I disagree - God spoke of the law of God and the law of man and he never said the two were the same at all - in fact there are several instances where God's people lived among other populations and just took care of their own business - they made choices based on both laws while those not of their faith make choices based on the laws of the land only. This is not strictly a Christian country - in fact the number of Fundie Christian's are declining while the number of moderate and liberal Christians remain or decline as well. Other religions are climbing in members - Pagans, Buddhists, Jews, Muslims, agnostics and so forth. I figure if a Fundie wants to obey the law of God, there is nothing stopping them while those who are not interested in the laws of the Christian God can stick to the laws of the land.
The two having nothing to do with each other.
IMO people who believe in a Diety adopt an additional set of rules which transcends the secular legal system. From them one can expect a higher standard of behavior and understanding. The Bible teaches a lot of these things as does the "I Ching" or "Qua'ran" or even the "Kamasutra".
Since atheists don't subscribe to this higher standard of behaviour or accountability would they be less dependable? Since the consequences of their actions are only punishable by secular law, are they somehow less inclined to do right? Since their existence terminates with their death, do they tend to demand immediate gratification?
Could this paint the picture of a conceited, sneaky, less reliable person bent on self-gratification?
What do you think?
You do know what the Karma Sutra is right? That is an idea system/books, etc. that deal with sex.
Do I think they are "Sneaky . . . " - nope. Just because they are not Christian or any other form of religious individuals does not mean they don't have higher standards for their behavior. That is like saying that all Christians obey laws - they never steal, never lie, never rape or kill. When we know by the current jail birds that many claim to be Christians and still they do really stupid things.
Ain who is an agonistic/atheist on the boards is a rather good example - she does have higher ideals - she is an advocate for both people and animals and believes everyone should be treated with respect and dignity - that they should be given a hand up, etc. Diver is another example of this - he is respectful of his wife's chosen religious beliefs and he is a good person who is honest and forth coming - no criminal records nor any bad behavior - he does not cheat on his wife, etc. They don't cheat on spouses and such because they think it is morally wrong not because their preacher told them not to. I actually have more respect for someone who has morals without someone telling them what their morals are and especially more than someone who has to be told and then still disregards them. Nothing like a preacher caught with their pants down and coke on their face to say - hum, must not live up to the lofty standards you expect of others.
Then you come to the what constitutes moral behavior - example: some don't feel a little pot is against moral behavior - the bible does not address this and some people do it and it affects no one so then it becomes a personal choice - some feel it is not a moral issue at all but that abuse of it does lead to moral issues. Personally I think if you can handle it and keep it out of the work place, not get high and drive and you harm no one then I don't care what you do in the privacy of your home with pot. I don't smoke it but I don't think a person will burn in hell for it either or that it makes them a bad person with no morals.
There are universal moral no no's: they are rape, murder, stealing, lying and such. But someone having premarital sex, that is up to the individual to square with themselves and they don't feel it makes them amoral - I tend to agree because sex in its self is not destructive. The only time it becomes a true moral problems is when you spread disease or you have multiple children you can not support, or that you abuse, neglect, etc. Which then again society frowns upon and does consider bad behavior - abuse of children is a no no. Spreading AIDS knowing is also a no no - some have been tried for murder for doing it.
[You do know what the Karma Sutra is right? That is an idea system/books, etc. that deal with sex. ]
Well it sort of does. It is about the structuring of East Indian society and how a person should behave in that society. It deals with many topics. You've never read it have you?
The topic is "How do you feel about Atheists". If you know nothing about a person except that they are an atheist, how should you feel? This general question conjures up images or sterotypes based upon no other information than their religious beliefs (or lack thereof). Why wouldn't you think they were sneaky, hedonistic, egotistic and unreliable unless it were proved otherwise?
Of course my dad used the same criteria to evaluate everyone, "In God we trust, all others pay cash".
Well it sort of does. It is about the structuring of East Indian society and how a person should behave in that society. It deals with many topics. You've never read it have you? I have seen it in passing but not really - I saw enough to blush and move on.
The topic is "How do you feel about Atheists". If you know nothing about a person except that they are an atheist, how should you feel? This general question conjures up images or stereotypes based upon no other information than their religious beliefs (or lack thereof). Why wouldn't you think they were sneaky, hedonistic, egotistic and unreliable unless it were proved otherwise? I have worked with atheist and spoke with them and I would say I don't feel any different about them than I do anyone else. If I were to say what made me instantly uncomfortable it would have to say if someone said I was a felon or rapist - but I have Buddhist, Pagan, Atheist, Agnostic and many diverse friends - so I don't lump it with anything unusual myself. None are any more prone than Christians, Jews and Muslims from doing stupid things. We all are pretty much on equal footing when it comes to our ability to do stupid things.
Of course my dad used the same criteria to evaluate everyone, "In God we trust, all others pay cash". I trust all until they prove themselves unworthy of that trust and their religious choice or lack of one is not something I consider a untrustworthy attribute.
Naw, atheists are probably a bunch of hedonists who don't want any accountability. They probably have HUGE credit card debt, ditched their families, unemployed most of the time or are receiving state aid. They probably use recreational drugs or are drunks.
christians are probably a bunch of hedonists who don't want any accountability. They probably have HUGE credit card debt, ditched their families, unemployed most of the time or are receiving state aid. They probably use recreational drugs or are drunks.
Actually I have never been hurt by anyone save one person - she claimed to be Christian, but I don't hold that against the rest of the Christians. I know the system is full of Christians who lie, steal and murder among other things and I have worked with and lived side by side with atheist among other belief systems and have always had great experiences with them.
I could not imagine being so paranoid about anyone not being a Christian being a bad person while at the same time being gullable enough to think that just because someone is a Christian they are honest and trust worthy. Seem a little @$$ backwards to my way of thinking - I prefer to treat everyone the same until they have proven themselves untrustworthy. Then I don't care what religion they are or are not - they are untrustworthy because of their actions not "beliefs" held.
That would be fun -if it could be a in depth study and everyone was honest - you could have some interesting results I bet - usually most crimes go unsolved so you know there are more criminal elements out there who just have not been caught yet, etc. So many influences on what makes us a bad person or a good person and does religion play a part in stopping people from doing things they are not suppose to, etc.
One of the biggest claims you hear from some individuals/groups is that religious people are automatically more successfully in life, do not depend on welfare, do not have addictions and are not criminals after salvation if they were these things before hand as if when you become saved life just suddenly becomes roses and all problems are lifted from your shoulders. That you are no longer capable of doing bad things nor were you capable of doing good things before you salvation which is why you were such an idiot and did bad things - it was your nature before Christ. That everyone without a God has to be bad because some were before belief/acceptance. I think religious and spiritual people have the same issues - before, during and after, that those without religion do and that each group has a unique way of coping and that neither is better nor worse than the other - it is the application of the coping by the individual that triggers problems when they arise and that is what needs addressed. Salvation alone is not going to make a person stop using or stop abusing, they need help and if they broke a law they need to do their time. Can getting salvation help some - yes, it is a symbolic turning point, and I think God can help you if you want him to, but you have to do your share - it is not instant, it is not easy and it involves hard work - learning skills, gaining experience and trust, etc. Which is why I am suspicious of individuals who try to sell God alone oppose to saying we can help you find God if you would like but we also want to help you become a better person - we want to offer job training, assistance and you need to take responsibility - meaning do the time, make amends to who you wronged and so forth. Now some groups take these steps - like the 12 step program but others just say get dunked and your good to go.
people who believe in a Diety adopt an additional set of rules which
transcends the secular legal system. From them one can expect a higher
standard of behavior and understanding. The Bible teaches a lot of
these things as does the "I Ching" or "Qua'ran" or even the "Kamasutra".
Since atheists don't subscribe to this higher standard of behaviour
or accountability would they be less dependable? Since the
consequences of their actions are only punishable by secular law, are
they somehow less inclined to do right? Since their existence
terminates with their death, do they tend to demand immediate
Could this paint the picture of a conceited, sneaky, less reliable person bent on self-gratification?
I think this is one of those completely untrue lies and demonizations about atheists which drives a lot of us up the wall with the brazenness of its illogic and deliberate spitefulness. The notion that morality can only come from religion is ridiculous and demonstrably untrue.
For most people, the standard way of teaching children right from wrong is to punish them when they do something bad, and sometimes we reward them for doing something good. We do this because children are not born with much if any sense of right & wrong on their own, so we use a punishment/reward system to instill in them that their actions will have consequences.
Such a system may be OK for children, but it only teaches that actions will have good or bad consequences for themselves. Children have not yet developed a sense of empathy, so until they get a little older it's not so effective to teach them based on the consequences their actions have on others. Once we get older though, most people (excluding sociopaths) develop a sense of empathy for others, and we avoid doing bad things not (just) because of the negative consequences it will have for ourselves, but because of the negative consequences it will have on others. A sense of empathy for others is a natural part of normal human development, and is a large part of what makes us a social species. We don't do bad things to others because we can put ourselves into their shoes and see from their perspective that what we're doing would be bad.
Let's compare that to religion. Religious-taught morality also employs a punishment/reward system, like heaven & hell or karma. If you are a bad person, you will go to hell or be reincarnated as a lower life form or will have bad things come back to you. If you are a good person, you will go to heaven/Nirvana or will have good things happen to you. Note, though, that this is the self-centered morality of children, not the empathetic, selfless morality of mature adults. Such is the morality of religion.
Also, as has been pointed out by Richard Dawkins and many others, we all possess a sense of morality that is not only separate from, but sometimes counter to the morality taught by religion. Consider that the bible proscribes the death penalty for such acts as homosexuality, working on the Sabbath, adultery, and even sassing one's parents. (Deuteronomy & Leviticus: gotta love 'em!) Thankfully, the great majority of xtians today would consider such rules to be barbaric and beyond draconian. But from where does this alternative sense of morality come from, if not the bible? The truth is, even religious people pick-and-choose which moral rules to follow and which to ignore. We all have an innate sense of morality stemming not from religious teachings, but from our natural empathy toward others.
The person who is good only out of fear of going to hell, or desire to go to heaven, is not to be trusted. He is probably a misanthrope. It is the mark of a mature person who is good simply for the sake of being good, or for its effects on others, as opposed to a mere concern for how the consequences will affect himself.