What is it about atheism that sends religious people into a tailspin of ignorance and utter vitriol? Much of the nonsense comes from Christians, but some from other right wing sources as well. Here is an article from a Jewish Rabbi, Rabbi Avi Shafran, entitled, The Indignity of Atheism
The left certainly has its share of wingnuttery as well. Melinda Barton has written a piece on atheism that is chock full of typical wingnuttiness. Fortunately, PZ Myers makes easy fodder of it, and so I need not add anything to that.
What I would like to comment on is this..
The worst lie spread about atheists and atheism in general is that by rejecting God, we have no guiding moral principles. That is, Christians accuse us of being without any conscience or 'force' to prevent us from stabbing puppies in the head before we rape our daughters (again) on the way to knocking off a liquor store for drug money.
The problem is that this is laughably untrue. In fact, I would posit that atheists are more moral and 'godly' than even your most average Christian. The reason is clear, and one they want to hide from you, because it makes such sense that they would look (even more) stupid if they uttered it publicly.
Here are two general statements that most everyone has heard at one point or another:
1. Christians (or any human) who sins and is unrepentant will burn in hell forever.
2. Atheists have only social moral guides -- that is, atheists can only operate within social morals, and specifically those which help strengthen society, because human society is all there is.
Christians will deny the second statement to the very bloody end, because if it were true, then it would mean that atheists only moral guide is helping humanity, and thus immorality is destructive to that society. They refuse to admit this because it means the atheists have purpose, i.e. meaning, in their lives. That meaning is to make humanity better. this goes against everything Christians were taught, and to admit it would mean that there is another valid way to live outside their narrow worldview.
But what I want to focus on is the first statement, the one virtually all Christians agree to. What does that mean to us mere humans here on our tiny planet Earth? To a Christian, one could be guilty of killing millions of humans, never doing anything to help humanity, giving poison candy to babies, raping virgin (white) women, and any other atrocity one could imagine, and if on the day they were to be executed, if that person were to give their life over to Jesus Christ, then that person will sit at the (pick your hand -- right or left) hand of Jesus in reward for eternity. Whereas an atheist who spent their life feeding the starving children, curing disease, bringing the poor out of poverty, securing peace between nations, and educating the masses, but if they happen to die from AIDS while being gay, that person will burn in hell forever.
The whole value system of Christians is disgustingly skewed. They praise the person who is a genocidal murderer because (and only because) he is Christian, but nothing the atheist does makes that person moral in their eyes. The reason is obvious, and exclusively singular in their purpose. That is Jesus. One can comit each and every single atrocity, but none of that matters to them if that person repents and accepts Jesus Christ. Whereas, an atheist can commit every known act of kindness and goodness, and still be reviled by the Christian because he has not accepted Jesus. This means that the only variable in the equation of moral versus immoral in the eyes of a Christian is Jesus.
To put this in a clearer way, no actions, moral or immoral matter at all to them. The only line of demarkation is Jesus. Thus, to a Christian actions of humanity matter exactly zero, in light of acceptance of Jesus. But the exact opposite is true of atheists, the only thing that is moral to atheists, and acceptable, is how their behavior affects humanity. From this, it is clear that Christians do not care about humanity, or their fellow humans at all, since actions are not important to their idea of morality. All that matters is repentance and acceptance of Jesus.
We see this view laid bare when we see Christian's attitudes towards global warming, and preservation of our environment. Christianity can not be moral when they value acceptance of Jesus and eternal reward for that acceptance above the actions of their members while alive and functioning here on Earth. For none of this matters in terms of eternity.
However, what is it that affects us on a daily basis, some future reward (or punishment) or how we behave today? Clearly it is our daily behavior. Thus, there is no comparison, atheism is the much better moral guide for living than Christianity. Because Christians believe nothing you do matters at all, but for atheists, everything you do matters.
In conclusion, all this "common wisdom" that gets written about atheism such as this foolishness by Rabbi Avi Shafran is nothing but trash thrown at atheists. Christian writing such as that by Melinda Barton is no better (and usually worse). The facts that everyone can see, that is the facts here on planet Earth, all point to moral acts as being those which help humanity. Prisons are filled with those who do the opposite. The problem is that prisons are also filled with Christians, not atheists.
It is just too bad that Christians do not see being a good person as being 'moral'. Instead all they see is one's views of some mythical supernatural Santa Claus in the sky as being moral.
WE will examine the sole difference in a later post. That being, is eternal life in heaven really a better moral guide than preserving humanity today. This boils down to is there really a god, and if there is, is it found in the Bible? For if there is, then being the most repugnant human being history has ever known is not a deciding factor in salvation, rather the only the acceptance of Jesus. This would bring us full circle to the idea that morality is nothing more than accepting Jesus, and no acts here on Earth matter at all. Again, this leads us to athesits being more moral here on Earth. But the question then is, are we more moral period, if there is nothing else?