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. Colin
    September 28, 2013 at 8:47 pm | Reply
  2. A "good" little athiest

    Is it not delightful that the three most influential Atheists in history are, in no particular order:

    Lenin
    Stalin
    Nietzsche?

    Nietzsche: the philosophical godfather of Fascism.
    Lenin,: the creator of communism.
    Stalin: arch 20th century proponent of “humanistic principles”.

    The result of their “humanistic philosophies”?

    At LEAST 100 million dead.

    The time span:? 53 years between the death of Nietzsche and the death of Stalin.

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

      I find it interesting how religions and dictators are so similar..
      1) they both love to control
      2) they both fabricate stories and expect people to believe
      3) they both use fears to make people believe their fabricated stories..

      and they both have caused more harm to human life..

      amazing.. it's as if religionist need to live under a dictatorship

      September 28, 2013 at 8:55 pm | Reply
    • Colin

      Oh! You want to play this stupid game. Lets see... No. Shut up. Religion has killed more than anything.

      September 28, 2013 at 9:01 pm | Reply
    • tl186

      Clearly, there is absolutely no religious motive for the persecution of Jews in Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany. Hundreds of years of Christian discrimination against Jews obviously had nothing to do with anything!

      September 28, 2013 at 10:57 pm | Reply
  3. JC

    Even though the bible say to stone Sabbath violator, in the past 2000 years it never happened, the bible, in many cases, speak in metaphor but yet instruct to do many good deeds, as giving to the poor, not to kill, respect other people property, etc. If I am atheist I do not have to follow any commandments at all including laws that secular society voted in majority or set by law because I do not have to accept any laws, set by religion or otherwise. All countries laws are coming out of one religion or another so if an atheist abide by them, even if it is from fear of being going to jail, he is not true atheist. If I am an atheist traveling in the desert and I do not like someone I see I will kill him and will not feel any guilt feeling at all.

    September 28, 2013 at 8:52 pm | Reply
    • christian witchcraft

      thankfully the writers of the bible picked up some good info from secular society.. After all, it wouldn't sell if there weren't nice things in it. Makes the bad stuff palatable to the christians,.

      September 28, 2013 at 8:58 pm | Reply
    • Mopery

      Your last sentence is hilarious. So the only thing that's keeping you from being a child murdering psychopathic rapist mass murderer is your belief that an all-powerful man in the sky is always watching your every move, taking notes, and will get back to you later for your punishment? And that's moral, is it?

      September 28, 2013 at 9:01 pm | Reply
    • Jim

      Nice to know that JC doesn't know the first thing about reading comprehension (context). And the militant theists are just so darn smart that the basic rules of logic and reading for comprehension escape them....

      September 28, 2013 at 9:01 pm | Reply
    • wjs

      "If I am an atheist traveling in the desert and I do not like someone I see I will kill him and will not feel any guilt feeling at all."

      Well, it's a good thing YOU aren't an atheist.

      September 28, 2013 at 9:17 pm | Reply
    • Pseudotriton

      What utter nonsense. Ethics, morals, and laws have existed in ancient civilizations long before religions came about. And most modern laws are NOT based on religion (unless you live in some extreme Mid-East area that apply the Sharia). Laws and ethics are based on mutual respect of fellow human beings. Atheists have that respect for other humans, whereas religtards behave only for fear of punishment from an imaginary being. True moral and ethics do not require religion at all.

      September 28, 2013 at 9:18 pm | Reply
      • actorforchrist

        "Laws and ethics are based on mutual respect of fellow human beings. Atheists have that respect for other humans, whereas religtards behave only for fear of punishment from an imaginary being."

        Interesting. So the religious are not worthy of the respect of the atheist?

        "Mutual respect of fellow human beings." And I thought the "religitards" were the only ones living in a fantasy world (according to atheists). Perhaps you might add "mutual respect of fellow human beings who think and look and act as we atheists do?" Might make it a bit more accurate.

        September 28, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
      • Pseudotriton

        actorforchrist, I'm not sure where you're getting at. Are you saying that atheist are out hunting and killing theists? 'cuz that's what I'm talking about here, in response to some questions earlier of what's keeping us from blindly killing others.

        But if you're simply complaining about theists getting no respect from atheist for their religious beliefs, well, religion, just like any other human ideas (such as political ideology) are subject to criticism. And keep in mind how little respect theists afford atheists. The notion that one can have no morals without religious-bases is telling enough.

        September 28, 2013 at 10:28 pm |
      • Disillusioned

        No, actually spirituality has been around for at least tens and tens of thousands of years, before we were even modern humans. I disagree. It's an inherent part of human nature.

        September 29, 2013 at 8:37 am |
    • artisgreat

      JC you do not understand Atheists at all. Please follow what I am about to say and MAYBE .I want you to think about how you feel about Zeus or any one of the thousands of Gods the world over .How does it feel to not believe in any of those Gods .You are an Atheists to all of those Gods .Do you feel any different because you are an Atheists ?.That is exactly the way I feel because I don't believe in your God . I am the same person ,I don't feel any different ,nothing changed. I still have my Morals. NOTHING has changed except I don't Believe in a God

      September 28, 2013 at 9:25 pm | Reply
      • TexasGuy

        Thank you. Well said. I doubt he'll get it , though.

        September 28, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
    • Andrew

      No not every law came from a religion, technically in order for the concepts to be in the bible it would have to have existed before its making. And literally in order to be a true atheist by definition it just requires not believing in any magical sky fairy or synonym of the sort.

      September 28, 2013 at 9:35 pm | Reply
    • Troy

      Congratulations on being insane.

      September 28, 2013 at 10:06 pm | Reply
      • rob earl

        Troy is beyond insane – he's just a blithering idiot. Way to drink the cool aide looser.

        September 28, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
    • Sarah

      Atheist, non-murderer here. Your line of reasoning is foolish. Morality and ethics are not a Christian thing, nor are they a Muslim thing, or a Buddhist thing; they are a human thing. The Bible helps to communicate these morals via stories like the one about the 10 Commandments. To me, and to non-religious secularists everywhere, these teachings are, quite frankly, common sense. You don't have to be Christian to understand that killing someone is bad and to have no desire to do it.

      Can't someone be a good person simply for the sake of being good? Not because they want to go to heaven and fear being cast into a lake of fire forever?

      September 28, 2013 at 10:12 pm | Reply
      • farnoogler

        Agreed, I can't figure out why so many religious people assume if you aren't religious you must by immoral and commit horrible acts.

        There are very vocal, combative types on both sides that tend to fuel the fire, so maybe everyone just feels under attack.

        On a complete side note how about Pope Francis, that guy seems great! I still don't get the refusal to make women priests but most of what he says is amazing. He keeps emphasizing what I liked about religion when I was growing up and have not seem much of recently.

        September 28, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
    • burnz

      Are you up or down a chromosome? I don't murder people because I don't want them to suffer, especially when there is no gain to me. YOU on the other hand.... don't you claim god forgives all? Can't you murder willy nilly?

      September 28, 2013 at 10:37 pm | Reply
    • dilberth

      BREAKING NEWS: Jesus Christ, Vishnu, Thor, Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, Zeus, God. All Same.

      September 28, 2013 at 10:38 pm | Reply
    • farnoogler

      Hey JC,

      I respect others having different opinions but your comments don't seem that logical. It doesn't make sense that an atheist would not follow the laws of society because they do not believe in God. Deciding if one believes that laws are good for society is very different than deciding if you believe in the laws of a religion. Sure there are athiest that don't respect laws, but I would contend their are religious people that do not respect the laws of the government, especially where they do not match up with their religious doctrine.

      Ones morals and beliefs define ones actions. Not believing in a specific religion does not dictate an individuals morals.

      September 28, 2013 at 10:49 pm | Reply
  4. Mopery

    Anyone else notice that the picture of Dawkins he has an unmistakeable frown? Kind of looks like he's thinking, "Oh great, another interview filled with shallow questions and insipid assumptions..."

    September 28, 2013 at 8:55 pm | Reply
    • nepawoods

      Exactly what he wants you to think, when in fact such insipid and shallow questions are the only ones he wants to field.

      September 28, 2013 at 9:32 pm | Reply
    • CJ Nichols

      I think he just always looks like that –

      September 28, 2013 at 10:33 pm | Reply
  5. christian witchcraft

    ..I find it interesting how religions and dictators are so similar..
    1) they both love to control
    2) they both fabricate stories and expect people to believe
    3) they both use fears to make people believe their fabricated stories..

    and they both have caused more harm to human life..

    amazing.. it's as if religionist need to live under a dictatorship

    September 28, 2013 at 8:56 pm | Reply
    • Jim

      Funny how all the atheist societies have those same things in common with dictators. Ya just gotta love it when someone uses a sword that is double-edged...

      September 28, 2013 at 9:03 pm | Reply
      • Colin

        Yeah, screw the Scandinavian countries! Those darned dictator heathens with their ikea and their meatballs!

        September 28, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
      • christian witchcraft

        you must use your brain here. Religions and dictators are quite the same. Atheists?? They are just independent thinkers. In fact they don't like dictators or religions.

        September 28, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
      • CoryT

        Do tell, what stories are athiests making up? I'll wait...

        September 28, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
      • Atheists@AreEvils

        I agree with you Jim.

        September 28, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
      • artisgreat

        JIm You need to do a fact check .Atheists are more peaceful than Religious people In fact the higher the belief in God the worse a Democratic country scores in all areas of social health

        September 28, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
      • AtheistsAreEvils

        And atheists are like saints, they're clean and never do wrong? You are either an hypocrites or you just don't read every blogs about religion. There is plenty of atheists attacking people and name calling with no reason at all. And what about atheists supporting people who with their deviant behavior are spreading A I D S and killing mass number of people. Just a few weeks ago one of them infected more than 300 by himself alone.

        September 28, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
      • biobraine

        AAE,

        As a whole we commit less crime, have higher IQ's, are better educated, have less abortions, less divorces and have a lower incarceration rate. Have a nice day.

        September 28, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
      • AtheistsAreEvils

        Sure you are like saints. Who brainwashed you into thinking like that? You see kids these days who are godless committing more crimes that any previous generations. They take drugs, they kill their family members, the shoot innocent people in schools and the list goes on and on. Who says that godless atheists people commits less crimes?

        September 28, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
    • David

      Over the last 100 years 3 dictators that practiced atheism fully – Stalin, Hitler, and Mao Tstung – were responsible for slaughtering over 100 million people. More senseless killing than all previous centuries combined. Now what was that about the religious murdering people??

      September 28, 2013 at 10:45 pm | Reply
  6. Boffer Bierce

    You forgot Mao Zedong: 78,000,000 murdered and
    Pol Pot, 1, 700,000 murdered.

    September 28, 2013 at 8:57 pm | Reply
    • christian witchcraft

      darn religions and dictators.. they have caused more destruction to human life.. let's not forget that christianity had their fun during the inquisition.

      September 28, 2013 at 9:00 pm | Reply
      • Richard Dawkins in a moment of "Gotcha Journalism"

        Give me a list of recent religious Dictators and the numbers they murdered...

        September 28, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
      • christian witchcraft

        I stated religions AND dictators.. quite similar groups..

        September 28, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
      • Daril

        quit wasting your time trolling, you clearly know nothing about anything

        September 28, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
    • Pseudotriton

      Mao and Stalin's personality cults were designed to deify them so people would obey. They might reject the traditional Judeo-Christian religions but they basically built their own religions, all in an attempt to manipulate the masses.

      September 28, 2013 at 9:22 pm | Reply
  7. Richard Dawkins in a moment of "Gotcha Journalism"

    So explain why all these bloodthirsty dictators...clearly with a suspect Moral Compass...just happened to all be atheists....

    September 28, 2013 at 9:05 pm | Reply
    • christian witchcraft

      they thought they were gods,, they learned from religions how to control, create fears and destroy. Actually, they sort of followed the bible with all its destructions

      September 28, 2013 at 9:07 pm | Reply
    • ricardo1968

      Dictators are always bloodthristy. There is no other way to be a dictator.

      September 28, 2013 at 9:08 pm | Reply
      • christian witchcraft

        just like religions when left in control.. That's why the free world has tamed religions. And thank goodness for that!

        September 28, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
      • Steve Hanson

        And yes when you have a religion that believes that life is a purposeless accident, it is perfectly alright to commit infanticide.

        September 28, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
      • christian witchcraft

        what atheists believes live is worthless? Please tell me. To an atheist, life is precious.

        September 28, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
    • biobraine

      The Christian god is a dictator. He already wiped out most of the Earth's population with a great flood. Not only that, but according to Christianity, the vast majority of the Earth's population is going to suffer for eternity for not believing. Love me, worship me, do things my way or die. Perfect example of a dictator.

      September 28, 2013 at 10:51 pm | Reply
  8. Colin

    If you are the real Richard Dawkins, take me with you!

    September 28, 2013 at 9:05 pm | Reply
  9. Chris

    Dawkins: "but employ a quiet, sober voice of reason." For Example:

    Christians? Mock them! Ridicule them! In public. Don’t fall for the convention that we’re all too polite to talk about religion. Religion is not off the table. Religion is not off the list. Religion makes specific claims about the universe which need to be substantiated, and need to be challenged, and if necessary, need to be ridiculed with contempt.

    Ahhh the the quiet, sober voice of reason.

    September 28, 2013 at 9:05 pm | Reply
    • Colin

      Exactly! Dawkins is a very polite badass. Love that guy!

      September 28, 2013 at 9:06 pm | Reply
    • Pseudotriton

      Never mind the detail if that's what Dawkins actually said, even if so, which part of that is unreasonable?

      September 28, 2013 at 9:25 pm | Reply
      • actorforchrist

        So you don't read your "preacher's" books?

        September 28, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
    • CoryT

      Not sure where your conflict is. Sound perfectly reasonable. What part did you not like, the part where religion should be mocked?

      September 28, 2013 at 9:28 pm | Reply
  10. Mopery

    Outlaw c i r c u m c i s i o n until age 18. At least give the baby boy a choice in the matter.

    September 28, 2013 at 9:08 pm | Reply
    • christian witchcraft

      agreed,, and treat religion as p-orn.. let the kid reach adulthood before the brainwashing.

      Then again, the religious don't like that because the brainwashing doesn't stick as well unless you start at an early age.

      September 28, 2013 at 9:11 pm | Reply
    • nepawoods

      If it's going to be done, then better at birth, and it's not as if anyone ever grew up to feel having been cut was an issue.

      September 28, 2013 at 9:35 pm | Reply
  11. Bob

    Let his worship his God, ammonia , from whence all life has come according to him. I have a bottle beneath my sink so just in case it works I am prepared.

    September 28, 2013 at 9:09 pm | Reply
  12. Thus spoke a Modest Proposer

    When you encounter someone who professes to be an Atheist, take the most personally advantageous action: eat him. Atheists are high in protein and a good source of B vitamins and amino acids. They tend to be greasy, so otherwise watch your intake of fats and cholesterol. Be discrete in your endeavors until Atheists are recognized as game animals by the state. Remember, you have nothing to fear except law enforcement as long as you have braised, roasted or broiled the Atheist to an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees.

    They are also good in casseroles and fricassees.

    Some within our movement have brought to my attention that since only a small percentage of the US population identifies as Atheist, a domestic shortage will soon ensue. The problem of the necessary importation of foreign stock is a real one, and though logistically challenging, should be met with by the harvest of readily available European animals. Atheists are common in Europe since the great conflagrations of WW II and the Cold War. The horrors perpetrated by Nietzschean inspired Fascism are not easily forgotten. And the long and draining Cold War–necessary defense against the wholly Atheistic social and economic philosophy of Marx and the realized atrocities of Stalin, et al.–has left Europe moribund and stagnate. The irony that so many Europeans have responded to the historical horrors of Atheistic philosophy by embracing Atheism themselves is delicious. I suggest we take advantage of it: literally.

    Make no mistake. I am an Atheist myself. But I will never reveal this to the world. It serves my interests to call myself a Believer.

    Do not bore me with notions of how I should obey my "inner moral sense". My moral sense is nothing more than a genetic imprint, a primitive survival advantage I have outgrown–much as I have outgrown the need for God. I can discard them both easily. They are worthless to me. After all, God Is Dead and the only good is what is good for me. I am the Superman. I am Beyond Good and Evil.

    September 28, 2013 at 9:11 pm | Reply
    • Pseudotriton

      What have you been smoking tonight?

      September 28, 2013 at 9:27 pm | Reply
    • B Guit

      Outstanding!

      September 28, 2013 at 11:52 pm | Reply
  13. Steve Hanson

    So I guess we should get our moral compass from anthropomorphic cosmic waste without a soul and no free will? Hmmm..

    September 28, 2013 at 9:12 pm | Reply
    • Thus spoke a Modest Proposer

      Set-up your Altar wherever you like, Steve.

      September 28, 2013 at 9:13 pm | Reply
      • Steve Hanson

        Alright I will erect an altar in honor of time and chance, and hopefully my faith in a purposeless process will grow, and I will come to believe that it can create life and ultimately me. Then finally I can become an 'enlightened one' and show my intellectual superiority over those that dissent from this belief. I wonder what I can use for communion? Ah I know. Darwine. Although it does strange things to the mind, especially in the upside-down position.

        September 28, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
  14. christian witchcraft

    glad religion is slowly folding,, maybe humanity still has a chance.

    September 28, 2013 at 9:13 pm | Reply
  15. American Thinker

    Question. If Religion is not our moral compass than what is?
    What makes it wrong for me to physically assault someone and take their property simply because I am stronger than them and can do it? What separates us from the animals?

    September 28, 2013 at 9:15 pm | Reply
    • christian witchcraft

      first, we are animals. Next, it's evolution and a need to preserve life is why we wouldn't harm. There are many societies where religion was never exposed and the people cared for one another. If you need a religion to prevent you from harming others,, it worries me.

      September 28, 2013 at 9:20 pm | Reply
      • Thus spoke a Modest Proposer

        LOL...name one society where religion does not or did not exist...

        September 28, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
      • christian witchcraft

        you lived a limited life.. try taking a cultural anthropology course sometime..

        September 28, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
      • Pseudotriton

        "name one society where religion does not or did not exist"
        That's like saying name a society where no murder has ever occurred. I'm not sure what you're trying to prove there. Just because something is ubiquitous does not mean it's good or even necessary.

        September 28, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
      • Thus Spoke a Modest Proposer

        @witchcraft...You don't have an answer, do you. LOL.
        I am talking about applied anthropology.
        Name one current society (cultural anthropology) or one past society (Archaeology), where religion does not or did not exist...

        September 28, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
      • Atheists@AreEvils

        I love when atheists are saying that we are like animals, it's like saying whatever animals do we can too. What a bunch of morons, atheists and their Dawkins are.

        September 28, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
      • Pseudotriton

        What an ignoramus you are, Atheists@AreEvils. Do you not see that most human behaviors are no different than those of high order mammals, except with modifications adapting to our own society? Just what animal behavior are you thinking of that humans do not practice?

        September 28, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
    • Mack

      What makes a baby naturally console someone who's crying? What makes an atheist not kill someone. Why is there an underrepresentation of atheists in prison? Your argument is completely invalid.

      September 28, 2013 at 9:21 pm | Reply
      • Disillusioned

        Brother there is no such thing as an atheist in a fox hole. These people need comfort and a helping hand, why do you think atheists are underrepresented in prison?

        September 28, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
      • Disillusioned

        They're not there, because guess who they turn to when they're down and out. It's no big surprise there's not a lot of unbelievers there.

        September 28, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
    • ricardo1968

      A mentally healthy human being is fundamentally a social animal. We may get pleasure from what we do for ourselves, but we get happiness from what we do for others. Once one understands the difference, there is no need to be immoral.

      September 28, 2013 at 9:28 pm | Reply
    • Colin
      September 28, 2013 at 9:30 pm | Reply
    • Pseudotriton

      Moral is based on respect for your human beings and nature. If you need an imaginary being to scare you into doing good, what does that say about you truly as a human being?

      September 28, 2013 at 9:30 pm | Reply
    • donna

      I am not religious, and I have no desire to hurt people. But if you feel like the only thing stopping you from hurting people is a belief in god, then you are right to believe in god. Don't let anyone tell you any differently. Keep your temper in check and go to church.

      September 28, 2013 at 9:54 pm | Reply
      • Pseudotriton

        I'd be wary of anyone who needs the fear of an imaginary being to keep them from murdering other humans. Because if whatever reason they were unable to attend church for a period of time, be it health or work or whatever, they might just start going around killing others. People like that are weak minded and have no true respect for fellow human beings.

        September 28, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
      • donna

        I certainly agree that anyone who feels such urges are a danger to society. It's kind of scary how many people here seem to feel like the only thing keeping them from hurting others is the fear of god. Bunch of messed up people...

        September 28, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
  16. Thus spoke a Modest Proposer

    The Atheist indicts god based solely on what happens in what is, cosmologically speaking, the blink of an eye. There is suffering by transient biological forms for an instant in time: therefore there can be no god. Atheists are fond of contemplating the vastness of the universe, but incapable of admitting there is a lot of real estate to cover in the quest for the divine: spatially as well as temporally. If you were the creator of a universe 100 billion light years in diameter, that probably is also multi-dimensional as well as eternal, would you hang around trying to impress a group of arrogant primates who a milli-second ago were brachiating among the trees of Africa?

    September 28, 2013 at 9:17 pm | Reply
    • Pseudotriton

      only a blink of an eye? But I thought the earth is only 6000 years old, and we have been here for most of that time?

      September 28, 2013 at 9:36 pm | Reply
      • Thus Spoke a Modest Proposer

        All believers are not Fundamentalist Christians.

        September 28, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
    • John Sharp

      "If you were the creator of a universe 100 billion light years in diameter, that probably is also multi-dimensional as well as eternal, would you hang around trying to impress a group of arrogant primates who a milli-second ago were brachiating among the trees of Africa?"

      Well the answer is of course yes. Don't be silly.

      I created this whole situation in which if these primates do not believe in me as their god than they will be doomed for eternity. They will not go to heaven but hell. Just for the simple reason that if they do not believe in me as their one true god than they will be damned for all of eternity.

      So yea, I am the one that created this silly situation. I would have to be a total d*ck to not show up on a regular basis to help as many people as I can find eternal salvation. I mean I am god right, loving and compassionate???

      September 28, 2013 at 10:35 pm | Reply
  17. christian witchcraft

    likely jesus, if he really existed, had the greatest fabricated story, Kinda like humanity like to create stories. He was likely never buried. After all Pilot hated jews and demanded they be left on the cross until they were nothing but bones. No burials allowed.. the birds and maggots would eat everything to the bone.

    Then again,, the christian stories were written well after the fact, they could create whatever they wished. Bet jesus and charlie manson could have teamed up

    September 28, 2013 at 9:17 pm | Reply
    • Atheists@AreEvils

      I like the way you described what the romans did with crucifixion. The romans were Godless just like atheists are. Nice way to treat and kill people. I swear it, a world with atheism is very dangerous.

      September 28, 2013 at 9:50 pm | Reply
      • Pseudotriton

        The Romans were godless? Just what do you think Apollo, Mars, Venus, Ceres, Saturn, etc. etc. are? Idiots like you can't even get the most basic facts straight, and you claim that atheism is dangerous? A truly dangerous world is one filled with religitards, giving us atrocities like the Crusade and Inquisition.

        September 28, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
      • Atheists@AreEvils

        What about Alfred Kinsey, Napoleon Bonaparte,Than Shwe, Kim Jong II, Jeffrey Dahmer, Jim Jones, Benito Mussolini, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Joseph Stalin, and many more. One that shines to be the next one in line seems to be Richard Dawkins.

        September 28, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
      • John Sharp

        A world with Atheists is dangerous, too cute.

        I don't know one Atheist that talks to or listens to an imaginary friend in their head for guidance.
        Now making executive decisions of any sort in 2013 based on what your imaginary friend said 2,000 years ago, now that is really dangerous.

        September 28, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
      • AtheistsAreEvils

        No but there are plenty of them committing mass murders because they are brainwashed by their cult leaders,

        September 28, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
      • John Sharp

        @AtheistsAreEvils
        ??? Where.
        The vast majority of cults are religious based. So you wouldn't find an Atheist there. Who exactly are you referring to that was an Atheist and was ordered to do a mass murder by his or her Atheist Cult Leader?
        Please point out the exact time this situation happened. I am fascinated to read this story.
        If you are going to make fantastical claims like this at least produce evidence to support it.

        September 28, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
      • AtheistsAreEvils

        Atheism is a form of belief system. Atheism are just like a religion or a cult. Atheists have faith in their belief system. Also atheists hold someone like Richard Dawkins as their idol and leader. Do you have any other questions?

        September 28, 2013 at 11:21 pm |
  18. Uncle Albert

    "My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind."
    -Albert Einstein

    September 28, 2013 at 9:25 pm | Reply
    • Colin

      Einstein also said he hates when people take him out of context and make it look like he was a believer.

      September 28, 2013 at 9:27 pm | Reply
      • Uncle Albert

        So what did he mean by "illimitable superior spirit" in the quote, bright boy???

        September 28, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
    • Atheists@AreEvils

      Einstein also said: "Einstein rejected the label atheist. Einstein stated: "I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one. You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth."

      September 28, 2013 at 9:52 pm | Reply
      • Thus Spoke a Modest Proposer

        So Einstein was a Deist. He was not an Atheist.

        September 28, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
      • Atheists@AreEvils

        Yep, he was not an atheist.

        September 28, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
      • Colin

        No, that's just him saying he wasn't passionate about the cause of atheism because he didn't really feel he had to liberate himself from religion. He wasnt as threatened by it as some people are.

        September 28, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
      • AtheistsAreEvils

        Do i need to post more about Einstein admitting not being an atheist?

        September 28, 2013 at 11:22 pm |
  19. LKR

    The Bible is a moral compass regardless of opinion. We are talking about a book that has accurately predicted nearly 700 unpredictable event throughout history, and even there are more prophesies coming to pass. As a heart seeking for truth, the world we live in states that science is the answer, but science can only define what is happening, not why. And the science of a book like the bible that is 3 dimensional – a book of prophecy, a book of law (by the way over 90% of our judicial system & marriage laws have been build on), a book of poetry, a book of philosophy, a book of History and to ignore a "book" as the source of morals (please read proverbs and you tell) that no only is the top selling book IN HISTORY but also has proven it's prophetic (statistically impossible) and therefore bears consideration by even the greatest critics. Just because a person doesn't believe a thing, doesn't make it true. If your opinion can't heal your sickness, if your opinion can't produce wealth, it is simply another lesson that people's opinions can not change truth, it only brings attention to it. People, we die – and no matter how we feel about it, it won't change, and the Bible is a proven PROVEN supernaturally existent communication left to the earth to take heed to the end of our lives, our humanity and the world that will not be here forever. #ReadItBeforeyoudenyit

    September 28, 2013 at 9:26 pm | Reply
    • LKR

      It is truth, not religion and because that is not the choice that people want - in their heart they deem it untrue.

      September 28, 2013 at 9:27 pm | Reply
    • CoryT

      Oh, please, it's a collection of fables. Anyone can pull from it what they want. I look on it as one of the first works of popular fiction.

      September 28, 2013 at 9:33 pm | Reply
      • Atheists@AreEvils

        How do you know it's only fable? You knew the writer and you sat many nights with him drinking wine?

        September 28, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
    • Pseudotriton

      Would you care to list some of those "accurate predictions" by the bible? And while at it, would you mind explaining why there hasn't been any miracles since after the first century AD?

      September 28, 2013 at 10:10 pm | Reply
      • Disillusioned

        There has been miracles. Go look up the story of our lady of Fatima. A very public spectacle, and prophesies given to some kids told to the pope that supposedly came true. But you either believe or you don't. No doubt atheists would see a miracle and say that was a great natural wonder that occured.

        September 29, 2013 at 8:43 am |
      • Disillusioned

        70,000 people saw the sun do really bizarre things at Fatima. In the early 20 th century. Guadalupe. A poor Indian worker met a lady while out walking. She told him pick flowers to take to the church. He did, and when he emptied them themout of his apron, in front of the priest, there was the image of the Virgin Mary emblazoned on it. You can go look at it. They say there are no brush marks on it. The guy was poor and not a painter. But again. People believe what they want to see. There are thousands and thousands of shrines and grottoes filled with braces and crutches, those personal miracles. Visions of Jesus or Mary. Or saints. There's miracles. Wether or not you choose to consider the evidence is another matter.

        September 29, 2013 at 9:45 am |
  20. todd cook

    For all of Dawkin's anti-religious bluster, I will put money on this: if he finds himself walking down a dark inner-city American street after midnight and sees four tall young men in hoodies following him, he will feel FAR more relieved if he finds out those four young men came straight from a Bible study.

    September 28, 2013 at 9:33 pm | Reply
    • CoryT

      Which makes no sense, because I have a bunch of criminals around me who are devout Christians, and attend bible school, have religious tats, etc.

      September 28, 2013 at 9:34 pm | Reply
      • nepawoods

        When you say criminals, do you mean people who are currently involved in criminal activity, or people who were once in their past?

        September 28, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
      • todd cook

        "I have a bunch of criminals around me who are devout Christians..."

        Yeah right, you're just TERRIFIED to walk the streets if you're surrounded by devout Christians around. As the rancher on the bull ranch one said, "Be careful not to step in the HOYA!".

        September 28, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
      • Atheists@AreEvils

        The biggest criminals these days are the ones you atheists are supporting and i mean those who are spreading A I D S with their deviant behavior.

        September 28, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
    • ooo

      That would not be true in the south 100 years ago and if RD was black.

      September 28, 2013 at 9:37 pm | Reply
      • todd cook

        "That would not be true in the south 100 years ago....."

        Ok 000, let's talk factual American history. Would the black man in the South feel safer if the white men following him were Abolitionists (Christians who LIVED what the Bible taught) or were self-proclaimed "Christians" who ignored what the Bible taught? Funny how you folks kinda FORGET the Christian abolitionists. They kinda get in the way of your anti-Christian bigotry don't they?

        September 28, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
      • ooo

        There are passages in the bible that fully condone the bible. Many in the south held these up as confirmation that slavery was rightous.

        Goes to show how contradictory the bible is. Not a very good book to live by,

        September 28, 2013 at 11:11 pm |
      • ooo

        Fully condone slavery, that is...

        September 28, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
    • Colin

      Actually Christopher Hitchens writes the exact opposite in god is not great. He talks about how much more scared he would be to find out they just came from a church meeting. Granted Hitchens is now Dawkins, but for all intents and purposes they share enough of the same way of thinking that I think it's fir to say you are presumptious and dumb.

      September 28, 2013 at 9:40 pm | Reply
    • Thus Spoke a Modest Proposer

      I wish we could post video clips...there is a great one where Dawkin's admits to the possibility of intelligent design...he is an arrogant, petulant man. Probably doesn't get much leg.

      September 28, 2013 at 9:41 pm | Reply
      • Pseudotriton

        Possibility does not mean probability. Technically there is possibility for everything conceivable, but a 0.000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001% chance is not saying much.

        September 28, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
      • ooo

        Everyone that is honest must admit to that possibility, no matter how far fetched. You could never 100% prove that a god doesn't exist.

        But the same is true for the flying sphegetti monster....

        September 28, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
      • Atheists@AreEvils

        @Thus Spoke a Modest Proposer

        I totally agree with you.

        September 28, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
      • Colin

        Much leg. You mean getting laid? He is married to a woman. I'm sure he gets plenty.

        September 28, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
    • Pseudotriton

      out of a bible study as opposed to what? Would you feel equally safe if they just came out of a mosque? And since atheist have no organization there's really no counter example. Chances are, most muggers and thugs out there believe in religious mumbo-jumbo, as there is a demonstrated positive correlation between levels of poverty and religiosity.

      September 28, 2013 at 9:45 pm | Reply
      • CD

        They are coming from a D&D game.

        September 28, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
  21. Eric Poe

    Christians make up roughly 75% of the U.S. population, Atheists 2.4%. Meanwhile, Christians make up (again, roughly) 75% of the prison population while atheists... 0.07%.

    That is to say, Christians are 34 times more likely to end up in jail than Atheists. That's just some rough maths, the actual numbers are closer to 40 times higher. Yes, some prisoners really are innocent and yes, being a criminal does not automatically make you immoral, but still the numbers are so skewed against Christians that the finer points of that question are irrelevant.

    When you think about how it's mostly Christians who get to write those laws in the first place, it's fair to say that by their own set of standards, Christians are nothing less than barbarians.

    September 28, 2013 at 9:38 pm | Reply
    • olga K

      wow you sounds like believe your own BS lol

      September 28, 2013 at 9:44 pm | Reply
    • Steve Hanson

      LOL! Barbarians. That's a good one. I can just image my Mother wielding a sword and disemboweling the unbelievers.

      September 28, 2013 at 9:45 pm | Reply
    • Thus Spoke a Modest Proposer

      If I say I am a Space Monkey from Planet Zolton...
      Does that make me a Space Monkey from Planet Zolton???

      If I say I am a Christian...
      Does that mean that I AM a Christian???

      September 28, 2013 at 9:46 pm | Reply
      • Pseudotriton

        Are you saying that some of the prisoners claim to be Christians just to spite the religion? Boy, you're really getting desperate in this debate, aren't you?

        September 28, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
  22. Pseudotriton

    People who need the fear of a skydaddy to scare them into doing good are just weak minded. They lack empathy and respect for their fellow human beings.

    September 28, 2013 at 9:40 pm | Reply
    • olga K

      Does occur to anybody that you can have morals and also believe in God. It that so hard to understand?

      September 28, 2013 at 9:46 pm | Reply
  23. DieAtheists

    Atheists=Phaggs...

    September 28, 2013 at 9:46 pm | Reply
    • Steve Hanson

      Troll.

      September 28, 2013 at 9:49 pm | Reply
      • Atheists@AreEvils

        Another psychotic person who see trolls everywhere.

        September 28, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
    • artisgreat

      DieAtheists is a Troll ,he adds nothing to the conversation PLEASE DO NOT FEED HIM

      September 28, 2013 at 10:41 pm | Reply
      • AtheistsAreEvils

        You need to take your medications.

        September 28, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
  24. Chuck D.

    “It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. . .
    There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone circling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.”
    ― Charles Darwin

    September 28, 2013 at 9:47 pm | Reply
  25. olga K

    Can a personal have good morals while not being a believer? Sure. Can a person have good morals and be a believer? YES. So what are we arguing about here? How about you people stop judging others and their beliefs.

    September 28, 2013 at 9:49 pm | Reply
    • Chuck D.

      Militant Atheists have a desperate NEED to be right...
      They have a desperate NEED to convert others to their world view...

      sound familiar???

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

        Yeah, sounds like more blathering from a religionist

        September 28, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
      • DefyTheGods

        Really? I'm an atheist married to a christian woman, and I have no desire to change her world view. As for the need to be right? I accept any truth regardless of my feelings. In fact, I believe it's good to be wrong at times.

        September 28, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
      • Thus Spoke a Modest Proposer

        @Colin...sounds like blathering from an immature windbag...

        September 28, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
      • Colin

        Yeah, he is an immature windbag. I should have thought of that. Thanks.

        September 28, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
      • artisgreat

        Chuck D. There are no militant Atheists They are not the ones banging on my door with there Bibles ,they are not the ones telling people not to wear condoms in Africa while Millions of people die from aids ,they are not the ones who are closing all the Abortion clinics because of their beliefs ,Teach creation in school because its in there bible, Don't allow stem cell research, the list goes on and on because religion can not keep their beliefs to themselves.They MUST make everyone believe like they do

        September 28, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
    • ooo

      We are arguing where these good morals come from. And reading this article, a good case (un-countered) is that is doesn't come from religion.

      September 28, 2013 at 9:52 pm | Reply
      • Chuck D.

        LOL...define "good morals"...

        September 28, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
      • Atheists@AreEvils

        Dawkins has been studying animals and comparing us to animals for too long. Only an atheist would put his nose sniffing someone else back rear end like animals do. That's the kind of morals atheists are having. Bravo Dawkins, you brainwashed these people into thinking that they are animals.

        September 28, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
    • Pseudotriton

      The notion that religion is the basis of morals is a straight denial that one can be moral and non-believer. That's what we are arguing here. That religion does not have monopoly on morals, nor is it even necessary. Morals come from secular sources.

      September 28, 2013 at 10:16 pm | Reply
  26. Richard

    They do court you. Why do you think America would be STUPID enough to elect Obama twice?

    September 28, 2013 at 9:56 pm | Reply
    • Colin

      Obama is a Christian. Electing Christians is not the same as courting atheists.

      September 28, 2013 at 10:15 pm | Reply
  27. Steve Hanson

    The break will then be rendered wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope, than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as present between the Ne*ro or Australian and the gorilla.

    Charles Darwin

    September 28, 2013 at 9:56 pm | Reply
  28. Michael

    Forget building up a straw man! It seems that Dawkins has built up the entire cast from the Wizard of Oz to tear it down!

    September 28, 2013 at 9:57 pm | Reply
    • Colin

      No it doesn't.

      September 28, 2013 at 10:13 pm | Reply
  29. Lovegodforever

    I will love to debate Dr. Dawkins and I think there is a very good possibility I could challenge his disbelief. The real issue is not the established religions or what attributes have been assigned to God over the ages, but whether or not there is a "higher power" the source of life. I am prepared to pay for his flight and accommodation for the purpose of the debate.

    September 28, 2013 at 10:01 pm | Reply
    • Colin

      Lol, I you think that is a fresh idea? You are sorely mistaken. The idea has already been debunked thousands of times.

      September 28, 2013 at 10:12 pm | Reply
    • artisgreat

      Dreamer

      September 28, 2013 at 10:55 pm | Reply
  30. Cnn Hidden Agenda

    Why is it that CNN gives this guy so much coverage? Funny how the most religious country in the Western world is also the most successful. Seems to me this non-believer is most vocal during downtrodden times, almost like a foreclosure sale. Seller beware.

    September 28, 2013 at 10:15 pm | Reply
    • Pseudotriton

      The most successful country also used to be the largest slave owner country. Does that mean slavery contributes to success? What kind of straw man argument is that?

      September 28, 2013 at 10:18 pm | Reply
    • Colin

      You do know CNN has entire section called the belief blog, right? This is one article. You are delusional.

      September 28, 2013 at 10:19 pm | Reply
    • donna

      Their last article involving him was extremely negative.

      September 28, 2013 at 10:34 pm | Reply
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