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 (2,953 Responses)
  1. aurelius

    Am so happy someone like Dawkins speaks for me.

    September 29, 2013 at 11:54 am | Reply
  2. Julie

    With 20% of the population now saying that they are religiously unaffiliated, its just a matter of time before this religious charade comes to a painful ending. Mathematicians have predicted that within 100 years religion as we now know it, will be comprised of a very small minority. In the end, science and critical thinking will win out in this country.

    September 29, 2013 at 11:56 am | Reply
    • Kenneth

      You think science and critical thinking are going to win out? That's funny.
      Human nature hasn't changed in ten thousand years. The veneer of civilization is slightly thicker and more polished, but wait until the oil runs out in 50 to 60 years and there are no large scale alternatives in place.
      It is going to be a madhouse with religious fundamentalism on one side and outright anarchy on the other.

      September 29, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Reply
    • Johnno

      Julie – I hope you are right. The sooner the better.

      April 16, 2018 at 9:42 pm | Reply
  3. Will S

    I think people have a rosey-eyed view of what a typical Atheist is like. Go hang out in a prison with some violent offenders; most of them didn't grow up attending church.

    September 29, 2013 at 11:57 am | Reply
    • H . D. HARVEY

      About 80% were regular church attendees!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      September 29, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Reply
      • kzooresident

        It's always curious to see people who think they can just make up facts and people will believe them.

        There is a a significant number of people in the world who are not progressive sheep.

        September 29, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
      • Elliott Carlin

        100% of the H.D. Harvey's in the world are 100% wrong on 100% of what they comment on.

        September 29, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
    • Al Shabaab

      If that's how you feel will, I'll never watch fresh prince again.
      Bil willie day is also off the table.

      September 29, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Reply
    • Realist

      the vast majority are christians..

      And from your post? You show clearly how uncaring and uncivilized you are.. Most those in jails you imply are sinners.. Yet most were once innocent children who needed help but neglected by those as you. Yep,, call them sinners. How wonderful.

      Bet you didn't know that the vast majority in prisons are mentally ill due to childhood trauma.. Then again,, you love to judge and spew your uncivilized beliefs.

      September 29, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Reply
    • DerDicht

      Statistics show over 74% of prison inmates are Christian. Less than .2% are atheists. Religion drives crimes against society through its guilt and shame. When you cannot please your god, why should you care about your fellow humans? Religion makes it all about "you" and your needs when you fail it, for you are outcast and outlaw.

      September 29, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Reply
      • Diana

        Religion itself is not to blame for the mistakes that humans are capable and prone to making in every field they join or create. No human is perfect and as a consequence nothing we will ever do will truly reach perfection. Why does religion as a whole take the blame for the flaws and inconsistencies of some of its members? Science is not labeled faulty or untrue when postulates don't work, why should religion be? Neither discipline is perfect but both are true. The mistake and the redemption of both these faculties is us.

        September 29, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
      • Diana

        And please you might want to refrain from defining or explaining a term for which you do not have any respect. True reasoning come from having respect to different aspects of knowledge. Don't label religion or God if you don't respect it enough to truly consider and attempt to understand it.

        September 29, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
      • theorycraft

        I don't think you can say religion drives crimes against society through guilt and shame, I think guilt and share are cultural and exist where ever society forms. But according to your logic, it would suggest that atheists are people who cannot please society and feel guilty and ashamed so they take it out on religion.

        Btw, prisons have low populations of atheists because most atheists are of the upper middle class, college educated, and white. These people are generally minority numbers in any prison system regardless of religious affiliation.

        September 29, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • optikradio

      The Federal Bureau of Prisons has studied and surveyed this material for decades. According to them, atheists make up 0.2% of the prison population.

      September 29, 2013 at 12:16 pm | Reply
      • deep blue

        That number could possibly be skewed if the prisoners believe that being religious will get them parole sooner. Of course, that can't be the case because that would violate the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment. Our state parole boards couldn't possibly be religiously discriminatory.

        September 29, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
      • Realist

        nice try,, then again,, doesn't religion do just that. make believe, fabricate and excuse you for your evils..

        I'd say that would make them mostly christian

        September 29, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
      • Gino

        Wow, thanks for that stat, optikradio. I am an atheist and it has long been my belief that the majority of inmates in U.S. prisons are believers in some form of religion.

        September 29, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
      • MaryLTRN

        That statistic is quoted over and over again. It's from 1997. There are no recent studies or statistic that prove this on a national level (read US), never mind on an international level. That's pretty sloppy science. Where are the statistics from the past decade? Answer: There are none.

        September 29, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • Scott

      Will S,
      I have one word for you: FAIL!

      September 29, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Reply
    • George patton

      Quite true Will S, quite true indeed. Good posting on your part!

      September 29, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Reply
      • aldewacs2

        Good post? I Guess you don't bother with facts either?

        Of course interesting posts are easier to manufacture if facts are optional.

        September 29, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • jez

      How do you know the religious affiliations of prisoners? That is quite an assumption you are making.

      September 29, 2013 at 2:53 pm | Reply
      • Elliott Carlin

        I think the point is, anyone can call themselves whatever they'd like, however we all know Christianity as proclaimed in the New Testament, does not command a Christian to break the law. We are actually commanded to be subject to the higher powers as God has ordained government. Therefore, you can question the Christianity of one who repeatedly commits/practices sin. By your fruits ye shall know them. It would be safe to say the Spirit of God is not in him. Just a thought.

        September 29, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • dilberth

      HA! You lie like most Christians do when cornered. The Federal Bureau of Prisons released data on 218, 167 prisoners in April 2013 which showed that only a small percentage of the prison population called themselves atheists. It reported a .02 percent population of atheists in prison. The report also indicated that those who called themselves Christians tended to be less educated and more prone to violent crimes.

      September 29, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Reply
    • JP

      That statement is patently false. There are no more atheists in prison than in the general population.

      September 29, 2013 at 3:58 pm | Reply
    • GodIsDeadGetOverIt

      um, most did attend church and that is why they are in prison. Only religion makes good people do evil things...and they do it for an invisible skydaddy

      September 29, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Reply
    • bombthemall

      did you know not having kids is hereditary? if your parents didnt have kids, chances are you wont either. so please, do us all a favor and dont have kids.

      September 29, 2013 at 4:10 pm | Reply
    • onthesidelines

      I'm going to go all out and suggest that this post was made by an atheist, relishing in the atheist-defensive comments to follow. I don't need any statistics to guess that the majority of prisoners are/were religious. Why do I see atheism proposed so often as the opposite of religion, as the only counterpart? Of course modern religion can be blamed for so many of our sufferings and hatred. But rejecting religion does not mean rejecting God, just as rejecting Santa Claus doesn't mean you'll never get any gifts.

      September 29, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Reply
    • yaytacos

      Religious fanatics don't usually go to prison, they're usually the ones putting other people in prison or torturing them for having different beliefs than they do. Either that, or blowing themselves up in the name of their god. Whatever good religion may do is easily outweighed by the horrendous acts it allows people to justify. There will always be bad people, but religion makes good people do bad things.

      September 29, 2013 at 4:37 pm | Reply
  4. FRANK

    I don't think it is this easy. The real problem is we have lots of poor people who want free stuff from governments and their elected officials. Many politicians got elected for promising taking from the rich and give it to the poor. So the Republican Party has to court bunch religious idiots to vote for them.

    September 29, 2013 at 11:59 am | Reply
    • Realist

      yes,, the wealthy vatican taking our tax dollar to promote their flag.. ie catholic charities,, enables the catholic name to be spread out yet financed by tax dollars.

      In case most are unfamiliar with CC.. It's an organization that produces cheap services never addressing the real problems of society, children in need of good therapy.

      September 29, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Reply
      • Elliott Carlin

        I'm no catholic, however the Vatican is also a recognized state and the Pope its head of state. Complain all you want about what they do with tax money...that's what governments do.

        September 29, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
      • Realist

        they take our money.. grant money..

        September 29, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
  5. DerDicht

    Each person is afforded the right to state the ideas and opinions. It is the small and immature minded that attack what is stated. The mature minded accepts the statement and expresses their view in a manner that others can accept it. What I find most illuminating is that those who must have a supreme power are least able to express their logic. I was a minister for over twenty years and a Christian for perhaps forty. Yet, my mental evolution has brought me to an understanding that religion serves itself and not its people. When we sat in our caves, huddled against the thunder and lightning, we had to reason a "why" to that which frightened us. Over centuries our fears continued to enlighten our understanding. We seek salvation to stave off the fear of the Hell which we created to control ourselves and others.

    When we loose ourselves of this Earth, may we do it without carrying our mythology into interstellar expeditions.

    September 29, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Reply
  6. Erasmus

    So Dawkins uses Websters as his moral compass! What could possibly go wrong with that? (tongue in cheek)

    September 29, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Reply
    • FactChecker

      Perhaps he uses empathy and compassion rather than a book.

      September 29, 2013 at 12:13 pm | Reply
      • Realist

        well stated.. in fact I find that to be a strong attribute among most atheist I know.

        September 29, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
  7. H . D. HARVEY

    most people go to church to listen to the iman, rabbi, priest, reverend etc tell them if they believe and go to church every week and be devout that they will never die but go to heaven, Eden, paradise etc.. They really believe they will never die, but they and their loved ones will be together for eternity.
    My question has always been what if they loved a whole bunch of men, women etc are they all going to be together in that place? It could get really messy!~!!!!!!!!

    September 29, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Reply
    • Lindy

      Always been my point too. What if you never got along with your parents or siblings ....would you be stuck in heaven with them?

      September 29, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Reply
  8. Big Daddy

    If you truely think that christians are accepting of others, just tell a group of them that you're an atheist and watch religious persecution at its best. Both sides of the issue react strongly because the other side does. It's a vicious circle.

    September 29, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Reply
    • deep blue

      If the Christians that you know get onto you for being atheist, you are hanging around the wrong people.
      Certainly, I have been told many times how I am going to hell, typically by people I have no inclination to hang around. Others have been obnoxious in their proselytizing (I guess they are trying to save my soul, but it gets annoying after a while). But most Christians I have told that I am atheist do not care in the slightest.

      September 29, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Reply
      • deep blue

        And I live in the bible belt, so I doubt you are from an area more religious than the area I am from.

        September 29, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
    • Ralph_in_FL

      Been there. Done that. If you think Church n a z i s give you a ration of grief now, try doing it 50+ years ago.

      September 29, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Reply
    • DonEqual

      I totally disagree with AL . Atheists or non believer in a deity is NOT a religion .

      September 29, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Reply
      • Diana

        It is a system of belief based on the reasoning behind observations. However, these observations stem from an unclear and incomplete perception of reality (a fact well studied in science) and so one must have faith that the observations presented to us are indeed real. Then we use science to explain the nature, beginning and unfolding of our "observed" reality. You DO need faith in science- what is science worth for if the only ones that can attest for its validity and application is us? Religion is much the same, only instead of having faith in only observation, one has faith the WHY of the universe/ perceived reality.

        September 29, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
      • donna

        Diana, it is not a SYSTEM of beliefs, it is a single belief. That's it.

        You do not get to invent a system and say that it's what atheists believe. It's dishonest. It is NOT based on reason as a rule, it is NOT based on anything. It is a SINGLE BELIEF and nothing more. It is simply not true that atheism is based on any common thought process. I know atheists who believe in magic!!

        You are doing no better than the people claiming that atheism is a religion.

        September 29, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
      • Diana

        Donna, science is a system of beliefs. That is apparent to anyone who studies science. You do not only believe in the theory of relativity don't you? Scientists incorporate myriad of theories (beliefs-reasoning of observations) to make an "accurate" portrayal of reality. As to me saying what atheists believe- why do you then criticize and attempt to undermine religion? Every belief (or at least a good one) MUST be based on something. Atheists portray religious people as being blindly ignorant, but if Atheism were just a single belief in a non deity as you seem to put it independent from reason then it is JUST or MORE foolish than faith in a deity. Please, some criticizing hypocrisy if you are inconsistent in your statements. If you were to say that Atheism arises from reason, THEN I would respect your stance more, whilst arguing that your reasoning is flawed. But criticizing religion, and portraying Atheism as a single belief based on nothing rational – you're just insulting you'e own views. Maybe you should reconsider them.

        September 29, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
      • Diana

        As to those atheists who claim to believe in magic- I'd call them confused or at most delusional. You can't prove God (some would argue) but you can't disprove him. But magic as an independent concept does not make sense at all. That's just someone who is too lazy to fully analyze their beliefs. If you were to give me a detailed explanation of magic and why it conflicts or does not conflict with a the implications of a Deity or with postulates of science I might be more lenient. But having a belief without a basis for defending and implementing it is just wrong.

        September 29, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
      • donna


        Atheism and science are NOT the same things. They are not interchangeable. Science is a process, not a belief system. People might believe that it's valuable or invaluable, and there are beliefs involved in the practice, but the fact remains, that science itself is not a system of beliefs.

        Sometimes Atheism stems from reason and sometimes it doesn't. Because atheism refers only to a single thing, you cannot say that anything else is common among atheists.

        Diana, belief in god, is belief in magic. Belief in ghosts, karma, heaven, reincarnation- it's all magically thinking. It's amusing you defend some magical thinking but call others delusional.

        What a hypocrite.

        September 29, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
      • Diana

        I never said Science and Religion are interchangeable much less the same thing! What I said implies that they are not contradictory opposites. As for magic, religion is not magic, but someone who does not understand it might label it as such. I said i would believe in magic insofar as someone can talk rationally about it. That being said, what I DONT understand is how someone can believe in the metaphysical distortion of "magic" and not believe in a metaphysical world or Creator. If someone, believing in magic but not in God or the afterlife could rationally explain his or her belief (which seems a tad paradoxical) I would be more lenient. Belief in magic is NOT a belief in God. Again I urge you to please not superimpose a term on another you don't and do not want to attempt to understand. If someone were not to believe in God, the only legitimate reason aside from "i don't want to" would be because "I don't think He exists". The former is a juvenile albeit common response, but the second, which is the ONE belief you are so excited to point out, should have some origin as to why it popped up in your head. Otherwise, you are indeed guilty of fanciful delusions or poor reasoning/intellectual capabilities. Again, magic is not religion and religion is not magic. Magic is a practice or belief in using supernatural forces to influence the physical world. The belief in God is the belief in a metaphysical/physical duality in the universe which is governed by a supreme being. As to being hypocritical, I do not believe I am. But what I do notice is that you seem to argue passionately (and illogically) about a topic you haven't TRULY contemplated. I suggest you think more about what you write and refrain from believe there are no alternatives. I am by no way telling yo to believe something you don't want to, but in order to truly defend your beliefs you must know WHY, HOW, and WHY NOT you should have them. Mind me, the last part is the most important, because it will give you a truer and stronger perspective. With that said, I hope you do care enough to ask more questions about religion/God, atheism, etc. and do so without bias, without ignorance, and most importantly without taking yourself too seriously.

        September 29, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
      • Diana

        As to science being a process and not a set of beliefs- science is a STUDY. The scientific method, or any other reasoning method, is indeed the process that obtains information for this study. The thing is I have been a practician and lover of science for all my life really, and indeed through science one asks questions, investigates and consequently gathers answers. But science is not a verb, even though it implies a process- it is a noun (not studying, but a study) This study obtains information that in order to build upon it hold to be true (until further notice). You have to believe or assume that your previous, well tested conclusion was true to move forth. Because of this discipline called "science" we have "discovered" that sensory input, especially visual is highly modified before reaching the cerebral cortex. Knowing this we have to believe that what we see to study is indeed real, and we can (for the most basic steps) begin studying first what we see. Math (as mathematicians would say-the "purest science") is the most faithful belief systems I have ever studied. We cannot see a one, we cannot feel a one, we cannot here a one yet we believe there exists a concept such as a 1. Consequently we believe concepts such as 2, 3, 4, etc also exist. There is no way to prove math as any method of proving it would require the same assumption used to create this belief. Yet we have FAITH that 1, 2, radicals ,etc DO exist, even though there is no rational reason to believe they do- we invented them. And after inventing this system that is not really tangible, it is just a concept (much like God in the eyes of an atheist) we attempt to EXPLAIN the world through its laws. Nonetheless, it must have SOME good, as many contributions arose from this concept. But any knowledge obtained from this unprovable system must be taken with faith that it is the ONLY knowledge possible. Atheist who can actually (somewhat hypocritically) justify their beliefs do in the end have FAITH that they TRULY know what is around them, and that the world is just as they can analyze or observe it.

        September 29, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
      • donna

        Diana, I'm sorry but you don't seem to be able to keep the conversation straight. We were talking about atheism and science, not science and religion.

        "As to science being a process and not a set of beliefs- science is a STUDY."

        The study of something through science IS A PROCESS Einstein.

        September 29, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
      • Diana

        Please recall what you say, we WERE talking about religion, science and atheism. You know a conversation CAN branch into other topics related to it. It IS allowed in this universe. As for the science- science is a study of our surrounding. It is a discipline. The process by which this study is formed is through observation, etc. It is not the same as studying something. You don't science something, you study something that forms part of a study called science. Please, please try to think outside the box, or at all.

        September 29, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
      • donna

        Diana, I was very clear about what we were talking about:

        I said:
        "Atheism and science are NOT the same things. They are not interchangeable."

        To which you replied, "I never said Science and Religion are interchangeable much less the same thing!"

        Yes, you can bring new things into the conversation, but pretending I said science and religion, as you claimed, when I most definitely did not, makes you look like a person with no integrity. That was pretty much lying on your part...

        You're hopeless on the science thing. You don't seem to have a good grasp of the language. Nothing you have said contradicts what I have told you.

        September 29, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
      • Disillusioned

        Diana, don't expect primadonna to actually quote you correctly. In spite of her two degrees she has not mastered he art of correctly quoting anyone accurately, and actually likes to lie about what people have said to try gaining her points. She's a rude patronizing and lying fraud . Who has no actual interest in respectful discussion, but only to try swinging her college degrees, in history and anthropology she actually dares to claim, as a club against believers. She's arrogant and rude. Dont hold your breath on not being misinterpreted by this liar.

        September 29, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
      • donna

        Disillusioned, you are a psychotic, stalker freak. You are a liar, it is NOT POSSIBLE FOR ME TO CHANGE YOUR COMMENTS. You have some kind of paranoia if you think I can go in and change what you wrote!

        You are so embarrassed at your own words, that you concocted this fantasy that I somehow altered your quotes. You cannot do that in this system. What we see is what YOU wrote.

        You are delusional. GET HELP.

        September 29, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
      • Disillusioned

        What's the matter, you don't like being pointed out as a misquoting liar? You're all about tthe truth as you feel it to be, suck some up yourself. Time and again you wante to tell me how wrong I was, though my point made perfect sense in light of social connections to natural selection. You lied about what I said and try to breezily gloss over that as if it had no bearing. Suck on some of it back.

        September 29, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
      • Diana

        I am aware that you began with the idea of bashing religion and then lobbying for an atheism that does not depend on reason. I explained and tried to point out that as much as you would like to make religion seem "delusional" a belief in non existence of a deity (or anything really) cannot arise from nothing because then it WOULD be a delusion. You don't seem to understand that if you want to believe what you want do so, but respect other beliefs, as well as your own. Believe with an informed mind or a feeling soul but don't believe without justification. If you do so, and I greatly perceive this is your case, for all your arguing and inconsistent statements you don't truly believe what you think you do. Best of luck figuring it out, and the way you are gonna sort ANY belief is not by believing you ARE absolutely right, but by acknowledging the possibility that you are wrong. Meanwhile refrain from attacking concepts you don't want to or can't understand when you can't explain your own view. Good luck.

        September 30, 2013 at 12:18 am |
      • donna

        Diana, I was never bashing religion. Please reread our comments, clearly you are inventing things that you think I've said.

        September 30, 2013 at 12:23 am |
    • DonEqual

      I applause your views.

      September 29, 2013 at 12:59 pm | Reply
      • Elliott Carlin

        ....and I claps at your pronouncements

        September 29, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
  9. Morgan

    I've never particularly cared for John Lennon's "Imagine." Something about it jarred my musicality. But it came on the radio the other night, and for once, I let it play. And I cried. Why? Because that is my dream, in my heart of hearts. No religion, no borders, no wars, no greed – just a species protecting each other and thriving on this earth. Yes, I am an atheist. And I dream of truth and compassion for us all.

    September 29, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Reply
  10. Just Me

    “But I will accept any rules that you feel necessary to your freedom. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.”

    “The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress” by Robert Heinlein

    But if laws alone were effective in regulating criminal behavior, prisons would be empty.

    September 29, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Reply
  11. Al

    Thing is, atheists need to stop being hypocritical. They're a religion, they should just come out and say it. Proponents of the view have acted in pretty much every way a religion has acted. They have bibles (Dawkins' books, for one), they try to push other religions out (anytime you see an atheist groups trying to get religious symbols removed from public places; the lack of such symbols is THEIR symbol), and so on. My father is borderline atheist, and he lost his wife of 50+ years (my mom) a few months ago and the idea that there is absolutely nothing after death is driving him insane with grief. I get the feeling a lot of folks who spend their time and energy trying to convince people there is no afterlife (oh, yeah, that's another area where atheism is a religion – conversion attempts) have never experienced such a loss and trying to come to grips with the fact that, if there is no afterlife, then all that person was is gone forever.

    September 29, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Reply
    • Morgan

      Al, I am sorry, but your bitterness does not define others. I call myself an atheist simply because I would like people with religion to understand that I am diametrically opposed to it. And your father's personal struggle with grief, again, does not define what it means to be an atheist. I lost my husband. I grieved (and still do at times). But I take comfort that he has returned to the earth that spawned us. I take comfort that he lived a good life and lived it well, and was a great mate for me. Religion does not need to be a part of my grieving process simply because someone else can't understand why it's not.

      September 29, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Reply
      • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

        You know, that's an interesting – does our inability to accept nothing at the end of life drive us to believe in something that will? Our entire existence is one of there always being a tomorrow, another day. Even when others around us pass away.

        September 29, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • donna

      A religion is a set of beliefs. Atheism refers to one, single belief or lack of belief, so it cannot be a religion. It's a simple matter of facts.

      There is nothing whatsoever that atheists share other than a lack of belief in a deity. I have know atheists who believe in ghosts, I know atheists who believe in mystical karma, even reincarnation. Most atheists I know have never even read Dawkins.

      You can't just kick and scream and call a single belief a religion. It doesn't work that way....I see you're upset and looking for a group to blame, but I'm sorry, there is no atheist religion.

      September 29, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Reply
    • Stephen Barger

      I have never read any of Dawkin's books, and I find it humorous that you're trying to classify atheists as a religion. You make my day 🙂

      September 29, 2013 at 2:32 pm | Reply
      • Elliott Carlin

        It is interesting...I was at the library the other day leafing through the magazine "Reason" the one put out by atheists. One of the articles, and in a positive light, dealt with athiests starting churches and meeting on Sundays. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Now if they can just get their doctrine straight. 🙂

        September 29, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
  12. Quinton

    I can't get over just how many people are posting in here to lambaste God. This alone shows just how much Atheism is taking hold here in America. How many of these idiots have ever thought out how the universe works and the beauty of the lands around us? Did it ever occur to these people that there was an intelligent being behind all of this? Evidently not! On the other hand, how many of these people are truly happy? Not many, I believe!

    September 29, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Reply
    • Realist

      no proof of a god ever proven to exist.. Please clarify your position.

      September 29, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Reply
    • Morgan

      Quinton, that's just it: I never quite realized the beauty of the universe until I realized I'd become an atheist. When I stopped focusing on an afterlife, and started caring about THIS life – then, then life became truly beautiful. There is no need for a deity to appreciate the wonder of the world.

      September 29, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Reply
      • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

        I had the same experience.

        September 29, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
      • Diana

        That's just it- God IS the world. And when you TRULY wonder at this world, at our lives, at our very existence,emotions, etc. You have to question HOW (science) WHAT (surroundings) WHY (God). Math, biology everything points to intelligent design, unlike Hawkings asserts. When you consider the sheer astronomical mathematical factors and the sheer magnitude of the universe, and couple that with human, nature, emotion ,and ability to appreciate beauty and reason, one starts to wonder why, and why us. I have utmost respect for science, and a great appreciation for beauty, but the sheer magnitude of brilliance in the universe highlights an innate (well-hidden) humility, and I HAVE to open my mind to the possibility of a creator. The universe's beauty and my admiration of it compels me to.

        September 29, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
    • EvinAR

      The fact that you and I are both posting on this topic means we are both just about as happy as each other at the moment. We both think there's something wrong with society – you think that people should be more fearing of a god you've never seen but are convinced exists... and I think people should be less fearing and enjoy life more and realize that nothing we do can NOT have a negative impact on SOMETHING...

      For instance, are you a consumer of bottled goods? I invite you to take a look at what plastics are doing to seabird chicks–their parents are feeding them bottle cap tops/rings and disposable lighters, bracelets, beads, etc. They are dying with literally stomachfuls of plastic. What if God had created a more godlike species than us, and their waste looked to us like edible food? Would be kind of cruel of him, wouldn't it? No, I'm maybe not as blissful as you are... but be warned that ignorance is bliss and people who contribute to the suffering of others and fail to educate themselves on things such as the horrific plight of the seabirds in lieu of educating themselves on a 2,000 year-old long-dead torture victim will not be spared from ceasing completely to exist without ensuring that future generations can sustain themselves. What will ensure our ability to sustain ourselves millions of years from now? Religion?! L O L

      September 29, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Reply
    • Elliott Carlin

      You'll have to remember...Clinton Dawkins says it's stupid to ask "why". This is how they get around the big topic of creation. We're supposed to believe in some explosion which set everything in order, and in PRECISE order. Everything we see (cars, buildings, watches) was created.....but the matter which makes up the Universe? Nah, that just sort of happened. Right.

      September 29, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Reply
  13. Jerad L

    Reading Dawkins' responses makes it obvious he has never actually read the Bible and has no understanding of the subject matter he is talking about. This is typical of most atheists. They have a lack of education on what they are actually fighting against. Consistently referring to old testament practices which don't even apply to the faith. If you actually read the book the new testament explains to you exactly why the OT happened and why it doesn't apply anymore. The logical failures in Dawkins' comments are huge. It is a travesty that other uneducated people get their information from this man considering him an expert on subjects he doesn't understand due to his own lack of education on the subjects.

    September 29, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Reply
    • Patrick

      Well said, Jerad L. Thank you for your enlightened post above. By the way, I want to thank Quinton above, too!

      September 29, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Reply
    • Realist

      much like complaining someone never read all of Marvel's comic books, yet they make a decision that these are just silly and entertaining books of fabrications.

      September 29, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Reply
    • EvinAR

      I'd much rather put down the book that makes people hate other religions and AT MOST become 'good people' at the expense of having a closed mind and less tolerance for difference in culture... and pick up books that continue to allow us to fight disease, build more efficient cities of people who live more efficiently, create computers and machines which spread ideas that aren't poison to the planet, and make million-ton vehicles that will be able to rocket us into space.

      Just me, though. Get over your own piousness and ACTUALLY better yourself.

      September 29, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Reply
    • artisgreat

      Jerad You need to do some fact checks .First surveys have shown that Atheists have read and understand the Bible better than believers..For the majority that is how they became Atheists Second nowhere in the new testament does it say ignore the old testament in fact it says just the opposite. Do you realize the 10 commandments are in the old testament Are you saying we should ignore them The book religious people call the good book is not good .It is evil .

      September 29, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Reply
      • junas

        Your right Artisgreat,the bible,the koran,and all such "holy books" are evil,I just wish we could all see that.Also most christians dont even know the ten commandments, the REAL TEN COMMANDMENTS which can be found in exodus 34.

        September 29, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
      • Shawn Metcalf

        I can't speak for the next man....but who do I put my trust in??? Many men speak of no God that we should carry on
        with no desire to have some sort of moral compass.Really???...for man to have all the answers why does it seem he
        can't come up with solutions to the problems he creates?.Can he establish true lasting peace?doesn't look that way.
        This is funny...man so sure God didn't create heaven&earth but yet can't truly prove the "big bang" either I won't go on
        though I will say this...it just doesn't seem logical to me for man to be so quick to rebuke what may be our only hope
        From my own experiences I can tell you how life ended up for me living with no restraints...no moral code(acting as if mom&dad didn't teach me anything)to one step at a time applying God's word...been in less trouble hands down it
        isn't easy truth be told living up to the commandments I don't play into debates you got to search things out everything
        is up for discussion with me just think it's foolish some men are hard pressed judge yourselves.The Bible is the all time selling book...ever.Many prophetic events spoken of long ago are recorded in secular history to have happened precisely as spoken hmmm.Prophetic events for the end times and those involved are rapidly unfolding on the world stage but yet man can't realize our own human ill willed actions are the very reasons these prophesies have been and are being fulfilled!!! This comment isn't for artisgreat per say...just the place I chose to comment.If you do nothing else love one another...times to hard out here for the BS regardless!!!.

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

      He was raised in a religious home and boarding school with a religious education. He's also been studying this issue for decades. I expect he knows more about the bible than most posters here.

      September 29, 2013 at 2:22 pm | Reply
      • Elliott Carlin

        The Scriptures tell us even the devils believe and tremble. That you credit with Dawkins' such a wide swath of Bible knowledge falls flat when you see how he injects OT into everything. Its a misapplication of the Law theologically-he does what every good lawyer/critic does: go after the perceived weakest link of the opposition; when in fact he rarely touches the truth of the New Testament. And we all know why.

        September 29, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
      • donna

        Elliot, from your comments, it's clear to me that you are the one who is ignorant about the place of the OT in modern religions.

        September 29, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
      • Elliott Carlin

        Coming from one who says Christianity PRESCRIBES violence, I'll wear your criticism as a badge of honor. lol

        September 29, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • Peggy

      Well said

      September 29, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Reply
  14. Realist

    human brains are wired to succeed from birth.. yes, that also means many of those in prisons and mental insti-tutions..

    What distracts use from that path are childhood traumas;

    Telling your child they are a sinner among all sinners is just wrong, negative and reducing them.. trauma #1.

    Telling your child about a place they will receive painful third degree burns for eternity,, is frightening, trauma #2

    Showing a dead and bloody guy on a cross is just gross.. trauma #3

    Instead,, tell your children they are good, love and hug them and help them understand human emotions. Most importantly that people are NOT sinners,, some people were disadvantaged children who were abused and never had anyone to help them cope. Help them understand that there is a physical change in the brain of severely abused children caused by trauma and coping alone. Help them understand that heightened emotions replaces reasoning in the brains of adults who were once abused as children, many were unaware. Teach them not to blame or judge, but to understand and help..

    Please keep them away from religions until they are at least 18.. let them make a healthy decision when they are old enough. (I understand that if you don't induct them as children, the brainwashing won't stick as well)

    September 29, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Reply
    • Blake

      Realist? Please open your eyes and know there is a God. Do you really think something as complex as the human body just banged into existence? How can you look around at the complexity and beauty in nature and not know that there is a God. Children need to go to church with their parents and learn about the reality of God and how to live their life. Taking God out of everything is why this country is declining.

      September 29, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Reply
      • junas

        And it just had to be the bible god who made all this huh? Read the bible I mean really read it with your eyes open. The god in that book couldnt make a ham sandwich,he would screw it up then blame the sandwich.

        September 29, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
      • Realist

        in our simple minds we think the universe is complex.. we are still evolving and one day will understand. Your simple idea of complex aligns itself quite well with religions who worshiped to volcanoes, because they didn't know any better.

        People's gods changed as we understood more.. and the simplest of minds will weakly follow the voodoo.

        Shame on you..

        September 29, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
  15. Francesco

    Mr. Dawkins wants politicians to begin courting atheists? He does realize that when you are an atheist, you are not identified with a particular religious movement or voting bloc. Even religiously inspired politicians do target atheists in every participatory democracy around the world. They are called voters.

    This is either the dumbest statement ever made by Mr. Dawkins; or a brilliantly whimsical satirical brain fart. After reading it a second time; I suspect the former. If atheists are going to claim an intellectual superiority over us uneducated and religiously faithful unwashed masses; you better be able to think and express your thoughts better than this. Wow, I'm speechless.

    September 29, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Reply
    • donna

      Francesco, His point is valid. Any group represents a voting bloc- you don't have to have meetings for that to be. I don't go to women's meetings or middle aged meetings to be part of those voting blocks.

      And for the record. there are lots of groups of various names that coincide with the atheist movement such as Freethinkers and Seculars, and Humanists. There are camps for children under these communities, just like church camp, there are clubs at schools, etc.

      Currently, both US parties focus on religious groups. You are simply wrong to say that they currently target atheists as voters. It's clear in every election that both parties put religion in the forefront of their candidates' platforms. That's what he's saying should change. They should stop alienating atheists.

      September 29, 2013 at 2:17 pm | Reply
      • Elliott Carlin

        I'd suggest Clinton Dawkins get his US citizenship before commenting on our politics. By the way, did you know ol' Clint has been married 3 times? I mean, ok, once is a mistake...divorced...married again...divorced...now married again. Bet he's a treat to live with-he knows it all..lol

        September 29, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
      • donna

        It's absurd to say that someone needs to be a citizen to comment on our politics. I expect he is far more educated and pays attention to what's going on than many, many citizens.

        September 29, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
      • Elliott Carlin

        well Donna, we can all agree he knows a lot about being, and not being, married. LOL

        September 29, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • junas

      It would be best for you to remain "speechless".

      September 29, 2013 at 2:54 pm | Reply
  16. JFCanton

    Dawkins' opening argument is meaningless: it is ignorant of the fact that we had such things as stonings before religion. And surely more randomly.

    September 29, 2013 at 1:54 pm | Reply
    • donna

      The fact that people did it without religion doesn't miss his point. In religion, it is PRESCRIBED. Do you understand what that means? So part of the clearly stated religious moral code is to stone people to death. Yes, other "moral codes" are violent, but that in no way negates the fact that the Judeo-Christian moral code is filled with violence.

      September 29, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Reply
      • Elliott Carlin

        prima donna-please advise where in the Christian part of Judeo-Christian moral coding is violence commanded?

        September 29, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
      • donna

        Elliot, If you haven't read the OT, then I can't help you. If you are claiming that the the NT nullifies the OT, show me where your church publicly renounced the OT as false.

        September 29, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
      • TKO

        If there were no religion to PRESCRIBE it do you think it would be less frequent? People who cling to power would find another reason or way to PRESCRIBE it.

        September 29, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
      • Elliott Carlin

        Donna, do I have to spell it out for you? Old means Old and New means New.

        September 29, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
      • donna

        TKO, No one think that violence would end without religion. But it's certainly possible it would reduce without encouragement from organized religion.

        Would Bush have invaded Iraq and killed tens of thousands of people if he didn't have the excuse to say "God told me to do it,"? Probably, but he might not have had so much support.

        But if we are talking about the most violent Abrahamic laws today- Sharia Law, do you think there would be less violence if that were ended? I think so.

        How about everyone who spits hatred at gay people using the bible as their reason? I think that would be reduced if people had to find a rational reason to oppose it.

        September 29, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
      • donna

        Elliot Carlin, You are so uneducated about religion it's sad. First, not every Judeo-Christian/Abrahamic religion interprets the OT the same- so pretending that your view speaks for everyone is juvenile.

        Second, when you teach people that the OT is true and right, and that those are the things your god encourages.

        Finally, you either don't understand your own religion or you're a liar. You still cherry pick things from the OT to use, you don't dismiss it as fiction.

        September 29, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
  17. NorthVanCan

    I like the idea children should not be allowed in church til over 18.
    Makes sense , since they need time to mentally develop .

    September 29, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Reply
    • deep blue

      I don't have a problem with parents forcing kids to go to church. Many churches are great communities. If kids don't like the church, in high school or after high school they will stop going.
      It is true that people's religious beliefs highly correlate with their parents. One could argue that this is due to sinister brain washing. I would instead argue that these people are members of a community that they enjoy. They are under the spiritual guidance of individuals that largely share their values and see no reason to change. Would they be equally happy in a different religious organization or as an atheist? Probably. Is that a problem? I certainly don't think so.

      September 29, 2013 at 2:28 pm | Reply
    • Realist

      correct,, it's unfair to the child.. But the religionist will argue simply because they know brainwashing sticks when started in early childhood.

      Religionist as alcoholics,, they deny the lie and need believing buddies.

      September 29, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Reply
  18. Blake

    Apparently Dawkins knows very little about the bible and tries to persuade using lies. Stoning to death and even the sabbath are under the old law. Once Jesus died on the cross we were placed under the new covenant. Jesus paid the price for all of our sins and we have to study the bible and do his will his way to have any hope of heaven. Please do not let this guy lead you down the path to destruction. Think about this moral compass. Why do even children know when they are doing wrong? Because there is a God, open your eyes people.

    September 29, 2013 at 2:18 pm | Reply
    • donna

      Blake, you would have an argument if all of the Judeo-Christian religions renounced the Old Testament as false, and evil, but that's not the case, is it?

      September 29, 2013 at 2:21 pm | Reply
      • Elliott Carlin

        Prima Donna-Christ came to fulfill the law (O.T.). The Law showed how man missed the mark over and over.
        Do answer this though...since no one today is under 'the law' of the O.T., why does evil still abound without 'religion'? Man is culpable today, right? I mean, we don't see a God speaking from the cloud today, do we? Therefore obviously He doesn't exist, or so your argument goes. Again, why so much violence in our own country from people not even associating w/religion?

        September 29, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
      • donna

        Elliot, you are extremely naive if you think no one relies in the OT, unless your teaching is that it was false and fictional, you are teaching people to believe what's in it. And you are wrong about your assumptions about how my argument goes.

        September 29, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • artisgreat

      Blake Before you quote what the Bible says please get out your Bible and read Matthew 5:17-19 .It clearly says that the old testament is not void and its laws are not void

      September 29, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Reply
    • junas

      your god is EVIL open your own eyes.

      September 29, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Reply
    • Allan Farber

      and he knows nothing about Jewish legal development either. We don't just pick and choose criteria to determine which ancient laws are still relevant.

      September 29, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Reply
  19. Elliott Carlin

    Dostoyevsky said "If there is no God, then all things are permissible"

    Dawkins' recently said certain pedophilia isn't harmful to children; another leading atheist, Lawrence Krauss, admitted incest would be morally acceptable.

    Dostoyevsky 1
    athiests 0

    September 29, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Reply
    • Realist

      you can thank secular society to stop "then all things are permissible",, god has zero to do with that..

      Remember, doing good deeds began with man forming tribes, learning to live together and without gods.. Religion crept out of these tribes as they found they could gain power by scaring people.

      In the USA,, we keep religions tamed. US laws are over religions. Religions answer to us, as it should be.

      Religions rules are no different than kids tree house ones.. Their stories are quite similar too

      September 29, 2013 at 2:51 pm | Reply
      • Elliott Carlin

        So we could have avoided the whole slavery/Civil War thing if we had just had tribes. Interesting theory. Never heard it before. At least not in reputable circles.

        Sarcasm off....

        Your arguments never deal with the origin and continuation of evil.

        September 29, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
      • ggg

        no. religion is a cultural universal. There is no such thing as an atheist tribe.

        Morality is a supernatural concept. Something can be sensed to have color, texture, shape, etc. Nothing can be sensed to have moral worth. Morality is completely subjective and without the fear of God to enforce moral absolutes there is nothing saying that something is definitively "good" or "bad."


        September 29, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
      • Realist

        evil comes mostly from once children who were 1) traumatized and now mentally ill and 2) those from power who always want and get their own way..

        September 29, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
      • Realist

        morality and doing good came from parents who loved their children (just like some species in the animal kingdom where animal take care of one another).. the caring spread as parents didn't want others harmed.

        Religion and god had zero to do with that.

        September 29, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
      • donna

        ggg, you are mistaken. There are tribes that have no identifiable religion, and there are religions that have no deity.

        September 29, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
      • Disillusioned

        Really? Name them. Name one culture that does not follow a spiritual ate of some sort. Quit flapping your moth as if you know, and show that you really do.

        September 29, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
    • Realist

      ah,, like the catholic church who thought pedophilia isn't so bad and the rest of the christians never held them accountable for their crimes.. The victims rejected by christianity

      September 29, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Reply
      • Elliott Carlin

        Anyone on any side of that issue knows what the RCC did was morally wrong and about as depraved as one can go. The RCC disobeyed the Lord and the Scriptures-it doesn't lessen that truth. But nice try. By your argument, we should all be renouncing our citizenship because our country our President has a Tuesday Kill-List he checks off weekly.

        September 29, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • artisgreat

      Elloitt I think what Krauss was saying was that if Morals came from the Bible then incest was acceptable If Adam and Eve were the first humans and they had children then in order to populate the world there children had to of performed incest. So much for getting your morals from the Bible

      September 29, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Reply
      • Elliott Carlin

        Artis–if you have to say "I think he was saying..." then you need to re-watch the video-what you typed is what you wanted it to say. He was essentially forced to admit if man is the arbiter of all things moral, then incest could be acceptable...and he was booed for saying it.

        Donna, get a grip-Dawkins wasn't talking about incest/you're injecting a different conversation altogether-run along while the adults discuss important matters.

        September 29, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
      • donna

        Elliot Carlin, What a bizarre little liar you are. You referenced two people, one about pedophilia and one about incest. You should know that.

        September 29, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • donna

      You are lying he did not say that. He was talking about his personal experience and the the experiences of his friends, whom he talked to about it. And he said he didn't think it did any LASTING harm, not NO harm. And there are different definitions of incest in various cultures, so it's correct to say it's not an absolute issue.

      It's really sad when you have to stoop to lying to try to make a point....

      September 29, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Reply
      • artisgreat

        Donna you are correct Krauss did not say what I attributed to him . I got the story correct but i attributed it to the wrong person Sorry it was not intentional.

        September 29, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
      • donna


        I am very confused. I replied to a comment from Elliot Carlin that said this:

        "Elliott Carlin
        Dostoyevsky said "If there is no God, then all things are permissible"

        Dawkins' recently said certain pedophilia isn't harmful to children; another leading atheist, Lawrence Krauss, admitted incest would be morally acceptable."

        Then Elliot Carlin replied that I erroneously mentioned incest, despite that the comment referencing it was under his name. Now you are replying as if I had replied to a comment from you.

        Are you and Elliot Carlin the same poster?

        September 29, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
      • artisgreat

        Donna No we are not the same poster ,I think he was answering my incorrect post about Krauss and then at the end of his post thru in a comment to you

        September 29, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
  20. Reasonoverfaith

    Dawkins was named #1 thinker of our times. Dawkins rules, reason rules, most of the theiest commentators here are simply nuts.

    September 29, 2013 at 2:58 pm | Reply
    • Elliott Carlin

      I look back a few decades to my childhood and see things like caning, like mild pedophilia, and can’t find it in me to condemn it by the same standards as I or anyone would today,–Richard Dawkins.

      Yeah, HE'S SURE GOT ME THINKING....LOL!!!!

      September 29, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Reply
  21. Jeff Kubitz

    What is love? Is it really anything? Does it really exist or is it just confusing hormones prior to breeding or is it comprised of acts to get something from someone? What is morality? Does it really exist here on planet earth? Is there anything that is truly right or wrong? Our existence, we mortals of flesh and blood, is it pointless? Some day should science find there is more to ourselves than what we perceive to be just our current definition of our physical selves, what then? For instance, many unexplainable things have happened to me, such as exact and precise times of future events, usually disasters but not always, does this prove either one of two things a greater component to our physical selves or that our physical selves may contain extra-dimensional characteristics not yet recognized by science? Now, my question is very simple, witnessed as walking on water in public many times across the United States since 1978 and the ability to modify the weather, why would it be immoral for me to change the world to the way I want it to be?

    September 29, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Reply
  22. Sortie

    The Christian God is in Hell for plagiarizing his own novel.

    The Devil intercepts all prayers sent to God and uses them for his own power. That's why there is so much evil in the world. Don't you get it? All you Christians are just empowering Satan!. It's so obvious, even a young child could understand 🙂

    September 29, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Reply
  23. junas

    Remember Adolf Hitler? He was a devout christian, what good did that do anybody?

    September 29, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Reply
    • Elliott Carlin

      Not true.
      However we do know Stalin had no time for God-and he subjugated 10 times the number Hitler did. And Russia is STILL paying for it.

      September 29, 2013 at 3:28 pm | Reply
  24. PuzzledInPeoria

    The Ten Commandments remain the highest moral influence in the world. Almost every country's legal system is based on them, in one form or another.

    To say that religion provides no moral compass is a blatant lie. In Muslim countries, Sharia law is the moral compass, for good or bad. In "Christian" countries where the Ten Commandments are routinely ignored, there are increasing numbers of divorces, illegitimate births, criminality, and substance abuse. Perhaps Mr. Dawkins does not consider these "moral" problems.

    While Mr. Dawkins may WISH that religion did not provide a moral compass, in reality, just the opposite is true.

    September 29, 2013 at 3:32 pm | Reply
    • tony

      The last 4 or so are moral. The first ones are just religious fatwas.

      September 29, 2013 at 4:07 pm | Reply
    • artisgreat

      PuzzledInPeoria You are wrong ,in fact the exact opposite is true .Those items you mentioned as proof that without Religion are more prevalent are actually more prevalent in the countries with the most people who believe in God.

      September 29, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Reply
  25. nerdy_christian_13

    Firstly, I actually did like your analysis on why religion is still common in the US but not as much in the UK. Secondly, could everyone please stop it with the cherry picking of Bible verses? That goes for everyone who does it (myself included) to the people who claim that we're doing it when we're not (a little context goes a long way). Thirdly, there's a good quote about the difference between religion and a relationship with God. Mr. Dawkins is correct that religion is not a moral compass. However, he fails to make the distinction between religion and a relationship with God.
    –An evangelical Christian who's not ashamed of it.

    September 29, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Reply
  26. ggg

    Dawkins and other atheist are absolutely right in asserting that God does not exist but fail miserably when it comes to the societal implications of asserting such a thing. This is why Dawkins will always be a second-rate thinker compared to a Nietzsche or Dostoevsky.

    Morality IS a supernatural concept. Hitler was White and had a funny little mustache and spoke German. These are things we can perceive about him through our senses, or at least gather from what people of the past had sensed about him. We all, more or less, can perceive things similarly to the point where our perceptions coincide with what we can call "reality" and not just "opinion." Once you start getting into the territory of saying he was morally "bad" is when you begin to venture out of reality and into opinion. Saying he was "bad" is a supernatural concept, as opposed to a natural concept such as saying he had brown hair.

    Now, a Christian can say he was "bad" because he violated the principle of "Thou shalt not kill," which was sent down from an all-good God. What can an atheist say? If you don't believe in the supernatural, what the hell can you say? Who says killing is "bad?" Would killing Hitler be "bad?" You might say killing causes suffering, and suffering is "bad." But wouldn't killing Hitler cause less suffering overall? Besides, what about suffering makes it inherently "bad?" Some people, such as in the BDSM community, have decided it is good in certain instances, are they wrong?

    To Nietzsche this moral ambiguity was invigorating, but modern Atheist just dance around the issue by inheriting the moral compass of their Christian-derived culture and pretending it fits in with their ethos.

    September 29, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Reply
    • tony

      rejecting your ridiculous claim that our moral compapass is christian derived isn't dancing around – it's marching right through it. Recorded History started about 6,000 years ago, not 2000.

      September 29, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Reply
      • ggg

        largely Christian-derived. Obviously there have been other influences.

        Nice red herring. That was not even close to the point of my post.

        September 29, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
    • donna

      You might want to educate yourself about morality in non human animals. It is not a supernatural concept.

      September 29, 2013 at 7:36 pm | Reply
  27. Ken from FL

    It's Sunday! Of course, this is the first headline in CNN's section on the World! Keep it up, CNN, your record on Christian bashing on Sunday's remains perfect.

    September 29, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Reply
  28. Tim Umpleby

    Mr Dawkins has no clue as to what he is saying! The very first question and answer for example. We as Christians don't pick and choose from the Old Testament and New Testament. The only thing from the OT that we live by is the 10 Commandments. But the OT is more of historical facts and figures. God told us to go by the NT! If you're going to answer sir then answer correctly!

    September 29, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Reply
    • tony

      God never mentioned the NT. It's all about Jesus instead.

      Gos said watch the heavens for updates, not wait around for bible part two. (gen 1:14)

      September 29, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Reply
    • nepawoods

      "God told us to go by the NT!" ... Where or when did he do that? As the other reply mentions, it couldn't be in the New Testament. The New Testament is a collection of books by different authors, all written long before anyone collected them all together and called it "The Holy Bible". None of those authors wrote about a book that wouldn't exist for another 300 years.

      September 29, 2013 at 5:48 pm | Reply
  29. GodIsDeadGetOverIt

    religion is evil

    September 29, 2013 at 4:08 pm | Reply
    • tony

      It took religion to create the idea and name of an abstract evil. It always helps to create a bogeyman to keep your "flock" togther and looking outward, instead of inwards at the internal rot within.

      September 29, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Reply
  30. Joe Clark

    Richard Dawkins reminds me vey much of a tree hidden in the depths of the proverbial world forest. He cannot see the entirety of the forest only the trees that immediately surround him. He can see the perfect qualities of the hummingbirds occasionally fly as well as the other wondrous living creations around him but he sadly cannot reach the conclusion that a omnipotent creator was the cause of al these remarkable creatures. They didn't evolve by chance. Mr. Dawkins is like that blind man walking around in a dark cave holding a candle looking for a light that shown so brightly 2000 years ago and was witnessed alive and well by over 500 human beings and who saw him after he was crucified dead and buried

    September 29, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Reply
    • nepawoods

      Evolution is a proven fact.

      September 29, 2013 at 5:44 pm | Reply
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