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

Dawkins: Religion no moral compass

By Jason Miks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Topics: Religion • Science

soundoff (2,952 Responses)
  1. Politicsisbs

    Once again an extreme liberal taking extreme ideas from Old Testament or anywhere else he can pull it from. Insulting ones beliefs is as bigoted as you can be, yet because he is an atheist its okay right? This is the guy who spews hate more than anyone I have ever witnessed. His anti religious diatribe is as pathetic as it is morally flawed. Do not lump christians in with these muslim wackos who blow up malls because they want to mummify all women and ban fun. Your an insulting man who is trying to spread his depressing life style onto everyone else. It is obvious he is a very unhappy person mentally. You don't attack others if your happy with yourself.

    September 28, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Reply
  2. George patton

    Who is this Richard Dawkins to say that there is no God? Unfortunately, atheism is already becoming a wave of the future as more and more of us Americans appear to be adhering to it which in turn is leading to moral decay. Just look at some of the posts here. No wonder there is so much support for all these useless and unnecessary wars and a high crime rate here in America!!!

    September 28, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Reply
    • Will

      Lol. THAT's what's wrong.

      September 28, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Reply
    • Mopery

      Atheism leads to moral decay, you say? Perhaps you've heard of Ted Haggard, or Jerry Falwell, or Jim and Tammy Faye Baker, or Jimmy Swaggart, or Jim Jones, or Peter Popov, or etc....

      September 28, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Reply
    • SciGuy

      A much larger problem than the growth in Atheism, and likely a prime cause of such growth, is the picture of God painted by virtually all the churches today. He is displayed as some weak, grandfatherly type who so desperately wants us humans to believe in him, and as one who just wants us to be happy. Rather than as our Creator, Sustainer, Judge who demands holiness of us and whose wrath burns against all who reject his Son, The Lord Jesus Christ. The Sovereign God who does as he pleases in heaven and earth and none can thwart his purposes. That is the God of the scriptures and the God with whom all these professing atheists will have to deal in the end.

      September 28, 2013 at 4:08 pm | Reply
  3. edmundburkeson

    Why is an atheist dictating what we should do? I've heard Dawkins say "What is, simply is. The universe does not owe anyone anything." I agree that atheists have no reason to expect more from the universe. What is, simply is! No justice! No moral direction! No desirable life whatsoever! Dawkins and all atheists have nothing whatsoever to offer!

    September 28, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Reply
    • tony

      It isn't atheistist that are going out of their way to indoctrinate all children throughout the world.

      But I do remember many megachurch leaders telling the govt. and the people about how some sins or other are causing various world disasters.

      And don't forget Fatwas and PApal decrees (like no condoms)

      September 28, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Reply
    • ManoMan

      Nothing except to point out the obvious. I've seen a lot of Christians who don't have much to offer.

      September 28, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Reply
      • mikeymo74

        Religions offer fantasy to keep us from facing reality. Atheists offer reality so that you may start to embrace the vitality of life and cherish every moment while working together to make it a better place for future generations. Our morality is based on common decency and respect for our fellow man, not some rules we read in an archaic book that was written by men supposedly guided by some mythical being we've never seen. I'd say we have much more to offer humanity and the universe than religion

        September 28, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
      • Disillusioned

        But nobody answered why do you care. Why do you care about good or evil or compassion or others . What is your basis to care. If not for the old religious beliefs installed in society that called upon people to act decently toward others. To care about them as so,etching besides soulless lumps of flesh.

        September 28, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
      • mikeymo74

        Disillusioned, because evolution has led human beings (and other advanced animals) to have complex brains that allow us (or at least most of us) to be capable of emotions and empathy. Through advances in neuroimaging, we're finding out more and more about how our brains work and give us these abilities. We are not like lower animals that see "soulless lumps of flesh". There are some people who don't have quite the same level of empathy (likely through a combination of genetic and environmental factors) and for them, maybe a benevolent religion would serve some purpose in giving them a sense of morality they would otherwise not have. For most of us, however, there is no need for religion to serve that purpose.

        September 28, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
      • Disillusioned

        What moral code do you have that is not based on religious beliefs to begin with? Tell me.

        September 28, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • deep blue

      test, why can't I reply to this post?

      September 28, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Reply
    • deep blue

      Can atheists have moral direction? Of course we can. I choose my moral system. And I would argue that you choose your own moral direction too! If your preacher/pastor told you God wanted you to do something you thought was immoral, you would find a different church because God is good, so that religious leader couldn't be right.

      September 28, 2013 at 3:35 pm | Reply
    • David J

      Who's dictating what you should do? And what exactly should atheists be offering? On the other hand; religion is a huge drain on society, and the development of the human intellect. We'd be so much better off if believers put as much time into understanding reality and the human condition as they do in their imaginary friend.

      September 28, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Reply
      • caritas06

        It's a fallacy apparently commonly held in the atheist community that religious people do not put energy into understanding reality, do not savor every minute of our precious finite lives and are not acquainted with, or opposed to, science. In reality, religious people through the centuries have put a great deal of effort into pondering reality, savor their lives and actually have advanced degrees in silence. Theists have all that atheists have and ... something more. Let both sides realize they have a lot in common for those who want to step down from the barricades ( on both sides) and meet each other respectfully and lovingly in the middle.

        September 28, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
      • olga K

        I feel sorry for you.

        September 28, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • theemptyone1

      You are blinded by fear of relying on yourself. Fact, atheism is a an ancient philosophical position and philosophy was extolling reason and rational ethics long before Christianity or Islam existed or even Judaism was a label. Fact, atheists have not been responsible for mass murders (totalitarian leaders of communist states have, but not philosophical atheists) while the centuries of mass murder by religions have,( Christianity foremost among them with Islam now vying to beat the record)

      "All religions are sublime to the ignorant, useful to the politician, and ridiculous to the philosopher." – Lucretius 1st century, BCE.

      September 28, 2013 at 3:59 pm | Reply
    • WachetAuf

      I think that the language we use is not only an indicator of what we believe, it is a limitation of what we believe. So, let's analyze your language.

      The most obvious word is "dictating". It is clear to me that the messenger is not "dictating" anything to anyone. This indicates that you are at least biased and stupid because there is no evidence of "dictating" anywhere in the message presented to us. Furthermore, the use of the word suggests to me that your mind is wrapped up in a very limited world view in which people are sheep who are led only by dictators. Yes, it is true that most people are sheep who are led by "dictators" and your choice of this language reveals that you, too, are one of those sheep who cannot think out side of that very narrow box in which you are imprisoned.

      Now, you choose to conclude that atheists cannot expect more from the universe only a world with no justice, no moral direction. no desirable life and nothing to offer. Not only is there no objective evidence which you can identify in support of this view, this language severely limits the amount of light which might otherwise shine into that very narrow little very dark box in which you live. Pathetic, even sad. But you do represent a great majority of sheep who must be. and always will be, managed by their puppet masters. Religion will provide – all the puppet masters which the sheep might ever need. Ever wonder why the authors of the Bible identify the masses as sheep, the flock? And Jesus as the shepherd? Shep - herd. Herd. Herd mentality. Herd instinct – all referring to primitive natural instincts which play no role in reason of the higher mind.

      September 28, 2013 at 4:00 pm | Reply
    • SusanStoHelit

      Why do you see Dawkins as dictating what you must do – when he's only saying what he believes is right? That isn't dictating, that's expressing his beliefs – and far less rabidly than the religious who would have their beliefs written into laws and pushed on our children in schools.

      September 28, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Reply
  4. Sue Pearlative

    This guy is ignorant or else willfully proffering disinformation. He points to the fact that the bible speaks of stoning people, but he ignores the fact that the ethics of the New Testament specifically cancel certain Old Testament prescriptions. For instance, contrary to the Law, Jesus did not want the woman caught in the act of adultery to be stoned (John 8:1-11). And in the Sermon on the Mount, he specifically outlawed revenge – specifically contrasting it with the Old Testament law (Matthew chap. 5) In the same chapter, he raised the ethic on several accounts.

    Most notably, he says, "You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you." (Matthew 5:43-44 – some of the text is omitted in recent versions of the bible but is contained in traditional texts).

    Thus the rule is no longer just to love your neighbor – we must love our enemies. The key is that *for Christians, this is the rule.* We do not have a choice to select between what Jesus says here and the Old Testament rule (eye for eye, tooth for tooth, stoning).

    September 28, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Reply
    • deep blue

      yes, he claims to use logic, but then refuses to abide by his opponents' premises. You can't use logic without a common set of premises

      September 28, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Reply
    • tony

      So you are sayingt eh Jews need to be converted to new testament beliefs?

      September 28, 2013 at 3:32 pm | Reply
    • ManoMan

      So the old testament was wrong and had to be fixed by the new testament? I thought the old testament was the word of god. Did he screw up the first time? I thought god was infallible.

      September 28, 2013 at 3:32 pm | Reply
      • tony

        Don't be logical. That's probably another sin.

        September 28, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
      • Zayah V

        It's ridiculously funny how people simply accept "are you dumb? The new testament edited by man cancels out GOD's word".... LOL.

        September 28, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
      • J R Brown

        You clearly don't understand the Bible in the least; the Old Testament were "the old rules" of Judaism...the New Testament are "the new rules" dictated by Jesus' words. They don't contradict...they are two separate sets of rules.

        Christianity isn't the continuation of Judaism...it's an entirely new set of rules which originated in Judaism. It's not really that complicated...you'd think that more people would "get it".

        September 28, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
      • ManoMan

        @JR:

        The last time I checked, the god of judaism and the god of christianity are the same god. So why there would be two sets of rules for believers makes no sense. Or an old set for long ago and a new set now. You're right – I don't "get it" and neither does anyone else, because it's all made up.

        September 28, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
      • olga K

        Atheists, once and for all! I embrace the reality and cherish every day. Im a science junky and know more about that then you atheists probably ever will.Yet Im a believer! So sick of people attacking Christians. Leave us in piece and good luck marching to hell.

        September 28, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
      • Jeff Williams

        """It's not really that complicated...you'd think that more people would "get it"."""

        Actually, what I'm thinking is why this god had such a hard time explaining these rules to the people he supposedly created. Pretty dang confusing considering his omniscience and all.

        I would think this god would be perfectly, crystal clear so as to prevent any misunderstanding by us puny humans.

        September 28, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
      • ManoMan

        "So sick of people attacking Christians. Leave us in piece and good luck marching to hell"

        Good luck wasting your time going to church and praying to yourself inside your head! See you in the ground!

        September 28, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
      • Bruce McClure

        An omniscient, omnipotent god at that. Guess he could still get it wrong?

        September 28, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
    • ptmom02

      Christians follow contradictory texts. interesting. So god was wrong but Jesus was right? Who makes that decision? How do you know the true way to salvation? Stoning or forgiveness? Pick the wrong one and you get to go to h3ll! Oh the conundrum!

      September 28, 2013 at 3:35 pm | Reply
    • David J

      Seems to me Jesus also said the rules of the Old Testament still apply. The real point is the Bible is the supposed word of God and yet it is full of anger, intolerance, misogyny, and hatred, not too mention just being plain wacky; and yet a lot of people base their lives on it. Basing one's reality on 2000 year BS in truly ignorant.

      September 28, 2013 at 3:52 pm | Reply
      • olga K

        If that's all you got out of the Bible then I feel sorry for you. And how dare you to judge others? Let them live and believe what they want to believe in. You believe that the Universe and all that exist are just one big accident with no purpose. What a petty, so is your life I imagine.

        September 28, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
      • caritas06

        David:

        Understandably you are not likely to be a Biblical scholar, so perhaps you do not know that the Bible is not "G_d's instruction book". It is more like a library a combination of history, poetry, parables, laws and advice on living a good life rolled into one, from which one can detect the evolving story of man's relationship with the Creator – the essence of Being. Another way of looking at it is as a a collection of books written under divine inspiration by many human beings. SO naturally the history part & the early laws are going to contain bad things – people did and still do that to one another – but it is not presented as "what we should do" but more as a "cautionary tale". As to it being 2000 years old, it is actually older than that, but how does that invalidate its worth? Business and the current U.S. military still study Sun Tzu's Art of War which is at least 2500 years old (500BC) and people are following the Paleolithic diets to preserve their health. . "Old" is not a synonym for "valueless".

        September 28, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
      • David J

        You're right, I'm not a Bible scholar. I was raised Catholic and went to a Catholic grade school for 8 years. Even during those years I knew is was all bollocks. I'm at the point now where I find religion laughable. The reality I know is so much more fulfilling and enlightening than fairy-tales every will be. Certainly you can believe in your Creator but you limit yourself and more importantly, you limit those you are responsible for. The knowledge and wisdom we are capable of knowing today is many magnitudes greater than what they knew all those years ago, that's what makes the Bible BS.

        Olga, anger gets you no where. Deal with the fact that your beliefs are not going to be respected, only tolerated.

        September 28, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
    • mmortal03

      Sue, to look at it a different way, it's not as if the God of Abraham would have changed his morality between the Old Testament and the New Testament. He's the God of all eternity, right? So, to claim that such Old Testament "prescriptions" were, in fact, the god-inspired law all the way up until Jesus came around, and then Jesus conveniently made things all better, make them no less horrible that humans had to follow them then. That any deity would make those his laws for humans to follow at ANY point in history would make him a deity I wouldn't want to worship.

      September 29, 2013 at 2:47 am | Reply
  5. Dean

    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? ------------------I believe the coming of Jesus and His salvation for us had something to do with changing the rules of the Old Testament and did away with the stoning and such.

    And the ways of life of people who have been isolated and never exposed to God or a society who believes in God would prove your theory wrong. That is unless you believe that cannibalism, head shrinking and female domination and mutilation is morally right.

    September 28, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Reply
    • tony

      If god wanted (and needed) missionaries to spread the word to cannibals, etc. he could have got the word out earlier than a coupla thousand years too late.

      September 28, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Reply
      • Bruce McClure

        Coulda told the cannibals himself, too.

        September 28, 2013 at 11:42 pm |
  6. Nevinyy

    This man sounds so empty and cold. I suppose that's okay for him. To feel nothing about divinity and faith would to me be impossible. I know of the goodness that comes from knowing the light and shield of faith. Yes, there are many who are brainwashed into some one dimensional view of God and they are very much harming themselves with that in the box mentality. But there are very many brothers and sisters of the faith that come from all religions that know the truths and need not proselytize or prostrate to live life with the fruits of the spirit. So this man can continue on his journey through life never knowing what some do and that is not of my concern. The angels are around us, they are for all to know and invite into one's realm of existence. Choose not to that is your choice, but not mine

    September 28, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Reply
    • tony

      No made-up warm fuzzies = empty and cold? I don't think so.

      September 28, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Reply
    • Sane Person

      Not everyone needs to believe that there are invisible people living in the clouds answering their telepathic wishes in order to be happy. You'd think after a while, when it was obvious that your requests are always ignored, that you'd try a more productive plan to right yourself.

      September 28, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Reply
      • Disillusioned

        Fair enough. And yet there are also people who have had wishes granted. If there's no god because he doesn't answer, is there a god because he does?

        September 28, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • ManoMan

      Have you ever seen an angel or even a picture of one? I sure haven't. It sounds like you're the one that's brainwashed. If I told you there was an invisible giraffe in your house you wouldn't believe me, but apparently there are angels everywhere. It's Santa Claus for adults.

      September 28, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Reply
    • Pristine pooh

      The Human genome has been completely mapped, as as the full genome for the Chimpanzee. Evolutionary biologists have long held the premise that Humans share a common ancestor with the other 3 Great Ape species (yes, you are a great ape species). After studying the genomes, they have found that our second chromosome bears the marks, extra tilomeres out of place, that prove beyond little doubt that we do in fact have a common ancestor. Your god and your religion cannot reconcile this data nor any of the data that will come continually proving over and over and over again that your religion and entire belief system is FALSE. So you stick your brain in the sand and tell yourself that you are happy while you mumble your "prayers" to a fictional creation.

      Ok. Fine. Good luck with that. But please do not ask for respect. You cannot have it. Respecting idiocy is just not tolerable.

      September 28, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Reply
      • SpaceGod

        Today, the Church supports theistic evolution(ism), also known as evolutionary creation.
        Church teaches that the process of evolution is a planned and purpose-driven natural process, guided by God Please speak to some Christians about this... and yes there are different christian churches out there.... but only a few have consistent stances on matters.. ( I am bringing cannons from Catholicism, because they have a unified stance on many of the concerns you may have).. you will be surprised on how compassionate the teachings are........ The church always leaves room for the sinner.......

        September 28, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
  7. SpaceGod

    Is Atheism a position of faith, or lack of it? ..................

    September 28, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Reply
    • tony

      It's a lack of an unfounded belief.

      September 28, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Reply
    • Sane Person

      Its the opposite of theism. Theism is the belief that god (or gods) exist. Atheism, is the opposite of that.

      September 28, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Reply
      • SpaceGod

        Faith is the very thing that some "so called Atheist" give Catholics (and other theist) a hard time about. I find it funny that neither side can prove God exist or doesn't exist, thus showing both Theism or Atheism as faith based beliefs. With that being said, that puts us all in the same position. I encourage some "Atheists" to tune into your local EWTN catholic radio station, and see for themselves how the Christian faith deals with issues such as Atheism, Family, Neighbors, Science, Politics, etc... Since we are all human, we often don't carry out the wishes of the church properly, and distort it to our own liking.. I think a lot of the angst on both sides are people distorting their beliefs in ways that fit their own lives, thus making a rift between the two sides, when it can be much more cohesive and constructive....SpaceGod

        September 28, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • SusanStoHelit

      Atheism is the lack of faith – it's the position where you do not have any belief in any god.

      This may, but most frequently does not, include a statement that you know there is no god.

      Every Christian is atheist about Zeus. Most people hold an atheistic type of position about bigfoot and the loch ness monster- not impossible they could exist, but there's no reason to think they do.

      September 28, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Reply
  8. StirthePOT

    In a former life I was murdered by a an angry mob of Christians because I ate shellfish...in another life the Jews stoned me for saying their Lord and Master was a jerk...then when I was reincarnated in Indonesia, the muslims killed me because I asked everyone to just get along 😦

    I realy miss Anahita, she was the best of all the goddesses Earth has known...sighs.

    September 28, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Reply
    • Tom

      Dawkins misses the point. The issue is not morality, but scientific fact. How does he explain the Big Bang? How does he explain the principle of gravity, which brought order out of chaos? How about Newton's laws, the theory of relativity, quantum theory, all of which testify to the existence of a Master Intelligence? Einstein was not a conventional believer, but he discounted atheism as unworthy of serious consideration. There is an elephant in the room, and its name is Facts and Logic. There is no effect without a cause, and it that leads us to a First Cause, don't be surprised.

      September 28, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Reply
      • Mopery

        An outstanding display of ignorant drivel, I applaud you.

        September 28, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
      • ManoMan

        I'd be interested where these things are explained in the bible. In fact, there not even mentioned, because the guys who wrote it had no idea about gravity, relativity, etc. And if you think Einstein was a Christian because he wasn't an atheist in the truest sense, then you're wrong. He was agnostic, and said the following:

        " I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it"

        "I do not believe in immortality of the individual, and I consider ethics to be an exclusively human concern with no superhuman authority behind it"

        "I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the type of which we are conscious in ourselves. An individual who should survive his physical death is also beyond my comprehension, nor do I wish it otherwise; such notions are for the fears or absurd egoism of feeble souls."

        September 28, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
  9. Mopery

    Give a man a noun and he'll verb for a day. Teach a man to verb and he'll verb for a lifetime!

    September 28, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Reply
    • tony

      G-H-O-T-I

      September 28, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Reply
  10. Jason R

    I just can't believe a person posted a comment that "BEFORE we had atheists we had Christians, Jews, etc.".. huh? lol Are people in this country really this ignorant? Has anyone heard of Mormonism? It was INVENTED in the 19th Century. You can read about it. Just like at some point every religion was INVENTED. As Stephen Hawking says, The Vikings used to howl at the moon during an eclipse to scare the moon away. Now we think that's silly – just like eventually we'll think all religions to be silly. Let's not forget that CHRISTIANS put Galileo in jail for the mere suggestion that the Earth wasn't the center of the Universe. Silly religious people..... I pray for all of you. 😉

    September 28, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Reply
    • deep blue

      You are only telling one side of the story. Public education was started by people of religion. Religious scholars have contributed great works of philosophy. Several churches used to be a government, and as governments they abused their power. The history of any government will be mixed and the history of religions that were in power as governments likewise.

      September 28, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Reply
    • snowman

      Who are you praying to, Jason?

      September 28, 2013 at 4:34 pm | Reply
  11. tony

    No gods = No collection plates.

    September 28, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Reply
    • JeniW

      No collections plate, just the IRS.

      September 28, 2013 at 3:55 pm | Reply
  12. Will

    If I wanted to believe something silly, at least I'd go for that Flying Spaghetti Monster Colin was talking about. That at least sounds like a fun belief. And tasty.

    September 28, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Reply
  13. shawbrooke

    1. Guess that Mr Dawkins also thinks that we should keep our kids out of public schools lest they learn the evangelistic secular humanism preached therein. Notice he forgets to mention the role of the school in preaching his beliefs. And as to that 20%, two things. 2. Lawmakers ignore Christians who are 50%of the population (or abortion would be restricted to life of the mother situations), so why should they listen to an even smaller group? 3. Most of that 20% adheres to a faith as they get older. 4. When Dawkins evokes stereotypes (shout or shriek) he opens the door – to bringing up secular humanists like Pol Pot and Stalin.

    September 28, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Reply
    • tony

      Lawmakers listen to who pays them the most – listening to the majority isn't necessary if your district has been gerrynmandered

      September 28, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Reply
    • SusanStoHelit

      Actually, the reduction in religiousness is happening even in the elderly population, and there's no evidence that atheists are converting as they get older. Individuals convert one direction or the other, but there's no pattern of this happening commonly.

      September 28, 2013 at 4:53 pm | Reply
  14. tony

    Why don't open minded Christians have exrtra space on their church billboards for contrary answers?

    September 28, 2013 at 3:39 pm | Reply
  15. Jason R

    "I believe that men are generally still a little afraid of the dark, though the witches are all hung, and Christianity and candles have been introduced" (Henry David Thoreau)

    I don't expect Chuck will even get it.

    September 28, 2013 at 3:39 pm | Reply
  16. Shelia

    Look an atheist who claims to know anything about religion. Ignorance is showing

    September 28, 2013 at 3:41 pm | Reply
    • ptmom02

      Atheists tend to more more about religion than religious people.

      September 28, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Reply
    • Theadore Realist

      ...............................................

      {{{{{{ ahem, clears throat }}}}}

      Your http://www.GODisIMAGINARY.com ...

      ... and thank goodness because he emanates from ...

      ... The http://www.EVILbible.com

      ...........................................

      September 28, 2013 at 3:50 pm | Reply
    • Mopery

      Reading the Bible led directly to my Atheism. How anyone can hold that book up as the pinnacle of anything other than ignorance is beyond me.

      September 28, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Reply
  17. Jason R

    You can't have an intellectual debate with a group of people that believe the world is a few thousand years old. They have every right to believe in what they believe. My kid thinks Santa comes down the chimney every year. It makes him feel good...

    September 28, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Reply
    • Pristine pooh

      Humans share 36% common DNA with a fruit fly.
      Humans share 85% common DNA with a zebra fish.
      Humans share 98% common DNA with a Chimpanzee.

      September 28, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Reply
      • Tammy

        Evolution is a proven fact and DNA doesn't lie. It's interesting to me that so many, especially in Oklahoma where I reside, instist on Creationism as the rule of law given all the scientific evidence to the contrary. Spaceships in early caveman drawings? Coincidence? While I do consider myself a spiritual person, the only rule I live by is treating others as I wish to be treated. It's worked well for me for 54 years.

        September 28, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • JeniW

      You taught your children that there is a Santa? LOL

      September 28, 2013 at 3:53 pm | Reply
    • SpaceGod

      The Catholic Church has no official position on the age of the earth. The Catholic Church is the Mystical Body of Christ on earth, commissioned to go out to all the nations, baptizing them, and preaching the Word of God (Jesus). The Catholic Church is not concerned with government, physical sciences, etc. per se, but is concerned with getting people to heaven. The Bible addresses the creation of the world, and Catholics are obliged to believe that God created the world out of nothing. How, or when, He did that is neither addressed, nor important to our eternal salvation.

      September 28, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Reply
  18. JeniW

    Since life is pretty insignificant, why not just destroy the planet because it will not be needed after we die.

    September 28, 2013 at 3:52 pm | Reply
    • ptmom02

      Right there is what religious people don't understand. Atheists care about the people who will come after us. We want to leave a healthy future for them. Yes, humans will most likely go extinct one day, and that is (maybe) a sad fact, but there is no reason to not care in the mean time. It's funny how you people don't understand how some us want to be good people just for the sake of being good people. That is really sad.

      September 28, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Reply
  19. Theadore Realist

    ...............................................

    -----------

    {{{{{{ ahem, clears throat }}}}}

    The Judeo-Christian-Islamic ... http://www.GODisIMAGINARY.com ...

    ... and thank goodness because he emanates from ...

    ... The http://www.EVILbible.com

    ...........................................

    September 28, 2013 at 3:53 pm | Reply
  20. OkOkOk

    (Deuteronomy 22:28-29 NLT)

    If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her.

    September 28, 2013 at 3:53 pm | Reply
  21. OkOkOk

    Kill False Prophets

    If a man still prophesies, his parents, father and mother, shall say to him, "You shall not live, because you have spoken a lie in the name of the Lord." When he prophesies, his parents, father and mother, shall thrust him through. (Zechariah 13:3 NAB)

    September 28, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Reply
  22. New Dawn Rising

    For the longest time, many politicians have referred to us atheists with disgust. Well guess what creation mythology is going the way of the Dodo bird and a new age of enlightenment is starting. We're taking over and now it's time for you to kiss our butts or you will be out of the job. Pucker up buttercup haha!

    September 28, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Reply
  23. OkOkOk

    Prayer Cures the Sick

    Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save him that is sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, it shall be forgiven him. (James 5:14-15 ASV)

    September 28, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Reply
    • Mopery

      Please please please! All believers should listen to this guy, stop going to doctors and hospitals, rely instead on your church for all your medical needs! If you could all just do this one thing, and you do have such strong faith in god after all, I'm sure that in a generation or two this argument would be ended once and for all.

      September 28, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Reply
  24. Bill

    While a noble thought, atheists aren't as loud (politically) as religious people. Therefore, politicians will always pander to religion.

    September 28, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Reply
  25. David From Canada

    The journalist didn't really ask Dawkins any difficult questions. And his answers simply consisted of same old, same old, same old, etc. Both of them will have to do better than this.

    September 28, 2013 at 3:58 pm | Reply
    • nepawoods

      Dawkins avoids the difficult questions. This really isn't his area of expertise or competence.

      September 28, 2013 at 4:07 pm | Reply
    • ManoMan

      What difficult question would you like him to answer? How was the universe created? Dawkins would say that there are scientific theories that are closing in on the answer, but no one knows yet. i.e., the truth. A christian would say, with absolute certainty and completely without evidence, that god created it.

      September 28, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Reply
  26. OkOkOk

    I repent now and follow the flying spaghetti monster since I have been touched deeply in my heart by his noodly appendage!
    🙂 🙂 🙂

    September 28, 2013 at 3:59 pm | Reply
    • Will

      Did you taste of the garlic bread? You must taste of the garlic bread for full forgiveness.

      September 28, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Reply
  27. OkOkOk

    Q. How in the world does one become an Atheist?

    A. Sagaciously read either the Koran, the Torah, or the Bible.

    September 28, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Reply
  28. Matt

    Religion has given us the Crusades, The Inquisition, countless holy wars killing MILLIONS of people, ex communication of scientists who who rejected Ptolemy's theory that the Earth was the center of the universe (not solar system), rampant over population especially in poor countries – I could go on, but the point is that we don't need religion to have a moral compass – Arguing over the existence of a god is also pointless. People have to come to their own conclusions, one wishes to spend a great deal of time dedicated to a god, well good for you – I find it silly. The only thing we know for sure is that in 6 billion years the Sun will run out of hydrogen and expand out and engulf the Earth before exploding in a super nova and collapsing on itself. And so I ask those who believe so fervently in a god, where will he be then?

    September 28, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Reply
    • Mopery

      Wrong about the Sun going supernova, the solar system will not end with a bang but a whimper.

      September 28, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Reply
      • Matt

        There is speculation (albeit emerging) among scientists that the existence of heavy metals in the solar system indicate there was a supernova in the solar system neighborhood at some point in time. Of course the concept of time really becomes an odd discussion when the earth no longer will revolve around the sun – and therefore the concept of a year will become difficult to measure. Naturally that's got nothing to do with my original point, which is when the sun dies it will in fact kill the Earth – and so for those who believe, where is their god then and what was the point to creating such an imperfect thing?

        September 28, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
      • Mopery

        It's okay to admit that you are wrong, there is no need for your attempt to show that your incorrect assumption was somehow correct. The life-cycle of the Sun(and stars in general) is pretty well known.

        September 28, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
  29. nepawoods

    Dawkins is well respected among scientists as a biologist, but he's a joke when he poses as a philosopher and champion of anti-theism. But the pseudo-intellectuals he appeals to in that regard don't care.

    Not that the creationists are any better, with their constant stabbing at straw men (like the characterization of evolution as life being an improbable random accident).

    There are serious discussions to be had about science and religion, but Dawkins has chosen to avoid that and wallow in the popular rivalry between unthinking science and religion fanboys.

    September 28, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Reply
    • Mopery

      Your first mistake is assuming a level playing field between science and religion.

      September 28, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Reply
      • nepawoods

        How so?

        September 28, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
      • Mopery

        Scientific theories and laws are supported by mountains of data, religious beliefs are supported by testimonials and dubious ancient texts. As the burden of proof lies with the believer, where is there any proof for the existence of god(s), the soul, or the supernatural? The day religions begin to produce actual evidence is the they earn any clout.

        September 28, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • Bruce McClure

      You should read some of his books before saying he does not discuss science and religion. Try "The God Delusion" for starters.

      September 29, 2013 at 12:01 am | Reply
  30. OkOkOk

    sorry, gotta run, the church down the street is giving out free bibles and I'm low on T.P. (they ALWAYS ask why I want so many copies....hee hee...I tell them with a wicked smile that I'm wiping the devil with them!!)

    September 28, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Reply
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