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?

Post by:
Topics: Religion • Science

soundoff (2,950 Responses)
  1. TruthandConsequence

    Richard Dawkins is a crotchety know nothing when it comes to Church. Anyone who would reduce religion to "stoning people to death, stoning people for breaking the Sabbath" has not been to church in at least two millennia. Christianity teaches nothing of stoning...it teaches things like love, faith, charity, giving, patience, long suffering and respect...and it does so far more effectively than anything Dawkins has to say or his antireligious cohort.

    September 29, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Reply
    • ToTruth

      I think you just made one of his points. Thank you.

      September 29, 2013 at 4:41 pm | Reply
  2. artisgreat

    tim Christians do pick and choose from even the new Testament Slavery? Divorce? Women should not wear Makeup, ,Jewelry,Women should not speak in church Mr Dawkins was correct as far as the Old Testament Matthew 5:17-18 says the laws of the old Testament should be followed and some groups do and others don't

    September 29, 2013 at 4:40 pm | Reply
  3. Paul

    So is Richard Dawkins saying that Under 18s should also not be allowed in schools because they are not aware of themselves to be placed in schools. A child should not be forced to go to school just because the parents attended school.
    Sometimes this madness by the left and who ever is down with them should stop.
    These days when an educated person starts going mad he/she is giving the space to put things out like what the person is saying is sensible.

    September 29, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Reply
    • Tenada

      Did you READ his response to that question ?

      September 29, 2013 at 5:27 pm | Reply
    • nepawoods

      He didn't say under 18s shouldn't be allowed anything, so I'm not clear why you have the word 'also' in your first sentence.

      September 29, 2013 at 5:39 pm | Reply
    • Jermaine

      Sometimes this madness by the right and who ever is down with them should stop.
      And you sound stupid, too!

      September 29, 2013 at 6:24 pm | Reply
    • sprocket1

      To paraphrase another quote" You can't reason with someone out of something they didn't reason their way into"

      September 29, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Reply
    • Tim

      I disagree with Dawkin. I dont think a moral compass is dictated depending on the century you were born in for many people. I am sure many at the time thought it was wrong to kill people... by throwing rocks at them or any way. Of course they are always the sheeple that will follow the latest fad, PC krap, stoning etc etc...but I think a large portion of society has had the same consistent "moral" guides since man has existed....barring any religion.

      September 29, 2013 at 8:06 pm | Reply
    • Mark

      Just because you reproduce doesn't mean "your" children should be "yours." They belong to the State!

      September 29, 2013 at 8:30 pm | Reply
    • NorthVanCan

      I asked the question if children should be restricted entrance to a church, like a liquor store or military.
      Not from school that teaches facts and history , but from being brainwashed by religion.
      Their brains need a chance to develop before the Taliban or Christians get a hold of them.
      That's not hard to understand , is it?

      September 29, 2013 at 9:42 pm | Reply
  4. Anti-theist

    You only live once so you might as well live it up while you can. I used to believe in love (the non-scientific type) and charity and all of that religious nonsense until I was enlightened. Now I get to live for myself and not feel bad for it.

    September 29, 2013 at 4:55 pm | Reply
    • kdkecmdjej

      There are plenty of Christians who live for themselves and don't feel bad about it. They pick and choose which bible passages they want to believe and shake off the ones that impose burdens on them.

      I know a lot of fundamentalist, gay and woman bashing christians who do no community service whatsoever. They also brag about lying, cheating and stealing. They just use the bible as a weapon against women and lgbt people. The bible is all about gaining power to them.

      September 29, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Reply
      • mrs. Garrison

        Why hasn't anyone brought up Islam as a faction of hate and disturbance the way you blame christians? Are you afraid one of their numerous splinter factions might blow you up for speaking out against them? Might cause a religious riot? Oh whoa whoa slow down I'm hearing you say. Roping all Muslims into militant Islamic extremists isnt fair right? Only some of them kill people for their lack of faith in Islam. When was the last time a christian splinter group mowed people down in a mall for not being christian? Just today, this morning at 1 am an entire college dorm in Nigeria was executed by a splinter group of Islamic terrorists. A group that prays to Allah. But somehow Christ is still the ultimate hater in the world? You fools. Re-direct your hate to radical Islam. If given the chance they would put a gun to your head and blow you away for not being muslim. You all seem to want to make a difference in the world by getting people to give up their faith, why don't you start with Islam? Seems like a good place to start since there are more muslims than christians in the world and they are doing a whole lot of killing of the innocent in the name of their God. Oh thats right, they'd kill you all in front of your children and then put it on youtube if you did that. Christians are an easy target for your hate speech because they don't do that. They might however tell you that being an atheist is a sin. Ouch! That really must hurt your feelings a lot! Well Lawdy Fricken Da! Guess thats better than being murdered. You hold a terrible double standard here in your war against religion. Not one of you has the guts to stand up and rip into Islam the way you bash Christianity. You're all a bunch of phony hypocrites who want to wage war against Christians only. Atheism isnt about being free of religion, at least not in this forum. Its about hating and bashing Christians exclusively.

        September 29, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
      • Elliott Carlin

        You mean people who claim to be Christian. Big difference. You can safely assume, if your stories are true, that those people truly aren't Christians.

        September 29, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
      • MrClean

        @ms.Garrison

        Hahahaha, very well said. Those atheists idiots think they will kill every religion soon. Good luck atheists with islam. hahaha Poor Dawkins, he will never see his dreams being realized.

        September 29, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
      • Greg

        Very well said, Mrs. Garrison. Thank you!

        September 29, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
    • Ray Gunn

      If you would act any less charitable if you thought there were no god, then maybe you're not really a moral person. Perhaps you only act charitable to avoid God's punishment.

      September 29, 2013 at 5:29 pm | Reply
    • Elliott Carlin

      You sound like a very giving person. Lol

      September 29, 2013 at 5:45 pm | Reply
    • Mark

      Ok I will live it up. The way I will do that is by murdering you. Fair enough? I certainly won't feel bad about it either.

      September 29, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Reply
      • nepawoods

        If you're so inclined, what's been holding you back all these years?

        September 29, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
    • Mark

      Me too!! Just like the atheist philosopher Satre says, "My neighbor is Hell!" Once you recognize this like you have, you are on the path to true freedom; whatever that is!

      September 29, 2013 at 8:29 pm | Reply
  5. Victor Yao

    Dawkins is right about religion is no moral compass. What a simple and true statement when you look at the muslims and their clerics, the christians in the U.S., especially the republican politicians, They are worst than Satan, if there is one, because they are demagogues who are actually out there to destroy the world. Ted Cruz even sports the devil reincarnated face and he has all the ambition to be the next U.S. president. What a moral compass the christians have elected..

    September 29, 2013 at 5:06 pm | Reply
    • Elliott Carlin

      Mao, you seem very levelheaded today-did you forget to take the meds again? Insults-that will win the argument every time.
      By the way, I'm a Christian and I don't care for Cruz's pandering ways to the religious right–and i'm very conservative too.
      . Rand Paul 2016.

      September 29, 2013 at 6:32 pm | Reply
    • MrClean

      You're an atheists and you comparing us to Satan, since when atheist believe is Satan?

      September 29, 2013 at 8:26 pm | Reply
  6. Peter Wexler

    I agree with Doctor Dawkins. Our ethics are built in, and are independent from religion. However, religion is dependent on our ethics.

    September 29, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Reply
    • Elliott Carlin

      In his book, Clinton Dawkins says we are "at the whim of our dna". That is interesting in the sense that each of us have different levels of morals and ethics. I suppose it is what allows Dawkins to continue to prattle on about the non-harmfulness of mild pedophilia and Krauss' insistence that incest could be ok. Or perhaps we cannot now criticize former slave-owners....you see, it goes on and on. John Lennox said it best "You cannot get 'ought' from an 'it' " meaning DNA.

      September 29, 2013 at 5:47 pm | Reply
      • MrClean

        @Elliot Carlin

        I agree with you.

        September 29, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
  7. Josh Perez

    "...but the reason we don’t do it (stonings) is that we pick out those verses of the bible that we like, and reject those verses we don’t like." Ummm... NO. The reason it's not done any more is the Bible indicates we live under a new covenant. So much for impartiality and and research, Mr. Dawkins. I thought you were better than that.

    September 29, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Reply
    • nepawoods

      The Jews no longer stone people, so his point stands.

      September 29, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Reply
      • Elliott Carlin

        I agree, Josh Perez's point stands.

        September 29, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • MrClean

      Dawkins says there's no such thing as a sin, i'm glad to hear that, maybe we should start stoning if it's not a sin.

      September 29, 2013 at 8:39 pm | Reply
      • donna

        MrClean, if the only think keeping you from hurting people is your belief that your god would punish you, don't ever give up your religion, please. What a scary person filled with hate you must be to sit there and want to hurt people but are only stopped by your fear of god. I hope you never lose faith or you might kill someone. Good luck and please keep your temper and violent urges in check.

        September 29, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
    • OceanusMagnus

      It's still disturbing that stoning people would have been OK in the past, in the "old" covenant, simply because a book says so. Not reassuring.

      September 29, 2013 at 9:02 pm | Reply
    • Thomas Johnson

      So the only reason you don't stone people is because of the covenant, got it.

      September 29, 2013 at 9:10 pm | Reply
  8. Elliott Carlin

    Clinton Dawkins says, "And reason is on our side".

    Reasoning that says *KABOOM* and everything in our Universe now works as precise as a swiss clock.

    Right.

    September 29, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Reply
    • nepawoods

      *KABOOM* and everything in our Universe now works as precise as a swiss clock ... All governed by a small set of physical laws.

      Or an invisible being that existed forever, and after an infinite amount of time passing, decided to create a universe.

      You're saying one is incredible, the other not?

      September 29, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Reply
      • Elliott Carlin

        Uh no. Clinton Dawkins said reason is on his side–yet you just admitted both scenarios are no different when it comes to believability-yet you still insist reason is on his side.

        That was the point.

        September 29, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
      • nepawoods

        But which of the two do we have evidence for?

        September 29, 2013 at 6:51 pm |
      • Elliott Carlin

        I'd say both take faith. You can say you have reason, and I'll say I have the logic 🙂

        September 29, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
      • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

        How about nepa has the backing of thousands of scientists who have devoted their lives to studying the origins of the planet, the solar system, the galaxy, and the universe, and have developed a plausible theory supported by large amounts of evidence, whereas you have . . . ? What? A book that claims that bats are birds, that insects go about on 4 legs, and that hares chew their cud (Leviticus, BTW).

        September 29, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
      • MrClean

        Magic underwear said: How about nepa has the backing of thousands of scientists who have devoted their lives to studying the origins of the planet, the solar system, the galaxy, and the universe, and have developed a plausible theory supported by large amounts of evidence.

        Poor scientists, they lost their entire life for nothing.

        September 29, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      a) who is Clinton Dawkins?

      b) reason does not say Kaboom and everything works with the precision of a Swiss watch. Only people who have not taken the time to understand the theory of evolution and physics say that kind of thing.

      September 29, 2013 at 9:32 pm | Reply
      • Elliott Carlin

        Clinton Dawkins is the guy who says religion has nothing to say about morals and ethics, yet defends mild pedophilia as not being harmful to children.

        September 29, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
      • GodFreeNow

        You mean, "Richard"?

        September 29, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
  9. GodFreeNow

    @ Robert,

    I didn't walk away from god. I realized that he didn't exist and he disappeared to the other corners of my brain reserved for Thor, Superman, and Santa Clause. I'm actually grateful to the church for educating me well enough on the bible that I could one day grow to outthink it.

    September 29, 2013 at 5:58 pm | Reply
    • Elliott Carlin

      "I am better than you because, well, because i'm more evolved than you."

      sounds like an atheistic stuart smalley

      September 29, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Reply
      • MrClean

        Hahahahaha Good one Elliot.

        September 29, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
      • GodFreeNow

        Luckily "you" are not the standard by which I judge myself. I am certainly more evolved than I was when I believed in fairy tales. That's good enough for me. I don't need another person to make me right. I can find the truth for myself.

        September 29, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
  10. Ben Holmes

    Except that religion provided the basis for our system of government; except that religion provided us with solid notions of right and wrong. Except that genuine atheistic societies, like the Soviet Union and the Khmer Rouge, were some of the absolute most viollent regimes in history, killing tens of millions of their own people.

    September 29, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Reply
    • Elliott Carlin

      Ben, please don't let the facts get in the way. I've had self identifying atheists on here contort themselves to the point they won't admit God is mentioned in the Declaration of Independence. Their bigotry and hatred for all things sacred drives them to this maddening type of thinking.

      September 29, 2013 at 6:28 pm | Reply
    • Mark

      In the Declaration of Independence when it says we are endowed by "Our Creator" they were referring to evolution. Evolution is "Our God."

      September 29, 2013 at 7:04 pm | Reply
      • Elliott Carlin

        Yep, evolution is what they had in mind. lol

        September 29, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
      • donna

        No, they were not referring to evolution in 1776.

        September 29, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
      • Elliott Carlin

        Mark, me-thinks prima donna doesn't understand sarcasm.

        September 29, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
  11. Mark

    I'm an atheist and I'm simply indifferent to everything. You believe what you want. I believe what I want. I don't care about anyone or anything because it's survival of the fittest. Let the weak take care of themselves and let the strong carry on!

    September 29, 2013 at 6:35 pm | Reply
    • Elliott Carlin

      Appreciate your honesty and candor. That being said, when discussing the weak and strong, isn't this a pretext for racism and genocide?

      September 29, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Reply
      • Mark

        I believe in science. Science says the sun is going to swallow the earth in a billion years or something. So the point is, it's all going to end for humanity regardless. Just enjoy yourself. I don't help anyone and don't expect help from anyone. In the end nothing and I mean nothing matters. I am a man of reason, and I am without hope!

        September 29, 2013 at 6:50 pm |
    • donna

      You're pretty ignorant about what "survival of the fittest" means if think it's adverse to helping people. Natural selection heavily favors cooperation, group support, and helpfulness in humans.

      September 29, 2013 at 7:18 pm | Reply
      • Mark

        You may be right. But does it really matter???? Nope. I'm a student of the atheist Satre. He says my neighbor is Hell!!

        September 29, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
      • donna

        It matters if you are claiming to live your life in some effort to be in sync with "survival of the fittest" which was your claim. If that's your goal, you would focused on reproduction....

        September 29, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
      • Elliott Carlin

        That works well in the animal kingdom. I see a lot of cooperation between lions and gazelles for instance.

        September 29, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      Mark, you sound like both a troll and a Republican – perhaps both.

      September 29, 2013 at 7:37 pm | Reply
      • Mark

        Whatever! Have you ever read any philosophy? Obviously not. Try Satre. He was revolutionary!

        September 29, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
  12. DocBlogger

    The first Christians chose Christianity, a few generations later most were born Christians. This means that the detritus of human society, the least Christian in spirit, will trumpet their Christian origins and destroy the very pillars of Christianity. Your GOP Leaders. Note how it is about them, while saying it is about you.

    September 29, 2013 at 6:50 pm | Reply
  13. Eric

    Morality is built in to our very own souls the day we are conceived. Not through our family members although they can have an influence on us.

    September 29, 2013 at 7:01 pm | Reply
  14. Mark

    I'm a materialist. I only believe in material things and that's it. I don't believe in truth, beauty, ideas, conscience, souls, evil, goodness anymore than I believe in God. I can't touch any of these things, therefore they really don't exist.

    September 29, 2013 at 7:10 pm | Reply
    • deep blue

      "truth, beauty, ideas, conscience, souls, evil, [and] goodness" are all abstractions. Do they exist?
      Defining existence is a tricky proposition. I would say, perhaps they do not. That makes them more valuable. Nothing material is worth your life, but an idea, an ideal, or a person, are perhaps all abstractions, but they are worth more.

      September 29, 2013 at 7:49 pm | Reply
      • Hillary

        Not really. Ideas, ideals, etc. are first and foremost words in a language of grammar and syntactical rules, a human construction, a social contract. A promise is not an abstraction, it is a compact. The Bible is first and foremost the same, a human invention. Is this a good time to bring up the translation problems with whatever originary language to Greek and Latin, to English and French, etc, and how much gets changed and lost?

        It 's not that I am an atheist, that's too dogmatic. It's just that I'm religion free, christian free.

        September 29, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
      • Mark

        What about love? Hey, that's a song!

        September 29, 2013 at 8:19 pm |
    • susan

      Well, lets' see now. You don't believe in the things afore mentioned. You must be in great physical health! What if you were stricken with a very bad cancer and in incredible pain? What if a crazy person killed and tortured a member of your family? Would you still not believe in anything but yourself? Would you still not call upon a Deity to help you because you were helpless in these situations? Would you not give up your life if you saw a child about to be run over?
      You sound like a highly evolved Baboon, not a human being.

      September 29, 2013 at 8:48 pm | Reply
      • Mark

        Good point. I guess then I would believe in justice for the killer. I just can't touch justice. That's all.

        September 29, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
  15. steve adams

    I am a believer you choose not to be a believer . ok if I am wrong I will become worm food if you are wrong oh my. a good Christian will accept every word in the bible it is all the truth the only truth.

    September 29, 2013 at 7:21 pm | Reply
    • GODISDEADandSOAREYOU

      You are a mentally retarded idiot and so are your children. You are the enemy of reason and do not deserve to live in a civilized country. I hope you get a terminal illness and die.

      September 29, 2013 at 7:29 pm | Reply
      • Mark

        Look, I get your point, I'm an atheist too, but why the anger?? I'm simply indifferent and so should you be. This is true freedom!

        September 29, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
      • MrClean

        An atheist disagreeing with another atheist. Hey Dawkins, there is something wrong with your philosophy.

        September 29, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
    • deep blue

      Fear is a very poor reason to believe in a god. I think people of all faiths (and those lacking in faith) can agree on that.

      September 29, 2013 at 7:43 pm | Reply
    • Hillary

      Depends on whose Bible, right? There are a zillion different versions and humans are rewriting it all the time. Once it was written that christ rose from the dead on the 3rd or 6th hour. How can the bible be literally true, and get the most important moment wrong? Now, the right wingers have smoothed it out and all four books say just the early morning. How can 'Truth' keep changing? Because the whole thing is just human writing with no proof of divine contact.

      September 29, 2013 at 8:11 pm | Reply
  16. Lynn Miles

    Richard Dawkins has every right to his beliefs, it doesn't mean that they are right. Yes, he is a very intelligent man but there are many men and women that are even more intelligent then him, that have studied religion and the Big Bang Theory and many believe in God and some even believe in both. Yes, you can believe in both. Dr. Dawkins makes some thoughtful points. I myself was brought up in church and in late junior high I started to question my faith. I questioned it for a long time. For the past few years I have been questioning again and I have come to realize that I do believe in God and I want him in my life. I am 58 years old and have not come to this decision lightly. To GodFreeNow, I think that if you believe that God does not exist is completely your own business but to say that you tucked him in a corner of your brain with Santa Claus and Superman is very disrespectful to the billions of people in the world that do believe. I would never say something like that to you, maybe you could find a different way to explain it. As for atheism, people don't have a right to try and change yor mind but I think that Dr. Dawkins would be surprised that there are probably less atheists then he thinks. My brother and sister are atheists but I have talked to others who have said that they are. When I asked them what they would do if they had a loved one such as a child of grandchild that was severely ill or injured on the verge of dying as a last effort would you pray to God to help them, to save them and quite a few that I have asked said yes they would pray. If you would pray , you are not an atheist. Somewhere in them they believe enough to ask God for help. We all have our opinions, we will never agree. Religion, something not to argue about. We are right with what we feel in our own hearts and minds. Intelligence has nothing to do with it, it is a matter of belief and choice.

    September 29, 2013 at 7:24 pm | Reply
    • donna

      " When I asked them what they would do if they had a loved one such as a child of grandchild that was severely ill or injured on the verge of dying as a last effort would you pray to God to help them, to save them and quite a few that I have asked said yes they would pray."

      You are confusing hope with belief. You are simply wrong that you believe in god if you pray. That's not how it works.

      And you're arrogant to assume he is somehow naive about how many atheists there are. He's been researching these issues for decades, I guarantee that he has more evidence about patterns of belief world wide than you have.

      September 29, 2013 at 7:29 pm | Reply
      • MrClean

        @Donna
        And how exactly is he suppose to know that? He's a public figure, did he contacted every single atheists in america or worldwide to know the exact number of atheists who believe in God and the number of atheists who don't?

        September 29, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
      • donna

        MrClean, do you know what the word "research" means? Are you really asking how information is gathered in polls and studies, etc? Pick a study on beliefs and read the methodology section, that gives you the "how."

        September 29, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
      • Disillusioned

        No, she's not Wong. If You ask for gods help, then don't say you don't believe in god. You believe in asking someone for help, then you believe in soe aspect of a higherr power. Who are you to definitely claim otherwise? As if you have personal relevation directly?What a total crock you're spewing nothing new I guess.

        September 29, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
  17. GODISDEADandSOAREYOU

    If the government shuts down, it is time to take out major aggression on the Christian republican community. People that believe in fairy tales have no place in todays world.

    September 29, 2013 at 7:25 pm | Reply
    • theoldfool1950

      I say Amen to that.

      September 29, 2013 at 8:37 pm | Reply
    • MrClean

      How about you try to eliminate muslims first?

      September 29, 2013 at 9:03 pm | Reply
  18. theoldfool1950

    Too many of us are afraid to think for ourselves. We let the church make our choices for us. And they do such a super job that you think that anyone who does not believe as you do is defective. Some of us still have a bit of the wild animal in us that made us strong enough to live to this stage of our evolution. We have not yet learned to tame the beast in a number of us. Religion sees no grey area, only black and white. And it aint a black and white world. It's all about the grey. If we haven't come to grips with the fact that religion is a business and a means of control then we have learned nothing. It ain't rocket science. It's actually been the biggest impediment to science all through history. If the church says the earth is flat, the earth is flat. But we can now see with our own eyes that it is not. When the church said that the earth is the center of the universe and all things revolve around it people believed it. Almost all the people believed it. We have found that we are far from the center of the universe. We are not even the center of our own solar system. We know better. We have evolved. But some of us more so than others. Simply put, those who do not believe in evolution simply have not evolved that far. They are part of the equation that proves evolution every day and our part in it. Dawkins is right. And you just can't beat right.

    September 29, 2013 at 7:32 pm | Reply
    • deep blue

      "They are part of the equation that proves evolution every day and our part in it."
      Are you proposing that religion is genetic?

      September 29, 2013 at 7:39 pm | Reply
      • theoldfool1950

        It's the genes that help to determine each individual's capacities and capabilities. Some folks just ain't smart. Genetics also implies an intimacy to the next generation, and that intimacy has power and enables a not too bright kid to reach not too bright

        July 8, 2014 at 8:39 pm |
  19. tony

    If there really was a god , then there would be no many different denominations and no religious leaders spouting off their versions of what god wants, and raking in the cash.

    So it seems pretty clear. No god.

    September 29, 2013 at 7:43 pm | Reply
  20. Marcello

    Dawkins is maddened by God not being real to Him. He, like others in society overvalue our significance in terms of our rights before a creator. God has NO OBLIGATION to show himself to anyone and he does not owe anyone anything.

    From what I read, he is like an author who writes himself into the story of time and space. He leaves it to us to be observant.

    He said it was evident in his creation and in his words. Some creation thoughts for us:
    How can a universe have existed for eternity like some claim? It cant as all the suns would have burned out. How can the universe self generate out of nothing like some claim? If it were true we would see things appear out of nothing now.

    NO OTHER religion claims to have God showing up as a human. I believe he did it to show himself as an act of love. He does what he wants, the way he wants. He is the creator. He is not beholden to our self aggrandizing value system where we are so special he will show up the way we want him to if we ask enough.

    Its humbling that I have NOTHING without him and that he invites me to partake in life eternal beyond space and time if I only come to him humble in spirit.

    Christians who understand the incredibly humbling thing that the king of the universe did by cramming himself into a body to become the disdain and punching bag of the very people he was signaling to come don't lash out at others. This is because they have a leader who endured WAY more than they ever did.

    The God of Christianity shows himself in peculiar ways.....ways we cant figure out probably because he is not the product of our imagination.

    September 29, 2013 at 7:59 pm | Reply
    • Hillary

      You are totally lacking in proof, but plenty on fiction, or you're off your meds. Like the painter Courbet once said, show me an angel and I'll paint it.

      September 29, 2013 at 8:13 pm | Reply
      • MrClean

        Show me a good atheist and i'll paint it.

        September 29, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
    • artisgreat

      Marcello You made a statement that" Dawkins was maddened by God not being real to him " I don't think Dawkins is mad at God ,I don't think he hates God you can not be mad at something that does not exist .If you don't believe in the God Zeus but you are in a discussion with a person who is, you do not get mad at Zeus but you might get aggravated at the person you are having the discussion with

      September 29, 2013 at 9:07 pm | Reply
  21. Dan

    Organized religion is the root of all evil

    September 29, 2013 at 8:11 pm | Reply
    • MrClean

      Organized atheism is the root of all evil.

      September 29, 2013 at 9:06 pm | Reply
  22. Hillary

    'NO OTHER religion claims to have God showing up as a human.'

    Uh, HELLO. Zeus of the Greek pantheon? Human form, no? Herakles, Achilles–half human, half god. Or hasn't Fox Noise ever covered that? Haven't you ever heard that Jesus is a combo of Apollo and Dionysos, balance and order vs. wine and play. Just like the Christians took over the pagan temples so too they took over the Greco-Roman gods.

    September 29, 2013 at 8:21 pm | Reply
    • Marcello

      Good point Hillary. I should have added the words "existing today" to my statement. You are probably better versed in Greek mythology than me but as I remember it, none of these gods came down as a man. Did any have the same makeup as the human body? Seems Jesus did.

      Also did any of these have witnesses who wrote about it?

      September 29, 2013 at 9:43 pm | Reply
  23. SciGuy

    Dawkins clearly is clueless with regard to the Bible and God's unfolding drama of redemption.

    September 29, 2013 at 8:51 pm | Reply
  24. grace

    Calling yourself a christian , and walking christ like is two very different life styles. I know many people who would never became a christian(follow christ ) because of all the so called christian hypocritical filled life. I know said called christians that never read their bibles,and follow their own desires. The biggest problems with so called christians today is belief in christ but not the teaching of christ. Follow Christ he is the way , the truth and the light.

    September 29, 2013 at 8:52 pm | Reply
    • MrClean

      Is this why you hate christians that you also hate every other religions?

      September 29, 2013 at 9:08 pm | Reply
  25. thinquer

    Oh Dawkie, smile. Have a Bible study. You look so severe.

    September 29, 2013 at 9:01 pm | Reply
  26. thinquer

    Richard Dawkins. Divorced first wife, married wife #2 a few months later. Hmmm. Divorced #2, and married an actress (#3). I am not interested in your take on morals and ethics. What you've done in your own universe is not good for society.

    September 29, 2013 at 9:11 pm | Reply
    • donna

      thinquer, not everyone thinks divorces and ending relationships are immoral things. Don't be so arrogant to think everyone shares your moral code.

      September 29, 2013 at 9:16 pm | Reply
    • Disillusioned

      Good point.

      September 29, 2013 at 9:40 pm | Reply
      • Disillusioned

        Thinqer

        September 29, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
      • Elliott Carlin

        3 times establishes a pattern. He's knowledgeable alright...about weddings and divorces. He may wish to step to the side and let other discuss morals and ethics, that's all.

        September 29, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
    • Elliott Carlin

      Donna defends all-things Clinton Dawkins to the point of his comments concerning mild pedophilia not being harmful to children. Ok Donna....The Hitchens School for Boys has just opened up in your neighborhood. Clinton Dawkins is the headmaster-he's hired like minded men to teach there....and you'll be sending your son there....right. I bet you would.. then again, you probably would.

      No parent would tolerate Clinton Dawkins' comments if he were teaching at their kids' school.

      September 29, 2013 at 10:02 pm | Reply
      • donna

        Don't you find it just a little bit sad that you feel the need to lie repeatedly about what some man said about pedophilia? That you get some kind of enjoyment form fantasizing about his views?

        Doesn't that make you feel just a little icky?

        September 29, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
  27. Mark

    Can atheism really give us morals? People point out the flaws of Christian behavior and rightly so. Even one of Jesus's apostles, Judas, betrayed him. Maybe 1 out of 12 Christians will betray Christ today and will bring major scandal to Christianity. Understood. Look at atheistic governments and dictators. Under Stalin alone, 23 million people murdered by Stalin. Not much better in China. This is far worse than anything the world has ever experienced. But without God, anything and all things are now permissible.

    September 29, 2013 at 9:24 pm | Reply
    • donna

      Atheism isn't supposed to give us anything. It's not a belief system. It's not a philosophy, it's not a way of life. It is nothing more than a description of a singular belief or lack of belief about the existence of a deity.

      Do you understand that it ONLY refers to a single belief? There is nothing more than that, that is shared among atheists. Not a single thing.

      We know that we can have morals without religion. Religious morals are a reflection of cultural values. Our moral code will always be a combination of our biological adaptations and our experiences from culture (small scale and large scale) and history. We created religions to reflect our values, not vice versa.

      September 29, 2013 at 9:31 pm | Reply
    • nepawoods

      "without God, anything and all things are now permissible" ... This is just silly. First, atheists have moral values, and don't live by "all things are permissible". Second, there are many theists who believe God commands them to slaughter others ... who believe horrible things are "permissible" because God is on their side.

      September 29, 2013 at 9:40 pm | Reply
      • Elliott Carlin

        Two leading atheists (Clinton Dawkins and Krauss) advocate pedophilia and incest-while the Christian religion counts these as sin. If we or our DNA decide what morals are, you'll never be intellectually honest when it comes to criticizing anyone for slavery, racism, wife-beating et al.

        You're on the slippery slope. Truth is, inside you really agree w/the moral law of the 10 commandments, but you'd never admit it, at least out loud.

        September 29, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
      • nepawoods

        Dawkins advocating pedophilia is a lie. I've seen his quotes, and "advocating pedophilia" is beyond just deliberate distortion. It's just an outright lie. (and I dislike Dawkins ... I just dislike lies more)

        And where in the Bible does it say what the age of consent is?

        September 29, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
    • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

      Yeah, we (humans) gave ourselves morals, developed over thousands of years of existence in various communities. We (humans) hold for those things that help us get along better as a society, which usually involve avoiding pain. And since the communities culturally differed the accompanying morals have differed. Now, if your claim is that morals came from God, then I would need to know why God did not share these morals with all of the various communities.

      September 29, 2013 at 9:53 pm | Reply
      • Elliott Carlin

        You are exhibit one for one thing. He has provided them to us-you reject them, just like Stalin did. Feel better?

        September 29, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
      • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

        I actually do feel better in that I go through each day knowing that my decisions and actions affect the welfare of myself and others, and that I do that without any eternal reward. I feel more in this world than just walking through it in some sort of religious trance, ever looking forward to an afterlife which just does not exist.

        September 29, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
  28. nepawoods

    To the theists, can you explain what is the right way for someone who doesn't currently have a religion to go about choosing one should they decide to do so? There are so many to choose from – what is the way to determine which is right?

    September 29, 2013 at 9:42 pm | Reply
  29. Disillusioned

    Amd yet you definitely claim that asking for gods help is perfectly acceptable for atheists, whose Single belief is – not to beleive in god. That's not following that belief system, then, is it? Don't give me your limpid and flaccid " hope" is not belief arguement. That must be he most weak – ass argument. ever. by an atheist.

    September 29, 2013 at 9:44 pm | Reply
    • nepawoods

      I'm not getting your point. Please elaborate.

      September 29, 2013 at 9:47 pm | Reply
      • Disillusioned

        I apologize im not referring to you but to donnas weak proclamations.

        September 29, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
    • deep blue

      Is asking someone a question about what they would do when they are out of options, almost out of hope, a fair way to access one's belief system? It is an interesting question and does suggest that many atheists have doubts, but I think asking someone whether or not they believe in God is a more accurate poll. After all, many religious people have doubts about their faith from time to time as well, but I think we would still characterize them as religious.

      Personally, I don't think I would pray. If I prayed, it would not be to a Christian God.

      September 29, 2013 at 10:07 pm | Reply
  30. blakenaustin

    Mr. Dawkins, your aloof arrogance toward those who don't share you worldview is showing. Just a reminder that less than 10% of the planet embraces your worldview. Most adhere to a religious worldview - primarily Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, or animist.

    September 29, 2013 at 9:48 pm | Reply
    • nepawoods

      he probably knows that

      September 29, 2013 at 9:54 pm | Reply
    • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

      Interesting that all of the religious do not have the same view, given there is one god – can you explain that?

      September 29, 2013 at 9:56 pm | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

Leave a Reply to GodFreeNow


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.