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 (2,952 Responses)
  1. Apotropoxy

    Man has the moral compass and man invented religion and the gods. There are a good number of other species that behave in ways that contribute to their community's good but to the detriment of the individual, and these animals don't have religions.

    September 30, 2013 at 10:37 am | Reply
    • No more voodoo

      correct..

      September 30, 2013 at 10:41 am | Reply
  2. robertholt

    An important question to ask is, "Are we moral enough for God to accept us into heaven?" The answer is no. “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood.” Romans 3:23-25.

    September 30, 2013 at 10:49 am | Reply
    • No more voodoo

      yeah,, like reduce people by calling them sinners. Isn't that a brainwashing technique?

      Bet if you evolved, you'd understand that it's education and positive affirmations which enable us to be good.

      Sinners?? You people are sick, child minded insults to intelligence.

      September 30, 2013 at 11:12 am | Reply
  3. CosmicC

    I agree with Dawkins on many things, but his near complete lack of understanding of culture is baffling. He sees everything through his biologist colored classes. The US has a distinct culture that was built primarily on a pioneer/frontier ideology. If you don't like it here, you can pick up and move somewhere else. That has not changed, despite the fact that there is no more frontier and the economics of today do not permit this sort of mobility.
    This concept has shaped our culture in many ways, fostering this idea of "exceptionalism" – we're 'merican's. We must be right.

    September 30, 2013 at 10:49 am | Reply
    • Aldewacs2

      You forgot to make it clear you were being sarcastic. Fatal oversight.

      September 30, 2013 at 11:16 am | Reply
    • donna

      CosmicC,
      How do you figure he is missing the significance of culture in his decades of work on cultural practices?

      I think it's very telling that you say the US has a distinct culture- as opposed to what? All the other nations who are clones? We all have distinct cultures, that are also related.

      You sound like you have a superiority complex- that Dawkins could understand other cultures, but not ours...please.

      September 30, 2013 at 9:07 pm | Reply
  4. Bill Jean

    An atheist is someone who makes fun of a person who bases their life and quotes a really old book, while he's busy quoting from a Richard Dawkins book. We all have our gods. It's a pity atheist can't apply their intense intellect and realize that. Perhaps they'd be a little more humble.

    September 30, 2013 at 11:10 am | Reply
    • No more voodoo

      go back to your cave..

      intelligence is hereditary, primitive books have more value to you.

      Do you still go to a doctor for bloodletting?

      September 30, 2013 at 11:17 am | Reply
      • Bill Jean

        Wow, an atheist hurling insults... Crazy.

        September 30, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
      • charles moffett

        Intelligence is hereditary. Really? Since when?

        September 30, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • Disillusioned

      Interesting. A pretty valid point.

      September 30, 2013 at 11:19 am | Reply
      • AverageJoe76

        What was 'valid'? The misunderstanding of atheism in general?

        September 30, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
      • Disillusioned

        No the idea that atheists diss one by book written by humans to hold up another book written by a human.

        October 1, 2013 at 6:45 am |
      • Science

        Hey Disillusioned..................human found with a backhoe !

        Backhoe cuts into dinosaur's tail, revealing rare fossil find

        By Ben Brumfield, CNN

        updated 6:35 AM EDT, Thu October 3, 2013 |

        October 3, 2013 at 7:18 am |
      • Science

        Hey Disillusioned and editors of the belief blog !

        Francois Englert and Peter Higgs win the Nobel Prize in Physics

        The particle that creates mass for our ass.

        October 8, 2013 at 8:21 am |
    • Jim

      An Atheist is someone who doesn't believe something just because they have been told something all their lives, I have tried to believe in God, its just not gonna happen, way to many holes in that story!

      September 30, 2013 at 11:28 am | Reply
      • No more voodoo

        you need to start calling yourself a Realist,, not atheists.

        September 30, 2013 at 11:41 am |
      • Bill Jean

        That's right Jim. You can't be an Atheist. You violate No more voodoo's orthodoxy. You've got to be an atheist just like him.

        September 30, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

      I guess a difference is that I never had to read anything from Dawkins to reach the same conclusions he has. Whereas for many of the religious, there's "required reading" ... over and over and over, until you get their meaning. And all of that without any proof. Now, that is astounding.

      September 30, 2013 at 11:50 am | Reply
      • Elliott Carlin

        Its a lot easier than keeping up with the changes in evolution..first we were descendent of monkeys...well, there's been no identification of the 'in-between fossil' (even Clinton Dawkins admits that) from monkey to man...so now he says we're cousins. Nice how it all works out...at least for a few years, until we have to re-work it all over again.

        September 30, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
    • mk

      Not true. I've never read a book about atheists or written by an atheist. Yet I don't believe in god(s).

      September 30, 2013 at 11:57 am | Reply
      • Elliott Carlin

        You probably ought to...then you might be led to believe in God lol

        September 30, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
    • AverageJoe76

      "We all have our gods"..........?

      Clearly, you do not understand atheism.

      And also, this line – "It's a pity atheist can't apply their intense intellect and realize that."
      ah-haaaaaaa, I'm not that smaaaaaart (i am actually – kneel before me). I'm probably just as much a laymen as you are, BUT..... 'sky-daddies' are 'sky-daddies' and I haven't been seeing the one advertised. So I give up.

      September 30, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Reply
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      An atheist does not have to quote Dawkins, or Hitchens, or anyone else, in order to not believe in a god or gods based on a total absence of evidence. Whereas a Christian does base his or her religious views – to varying degrees based on the individual involved – on a old book. And parts of that old book condone murder, genocide, ra-pe, and child abuse. Humans have developed morals because we are an evolved mammal species who live together in groups. We have evolved such survival mechanisms as empathy and what are referred to as "mirror neurones" which trigger a mirrored emotional response when we see, for example, someone else getting injured. We wince and grimace, sharing that pain.

      Dawkins simply makes the point that religion and religious dogma is not a good source of morality, nor is it a necessary source of morality. The "Golden Rule" was around well before the time of Christ.

      September 30, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Reply
      • SayWhaaat

        You dope. Just because we choose to believe in something that created this amazing planet we live on and all that is in/on it, does not make us any less than those that don't believe in any sort of god, being or monkey that created you or the planet you live on. I can tell you that if nothing created you, then nothing you shall return to. I believe someone (GOD) of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob created me and I shall return to HIM. To each his own.

        October 1, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
      • sachagan

        Thank You

        October 24, 2013 at 1:11 am |
    • Hilikus

      An atheist is someone who doesn't believe in a god or gods. That is it...there is no other unifying factor, no matter how badly some want there to be.

      You can hate all you want...make up fictional groups for us that are plotting against you...or whatever. For most of us, if you aren't trying to legislate your belief, we just do not care.

      Posts like these, though...what are you trying to get at here?

      September 30, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Reply
      • Elliott Carlin

        "we just don't care"

        Speak for yourself. There are plenty atheists out there who want to blot out all things God in our society. They aren't the leave me alone type. With that sour/angry look of Hitchens on their face, they'll go to any lengths to denigrate what others hold as sacred...call people names, act arrogant in their ignorance. Shame they can't be more like you.

        September 30, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
      • Toni

        Well said. I agree & often use this. Hope it makes sense to U.
        An atheist has no belief. If I do not skateboard & someone is a skateboarder, one doesn't go around defining me as a
        non-skateboarder. If one is a believer that's it. If one is an atheist, that's it. Atheism is not a religion. It is a lack of belief based on a lack of evidence.

        December 27, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      Atleast with a Dawkins Book you can ask the author what he really meant. As for myself I have never read any of Dawkins books, so have no esteem in which I hold him. But good effort at stereotyping.

      September 30, 2013 at 2:32 pm | Reply
    • End Times

      LOL. Atheist have no intellect. If they did they wouldn't be atheists...

      September 30, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Reply
      • oldblindjohn

        Because...?

        September 30, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @Bill, Assuming you are being metaphoric in stating that we all have gods, I can tell you that some gods are more rational than others. For example, the god, Money is a very rational and reasonable god. I deliver energy, it returns energy in a stored tangible form that I can then use for accumulating and spending on other energy forms.

      Incidentally, the same cannot be said about prayer.

      September 30, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Reply
    • donna

      i think the single most problematic issue with this topic is the anti-atheist's constant attempts to redefine atheism.

      September 30, 2013 at 9:14 pm | Reply
      • Elliott Carlin

        Donna sez "i think the single most problematic issue with this topic is the anti-atheist's constant attempts to redefine atheism."

        thanks Donna; many could replace anti theist and atheism with anti-religionists and atheism with Christians.

        You've spent countless hours typing your opinion. We get it.

        September 30, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
    • justin

      The atheist as arrogant versus the humble believer argument is totally absurd. What is more humble, a non-believer who sees themselves as a brief blip of cosmic consequence whose existence is due to physics and random chance or the believer who asserts that they have a close, personal relationship with the creator of the universe who sculpted them in his likeness with divine intent?

      The latter doesn't reek of humility to me.

      September 30, 2013 at 11:36 pm | Reply
      • Rett

        The humility for a believer should come in when they realize they have a relationship with their creator through none of their own merit......not because of who they are but in spite of who they are.

        October 3, 2013 at 5:54 am |
    • uos_spo6

      No self respecting atheist runs around quoting atheist authors, or looking to an author to help them come to an understanding of their personal version of spirituality for that matter. The point is truth and that's it. Religion is falsehood, and we don't propagate respect for falsehood in any other subject in the world, we seek the truth and push falsity aside.

      The idea of divinity is offensive to our very existence. Religion is a thought disease and turns the carrier in to an emotional cripple, incapable of accepting mortality and building standards for themselves based upon jaded perceptions and an imaginary divine balance of the universe.

      October 1, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Reply
    • uos_spo6

      Belief is the opposite of humility. If you believe in god, you believe yourself to be something you are not, a special little child of god. There's nothing humble about divine origins. The blind Devotees love to throw the idea of an Atheist worshiping himself in our face, but I see no basis for this, it's a knee jerk reaction that the broken mind of a believer could only invent, a true atheist worships NOTHING. Removing god from the equation removes the sense of "special" from the individual. I'm not special, and neither are you.

      I just have a much easier time turning my back on the idea of religion because I don't have anything emotionally invested in subscription to it. I used to drink the kool-aid, when I was 12. Thankfully I had the resilience to stand up to the mass hysteria and be an isolated individual rather than a sheep sucked in to a flock of the deaf, blind and dumb.

      October 1, 2013 at 4:25 pm | Reply
    • zeplinair

      An atheist is merely one who does not believe in deities. It denotes nothing more than that. There are those who are vocal, combating prejudice and stereotypes and outright lies from mostly religious people who somehow find the very existence of atheist a threat. The fact is, you never hear from most atheists/agnostics, including those that make up 93% of the elite scientists of The National Academy of Sciences lacking belief in a supernatural deity (at the intellectual level with which they set out to understand the natural world, its just irrelevent, provincial and makes no innate sense-they can't believe [one cannot consciously choose to believe or disbelieve]).

      October 2, 2013 at 9:23 pm | Reply
    • gr

      .

      October 3, 2013 at 5:10 pm | Reply
    • Science

      Had to post here

      Holy Trollers: How to argue about religion online.................with FACTS !
      By John Blake, CNN

      October 5, 2013 at 10:29 am | Reply
      • Science

        Comments from John Blake article above that are facts !

        Bootyfunk

        anyone know where to get the author's email address? tried to find an email for John Blake at CNN but could not.

        October 6, 2013 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse | Reply

        Tom, Tom, the Other One

        Careful, he's banned me. I've had to go to a different IP address block. I was critical of him, but not abusive. He's not a particularly stand up guy.

        October 6, 2013 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply

        Bootyfunk

        it's obvious from the article that he doesn't like to hear opposing opinions unless they are sugar coated.

        October 6, 2013 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse | Reply

        Commenter

        Tom, Tom,

        John Blake banned you? Today? Or was it Daniel Burke a while back?

        October 6, 2013 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse | Reply

        Tom, Tom, the Other One

        After I returned from dinner this evening. I found I couldn't even post "ping". I changed my IP and I'm on for now.

        October 6, 2013 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |

        October 7, 2013 at 7:17 am |
    • donjindra

      I've never read Dawkins. I sure wouldn't quote him or any other atheist in support of my religious non-belief. So you've created a straw man.

      October 6, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Reply
    • Science

      A follow up article below.

      A Response to Richard Dawkins

      by Dennis Prager posted on October 10, 2013 01:47AM GMT
      Thanks to Katy Cordeth for the link!

      This past Friday, CNN conducted an interview with Richard Dawkins, the British biologist most widely known for his polemics against religion and on behalf of atheism.

      http://www.richarddawkins.net/news_articles/2013/10/9/a-response-to-richard-dawkins?category=Atheism#

      Surprised the article was here and not on CNN belief blog where Daniel Burke has banned a few HOLY TROLLERS !!!

      October 10, 2013 at 7:15 am | Reply
    • Science

      Hey Bill Jean

      Education will help.....good news for education below!

      Texas Textbook Publishers Say No To Creationism: Watchdog Report

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/18/texas-textbooks-creationism_n_4124692.html

      October 20, 2013 at 11:12 am | Reply
    • James

      I agree. Just because an individual is atheist hurling condescending comments towards those who consider themselves religious is just as annoying as someone religious hurling insults at someone of a different religion. It is true that science and reason give more evidence of evolution and show the unlikely hood of religious origin stories as our beginnings, but that doesn't mean forces we are unaware of isn't out there. In short, reason and science doesn't explain everything so acting like it does is just as arrogant as insisting that some magical being up in the sky is responsible for everything.

      October 28, 2013 at 9:04 pm | Reply
    • Toni

      ?????

      December 27, 2013 at 7:37 pm | Reply
  5. concerned

    Who do you want as your instructor on moral teaching, Richard Dawkins or Jesus Christ? In a purely atheistic world view there is no objective basis for morality at all. You simply can not talk about what people AUGHT to do. If people just came about out of time, plus chance then there is no intrinsic value to life at all and there is no legitimate reason to say any behaviour is intrinsically wrong or right. As Dawkin's says, we "just dance to our DNA" and do what our impulses drive us to do. It is simply non nonsensical to talk about any kind of objective morality in a purely naturalistic word view. He is not following his own "religion" when he insists on talking about morality as any kind of of objective truth. He is borrowing heavily from the moral context of our society which was heavily influenced by the moral constraints inherited from Christianity.

    September 30, 2013 at 11:11 am | Reply
    • deep blue

      First of all, there are many other options than just moral relativism and Christianity. You could believe in Utilitarianism or Kantianism. You can be a social contract theorist. You try to split the world into two choices, either accept Jesus Christ or believe in no objective moral system, but there are so many more options, and I wouldn't bother start with Dawkins.

      September 30, 2013 at 11:30 am | Reply
    • deep blue

      Now, can Kantianism, Utilitarianism, social contract theory, ext., be proven correct? Are any of them objective truths? Well, proving anything logically without premises is impossible. Perhaps we as atheists have certain premises that we hold faith in. Kant uses the premise that there is a universal objective moral system to prove his. If you want to call that faith in a premise, then I would agree with you.

      September 30, 2013 at 11:31 am | Reply
    • deep blue

      testing

      September 30, 2013 at 11:35 am | Reply
      • No more voodoo

        ^^ proof of evolution,, a post will appear soon

        September 30, 2013 at 11:40 am |
      • Science

        No god(s) created US..............evolution did.

        (Researchers say ability to throw played a key role in human evolution

        Jun 26, 2013

        http://phys.org/news/2013-06-chimps-humans-baseball-pitcher.html

        September 30, 2013 at 11:53 am |
      • End Times

        Science... Big words and not a shred of evidence to back it up. All you have is a theory, which don't mean a thing...

        September 30, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
      • Science

        You might want to read this for more facts = truth.

        Where do morals come from?

        (not from the bible/religion)

        By Kelly Murray, CNN

        April 12th, 2013

        04:00 PM ET

        http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/04/12/where-do-morals-come-from/#comments

        Anthropologists Confirm Link Between Cranial Anatomy and Two-Legged Walking

        Sep. 26, 2013 — Anthropology researchers from The University of Texas at Austin have confirmed a direct link between upright two-legged (bipedal) walking and the position of the foramen magnum, a hole in the base of the skull that transmits the spinal cord.

        --------------------------–

        Share This:

        The study, published in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Human Evolution,

        http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130926111903.htm

        September 30, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • mk

      Where did people get their morals before Christianity?

      September 30, 2013 at 11:58 am | Reply
      • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

        They are inherent in humans. We evolved morals as a survival mechanism.

        September 30, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
      • End Times

        Morality does not exist outside of God. Nuf said...

        September 30, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
      • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

        @ end times – which God? And why that god, versus the thousands of other gods? The god of the bible? The jealous, genocidal maniac? Great moral example: the people that i created are bad, so I'll kill them all. Oh, and I'll wipe out all fo the animals too, because of the bad people.

        September 30, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
    • donna

      Who told you that in an atheistic world there was no basis for morality?

      Someone has been feeding you false information concerned....

      September 30, 2013 at 9:16 pm | Reply
    • donjindra

      "In a purely atheistic world view there is no objective basis for morality at all." History has proven there's no objective basis for morality in any religion.

      "You simply can not talk about what people AUGHT to do." - That's silly. Some people aught to lose weight. It takes no religion to give humans "aught."

      "then there is no intrinsic value to life at all" - baloney. We sure don't get our values because gods impose them on us.

      "He is borrowing heavily from the moral context of our society which was heavily influenced by the moral constraints inherited from Christianity." - or, more likely, Christianity borrowed from our nature.

      October 6, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Reply
  6. No more voodoo

    jesus needed a good therapist,, to bad we didn't have any back then.

    September 30, 2013 at 11:18 am | Reply
  7. Jose

    Moral Compass. Law. They are complex topics. Religion, with its human elements, has done horrible mistakes in history. Nobody can't deny that. But also Religion has given us the urge to realize that this world's beauty points to a powerful being. Case in point: We will never RE-create what surrounds us here and all over the Universe. On the other hand, the mystery of our existence cannot be fully interpreted by Atheism. A big bang theory does not cut it It's a mystery...we will never know why are we here on earth. That's when Faith comes in. My quest in life was, is and will be THE EXPERIENCE GOD.

    I have. And, nobody can't take that away from me.

    The fruits of my faith are now more tangible than ever: A happy, thriving marriage of 41 years. Three loyal, loving children, and also 6 loving grandchildren.

    We know what it means TO LOVE and to BE LOVED. Be it among ourselves or with God.

    Once you experience (at least one time) that LOVE from our heavenly father, you stop writing theories and stop
    criticizing what you DON'T KNOW.

    "By their fruits you will know them" – Matthew 7:16

    Dawkins' article tries to substantiate "certainties"

    Have you, when coming out of bed in the morning, asked yourself this question: Am I 100% certain about what I know and do is 100 % correct?

    I have, many times.

    Can't help to realize that I don't know everything and I never will. But, I will trust the Lord that whatever purposes or intentions I will pursue, He will turn them into greater ones!

    Then again, I rejoice in my life (I'm 67) everyday and I enjoy a peace that this world can't ever give me!!!

    -- LETTER FROM A BELIEVER

    Faith has served me well. It works! It gave me high ideals to pursue. There's a lot of wisdom in the Bible too!

    Religion will not fade away completely. I believe that! It will come with another approach and practicality!

    More than Religion can offer...and that is the divine experience is between God and you...nobody else!

    September 30, 2013 at 11:43 am | Reply
    • deep blue

      why would you want to be 100% certain that you were correct?
      "I know that I am wise because I know that I know nothing" – Socrates

      September 30, 2013 at 11:47 am | Reply
      • euro1989

        To be fair the man did live more then 2000 years ago.

        September 30, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      Short version: I don't know; therefore, God.

      Why not, I don't know; therefore Zeus? Thor? Ra? Manitou? Leprechauns? Aliens?

      All equally valid, using that logic.

      September 30, 2013 at 3:14 pm | Reply
  8. Bill Jean

    Rejoice! There is no god and no afterlife! Once you die, everthing you have done will become meanlingless.What? You had kids? They'll die too.

    September 30, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Reply
    • AverageJoe76

      Shame. I know you want to live forever, but we cannot. It is sad. But it's okay, you will more than likely NOT have to remember oblivion. We kinda just blink out, I guess..... no more ice-cream, or loving, or Disney World......

      (BWAAAAAAA – now you made ME cry........... )

      September 30, 2013 at 12:14 pm | Reply
    • euro1989

      I understand the anxiety that fact causes, but like all things one gets used to it and sees it for what it is, change the essence of the cosmos and it is our own actions that can lift us from that. Immortality is within our reach and with that the chance to create paradise here and now. Think about it all the time in the universe to do what you want, where you want and with whom you want. Yet i fear it can only be achieved with science and the perseverance to make ours and the lives of others as prosperous as possible. While I cannot dispute the fact that there MIGHT have been a creator the concept of a perfect all powerful force is impossible in its essence. It is an ideal something a thing of human reasoning to be strived for jet never reached. For if there is one constant in the universe is that nothing is absolute a good could not make a cup off tea so hot he/she/it could not drink it. Because the concept of being all powerful works both ways and contradicts itself.

      September 30, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Reply
      • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

        Yeah, that's an old George Carlin joke, "Can God himself make a rock so big that he himself cannot lift it?"

        September 30, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
    • Disillusioned

      Um yeah. That's very warm and comforting. I really Do not understand how all athiests aren't utter nihilists.

      September 30, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Reply
    • Disillusioned

      Why wait until once you die for all of your actions To be meaningless? You you gave life to soulless zombies to continue carrying on I'm not sure what.....

      September 30, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Reply
      • Disillusioned

        To make life better for your fellow souless zombies?

        September 30, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
      • Disillusioned

        You could shoot yourself full of drugs and get the same feelings stimulated without actually having to put your life in a framework of higher ideals, if all you are is just a stew of chemicals.

        September 30, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
      • deep blue

        What you are describing is called the "Experience Machine". This thought experiment was developed by Robert Nozick to refute Hedonism.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Experience_machine
        Of course, many other philosophers have come up with many other rationales for what is ethical and why.

        September 30, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
      • deep blue

        Am I just a stew of chemicals? Physically, certainly I would argue that I am nothing more than a structured assimilation of chemicals. But, by that same logic, you could argue that all abstractions, mathematics, logic, good, ect. do not exist. Does that mean that mathematics is not valuable? That logic is not valuable?
        I value mathematics. I value logic. I value my ethical constructs. I value my friends. All of these are abstractions, disassociated with the matter that represents them. I do not value drug induced euphoria. Perhaps none of these things exist, but I value them all the same, and I see nothing wrong with that.

        September 30, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
      • Disillusioned

        It's very hard to grasp that if you don't beleive in such unproven concepts as God, and look to cold hard facts, why you then would base higher emotions or ideals on anything but a stew of chemicals that you can just as easily stimulate with drugs. Why not aknowledge what they are, chemicals- as opposed to acting so illogically and idealistically on them.

        October 1, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • deep blue

      "Once you die, everthing you have done will become meanlingless."
      No, I am not a utilitarian. I value ideals, abstractions, things that do not materially exist, more than I value anything material.
      Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof.

      September 30, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Reply
      • deep blue

        There is a face beneath this mask but it's not me. I'm no more that face than I am the muscles beneath it or the bones beneath them.

        September 30, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • End Times

      LOL. Big words and not a shred of evidence to back it up. What a moron...

      September 30, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Reply
  9. AverageJoe76

    I do not believe in 'Bible-god' or any other 'god' humans have submitted thus far. But I am honored to be alive, and to be apart of this process called 'life', however wide it may go.....

    Live well...

    September 30, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Reply
  10. Jose

    Deep blue. Great for that quote! You and I are in agreement! Aren't we? To accept we are not totally correct, totally certain! That is called HUMILITY!

    Arrogance, being in love with words rather than people (politically correct phrasing) is destroying our society in ways we cannot quantify!

    In every political, social, religious arena: We have a love affair with words and not with people. And, that arrogance is destroying our marriages, our families, our churches, and ourselves when it comes to relate to one another.

    We all hold a piece of the truth. And, that carries in itself a need to reason why you and I are compelled to validate our ways of thinking. I mean, try to understand fully what the other is trying to convey to us. And their human experience will enrich ours!!!! Raising children, for example, has taught me to listen carefully, to ask more questions and identify with them why, when and where their perception is different than ours!

    I don't need knowledge as an absolute. There's a Franciscan motto that is founded on this principle: Knowledge should be preceded by Love!!

    So, I really love your quote. Accepting your limitations as a human is called "HUMILITY". As a matter of fact, let us have a humility lesson each day so that we are reminded to be humble, like Jesus was!

    Every time I took the first step to ask for forgiveness (not taking into the matter who was right or wrong) , the results were unexpectedly and mutually beneficial. The humble approach helped to disarm the opponent!

    Before I speak, I will listen to you attentively – setting aside my truths!! Humility is the mother of all virtues!

    September 30, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Reply
    • deep blue

      Honestly I didn't read your post carefully enough the first time, but it appears that we do agree on some things. I will try to read more carefully in the future.

      September 30, 2013 at 3:01 pm | Reply
  11. Dmitry

    Now they attack religions. Now they are selling their religion. Man, what's up with CNN ? Every school child knows that atheism is a belief system, a religion just like any other and under atheism there is a lack of moral compass all together.

    I mean look at history !

    September 30, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Reply
    • lunchbreaker

      Funny how often a religious person will say atheism is a religion, as if that is a is a negative thing. So are you saying we are as dumb as you are?

      September 30, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Reply
    • deep blue

      Certainly, lets look at history.
      Columbus wrote: "Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold."

      September 30, 2013 at 5:28 pm | Reply
      • deep blue

        I should not have made the implication that this i representative of all Christians. My post was offensive. I apologize.

        September 30, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • deep blue

      "The Führer said: 'In defending against the Jew, I do the work of the Lord.'"-Anti-Semitic Instruction for Girls, Germany 1944

      September 30, 2013 at 5:29 pm | Reply
      • deep blue

        I should not have made the implication that this i representative of all Christians. My post was offensive. I apologize

        September 30, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
      • Elliott Carlin

        Uh, he was appealing to the Lutheran and Roman Catholic church to gain their support. Politicians say this all of the time. Remember Obama saying "I've come to Jesus...". Well, true Christians don't believe him nor do the liberals who supported him–it was a wink wink moment.

        September 30, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
    • deep blue

      I do not bring these quotes up to suggest that religion was the cause. To say that someone lacks a moral compass because of their religion (or lack there of as some would call it) is to deny them of moral responsibility for their actions. When I commit wrongs, it is not because I am an atheist. When you commit wrongs, it is not because you are Christian.

      September 30, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Reply
      • Elliott Carlin

        Correct, we commit wrongs because we are sinners.

        September 30, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
    • donna

      Dmitry,

      You need to look up the word "system" in the dictionary. It requires multiple parts. Atheism refers to one thing and on thing ONLY. It's not a system- nothing plural, it's a singular thing.

      September 30, 2013 at 8:59 pm | Reply
  12. Elliott Carlin

    Clinton Dawkins says Religion is no moral compass. Just look to him and his past/present comments on pedophilia and his buddy, Lawrence Krauss' comments on incest.
    Now that's a morality worth striving for! (sarcasm off)

    September 30, 2013 at 10:13 pm | Reply
  13. NorthVanCan

    What's weird is, atheists are more moral than religious people. The worst people I know are the most religious and the best are atheist .
    My old man always said, stay out of the military and church. And stay in school.
    I was very lucky.

    September 30, 2013 at 11:04 pm | Reply
  14. NorthVanCan

    And yet, Atheist are more moral than religious people.
    Now thats weird .

    September 30, 2013 at 11:11 pm | Reply
    • Disillusioned

      That's a pretty blanketing and unproven statement from a science – following atheist..

      October 1, 2013 at 6:48 am | Reply
  15. Why not?

    So wise....so thoughtful.....so enlightened.... What smart human beings we have here commenting back and forth like little children arguing on a playground.
    Not one of you know enough to confirm or deny that there is a creator, designer, god or a smart extra terrestrial that put all this in motion. You haven't been around long enough and you haven't seen it all. Do you understand that? Scientists- as amazing as they are, are not qualified to even attempt answering such questions. That is not there job. They can only observe in the natural world. Philosophers and the Faithful are allowed to believe whatever they want, without some nerdly, ascerbic scientist/activist making fun of them. Do you Get it? Get it?? Shut the hell up and move on to another subject.

    October 1, 2013 at 12:18 am | Reply
  16. Bobalooie

    It takes only a juvenile mentality to adapt to atheism. I did so at age 15 after being immersed in Missouri Synod Lutheranism. Narrow minded, corrupt, anti-science, full of the hatred and punishments from GOD, who promised
    his "wrath, displeasure, and eternal damnation" to any poor or unaware "sinner". In 1943 looking at the untimely deaths in combat of my father and uncles...I decided that such a "God" had no right to his biblical arrogance. The Bible is full of hatreds, blood revenge, blood sacrifice, all very much in vogue in B.C. and early A.D. history. If one simply refuses to "believe" in anything supernatural, atheism is an obvious choice, that comes with its own problems about what a civilized humanity might be all about.

    October 1, 2013 at 12:33 am | Reply
  17. Non-believer

    Religion at one time served a valuable purpose; however, in modern day society it no longer does. Far too many atrocities have been committed with the influence of religion. The Crusades, The Inquisition, Salem witch trials, Jim Jones, 9/11.

    Religion is harmful to the social progress of society.

    October 1, 2013 at 6:19 am | Reply
  18. Disillusioned

    Imo Religion did not cause 911. Religion was used and twisted by a guy to cause a us disaster because he didn't like the fact the us had bases in Saudi Arabia.

    October 1, 2013 at 6:51 am | Reply
  19. Tom

    I'm still waiting for one of the soapbox atheists to acknowledge and deal with the fact that the two bloodiest dictators of the 20th century, Stalin and Mao, slaughtered millions in the name of their atheistic programs of "progress."

    October 1, 2013 at 9:04 am | Reply
    • William K

      The "god" of the bible slaughtered 3 times as many in his name. Go read the book and start using your calculator. You'll need it to keep track of the millions dead in his name. Evil people are evil whether or not they believe in some sky daddy. Religion is a scourge this planet needs to rid itself of, plain and simple.

      October 1, 2013 at 10:00 am | Reply
      • End Times

        And that same God was wise enough and intelligent enough to realize from the beginning that people like you would be born and would exist. People who have no problem with "speaking evil of dignities" and "speaking evil of things you understand not." Therefore, in his great wisdom and foresight, the great God intentionally allowed and placed certain scriptures in the bible to serve as "traps", traps designed to ensnare devils, knowing that when certain people came along, people who have an evil heart (people like yourself), that you would read those scriptures and get a bad thought. And by doing so, your own thoughts would condemn you and send your soul to hell. Which is exactly where you belong. In the pit with the rest of the devils. In contrast, when a good person comes along, someone who has a good heart, and reads those same scriptures, guess what, they have no problem with it. Why? Because they fully know and understand that anything which the eternal God does is "right", and they don't question it. Even if they don't understand it, they still don't question it. As a consequence, when that good person dies, they'll be saved, and will make it into heaven…

        2 Peter 2:12 – But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;

        2 Thess 2:11 – And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie…and be damned…

        October 1, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
  20. Altee11

    Humans rule humans and God can't have anything to do with it, since no human possesses, nor has ever possessed, the ability to know what God wants.
    If any of us stick to religion so tightly that we begin to claim we know what God wants such individuals are all being very presumptive and also ignorant because they are actually saying that they are equal enough to God that they can understand God. Regardless of any human's perfection, it is impossible for humans to comprehend God. God is a concept a being so far beyond all of us, we are foolish to think or expect we could ever comprehend it.
    In the end because we can't possibly know what God wants, humans are all left to work it out among themselves as humans.

    October 1, 2013 at 9:22 am | Reply
    • End Times

      Any true sent preacher knows precisely what God wants. God tells them everything. For they a God's personal ambassadors on earth...

      2 Corinthians 5:20 – Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.

      October 1, 2013 at 9:43 pm | Reply
      • Altee11

        You are reading from the bible with human eyes and interpreting with your mind; you cannot know that you are reading is God's word, nor can you hope to have what it takes to understand God, unless you think you are equal to God.

        October 2, 2013 at 4:37 am |
  21. galleryhouserc

    I think one can be an atheist against organized religion but still be a spiritual person with or without a belief of something beyond our current state of reason. I consider myself very spiritual but I am never going to believe rules set down in a book like the Bible ...unless they are good rules but that belief will be my choice. I suspect we are all atheists to one form of religion or other ...how many people believe that "Mars" the god of war actually exists ...or a Mayan Sun God? ...we all are atheists to one religion if we believe in another. I tend to take a spiritual approach that life has some unanswered questions about the mystery of life and death ...I try not to use words like belief or disbelief and find it more "reasonable" to exist in a state of Wonder. We will all die one day and then if something more exists we will believe it then I suppose ...until then I keep a spiritual compass of what is good and bad for me and wonder of ways to improve human society and my life and the lives of those I love. There may be a some benefits of some religions for some people but in today's world its hard to see .. the horrors of organized religions are quite apparent and I have no doubt that if there is a God ..she is aghast of what is done in her name. Religion is one thing ..spirituality is quite another and has nothing to do with belief but more to do with wonder and an open heart and mind. My God and temple are my mind and heart ...my bible is one word ...kindness.

    October 1, 2013 at 5:40 pm | Reply
    • M. Newkirk

      A most excellent missive! While I count myself Christian, I cannot help but be aware that ALL scriptures have been written by man (largely gender specific) and seem to vest God with all of mens (again largely gender specific). I am fortunate to be in a liberal thinking church quite unlike Westboro Baptist Hate Center. The thought occurs to me that those who do the right and moral thing simply because it is right and moral may be....dare I say...."closer to Christ" than those do the same out of fearing punishment (Hell) or greedily seeking reward (Heaven). 'Twould be nice if the individual conciousness somehow survives death intact and continues on to a great adventure and I do not think it is scientifically impossible. Humans have only begun to scratch the surface of what can be done and it seems quite conceited to think we are the top of the universal/dimensional creation. As to "miracles" it has been said that any technology, sufficiently advanced, is indistinguishable from magic.

      October 2, 2013 at 2:02 am | Reply
  22. Rick McDaniel

    Religion is a human crutch.........and not a solution.......to the worst sorts of human behaviors.

    Indeed, religion itself, fosters some of those very same worst kinds of behaviors, among humans.

    October 1, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Reply
    • End Times

      If religion is a crutch then it's the only crutch that can save your soul. What does it matter if you own the whole world, if when you die you go straight to hell...

      Lucifer is responsible for evil. Not religion. Even if religion didn't exist, man would still be evil...

      October 1, 2013 at 9:39 pm | Reply
  23. SayWhaaat

    You dopes. Just because we choose to believe in something that created this amazing planet we live on and all that is in/on it, does not make us any less than those that don't believe in any sort of god, being or monkey that created you or the planet you live on. I can tell you that if nothing created you, then nothing you shall return to. I believe someone (GOD) of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob created me and I shall return to HIM. To each his own.

    October 1, 2013 at 10:58 pm | Reply
  24. w

    tests

    October 2, 2013 at 9:20 am | Reply
  25. ghatotkachashri

    Reading opinions like 'SayWhaaaat"s makes me realize the wisdom behind a cartoon in an ancient issue of Mad Magazine (that greatest of American contributions to global culture!). It shows a benevolent looking cannibal stirring a pot in which, amid bobbing carrots and onions, sits an American Baptist preacher. The cannibal says: "You see, Pastor Jacob, we each serve humanity in our own way".
    Lighten up, dear SayWhaaaat...Khuda Hafeez!

    October 3, 2013 at 5:49 am | Reply
  26. Science

    And the real problem is the issue about the church/religion trying to control the red hor-ny beast in the bedroom !

    October 4, 2013 at 9:48 am | Reply
  27. Wilson Ihonvbere

    The academic postulation of Greed and it's origin....."The devil was the first racist or ethnocentric. He was the first individual to demand and desire preferential roles simply due to his perceptible nature. And ever since, those who desire, demand and think they deserve some form of unique treatment, opportunities or insulation simply because of the color " – Dr. Peregrino Brimah. The devil democratic philosophy discredited the Oligarchical Collectivism and the Authoritarian ideology of his creator hence the revolt but how does this act help to shape man in becoming superior to the devil is a matter of intrinsic mind streaming euphoria. However, everyone is born with a pinch of the devil's gene; after-all, we are all born sinners even before conception. This theory could as well be the fallacy of an academic peripheral projection on Class/ Racist genealogy.

    October 30, 2013 at 9:19 am | Reply
  28. jaysen

    This guy .........along with his false religion of un belief that the undeniable handywork of God and his creation and life,blood and DNA/ astronomical mathematical and known complexities in and of the undeniably created built in attributes of earth and our worlds place /position in the universe, explained by saying that it is simply evolving,from nothing, takes even greater belief system than creation science or other but without a shred of evidence,only denial ........... is a Grade A Weirdo

    Romans 9 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?

    November 20, 2013 at 9:25 am | 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 uos_spo6


 

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.