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7/30/2007                                                                                       View Comments

Atheist vs. Christian morality

By Eris D

I have been lurking on this site for a long time. Sometimes I comment on the occasional testimonial.

I just want to say that I am constantly amazed at the warped views that the majority of people in America have about atheists. First, many think that we have no morals because we do not believe that the Bible is the infallible word of God and/or we don't believe in a god. Consequently, they think they make negative assumptions about our integrity and honesty in many ways.

Unfortunately, I live in a part of the country where the majority of the people strongly believe in a mythical god and my husband and I hear those code words ''Have a BLESSED Day" almost every day. We know that we must conceal our atheism in order to keep ourselves and our kids safe against retribution from those who will do ANYTHING in the name of their mythical god(s), like defacing our property, harrassing our kids or getting us fired from our jobs.

Last year I pulled up to the drive-thru of my local credit union to check my balance. I had just paid a huge bill, and my funds were running low and I was worried about paying the bills on time that month.

When I drove up to the Pneumatic tube station, I pulled out the tube in order to put in my identification so the teller could give me my balance. Guess what I found in the tube? A roll of $20 bills that totaled over $800.00. I didn't even give it a second thought and immediately closed up the tube and sent the money back to the teller. When she received it she asked me what I wanted to do with it and I told her that it wasn't mine. She was shocked that I had returned it and promptly did a little detective work to find the rightful owner. She said the owner had driven up earlier with a van full of kids and she was busy talking on a cell phone and not paying attention. Then she thanked me for my honesty and took care of our transaction.

A couple of days later I relayed the story to some of my family members who are Christians. They expressed utter shock and amazement at my actions! They asked me why I didn't just pocket the money and leave!!!! I am NOT kidding! Some said they would have had a hard time deciding what to do.

That is when I proudly stood up and proclaimed that I am an atheist therefore I take responsibility for my own actions, and I don't look for some mythical god to forgive my sins, and I don't blame them my shortcomings on some mythical devil! I don't have a problem with being honest. I am an atheist!

That shut em up!

FYI -- In my life, I have been ripped-off, raped, assaulted and battered by so-called Christians. I have never been victimized or scammed by an Atheist.

Consequently, when someone is doing some kind of work for me or selling me something, if they start proclaiming their faith, I usually either disassociate with them or watch them very closely. I know they are not all bad, but I have observed that the louder a person proclaims their faith and belief in god, the more problems they have with honesty.

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14 comments:

MothandRust said...

I'm a teacher who's recently moved into an outback Australian town where the Christian community seems to be very small. We don't have Christian schools here and church isn't a focus of the town.

Most people I've spoken to are atheist. Should the town be better and safer with a larger Christian population? It's a nice town... hardly any anarchy and chaos.

jfraysse said...

Hi Eris:

Good for you! Even though you needed the money, you made the right decision anyway and didn’t even consult “god”? You mean doing the “right thing” is its own reward? What a concept!

There are many, many things that bother me about religions, but on my top-ten with respect to Christianity is the idea that we can’t do anything that “god counts as good” unless we are a “True Christian” and have done it in Jesus’ name and then god gets the credit! But when we do, or even think, something “wrong”, we get “the credit”.

Thanks for sharing – keep it up and Welcome!

RT Firefly said...

Bravo! Excellently done!

Noell said...

Great article Eris D!
I can also relate to being victimized by fine upstanding christians! But that’s another story.
I’ve heard and read so many similar stories of honest atheists. I have a few of my own. But this does not surprise me at all. It would seem that most admitted atheist are much more morally and ethically grounded than your average christian robot. The mindless always claim to be less than perfect. That’s a silly argument! I don’t think they need to be perfect, just moral. I’m also shocked when I hear some of the moral and ethical dilemmas that chisty’s find themselves in and how they “morally” responded to them! But they’re not perfect.

Anonymous said...

i know some christians that would have taken the money and proclaimed tyhat it was sent to them from god.BTW, good for you standing up for you and your beliefs. WHile I am not an atheist, I am definately NOT a christian. I get so sick of being harrassed for this.

John of Indiana said...

Good on ya, Eris.

What it boils down to for me is who should we trust?
Somebody who does the Right Thing because it *IS* the Right Thing, or somebody who needs the "encouragement" of fiery punishment from some mythical Old Man in The Sky to stay honest.

As for Xians keeping the money, well, Gawd moves in mysterious ways, and they did send that $20 "seed" to Bob Tilton....

Bill said...

Late last night I watched a show on CNBC called Greed. A group of con artist ministers duped a shitload of people out of half a billion dollars. They set up a sham of an investment scheme in the name of God. Since they were all Bible quoting preachers who were all excellent at their trade, everyone trusted them with their life savings which everyone lost. Those cock suckers did get 20 years and still deny it was a scam to this day.

There is an ad in my local paper from time to time that advertises for a Christian hanyman. I guess we are just supposed to automatically assume this guy is not going to fuck us over because he's a Christian.

That was a great letter by the way. I was raised by parents who taught me to do the right thing and I think if rubbed off on me pretty well. My sister and I were never taught to do the right thing to please an invisible man in the sky by the way. I remember when I was about 12 boasting to my dad that a man had given me five bucks too much change at a event I attened. My dad immediately drove my ass down there to give the man back the five bucks. Also my parents let us think for ourselves in regards to religion. Imagine that concept allowing your kids think for themselves.

The bottom line is the fact that the strength of one's conscience is totally independent of God belief. There are no shortage of "Christians" who will fuck you over in a heartbeat, and there are no shortage of atheists who would return a bag of money even when down on their luck.

xrayman

eel_shepherd said...

John Of Indiana wrote:
"...As for Xians keeping the money, well, Gawd moves in mysterious ways, and they did send that $20 "seed" to Bob Tilton..."

Yes, but B.T. promised to blow a special fart just for them on his next show:
http://www.jibjab.com/view/1507

so it's not as if they came up empty.

eris.discordia said...

I LOVE you guys & gals! GAWD!!! You guys/gals are sooooo funny!
I feel like you all are my soul mates! Thanks for the support!!!

BTW - I didn't go into this in my original post but I wanted to. Maybe I will since the whole "Christian Handyman" came up in the comments.

3 years ago my husband hired a handyman to remodel our kitchen. The WHOLE time he was in our house he boasted about what a great and honest Christian he was....... I started getting a little suspicious of him because of it. My husband and I both work, and sometimes we have to work a lot of overtime. During that time I was so busy working that I didn't get a chance to talk to him about it before the guy conned him out of $7000.00 and walked off the job half way though, leaving us to hire another contractor to clean up the mess he left.

We took him to court and won a judgment against him and he skipped town. So much for his GAWD FEARING honesty and integrity!

You know those stupid Christian Yellow Pages they put out in various communities across America? Well, we need an ATHEIST Yellow Pages!

John of Indiana said...

Oh, yeah, "The Farting Evangelist"...

"Fu-WARWAPPP!!!!! Oh, THANK Yew Jeebus! b-b-b-b-b-b-b-BWAWP-bap-bap-BWAAAAAP! PRAISE GAH-WUD!!!"

I used to say that if I didn't believe in the Golden Rule that I'd be a rich bastard just like the rest of them. I can talk a pretty believable line fo bull-pucky myself....

Anonymous said...

Eris D,
I enjoyed your story very much. Thanks for sharing it with us. That's a great example of honesty.
I have had many incidents myself like the one you experienced.


John of Indiana,
Thanks for the laugh!!!

Mary R.

Anonymous said...

I would like to provide a Buddhist perspective. As a Buddhist, I also wish to encourage all to pursue whatever path to peace, understanding, wisdom and happiness that truly works for them. This may or may not involve a god.

Buddhism is not theistic. The Buddha insisted repeatedly that he was no more than human. However, his teachings offer an alternative to the false dichotomy offered by the debate on this page. The false dichotomy is that one must choose between an anything-goes atheism in which happiness, wisdom, etc. are largely a matter of luck… and a no-questions-asked theism that gives orders that must be blindly obeyed for some imagined reward in the future.

If life is just getting by, paying the bills, using enough pain killers to soften the suffering, and buying a nice coffin at the end- well that is a pretty dry existence. To have the same life, but with a fervent hope for a realm of reward after death to make up for all of the suffering - that’s pretty sad, too.

The Buddha based his teachings on four central truths- 1) there is suffering,2) suffering has a cause, 3) by addressing the causes suffering can be ended, and 4)the path to ending suffering is through ethical conduct, paying deep attention, and developing wisdom. These kinds of ideas (Buddhist or otherwise), since they apply to THIS life, are available to theists and atheists alike. They do not presuppose whether or not one believes in a God. I find much agreement in this regard with my Christian, Jewish, atheist, Hindu, Humanist and Ethical Society friends.

We all want happiness. However, some atheists have no real plan…and it should be pretty obvious that accumulating belongings does not do the trick. Many Christians certainly know that just saying that one believes in God doesn’t do it, either. Happiness is not about what we have now or what we think we will have in the future; it is about how we relate to the present, moment after moment after moment. Happiness and peace are phenomena of the present, not of a remembered past or a future that almost never turns out like we think it will. The present is the only tense that is not just a thought - the only tense where anything actually happens.

So, I have an idea. It is based on the fact that every single human being lives with physical and mental pain, as well as the realization that, someday, all we have gathered will be lost, and we and everyone we know will die. Let’s give each other a break. Maybe stop attacking each other. Maybe we can even start supporting each other in our shared humanity. If you think about it, it is the only thing that really makes sense.

Peace,
Rick

Astreja said...

Rick the Buddhist fellow: "Let’s give each other a break. Maybe stop attacking each other. Maybe we can even start supporting each other in our shared humanity. If you think about it, it is the only thing that really makes sense."

A noble sentiment (and one that I, for the most part agree with).

There's just one problem: We are here on this forum to discuss and recover from various bad experiences with Christianity and Christians. We do play nice when we can.

However, when someone comes in here and tries to tell us that we...

- Never really believed
- Didn't try hard enough
- Are the pawn of Satan
- Are going to burn in Hell
- Are fools
- Are selfish
- Are incapable of doing good
- (insert stereotypical propaganda here)

...We typically defend ourselves with vigour.

Calling off the attacks (typically, counterattacks) is not currently an option for most of us. But, when someone comes in here with an open mind and doesn't slam us, we do try to be civil.

boomSLANG said...

Rick: The false dichotomy is that one must choose between an anything-goes atheism in which happiness, wisdom, etc. are largely a matter of luck

Welcome.

Firstly, "Atheism" isn't about "anything goes", nor is it on either end of a "dichotomy". It is merely a default position; an answer to "Theists"....i.e., those who insist that their religion is true, and that their respective gods exist.

Secondly, while in some regards "happiness" is a matter of "luck", "wisdom" on the other hand, is certainly not ascertained by any such means. To be wise is to search for Truth objectively, and to learn to accept the result, even if you don't particularly like the result.

The Buddha based his teachings on four central truths- 1) there is suffering,2) suffering has a cause, 3) by addressing the causes suffering can be ended, and 4)the path to ending suffering is through ethical conduct, paying deep attention, and developing wisdom.

That's odd, because many of the Buddhists I've encountered believe that "suffering" is actually virtuous; it's how the "soul" learns, in it's alleged "recycling" process.

In any event, what this shows is that any time there's a doctrinal "Writ", in this case, "Buddha based teachings", people can interpret it various ways. In other words, it's very subjective.

We all want happiness. However, some atheists have no real plan…

Plan? Plan for what? I hope you don't mean post-mortem "life".

...and it should be pretty obvious that accumulating belongings does not do the trick.

Who said it did?

So, I have an idea. It is based on the fact that every single human being lives with physical and mental pain, as well as the realization that, someday, all we have gathered will be lost, and we and everyone we know will die. Let’s give each other a break. Maybe stop attacking each other. Maybe we can even start supporting each other in our shared humanity.

Y'know what?...that would be a grand idea, and one I could fully support, IF everyone really believed that "we and everyone we know will die", and they lived this life according to that notion. But of course, they don't, though...so what happens is, people project their superstitious beliefs about "life after death" on to everyone else, and unfortunately, the majority of the time that includes threats of eternal damnation for those who don't accept their way of thinking.