Dawkins: Religion no moral compass
September 27th, 2013
05:53 PM ET

Dawkins: Religion no moral compass

By Jason Miks

GPS digital producer Jason Miks sits down with renowned evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, author of the Selfish Gene and An Appetite for Wonder, to discuss readers’ questions on religion, its role in society and whether children can be described as “Christian.”

A number of readers noting your skepticism over religion’s role in society ask whether an absence of religion would leave us without a moral compass?

The very idea that we get a moral compass from religion is horrible. Not only should we not get our moral compass from religion, as a matter of fact we don’t. We shouldn’t, because if you actually look at the bible or the Koran, and get your moral compass from there, it’s horrible – stoning people to death, stoning people for breaking the Sabbath.

Now of course we don’t do that anymore, but the reason we don’t do it is that we pick out those verses of the bible that we like, and reject those verses we don’t like. What criteria do we use to pick out the good ones and reject the bad ones? Non-biblical criteria, non-religious criteria. The same criteria as guide any modern person in their moral compass that has nothing to do with religion.

So the moral compass of any person is very much a part of the century or even the decade in which they happen to live, regardless of their religion. So we live in the early 21st century, and our moral compass in the early 21st century is quite different from 100 years ago, or 200 years ago. We are now much less racist than they were, much less sexist than they were. We are much kinder than non-human animals than they were – all sorts of respects in which we are labeled with a moral compass. So something has changed, and it certainly has nothing to do with religion.

You’ve been travelling to the States from the U.K. for a number of years. Have you noticed much of a change in the place of religion in the two countries over that time?

Notoriously, the United States is the most religious of the Western advanced nations. It’s a bit mysterious why that is. In Britain, Christianity is dying. Islam, unfortunately, isn’t. In Western Europe generally, Christianity is dying. Even in America, the figures show that religious adherence is being steadily reduced, and the people who now record themselves as having no religious affiliation is something like 20 percent. Many people don’t recognize what a high figure it is, and so politicians here who feel they have to curry favor with religious lobbies should maybe take a look at those statistics and realize that not everyone in this country is religious.

You say it’s a bit of a mystery why America is so much more religious than other advanced countries. Do you have any thoughts on why it might be? Tied to that question of disposition, several readers also wondered if there is a genetic predisposition toward faith?

There probably is, but I don’t think that really explains why America is so different from Britain. The least implausible suggestion that I’ve heard is that Britain and Scandinavian countries, which are also very non-religious, have an established church, and that kind of makes religion boring. Whereas in America, there is constitutionally a bar against an established church, and that could be one reason why religion has become so popular – it has become big business, it has become free enterprise, rival churches vie with each other for congregations and especially tax free ties.

Some readers see you as very evangelical in your atheism. Do you feel it a duty, just as some Christians might to share the word of God, to spread an atheist point of view?

Duty is a funny word. But when you say evangelical, I like to think that I don’t shout or shriek, but employ a quiet, sober voice of reason. And reason is on our side.

You’ve talked about feeling uncomfortable with the impact of religion on children. In fact, one reader asked whether you would prefer to see no under-18s at church. What’s your take?

I certainly wouldn’t wish to prohibit parents influencing their children. However, for the rest of the world, to label a child a Catholic child simply because its parents are Catholic, seems to me to be a form of child abuse. The child is too young to know.

You can see the absurdity of talking about a Catholic child of four when you think what it would be like if we talked about an existentialist child of four, or a logical positivist of four. In other words, we wouldn’t accept the labeling of a child based the parents’ belief, so why do we accept it when it’s religion? Why does religion get a free pass when it comes to labeling children in this way?

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Topics: Religion • Science

soundoff (2,952 Responses)
  1. tony

    You only have to read a few of the pro-god posts here to understand why atheism is becoming so common now.

    September 28, 2013 at 7:24 pm | Reply
    • Colin

      Truth!

      September 28, 2013 at 8:06 pm | Reply
  2. Jmac

    It's the twenty first century and here we are still talking about gods.....my gods better then yours etc. Really pretty ridiculous that we haven't advanced much past the ancient deity worshipping civilizations.

    September 28, 2013 at 7:25 pm | Reply
    • tony

      Hey it's CNN that is providing the "podium". But I suspect it's an advertising revenue opportunity rather than altruism.

      September 28, 2013 at 7:30 pm | Reply
  3. No one

    A very quick thought experiment.
    What is the worst a radical Atheist will do to you?
    What is the worst a radical Christian will do to you?

    I suppose if you really want to know how much you may hate atheists if you do.
    What is the worst a radical Muslim will do to you?

    September 28, 2013 at 7:26 pm | Reply
    • Mopery

      You can't call it a "thought experiment" when it requires neither.

      September 28, 2013 at 8:20 pm | Reply
      • No one

        Fair enough, I often forget consuming fruit from the tree of knowledge is the ultimate sin.

        September 28, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
      • Mopery

        It never struck you as odd that god wants you to be ignorant and unknowing? You should take a good look at what he did to Job over a bet with the Devil.

        September 28, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
      • Hello

        the purpose of the myths is to replace all other possible knowledge... with the approved myth...basic mind control purpose of all myths– AKA religions. it is a very important part of the political tool box in religion management.
        visit.. Caesar's Messiah web site for more info.

        September 28, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
    • Hello

      The discovery of who wrote the bible and why is available on the Caesar's Messiah Web site..

      September 28, 2013 at 8:49 pm | Reply
    • Eric Poe

      "I suppose if you really want to know how much you may hate atheists if you do."... what?

      September 28, 2013 at 8:49 pm | Reply
    • CNN Reader

      If that atheist is Pol-Pot or Stalin, I shudder to think...

      September 28, 2013 at 8:50 pm | Reply
    • Scarface86

      Mao and Pol Pot were atheist.

      September 28, 2013 at 8:51 pm | Reply
      • Hello

        but like most dictators they worshiped themselves and demanded others to do the same.

        September 28, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
      • no

        There is no worship in Atheism. The people you listed required worship. Not Atheist. End game. Shutting down.

        November 22, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
  4. Atheistically Yours

    Religion is a CANCER on civilization that needs to be ERADICATED & VAPORIZED off the planet, NOW-especially the "Islam" virus of it! It contributes NOTHING to the advancement of civilization, and has only led to its detriment, and lack of progress!

    September 28, 2013 at 7:26 pm | Reply
    • stank.nasty

      Atheists don't contribute anything to society either... how many hospitals were ever built by atheists? How many orphaniges did atheists build and support? The answer is NONE. They don't contribute. But Christianity does! FACT!

      September 28, 2013 at 7:33 pm | Reply
      • Colin

        That's only if you ignore all the awesome things atheists do. Have you ever heard of Philabundence? Yeah a bunch of atheists did that. But you don't pay attention as much as you think you do, do you you jerk?

        September 28, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
      • Laura

        Amen

        September 28, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
      • Laura

        Not Amen to the guy who called you jerk...Amen to the contributions of Christianity. I'm not saying that others do not contribute. I am sure that is a fact, however, the calendar is based on the life and death of Jesus...ponder that guy who called this stank.nasty a jerk!

        September 28, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
      • donna

        What a lie.

        The top two US contributors to charities last year were Warren Buffet and Mark Zuckerberg. Both atheists.

        September 28, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
      • an atheist

        As an atheist I regularly contribute money to homeless, soup kitchens, habitat for humanity and St Judes Hospital for Children. Also check out this fact "As of 2007, Bill and Melinda Gates were the second most generous philanthropists in America" Bill Gates is an notable atheist.

        September 28, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
      • Colin

        The colander is based on Jesus.... That's the best you got? Seriously?! *facepalm*

        September 28, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
      • Disillusioned

        No atheist has still replied to why . If you only back science, with facts and etc. why do you bother being good and selfless with no facts to back a logical reason for doing it. Nobody's answered that yet. iff souls don't exist why do you feel any logical factual reason to care.

        September 28, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
      • Colin

        So you mean to tell me that if you didn't believe in god then you would just go around raping and murdering? What a freak you are.

        September 28, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
      • Disillusioned

        That squirt of dopamine get you all hot and compassionate about your fellow soulless lump of human flesh?

        September 28, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
      • Drew

        Well sir, since you asked, Benjamin Franklin, whom opened the first hospital in America, was an atheist. Many of the founding fathers of the country were atheist. Christians, like Muslims, like to pick and choose which parts of their sacred book they wish to follow. Personally, I dig the teaching of Jesus. He was a brilliant man. But to say he was the son of god is just silly.

        September 28, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
      • Disillusioned

        No,cim saying if you only follow science, why do you care about something so ethereal and non logic backed as altruism. Or souls. What reason do you have.

        September 28, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
      • artisgreat

        Stank.nasty Good people do good things whether they are religious or Atheist. Most of our Scientists are Atheists ,most of our Nobel prizewinners are ,a lot of the doctors on Doctors without Borders are Atheists Atheists as a group are more peaceful .They get divorced less frequently,they are less apt to be incarcerated . Bill Gates is an Atheists and he had gave Billions to Charity.

        September 28, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
      • edmundburkeson

        Atheists have no reason to contribute to anything. It makes no difference if they do or do not. Atheists have no basis for saying there is anything wrong with poverty, homelessness, etc. what is, simply is. they cannot even say as the Marquis De Sade said "What is, is right." The universe does not owe anyone any right, consolation, justice, morals, etc.. You should be contented with what is.

        September 28, 2013 at 8:02 pm |
      • Disillusioned

        I know human secularists care.what I want want to know is, why if you can't fuse such lofty ethereal ideals with the hard facts you claim to live by.

        September 28, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
      • Mikey

        Since most scientists are atheist, it's funny that you forgot to mention that the medicine used in these hospitals come from scientists that don't believe in anything. Cures, medicines, therapies and treatments are based on science and NOT from people holding hands and praying that the illness goes away. You're infringing on God's will if you want to change the course of a person. If we are all made as God wanted, it's kind of rude to slap God in the face by defying him and taking heart medication, anti-depressants, etc. Remember, if there is a god, he probably likes nice atheists as opposed to hateful believers. Christianity and other religions build hospitals and love to gloat about the fact that they built them. Isn't pride a deadly sin? It's hysterical that a survey was done and found that atheists seem to know more about Christianity that "Christians" actually do (on average). Have fun being delusional. As an atheist, I help others in the hopes that maybe it will come back to me. However, I don't worry about offending a deity when I take medications that defy His plan for me. If his plan was for me to die 2 years ago, well I didn't thanks to surgery (which really screws with His plan).

        September 28, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
      • Disillusioned

        God gave people the intelligence to make medicine. To not take it can also be seen as an affront. But that kind of bypasses why atheists care even when it doesn't fit into their scheme of facts and science only. Though ok, I understand if I do it for someone it's in my best self interest.

        September 28, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
      • Colin

        Edmund, you are simply wrong. I speak about justice constantly and I feel I deserve it for some very horrible things Christians have done to me.

        September 28, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
      • chrishacken

        @Disillusioned
        That is everything that is wrong with religion. So you're saying the only reason you would help others is so that you can receive something in return? (Aka, go to heaven for your acts of kindness?) If this is the case, there's something severely wrong with you.

        Helping others contributes to society and it's simply the right thing to do. Why should anyone suffer from starvation when I'm perfectly well-off and can help them out? God or religion has absolutely nothing to do with being a nice person. My reason for being is to make the world a better place when I leave it than it was when I joined it.

        September 28, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
      • hipslack

        1) Warren Buffett (atheist, donated $40.785 billion to “health, education, humanitarian causes”)

        2) Bill & Melinda Gates (atheists, donated $27.602 billion to “global health and development, education”)

        3) George Soros (atheist, donated $6.936 billion to “open and democratic societies”)

        September 28, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
      • Hello

        most of those hospitals etc were done as tax shelters for the trillions of tax free income they have... as for orphanages.. how about taking a look at just what went on in those orphanages.... not pretty.... not godly.. and not legal..

        September 28, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
      • CNN Reader

        Atheists are not more charitable than believers, they are simply richer, on average. And Bill Gates, et al, love that publicity that philanthropy brings, don't they? Otherwise, it wouldn't be called "The Gates Foundation". In fact, rich people tend to be more atheistic, because they suffer much less the iniquities of life. Suffering brings awareness of spirituality, riches make you materialistic. This is why people are atheistic in Seattle, but religious in Calcutta. This is what Christ meant when he said that it is difficult for a rich man to achieve salvation.

        September 28, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
      • B Kreid

        Atheists like to lie for propaganda purposes, like they kept on saying that Bill & Melianda Gates are atheists when true facts show that Bill is a Methodist Christian while Melinda is a Catholic Christian and they were married by a Jesuit Catholic Priest. Benjamin Franklin is often refered by atheists as atheist when the truth is he is deist which means he beleived in God though probably did not belong to a church. Many atheits are liars and lying just to propagate their ideas.

        September 28, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
      • Disillusioned

        No that's not what I'm saying. does anyone here speak actual English, I did NOT say I agreed this was the only reason to help someone. What i SAID, was that I understand how atheists could logically see a cold factual reason to help someone in the example given by the atheist that replied, which is by benefiting themselves from it. Shall I draw a picture for the the actual non reading bunch here?

        September 28, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
      • Disillusioned

        That answer was for chrshacken

        September 28, 2013 at 11:34 pm |
      • no

        Illogical to claim Atheists don't contribute when its life-threatening and dangerous to proclaim yourself one in the first place. So you have these millions and millions of people throughout history doing great things and they are afraid of getting stoned to death, tortured, imprisoned, beheaded, etc, so they go along with what everyone else seems to think. When someone else pats you on the back for something; it really doesn't matter what that thing is – you will do it again and again to get that chemical touchy feely going on inside your head. Until 100 years ago; just saying you didn't believe in any god would get you burned at a stake! Even today we can't tell our co-workers for fear of wrongful termination, and we can't tell our families, because they would freak out and have a personal meltdown that could harm themselves.

        November 22, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • Raj

      The very fact that you can say something that ridiculous is evidence that religion isn't the source of intolerance and plain old, human stupidity.

      September 28, 2013 at 8:23 pm | Reply
  5. H T

    Where in the Bible is Jesus quoted saying : "Stone XYZ for ABC sin!" Just because PEOPLE in their "infinite wisdom" decided to use religion as a tool to get what they want done it does not mean they represent what Jesus stand for. People use everything at their disposal to get done what THEY want done using the Bible and other sources to support their goals. The only life that truly speaks to what God stands for is Jesus' life and teachings.

    September 28, 2013 at 7:27 pm | Reply
    • tony

      Doesn't Jesus support the "Divine Right of Kings". Pretty Un-American if you think about it.

      September 28, 2013 at 7:31 pm | Reply
      • olga K

        un -American? what hahaha

        September 28, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
    • Colin

      Jesus said unbelievers are like twigs that should be cast into a fire. Screw that guy.

      September 28, 2013 at 7:39 pm | Reply
    • mike

      Jesus makes it very clear in Matthew 5:17-18 that christians are supposed to continue to follow the old laws to the letter until heaven and earth are gone. Those old laws include all the stoning and killing you can imagine.

      September 28, 2013 at 7:54 pm | Reply
      • no

        Why do they never respond? They just ask something super-crazy and illogical; then just run away never to be heard from again. Or the worst; the ones that get proven wrong, disappear, then 30 or so posts later you see them trying the same exact argument again (hoping nobody will prove them wrong again or that nobody is watching) as if nobody had proven them wrong. At least with Atheists; if you prove them wrong; they admit it, agree, and move on.

        November 22, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
  6. stank.nasty

    Atheist keep preaching against a God that doesn't exist. They love their religion of atheism. They pay for billboards all over to say that God doesn't exist. How stupid! If someone doesn't exist, why all the fuss? It's like I'm buying up all kinds of advertisement spots to say that unicorns don't exist. And that bigfoot doesn't exist. Silly. Evolution is a menta.l disorder. I makes fanatics out of people. Especially this Dawkins guy, he acts like a Taliban who thinks he, only he, has the truth. His fairytale is the only one worth having. And he attacks anyone who doesn't believe in his religion.

    September 28, 2013 at 7:29 pm | Reply
    • donna

      "Evolution is a mental disorder." ? It's not even a thought process or brain function. How can it be a mental disorder?

      September 28, 2013 at 7:35 pm | Reply
      • chrishacken

        I like his other argument as well, "It makes fanatics out of people." Soooo.. just like religion does, right. Why did those Islamic extremists flew planes into the World Trade Centers? Why there are countless wars over religion right now and throughout history?

        September 28, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
    • Colin

      Dawkins doesn't act like only he knows the true. You just don't like that he says you are wrong. Stop lying about the man.

      September 28, 2013 at 7:41 pm | Reply
    • will

      go pet bigfoot

      September 28, 2013 at 7:42 pm | Reply
    • tl186

      Your position does not make any sense. On the one hand, you criticize atheists, while on the other, you say "a God that does not exist" and compare God to Bigfoot and unicorns. Are you some kind of a self-hating atheist or something? And the suggestion that "evolution is a mental disorder," which you advance without any sort of proof, simply is not true at all. The fossil record supports evolution, as do numerous modern-day experiments involving lower-level life forms (bacteria, reptiles, amphibians, insects) that when moved into a different environment, develop different characteristics to better adapt over time. It is also, quite frankly, the only scientifically plausible explanation for life that is out there. Why do you think evolution is a mental disorder?

      September 28, 2013 at 7:48 pm | Reply
      • DBarkerMD

        The fossil record supports evolution? Hello? Do you realize how many fossils there would need to be showing the gradual "evolution" from one species to another, whereas, in fact, the fossil record clearly shows only distinct species? In other words, there should be an abundance of, for example, fish with little legs slowly appearing, yet there are not. The truth is that the fossil record is admitted by honest scientists to be very problematic for the theory of evolution.

        September 28, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
      • tl186

        @DBarkerMD: While there are gaps in the fossil record, this is to be expected since only a small fraction of fossils are preserved. There is still, however, ample evidence for evolution in the fossil record – the simplest example would be the evolution of life from unicellular organisms to reptiles to mammals (in fact, though my education may be a bit out of date, I recall that Darwin based "On the Origin of Species" on the fossil record). Anyway, you also failed to respond to my description of more modern experiments, or to the logical problems with stank.nasty's post.

        September 28, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • Mack

      Your churches are buying up all kinds of ads to draw you in. If your way is the true way then why the same need for advertising as Walmart trying to get me to buy diapers? By the way, atheism is as much a "religion" as not collecting stamps is a hobby...

      September 28, 2013 at 9:24 pm | Reply
    • no

      Is this the religious nut's version of "I know you are but what am I?"

      November 22, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Reply
  7. stank.nasty

    Dawkins would fit right in with Al Shabbob in Kenya.

    September 28, 2013 at 7:30 pm | Reply
    • Colin

      No he wouldn't. Quit being a jerk.

      September 28, 2013 at 7:45 pm | Reply
    • r`

      you would be a much better fit

      September 28, 2013 at 7:50 pm | Reply
  8. JesusLoves

    That is a great question Tony. Paul was chosen to spread the word of God all throughout Asia. And a lot of his letters where from prison in his persecution. These new churches wanted direction from him so a lot of the new testament books.( Or Paul's Letters ) are him answering there questions about specific topics. Jesus actually only gave one Sermon and that was the "Sermon on the mount" and his ministry only lasted 3 years. So Paul was giving these churches answers to some of there hard questions they were facing in their culture at the time (Paul being inspired and directed by the Holy Spirit) that was a great question.

    September 28, 2013 at 7:31 pm | Reply
    • tony

      Atheism is a state of non-belief in a deity. You have a religion, atheists don't, by definition.

      September 28, 2013 at 7:33 pm | Reply
    • tony

      But it's a lousy answer. Deadly epidemics get around the world a thousand times faster and don't miss great chunks of the world out. So apparently empowering a few individuals has been a catastropic failure and allowed many other religions to grow in the missed places.

      September 28, 2013 at 8:13 pm | Reply
    • dilberth

      I am an atheist. I know that Jesus doesn't love me. His father loathes me. But my wife, who is alive, loves me.

      September 28, 2013 at 8:26 pm | Reply
  9. Laura

    This is absolutely absurd! The Bible doesn't say to stone...Jesus said he who is without sin cast the first stone. Our Bible is one of peace and love and there are countless miracles that took place and continue to. The calendar is based on the life and death of Jesus...need I say more? Oh but I will. I have witnessed the healing of the Lord and I stand firm that it doesn't matter if you are Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist etc. It only matters that you believe! This country was founded on those beliefs and is being ripped apart by people who will not stand their ground in the name of Jesus!

    September 28, 2013 at 7:36 pm | Reply
    • Colin

      Jesus said unbelievers are like twigs that should be cast into a fire. Screw that guy.

      September 28, 2013 at 7:46 pm | Reply
      • Mopery

        That guy? You mean the one with the long flowing hair and beard, that muscular carpenter guy who hung around with a dozen other guys, bachelors or so they claim, all drinking wine all day and preaching to love one another? Mmm hmm, you know what I'm talking about. They used to hang around with that ho Mary, yeah they were freaky deaky, always reaking of fish.

        September 28, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
    • Mike

      December 25th is a pagan holiday, not the actual birth of Christ... the calendar being based on religion isn't a testimate to anything other than manipulation by those who created it

      September 28, 2013 at 8:43 pm | Reply
  10. yitkis

    Even Darwin himself at the end of his life admitted the fallacy of his theory. The main assumption in it ithat living organisms fight for survival and therefore possess ability to change their genes is a very far fetched and unbelievable. If anything, conditions may trigger activation of some dormant branches of the genome but it is the Creator who created genome and included into it the ability of activation its branches. The evolution theory for me is not compatible with admitting of creative force existing in the world, and for the same sake, is not compatible with religion. I am amazed how many of religious people still believe in evolution which does not make any sense at all. But this is not to the topic. What is to the topic is that Mr. Dawkins is not only not very smart in the area of theology but he seems to be not very smart in his own professional area continuing to push and "develop" the evolutionary biology. Every live creature has developed from a subset of genome. We can trigger some branches of the genome by creating certain conditions, but the genome was conceived and designed by Creator. Genome is a program, a programmer is needed to write it.

    September 28, 2013 at 7:39 pm | Reply
    • Colin

      Darwin never said his theory was mistaken. You are lying.

      September 28, 2013 at 7:42 pm | Reply
      • yitkis

        1. "On his deathbed, realizing the error of his observations and his skepticism, Darwin admitted that “he was a young man of unformed opinions.” He confessed that he threw out queries and suggestions, wondering all the time over everything, and to his astonishment, his ideas took like wild fire. People made a religion of them. In other words, Darwin did not really anticipate that his theories would gather such momentum. Furthermore, he was surprised that what was a matter of theory was treated as a matter of scientific fact!

        But Darwin later repented on his deathbed. His Christian training began to assert itself. As Darwin lay dying, he was found to be reading the Bible opened to Hebrews. He was very concerned and desperately wanted to repent. In another report, He requested a Lady to read the New Testament and arranged for Sunday school children to sing “There is a Green Hill far away.” When this was done, Darwin said: “How I wished I had not expressed my theory of evolution as I have done.”
        "
        http://dennisdamesonline.net/francis/Charles_Darwin.html

        2. Colin, you behave and express yourself as little girl. Little girls call everything that they did not hear about a lie. Shame on you! Apologize! 🙂

        September 28, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
      • Mopery

        ^ it were written in werds so it must be teh truff

        September 28, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
      • tl186

        Actually, though I believe in the theory of evolution, it IS my understanding that Darwin delayed publishing his manuscript for several years due to his religious convictions, and only published when he became worried that someone else was about to beat him to the punch. I admit that I cannot cite an exact source, but I believe it was actually one of Dawkins' books.

        September 28, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • tl186

      You clearly don't understand evolutionary theory at all. The theory is NOT that creatures can change their own genes. It is that random mutations creep into the genome, generation to generation, and that natural selection tends to favor more adaptive genes on a POPULATION level (not an individual level), leading to a dominant genotype within a population based on the environment. As a creationist, how would you explain that over 90% of life forms in earth's history are currently extinct? How do you explain the dinosaurs? Did this perfect creator keep messing up?

      September 28, 2013 at 7:54 pm | Reply
    • CoryT

      Your proof is anything but. It's nothing but a bunch of hearsay posted with a bunch of religious nonsense. Nice try.
      Evolution is a fact, and is provable.

      September 28, 2013 at 8:38 pm | Reply
    • David Pratt

      No, yitkis, Darwin did not renounce his evolutionary theories. This was a story that was passed around after his death by Christians but actually has no basis whatsoever. If you Google it, you will see what I mean.

      September 28, 2013 at 8:41 pm | Reply
    • sqeptiq

      Just because someone says something on the internet doesn't make it true. Who is this mysterious person who supposedly heard this deathbed statement? Tell us that with some verifiable evidence.You are a gullible tool of a religious fanatic.

      September 28, 2013 at 8:44 pm | Reply
  11. vehementgoat

    Just look at the prison inmate populations. Christian are disproportionately represented while atheists are less than 1% even though they are 20% of our population. Look at divorce rates and crimes against children. How can they have any self responsibility with a made up primitive patsy system that they can pawn off their guilty conscience on? They do whatever they want and all they have to do is ask forgiveness. Countries with the highest quality of life, the happiest people and the lowest crime rates also have the least religiosity. It is no coincidence.

    September 28, 2013 at 7:49 pm | Reply
    • Colin

      Atheists aren't even just less than 1%. They are less than .01%! There is new data on this.

      September 28, 2013 at 7:58 pm | Reply
      • tony

        Hot off your glueous maximi presses no doubt.

        September 28, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
    • christian witchcraft

      yeah,, crime rates against children. Tell us how the catholic church helped the many victim children..

      They didn't and don't. In fact they lobby to stop laws that would expose pedos and the cover ups.

      Religion doesn't sound very nice.

      September 28, 2013 at 8:37 pm | Reply
  12. sjones581

    Religion does have a moral compass, it's just all over the map.

    September 28, 2013 at 7:53 pm | Reply
    • Mopery

      High five.

      September 28, 2013 at 8:27 pm | Reply
  13. JesusLoves

    Colin I think you are referring to this verse.A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.… Matthew 7:19 actually if you read all of that section of Matthew you will see that the verse is comparing Genuine Christians who trust in the Lord to those who Claim the name of Christ to extort money and bring Glory to themselves.

    September 28, 2013 at 7:58 pm | Reply
    • Colin

      No, actually I was looking at John 15:6

      http://biblehub.com/john/15-6.htm

      September 28, 2013 at 8:03 pm | Reply
    • tony

      AKA a Threat.

      September 28, 2013 at 8:21 pm | Reply
    • christian witchcraft

      thankfully, scientists have learned to save the bad tree so it produces good fruit. Darn science, always to the rescue while religionist practice their voodoo to save. Ever wonder who's ahead?

      September 28, 2013 at 8:46 pm | Reply
  14. Colin

    Dawkins is absolutely right. Politicians should court atheists. It's a long time coming.

    September 28, 2013 at 7:59 pm | Reply
  15. Mark

    Comment sections are filled with so much bad information. It's amazing.

    September 28, 2013 at 8:00 pm | Reply
    • Mark

      P.S. I'm an atheist.

      September 28, 2013 at 8:02 pm | Reply
      • Mopery

        I am a jelly doughnut.

        September 28, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
      • christian witchcraft

        I'm a fruit fly from the garden of eden

        September 28, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
  16. Solomon Walker

    Oh, I think that Christianity is alive and well in Britain.
    In the U.S....not so much.

    September 28, 2013 at 8:03 pm | Reply
    • Colin

      I've heard the opposite.

      September 28, 2013 at 8:04 pm | Reply
      • David Pratt

        Dawkins is right on that one, Colin. Christianity has been on the decline in Western Europe for a long time. In fact, they often laugh at the obsession with it here. Even in Canada, Christianity doesn't have the same draw as in the U.S. (and I have spent many years living in both countries). Remember, the early settlers to the U.S. were often escaping religious persecution in their own countries and that intense religiosity is taking a long time to work itself out. Eventually, we may outgrow it, but as the Latino population increases, that may keep it in play for a while longer since they tend to be more deeply into it.

        September 28, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
    • christian witchcraft

      it;s quite the opposite..

      September 28, 2013 at 8:41 pm | Reply
  17. Joe

    denying the existence of non temporal spatial objects or beings (gods) requires a greater leap of faith than believing in them. You have to believe that EVERY religious experience EVER was the result of illusion or delusion.

    to believe in god, only one of those individuals need to be correct in their experience.

    September 28, 2013 at 8:06 pm | Reply
    • Colin

      Yeah, it's so much harder to think the Flying Spaghetti Monster isn't real than that he is. These atheists must really be thick if they are just going to write off that Flying Spaghetti Monster just like that!

      September 28, 2013 at 8:10 pm | Reply
    • Colin

      And I mean, Allah (praise be upon him), is totally real. He was in an episode of South Park even! These atheists just love to deny deny deny.

      September 28, 2013 at 8:12 pm | Reply
    • Colin

      And Thor? Do I have to mention they made a movie about him? He's in the avengers! even the Us government inows about him! He saved the world!

      September 28, 2013 at 8:13 pm | Reply
      • donna

        I've dreamt about Thor, it was a religious experience, he's real.

        September 28, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
    • No one

      HAIL THOR AND THE MIGHT OF MJOLNIR.
      A TOAST TO THE GREAT ODIN AND MAY WE BASK IN HIS PRESENCE WHEN WE FEAST IN VALHALLA!

      September 28, 2013 at 8:14 pm | Reply
    • Colin

      Oh and the cargo cults who believed an American pilot was god? Who are we to say they are wrong? That guy was American! That makes him exceptional, and god by definition is exceptional..so clearly he was god!

      September 28, 2013 at 8:16 pm | Reply
    • Mack

      At minimum, 2/3 of Earth doesn't believe in what you believe in but you continue to think you're right and laugh off the others, even while they blow themselves up they're so sure they're right. You're really that confident and not concerned that you're all wrong in your made-up fairy tales and the people who believe in nothing are right? Have you truly looked at this with an open mind...willing to flip a middle finger to it all and face your friends and family and tell them you've changed your mind, or are you too scared?

      September 28, 2013 at 9:27 pm | Reply
  18. dilberth

    My son Timmy asked me the other day, "Dad, when did religion begin?" I told him that it started when the first con-man met the first fool and ever since that time the world has been populated with more fools than M&M candies.

    September 28, 2013 at 8:10 pm | Reply
    • christian witchcraft

      there was a good program on the History Channel where they demonstrated that most people look to authority, unable to stand on their own. Religion and their followers make sense now. Thankfully, my kids stand on their own two feet and just accept the religionist for their fear. It's good that children today can see through the silliness.

      September 28, 2013 at 8:17 pm | Reply
  19. christian witchcraft

    drugs and religion are most often an escape from life. Yes,, some may dump drugs for religion.. That's not so bad, but please don't drug children with religion.

    September 28, 2013 at 8:14 pm | Reply
    • Mopery

      I used to be all messed up on drugs, now I'm all messed up on the Lord!

      September 28, 2013 at 8:22 pm | Reply
      • christian witchcraft

        understood.. BTW,, the lord needed a good therapist too.

        September 28, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
      • sqeptiq

        So, you found a new drug...meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

        September 28, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
  20. Galaxy Prime

    Lawdy! Lawdy! Lawdy! What has become of the faithless heathens in this country! Amen brothers and don't forget to put your money in the collection baskets being passed around. The Lawd wants me to have a new Mercedes!

    September 28, 2013 at 8:14 pm | Reply
    • Colin

      Dood, god wants you to have a whole fleet of Mercedes. Just go steal them and then ask god for forgiveness. As long as you do that, you are still better than the rest of these heathens!

      September 28, 2013 at 8:17 pm | Reply
      • Galaxy Prime

        Brother, you are one cool dude! Praise the Lawd and pass the collection baskets!

        September 28, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
      • Mopery

        JP Morgan is that you?

        September 28, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
      • Colin

        I wish I was JP Morgan. Maybe if I pray hard enough, I can be.. After all the bible makes it explicitly clear that by praying you will get ANYTHiNG you want.

        September 28, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
  21. christian witchcraft

    looking at the comments here,, it's nice to see many more atheists and Realist. Humanity still might have a chance.

    September 28, 2013 at 8:23 pm | Reply
    • tony

      And we've got the 2nd ammendment just in case.

      September 28, 2013 at 8:28 pm | Reply
      • christian witchcraft

        yeah,, thanks to our founding father who put religion out of gov.. Hadn't they, it'd be like the middle east here,, except with chistians.

        Thank goodness for that!

        September 28, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
  22. Raj

    I have to disagree emphatically with this guy. I have as much a problem with unreasonable, religious zealots as the next man, but his examples are fallacious. For example, why the followers of YHWH first stopped stoning people: it wasn't because their non-religious moral compass suddenly changed, it was because the object of their religion, YHWH/Yeshua, told them not to. Core Christian doctrines never encouraged racism either, par exemple, the concept that anyone who is baptized and etc. is a child of Abraham inasmuch as his genetic descendants, the parable of the good Samaritan, and etc.

    What the years have shown is that people, Christian or not, have actually gotten closer to living what this proclaimed savior actually taught. There's not much wrong with having the Bible as a moral compass; the trick is actually following it.

    September 28, 2013 at 8:29 pm | Reply
    • Mopery

      I particularly enjoyed reading that part of the bible where they tell me how to beat my slave. Such a gleaming moral compass, the bible.

      September 28, 2013 at 8:43 pm | Reply
  23. Colin

    God is an atheist. He doesn't believe in any higher power than himself. Lets deport god!

    September 28, 2013 at 8:29 pm | Reply
    • christian witchcraft

      and don't the religionist quote 'in god's image and likeness'.. Sounds like atheists are more god like.

      I suppose they have to fabricate something new or ignore your post.

      September 28, 2013 at 8:32 pm | Reply
  24. Get Real

    Nobody is going to court you. It's a matter of numbers and the truth is you just don't have them for any politician to bother with you.

    Plus you all pretty much sound like whining children, and nobody really wants you around.

    September 28, 2013 at 8:29 pm | Reply
    • Colin

      Our numbers have grown and continue to grow. We now represent a larger portion to of American than many other minority groups that do get courted. You are simply wrong. Now go away before we abort you, you whining fetus!

      September 28, 2013 at 8:33 pm | Reply
  25. tony

    Re: stank.nasty

    Atheists don't contribute anything to society either... how many hospitals were ever built by atheists? How many orphaniges did atheists build and support? The answer is NONE. They don't contribute. But Christianity does! FACT!

    ********

    n 1860, Nightingale laid the foundation of professional nursing with the establishment of her nursing school at St Thomas' Hospital in London. It was the first secular nursing school in the world, now part of King's College London.

    September 28, 2013 at 8:32 pm | Reply
    • christian witchcraft

      hospital's are profit centers and receive grants from our tax dollar.. Oops,, heathcare costs on a rise and hospitals are the culprit

      September 28, 2013 at 8:34 pm | Reply
      • tony

        You are only thinking of US religion owned hospitals

        September 28, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
      • christian witchcraft

        you must be thinking about mother Theresa,, become catholic and I'll feed you

        September 28, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
  26. caryussery

    "No atheist has still replied to why . If you only back science, with facts and etc. why do you bother being good and selfless with no facts to back a logical reason for doing it. Nobody's answered that yet. iff souls don't exist why do you feel any logical factual reason to care."
    I am always struck by these types of questions. The underlying assumption is that, at their heart, people are evil and selfish and without a god or religion waiting in the wings to merit out punishment (or reward), no one would be "good or selfless". Is this really the Christian (or Islamic or Judaistic) view of the world? How sad. I am sure science will discover the particular forces in DNA or our general makeup that encourage this behavior, but as a lay person and an atheist, I can say that helping other people, doing good and kind acts, and caring for fellow people feels good just because it does; I don't personally need the threat of damnation or a potential payoff for this to be true. Perhaps most people are, in fact, selfish and cruel and, therefore, have needed religion to curb their base tendencies. I, for one, have more faith in humans as a species than that.

    September 28, 2013 at 8:38 pm | Reply
    • Colin

      We are empathic animals. I already told that guy hours ago. He never listened.

      September 28, 2013 at 8:42 pm | Reply
    • tony

      I'm with you on that. As an aside, I woonder why so many "religious" politiicians keep getting exposed for their various hidden bad activities

      September 28, 2013 at 8:44 pm | Reply
  27. CoryT

    I personally use it as an intelligence test. If you need a book, or a belief in invisible sky beings, or fables from a tribe from the bronze age to help you determine your philosophical direction, then you fail.

    September 28, 2013 at 8:43 pm | Reply
  28. Mopery

    Jesus got it wrong on slavery. Does anything more need to be said to debunk christianity?

    September 28, 2013 at 8:44 pm | Reply
    • tony

      collection plates needed by all-powerful gods?

      September 28, 2013 at 8:45 pm | Reply
    • Hello

      Visit Caesar's Messiah web site to discover why slavery was never condemned by the christian myth and its gods. You will also learn many things about the bible that the myth masters will never tell you... the TRUTH.

      September 28, 2013 at 8:47 pm | Reply
  29. Hello

    the US is a very religious (christian) nation because our politicians have use the myth as what it was intended to be used for... a political tool. The bible is the foundation of population control invented by the Roman Flavian family.

    Visit Caesar's Messiah web site for the details.

    September 28, 2013 at 8:45 pm | Reply
  30. jeremygwoods

    I became a Christian when I was 7. Before I became a Christian, I was not a Christian child, I was a child of Christian parents. I made my personal decision to follow Christ. Was I too young? I don't have to become a theologian to become a Christian. I read the Bible for myself, and I follow the teachings of the Bible.

    Living by faith is hard. God never said it would be easy. However, God does answer prayers. I've seen countless prayers answered, even when it seemed hopeless. Sometimes we wish that we just see a miracle to prove what we believe, but honestly, those who saw Jesus' miracles in His time did not all believe. Seeing is not belief. They usually wanted another miracle performed. We thrive on entertainment, just as they did. If God Himself moved a mountain, how many would truly convert? Maybe some would attend church for a few months, but attending Church, praying, and reading the Bible does not make someone a Christian. The Bible says it is through faith, not works, that we are saved. In the end, it's about faith.

    September 28, 2013 at 8:45 pm | Reply
    • christian witchcraft

      actually, escape is easy. Too bad there was no such thing as a miracle,

      September 28, 2013 at 8:47 pm | Reply
    • tony

      On the whole, god answers prayers as well and as often as stone idols. Thta's why he is jealous of stone idols in the ten commandments.

      Then thayt god who moved mountains, parted the red sea, must be the same "only one" that caused the recent tsunami massacres as well – same physics.

      September 28, 2013 at 8:48 pm | Reply
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