportionate to the assumptive leap.

Best wishes - L.R.

jreuter 5 years ago

hilariously stupid, I.

jreuter 5 years ago

See, I stole this post about Christianity. Then I posted it and then posted responses claiming that I was an atheist and agreed with my own conclusions.

You have all been duped. See, atheism is a lack of belief in any gods. But like a Christian, I decided that this stance ultimately means only my notion of what a god is based on an English translation of a poorly translated Greek version from the ancient Hebrew.

Non abrahamic (Jews Christians and Muslims) believers don't post attacks against atheists or build straw man arguments like the one posted at the beginning of this article. People who believe in what Christians call the Pagan gods don't get bent out of shape when an atheist states that they don't believe in their god.

Further, since Straw Man arguments are the favorite of Christians EVERYwhere, I decided to post one here.

See, atheists simply don't believe in gods. After that, their beliefs and lives vary immensely. The funny thing with the opening straw man is that it has been used to dispute such long standing well understood science such as: the Big Bang, Copernican Model of the Universe, Relativity, Mendelian Law, and the big uh oh of Christians everywhere: Evolution.

Since most Christians follow almost EVERY logical fallacy I thought I would write this article with a logical fallacy at its start and then claim atheists were the illogical ones. See the irony?

The reality is that all of that science is really true. And, though I am an atheist that duped all of you, like most atheists, I really don't care what you believe, just keep it out of my science classroom. I mean, you don't want my Origin of the Species in your Sunday school, do you??

jreuter 5 years ago

Just to throw a wrench into the works though, I would also like to point out that Finland also has the best educational system in the world: See the Finland Phenomenon Documentary if you haven't already!!

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jreuter 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

How clever, an angry atheist has used my name to post yet another rage-laden tantrum dripping with sarcasm, once again proving that the majority of atheists don't want to have an intelligent and/or respectable dialogue, they just want to attack the intelligence of those who don't espouse their untenable worldview. Much applause to my doppelganger for continuing to reaffirm the stereotype.

the REAL jreuter 5 years ago

Angry. Once again, you purport to know what others are thinking, acting like. You are funny. You didn't get the satire obviously. But you don't think it ironic to state a claim that no atheist makes at the beginning of your post (which is the logical fallacy called "straw man") and then call the people you purportedly state make this claim as illogical. The hilarity ensues.

As for "reaffirm[ing]" stereotypes: Pot, meet kettle. Are you joking? You are the quintessential stereotypical christian. Not one ounce of what you argued here is in the least bit original in thought (read: it has been argued and refuted many, many times before.)

I get it. You believe in creationism, the bible, god, etc, etc. Good for you. What such beliefs do to me is negligible as long as you keep them in your house of worship. I certainly know you don't want me coming into your house of worship and reading from the Good Book (also known as Origin of the Species.)

I don't know why Finland being the world's best educational system is such a problem for you.

Challenge, Mr. Enlightened Christian : Since I have read your bible nine times, perhaps you should avail yourself of the theory of evolution and all that entails.

I am not talking about going to a creationist website to learn about it. No. I went to your bible to learn about your religion. Now go to my science and learn about it. Really, truly learn about it. That way you may at least understand it, so you have a position to argue from. Of course, once you understand it you will come to know that it happened and, hopefully, do what Carl Sagan thought many creationists would do after understanding all the evidence. He thought you would stand back, point to the evidence and say, "My god is even greater than I thought!"

You claim I am having a "rage driven tantrum" but it is you ire who is up, with your ad hominem. Just because we share the same name doesn't make me a doppelgänger.

Intelligent debate? Sure, I am all game. You bring your irrefutable proof on god. Please provide something more than a book written by a bunch of different people. See my pagan friend has two books written by one person and it has evidence of Zeus and Apollo. (You may think this is mocking you ,but it isn't) He truly believes in the old religion (the one that came historically before yours) and he worships those gods and goddesses. His Iliad basically has the same merit as your bible. Troy has been found.

Or would you like to discuss your opening statement? Or perhaps you could enlighten us on what you think evolution is or why you think it doesn't work? Please don't confuse it with the Big Bang as that is a completely different branch of science. But if you want Big Bang we can go there to. So, your choice.

Oh, and as for your god existing or not existing... well, we know, scientifically, that prayer doesn't work.

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jreuter 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

You've apparently gotten me all figured out jreuter, why bother debating you? From one hub you've ascertained both my level of intellect and my woefully inadequate education in science. Of course, arguing that faith and reason are at odds is a false dichotomy, but you know all about those, don't you? Thank you so much for the education on logical fallacies and the pagan roots of my absurd religious belief.

Isn't it astounding the intellectual arrogance that surrounds men such as yourselves? You know not one thing about me, and yet I've been effectively pegged as some sort of anti-science "quintessential stereotypical Christian." All this from one article? Really?

Sorry to disappoint you, but we're not gonna debate. I know, I know, it's because I'm scared of your superior intellect and that if I truly examined my own beliefs they'd crumble like a house of cards, correct? I'm certain that's what you'd like to think, but honestly, I just really don't like you very much, and atheists such as yourselves are so reactionary, emotional, and ticked off that they can't even recognize just how unappealing communication with them really appears.

Good luck on your crusade, you're every bit as evangelical as I am, aren't you?

jreuter 5 years ago

"Atheists are ticked off." If you aren't a stereotypical christian, then why do you mimic everything a stereotypical christian states. Don't want to debate? Fine with me. But don't ask for debate and then shy away when it comes. It makes you look weak.

Sure, you will take that the wrong way, but I am simply stating the way it makes you look. I'm not saying you are weak.

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VendettaVixen 5 years ago from Ireland

Please, people! Can we just accept one another for who we are? I don't believe in a God, but I'm not a bad person. I don't think I'm better than anyone else, and I don't appreciate how you group all Athiests together in this hub as horrible people who are looking to persicute anyone who is religious in any way.

I don't care what people believe in - if they seem to be a nice, friendly person, I'll gladly get to know them and hopefully become friends with them.

Take WillStar, for example. From his comment, he is obviously a Christian, but that makes no difference to the fact that I've rarely, if ever, met a person I've found more charming and helpful. I consider him a friend, and would hate to think anyone would judge me based on my beliefs, or lack there of.

I have my own reasons for not believing, and nothing can change my view. I think it's great that so many people can have so much faith, but I just can't do it. Does that mean there's something wrong with me?

Yes, some athiests are disgusting and detestable bastards, but I could say the same for Christians or Muslims.

I'm sorry - I don't usually go off like this, but I'm sick and tired of all the judging and hatred that is based on nothing more than differing opinion.

jreuter 5 years ago


I apologize. It seems I may have misjudged you a bit. I have seen other posts by you on other hubs and you certainly do seem more rational than others.

Hopefully, you can step back from this hub posting and see it for what it is. I read your other posts where you state that attacking and an Us vs them attitude aren't a good way to go. But if you look at the beginning of this hub, whether you may like the term or not, it is trolling at its lowest. If you have talked to atheists at all and really listened to what we say, none of us purport that absurd "belief that there was nothing and then something came from nothing." That is what I reacted strongly to, which is exactly why you posted it.

That is trolling. You know it is. But after reading some of you posts, you don't seem to be a troll. I think you would do well to understand atheism better than this.

For instance, I am pro life and atheist. I am conservative (not in the silly American sense in which spending billions on military is conservative) in the very real conservative way of less government in my life. Just remember, that the only real difference between atheists and you is that atheists believe in one less god than you do. That is it.

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jreuter 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Fair enough jreuter,

I may as well as point out that I was all too aware that the above image commits the straw man fallacy, and that for that reason I thought and rethought if it should find inclusion in this hub. But as I pointed out in my caption, I couldn't resist. Not that two wrongs make a right, but in my experience the majority of atheists are on the attack, and have no scruples in misrepresenting my faith and its adherents through mockery and insults. Hence, it seemed appropriate. It also gets one's attention, but, as in your case, makes a bad impression as well. I'll probably be replacing it with something a bit more scholarly, as I really can't justify its inclusion on the basis that "they started it."

@Vixen, I personally don't see all atheists being clumped together in this hub as horrible people (nor do I accept that generalization at all), I rather see a rebuttal to an argument I disagree with. I for one despise generalizations, and have dear friends of every persuasion imaginable. But as I alluded to in my comments to jreuter, there are some extremely nasty atheists online, who've made it their hobby to jump in Christian forums for the sole sake of attacking the intelligence of others. Furthermore, I agree there are some real doorknobs professing the faith on here, but I've yet to see any Christian propose that all atheists be rounded up and numbered by the government, or that atheism is some sort of social disease that needs to be rooted out of society (both of which are arguments proposed to me by atheists here on hubpages). That sort of thinking deeply disturbs me, but is ever-prevalent within the atheist camp.

Lone Ranger 5 years ago

Will the real jreuter please stand up.

Just when you think you know someone, it turns out they have split personalities - one which believes in God and the other in godlessness. :0)

Question: How is it possible for someone else to use your name on Hub pages? I can't even use the name of Lone Ranger to start a Hub Page because it's already in use (by me)!

Best wishes, be well and behave - L.R.

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VendettaVixen 5 years ago from Ireland


I'm sorry, I was ticked off that day, and typed out my comment in a rush. I meant that it was a large majority of the commenters doing the judging, not the hub's author, so much.

It's just not pleasant to see so many usually lovely people turn into bickering kids at the mention of the words "Christian" and "athiest." I honestly don't get why people act like this.

Gustavo 3 years ago

Respectfully, I believe the thrust of the original article is less "Atheists are morally superior" and more "Atheists are not inherently immoral." You use a quote which illustrates this nicely:

So while we cannot conclude that religion causes societal harm, what can be said is that a high level of religiosity in these countries and states has not prevented or remedied the societal ailments that are present. Also, the assertion that societies or individuals lacking a belief in a god are more immoral or lawless is soundly refuted.

The author is not attempting to make a positive assertion; rather, he is refuting what he believes to be a common point of view, that atheism inherently leads to immorality.

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Tod Zechiel 2 years ago from Florida, United States

I was an atheist. The first time I read the Bible was when I was in graduate school. I started at the beginning and read through II Kings. I was disappointed in the Bible did not talk much about God or me directly for that matter. What struck me was that I had never read anything that described humanity so accurately. Whatever hope I had in humanity was lost. A street evangelist explained the Gospel to me - first time I ever heard it. I received Christ as Savior. I've lived both sides. The former was best described as Thoreau's "living in quiet desperation". The latter is a life of patiently waiting.

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