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Essay

What happens to morality in an absence of faith?

They say people fight over religion, truth is Humans will fight over anything.

They say people fight over religion, truth is Humans will fight over anything.

I know that this title will have some chomping at the bit in order to make a half baked response on what they think is in this article and I had to make clear with my last article concerning Richard Dawkins (previous articles on faith related matters have had a plethora of people spout a cacophony of nonsense and lies in the comments section because they either haven’t read or can’t grasp the concept)

So I will start with the same disclaimer as before.  I have no faith at all – that being said, I do not force my lack of belief onto people who have faith and infact quite the opposite,  I celebrate peoples right to follow a religion.  I have much contact with people of many faiths and I am in no more of a position to prove their faith incorrect than they can prove the faith is.  So exists a position of respect.  Who knows? I may well be wrong and they are right? Or vice versa.  Since neither of us can display the proof which answers the question beyond all reasonable doubt either way then we are both stuck in the same position.  If you want to discuss this further (as it detracts from this article) then please read my piece on the Dawkins Delusion and comment there.

The hypothetical scenario

Let us imagine that tonight, a piece of proof, a discovery shows that all religion is false.  Lets also assume for the purposes of this article that every person on the planet accepted this truth and tomorrow dawns a world of no faith at all.  I know its rather unlikely this would happen, but for the sake of the direction of the article lets assume it did.  What would a world be like without any religion? What would a world be like without any morals which have been derived from religious texts?

For the atheists (and especially the ones seemingly trying to seek approval from Mr Dawkins on Twitter) there would be a sigh of relief that they had backed the right horse.  There would be no possibility of any fire and brimstone or little devils prodding them in the bottom with sharp forks.  But how would this effect our morals? I’m going to show you why I believe (even as a person of no faith) that infact religion is a good thing for humanity and that far from being something which holds back mankind, it is infact saving us.

How can I do this? How is this possible? If you read on you’ll find out and the big bonus here is, unlike Mr Dawkins I’m not going to put my work into a book and sell it to you.  If you’ve got the time to read, it’s all free.

Morals

If we cast our minds back to our scenario above, I’m going to stick with the UK as the location of my writing.  I was born in the UK to a family whom adhered to a faith, I was one of the people Mr Dawkins would probably call brainwashed, as from a young age, I learnt I would be punished in the afterlife for unrepented sin in the present one.   I was given no alternatives to chose from, no other faiths to try.  It was all or nothing.  After having my own journey (in a spiritual sense) I found that my belief system (or lack thereof) had me at odds with my families faith.  But then, so what? Its not a big deal for me and its not for them since I don’t harp on at every oportunity about my views.  I’m sure my parents hope I will one “day see the light” (no pun intended) but for now the matter of my faith is closed.  Move on to myself being a parent and I actively encourage my children to be interested in faith, with one caveat – that their schooling exposes them to a multitude of beliefs/faiths not just one.  I want my children understanding other peoples beliefs, but most importantly I want them to be respectful of anyone who chooses to have a faith, no matter which one it is.  My children, as I did, will eventually have their own spiritual journey where they will decide if they have a belief or not.

So lets look at some no-no’s in the UK.  UK law was created around a foundation of the religious beliefs of the time, just as it is elsewhere.  There’s a well known one – thou shalt not kill – and there’s laws to deal with people who do.  But forgetting about law and punishments for a second, if there is no faith in our fictitious world exampled above, who is to say killing is wrong?  and I’d suggest that a removal of all faith would require us to re-examine every one of them.  Whilst some atheists are very quick to highlight that religion can in some cases bring killing, can we not also say that for the many people who have faith, its whats stops them – like being damned, going to hell etc? If people knew there was no God seeing everything and sitting in judgement, what would they be capable of? Could we rely on a set of new morals thought up as a result of no religion/God when as far as divine judgement is concerned, there is no day of reckoning for whatever “sin” you perform.  Now I should be fair and also mention that removal of some laws are a good thing.  For example in the UK it is no longer illegal for two men to be partnered and of course this is a good thing.  One could also argue though that the percieved “evils” of homosexuality were always just down to mans incorrect interpretation of religious texts and ergo the laws surrounding them.  I’ve seen nothing in any religious text that clearly says when two people of the same sex are in love that they can’t form a relationship.

But who would pass our new morals? If God is removed from the equation, who is the person to say “We’ll keep that do not kill rule”?  If you are an atheist, what tells you that killing another human is wrong? Where is the basis for that belief?  What about theft? Where is your basis for your feelings on theft?

Religion has saved humanity?

It’s remarked that Richard Dawkins claims that religion has held back science.  And yes, I’d probably agree.  What I would add though is in that holding back, it has also saved or at least prolonged the human race.

Consider the people who dabbled in early chemistry and found cures/remedies.  Some of these people were labelled witches and we all know what happened there.  Is this holding back science? I’d say yes.  If it had been a free for all then we probably would have had the things we have today much earlier.  But in this one example of holding back, we can also say that religion has saved us.

If religion has held back science then its also freed Human creativity, look at all the religiously inspired art. Or how about the Pyramids, were these not constructed out of a following of religion?

If religion has held back science then its also freed Human creativity, look at all the religiously inspired art. Or how about the Pyramids, were these not constructed out of a following of religion?

Look at the modern world.  I think its safe to say that a research team discovering a cure for a disease will not be labelled witches and as a result they will market their drug and many people will benefit.  The research they conducted to cure the disease maybe of benefit to other scientists and so our journey of scientific advancement continues.  But lets consider what else mankind has created when freed from accusations of witchcraft or religious text declaring such things blasphemous.  The atomic bomb.  Chemical weapons. New and unique ways to inflict suffering on each other.  Suddenly the “witch” scenario doesn’t seem so bad, because if science had infact continued to be held back, we wouldn’t have such terrible things.  Children are being born with defects brought about from legacies of chemical weapons, the environment is being pumped full of toxins.  And what have we achieved? Yes we can extend life, cure disease, but then there is always a price to pay, that being we can now damage and destroy just as easily.

What about conscience? Do all humans in the absence of religion have a genetic desire to protect and not do harm to themselves? No of course not, so if you created a weapon that wiped out millions and you knew for a fact that there was no God, would you feel the same way if the reverse were true?  If there is truly nothing, then really all law/rules are man made, so what’s to stop everyone who doesn’t agree merely refusing to comply? Rightly or wrongly, most religions have an element of a personal responsibility clause written into them, as in, you do wrong now, you’ll eventually be punished or pay the price.  Remove this and what happens?  Just how much of human morality and conscience (and what we consider civilized behaviour) is based around faith.  Can we honestly say that even with no faith, there’s not a part of us still attached to religion, even if it’s only on the level of the ten commandments or similar? – I don’t think I can and whilst I have no faith, my belief in the wrongs of killing, theft etc must have roots in my childhood and exposure to faith.  Remove those and what do you have?

Its claimed by Richard Dawkins science has been held back by religion.  Is this so bad when one considers the desire new and terrible weapons?

Its claimed by Richard Dawkins science has been held back by religion. Is this so bad when one considers the desire new and terrible weapons?  Might we have had these terrible weapons earlier if not for faith?

Maybe faith has held back the human race, but in doing so has at least held back humans desire to find new and horrible ways to do harm to each other.  New ways to exploit the earths resources and then fight over the land.  If religion has only held this all back a few hundred years, then faith is a good thing, because in the absence of it (and the decline in society of morals) the human race has a more finite time on this earth than scientists can predict.  And whilst Dawkins might claim Science being held back is bad, Religion has also fuelled humans creativity.  Look at the religious art and buildings inspired by religion, the beautiful works (even if you have no faith) that have stemmed from subjects of faith.  Or how about the pyramids? A feat of technical and artistic brilliance – they were created on the basis of a faith, if there had been no faith in which to follow, would they have ever even been built?

Evolution & Creationism – Where does conscience come from?

People seem to believe that these two theories are mutually exclusive.  I argue differently and as I highlighted in my previous article, if you believe in evolution, I’m sure you’d agree that the “system” is pretty perfect and common sense.  Now how do you prove that the perfect evolution is not infact designed by God? In this way both faith and science can hold hands quite happily.  Because both faith and science have the same problem at heart – The creation of the universe.  We could have a debate about how something from nothing comes into existence and show that you don’t need a God to create a universe, but proving that theory is another matter and it’s the exact same problem that people of faith have when they state that the universe is made by God.  So if we agree that the way the universe works is not only pretty amazing, but pretty logical (from our understanding) and a well working system, then what’s to say that this perfect system of science is not a design by God?

You will often see an atheist (and usually a desperate one) when trying to push their non-belief use children as their example.  Using them allows an emotional response and (they hope) an agreement with their non-belief.  Don’t be surprised to see someone such as “Why doesn’t God help dying children?” – Its a very unsophisticated tactic and since we can neither prove nor disprove God, who is to say that after creating these perfect laws of Physics etc, God isn’t him/herself bound to them as well? Maybe God in his perfection designed a “program” for the universe to run under?  And what of the children suffering through design of man? Chemical weapons, poisons in water, these are not things created by a religion, they are “great” scientific achievements which Dawkins would I’m sure would think have been held back in the past through faith.

I’d like to ask Mr Dawkins if he would think it ok to kill another person and if not the basis for his decision and any “morals” he might apply to it.  I argue that conscience itself is born from faith and whether you continue that faith through adult life or not, the core of your conscience has more than a few ties to a religious text.  Mr Dawkins and his merry men and women also claim children are brainwashed to have a faith.  If that was the case, then we wouldn’t have a Dawkins would we? Unless Mr Dawkins is somehow claiming to be special and nobody else is able to work it out as he has.  Maybe he thinks its his fate to educate a stupid world in the errors of faith?  Well if that’s the case, I’d suggest he works out how to make remarks without upsetting people.

If Mr Dawkins says that religion has held science back, would he also then agree that conscience has too? Would he agree that a lack of conscience could be a very dangerous thing? or would he claim that humans would naturally “do the right thing”? If he did then I would like to know where this “right thing” comes from, presumably its genetic? – I’m asking question after question of Mr Dawkins when he will never answer.  From what I’ve seen he rarely answers his twitter account and merely retweets people agreeing with him, praising him or tweets that promote the books he sells.

Divine atheism?

Rather than making that title to offend anyone, when you consider it properly, it’s certainly plausible.  If you are of faith, he/she is a unique entity with no peers, no judgement etc,  Religion exists because God him/herself designed it.  God does not answer to a higher power, so by definition God is an atheist and all religion/faith stemming from them is their creation. Surely?

The point here is that like it or not, for the vast majority of adults, I’d say their moral compass has been developed by their upbringing and the religious influences that they have (no matter how small).

And if I was to make a point for faith, I could say that most religions have the believer striving to be closer to God.  What if science as we understand it is actually created by God and as we understand it more we progress closer to him/her?  Maybe faith over the years has been too much interpretation by humans with little understanding and maybe only now with our Hadron Colliders et al, we are getting closer to God in explaining his/her rules of the universe? – Food for thought there for both people of faith and atheists.

I think there is something holding back the human race right now.  And this is the part of the article where it’s not just the atheist disciples of his non-holiness the Dawkins, its everyone, including those of all faiths.  There are small fringe elements of every belief that refuse to engage in a simple thing called tolerance and respect.  I personally love the fact that my friends have many different faiths, I’m always made welcome, I can be a “part” of that faith and see it for myself and I find faith a fascinating topic.  It makes no difference to me what faith people have and if they get comfort and joy out of that faith, that’s great. – I can’t prove them wrong, nor would I want to thrust my views onto them.   The people who seem to spend the most time talking about faith are usually the ones claiming to not have it.  I would suggest to them, be happy in their non-belief and have a little consideration for the feelings of others.  I see Atheism getting an incorrect and derogatory stigma at the moment and I blame people like Richard Dawkins and their army of disciples for helping foster it.  Live and let live.  If as an atheist you are truly happy with your non-belief, then get on with your life, enjoy yourself.  It’s strikes me that many “atheists” are truly unhappy people and desperately seeking approval and validation of views which they are not convinced in totally.  As a non-believer if you feel the need in the future to criticise the faith of others, just consider a world where there was no base morality, do you think we as humans would have been able to create a set of morals/rules without faith to guide us? Do you think early humans would have all got together and said “this is right, this is wrong”?

Personally I don’t think the Human race would have survived to invent the wheel without faith; and if you think the human race could survive without some “higher power” real or not to keep people in a base direction and to prevent us falling into anarchy, then I think you certainly are (to use a Dawkins word) deluded.

Tim

bytes4free@googlemail.com

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About Tim Sparrow

Online tech writer, novelist/author of sci-fi literature and co-host of the TechBytes Show! I believe in multi-culturism & diversity. Luton Town FC supporter.

Discussion

21 thoughts on “What happens to morality in an absence of faith?

  1. Pretty good argument there.

    But i still feel , faith is good , but only for people who want to practice it. Why impose it on people who don’t want to ? Thats not really justified. Faith is a very personal thing. Should remain that way.

    Posted by Akriti | March 19, 2014, 7:09 pm
    • And I argue Atheists are guilty (such as in the case of Dawkins) guilty of the same thing. This is why I promote tollerance and respect of others beliefs.

      I personally don’t have a faith, but I champion other peoples right to have one.

      Posted by openbytes | March 19, 2014, 7:19 pm
      • Agree . Every single person on this planet has a right to believe in whatever they feel is right.

        But you really think there are many people out there who think that way ? High time they should, but they don’t.
        As far as atheists are concerned , agreed some of them are in the habit of mocking people’s beliefs and being really sarcastic and nasty, but that is any day better than killing people in the name of faith. Sad part is that intolerance is at its peak.

        Personally, i’ve never understood the logic behind ,”my god is better than yours.” Have failed to understand why does that ‘self proclaimed” supremacy matter to so many people ? Isn’t the first tenet of any religion respect and tolerance towards one another ?
        Humanity – whatever happened to that !!

        Posted by Akriti | March 19, 2014, 7:27 pm
        • As I mention in my article religion is moot when it comes to humans killing humans, it happens when humans group themselves and it doesn’t need to have a religious basis.

          Do I think everyone should share my views? No. I can’t disprove faith any more than they can prove it. As I say, I could be wrong….or indeed I could be right. I have my views, I have my opinions, my its not my place to thrust them onto others and it would be arrogant to refuse to accept the possibility that I am wrong.

          You make great points, its appreciated you taking the time to comment.

          Posted by openbytes | March 19, 2014, 7:31 pm
          • I didn’t mention once what you wrote is wrong. Infact i stated right at the beginning that its a pretty good argument in there.

            All i meant by all of this is that personally for me humanity will matter way more than anything. Whether i’m a religious person or an atheist , i would always want the humanity in me to live Coz’ in the end i was created that way -‘human’..i’ll try never to turn into a beast.Thats all.

            Looking forward to reading you more in the future. Peace.

            Posted by Akriti | March 19, 2014, 7:35 pm
            • “I didn’t mention once what you wrote is wrong. Infact i stated right at the beginning that its a pretty good argument in there.”

              I didn’t suggest you did and I understood your well made points.

              I would only ask one question of you. What is humanity, and where have you taken your definition of “what it means” to be human?

              Posted by openbytes | March 19, 2014, 7:40 pm
              • As for definition, this is what i feel. fair enough ? Or do i read it in some book and then paste it here ?

                Posted by Akriti | March 19, 2014, 7:46 pm
                • I think there has been some misunderstanding. Of course you can post what you feel. I’m not sure where you think I say otherwise and infact I happen to agree completely with the sentiment. – Don’t worry about answering the question I asked about your definition of humanity (it was out of interest I asked it) – it matters not.

                  Posted by openbytes | March 19, 2014, 8:59 pm
                  • And its out of interest i answered that too pal.

                    T.c. Keep writing.

                    Posted by Akriti | March 19, 2014, 9:06 pm
                    • Er.. No you didn’t… Whats wrong with you? Maybe you’d like to re-examine your comments? Or maybe you are just on a wind up?

                      I suggest “pal” you take your silliness elsewhere. Don’t waste my time.

                      Posted by openbytes | March 19, 2014, 9:52 pm
  2. Maybe someone else can see where Akriti answered my question? I’d love someone to point out where. I think this highlights perfectly the type of people who try to comment on such topics without reading properly – confused and slightly rude.

    Posted by openbytes | March 19, 2014, 9:53 pm
  3. I dont know what is wrong with akriti maybe theres a language barrier? for the record though i think that the science held back by religion is damaging to development.

    Posted by Stephson Mentriac | March 19, 2014, 10:04 pm
    • I couldn’t quite grasp what their problem was either. Maybe Akriti has read through the comments again and now understands, or maybe it was all just a wind up to waste time. It matters not.

      Posted by openbytes | March 19, 2014, 10:34 pm
  4. I am now waiting to see if Mr Dawkins replies to anything on Twitter at all… All I see is him retweeting people praising his books or posts to people writing articles that favour his viewpoint. Maybe I’ve missed something. Maybe one of his chosen ones can highlight him actually responding?

    Posted by openbytes | March 19, 2014, 10:37 pm
  5. I’m not certain what fundamentalists are like in the UK, but perhaps you are not familiar with their influence in the US. Certainly I can agree that a live and let live philosophy would be nice and best for all, but here in the US we see that those with faith are engaged in a constant campaign to push and legislate their beliefs onto the rest of us. They try to prevent science from being taught in science classes, they try to restrict access to not only abortion but also birth control, they try to restrict the non-religious from holding office, it goes on and on. Much of what you see of atheists attacking faith and religion is a response to those in society who claim a higher morality and act profoundly immoral because of it.

    Much of what you say has often been argued by people of faith, especially the claim that faith or a higher power is (or may be) a prerequisite for morality. Why is it so difficult to imagine a basis for not killing or stealing that doesn’t arise from a deity? One of the things I enjoy most about life since I shed my faith is that I have to give real consideration to what is right and wrong. It caused me to drop certain preconceptions of the world, and I believe gave me a stronger moral code.

    Certainly, Dawkins and other outspoken atheists can be abrasive. But before you dismiss them, you should ask why these people are out there in the first place, in a world that is in many cases hostile to them. It’s really not because they woke up one day and decided that being rude would be a fun way to live.

    Posted by Stan Adermann | March 20, 2014, 11:00 pm
    • As I say in my article there are extremes on all side (faith and non-faith) but what I also see is a growing trend in lack of personal responsibility. There are some terrible crimes commited in beliefs, but this is down to the individual, not the texts they follow. It’s because in society we now seek to blame others.

      “They try to prevent science from being taught in science classes,”

      Yes, but they haven’t have they? The UK and I assume the US hasn’t given up teaching science has it? They have a right to express their religious views, but its not like its happened. “Try” is the operative word and do you really think the US,UK or any other country would give up teaching science? I don’t,

      ” they try to restrict access to not only abortion but also birth control,”

      And there’s people of no faith who have very strong views on these too. Infact many of the anti-abortion campaigners I’ve met are atheists or at least of no specific faith and just a belief in “a God” of somesort.

      ” Much of what you see of atheists attacking faith and religion is a response to those in society who claim a higher morality and act profoundly immoral because of it.”

      By attacking people like themselves “Average Joes” on social media?

      So now you’ve dropped faith, I assume you still believe killing is wrong, so where does that belief or feeling come from. What are morals if not first being things which were laid down in religious text. Do you think if early man didn’t have the wrath of God to worry about we would be here today? – I don’t think we would, mankind is not able to form its own set of values independently of the metephorical big stick to serve as a reminder if they don’t make the correct choices.

      I don’t dismiss Dawkins, infact we are, in our non-faith of the same opinion. What I don’t like about Dawkins is that he’s made quite the living off something that doesn’t exist, he’s offended many people (and there’s no excuse for that at all) but worse than that, he’s almost created a psuedo faith around his non-beliefs with him being the messiah. Look on twitter yourself at the people coming forward and literally paying homage to get his favour “Just bought your books Mr Dawkins, “I told a Christian today…..” Its all almost worship in itself.

      Whatever people end up believing, faith is a personal journey, its not something someone can “tell” you about, if people need Mr Dawkins books, then at best they are easily led and at worse unsure of their own non-belief and need reassurance.

      I am convinced that for many atheists in Dawkins congregation, they act like this as a way of reassuring themselves they’ve made the right choice. If people have issue with the direction say school lessons are taking, then bring it up with the school, not someone who you don’t know who lives somewhere else in the world but just happens to have that faith.

      My non-belief has not come from any book about atheism. Maybe Dawkins appeals to people who can’t have this journey and need to be told what to think.

      A question to you though and as a non-faith person myself (I refuse to call myself atheist) how was the universe created? – Now once you have that answer, I want you to prove it to me. These are the exact goalposts which atheists put to those of faith because apparently you don’t have to prove something doesn’t exist, but its up to those of faith to prove their faith.

      And for the record I would dismiss many of Dawkins atheists. I don’t need to be told what to think, I can make my own decisions and find my own answers as a result of a personal spiritual journey. They can’t even do it politely (in many cases) so why should I even give them an ounce of respect? Its rather sad in their non-faith enthusiasm, they’ve almost made a non-holy messiah out of Richard Dawkins…. Thats ok though, he’s making a living from it….and quite a handsome one I’d imagine.

      Posted by openbytes | March 21, 2014, 12:13 am
      • In the US, it remains an ongoing fight to keep religion from being taught with federal taxes. Public schools have to keep to certain standards and so if a teacher is found teaching religion over science it can be stopped. It usually requires parents to file a lawsuit. In private schools they can teach what they want and there are many schools that teach that religion over evolution. Religiously motivated legislators have implemented voucher programs, where people can pull their kids out of public school and get help covering the cost of their child gaining a religious education. This means less dollars for the public school, and my tax money being used to teach that the world was made in 6 days just 6000 years ago. That is only one example, so it is more than just trying on their part.

        Regarding the origins of morals, I think it’s highly unlikely that they derived from religious texts simply because it’s highly unlikely that writing existed before morals did. In my case I tend to believe it’s evolutionary. If a member of a group takes on a behavior that is helpful to other members of his group even if it is detrimental to that individual, then that behavior can survive if (a) it gives a survival advantage to the group and (b) if the trait is able to be passed to subsequent generations. So not killing other members of your group can easily be explained this way.

        Regarding proving origins of everything–that’s a bit of a trap. Regardless of whether you say it was the big bang or anything else, it can always be claimed that god initiated it. Such a claim can neither be proven nor disproven. There is a huge difference between science and faith in these matters, however. When science makes a claim, it is generally based on observable evidence or an extrapolation from the same. And scientific claims also come with “if X is true then we should see Y.” And then very often we do as was the case with the gravity waves detected by the radio dish in Antarctica. They represent the clearest proof to date that the big bang theory is correct.

        Faith-based claims have no equivalent ability to predict the nature of things. If you want to believe god caused the big bang, go ahead. Just keep in mind it’s equally valid to believe it was done by a three-headed dog, since there is exactly the same amount of evidence for both claims. The problem isn’t with faith per se. It is when a person makes specific claims based on faith, and then tries to take action or force others to take action based on that claim.

        To put it another way, I’m very much an agnostic when it comes to the existence of god, and very much an atheist when it comes to specific claims of god whether they be Christian, Muslim or other. I can’t disprove that god created the universe, but I can look at what we know about the Bible and say that it’s highly unlikely the book is a true story of god or the world. And based on this I will say that you are free to believe what you like, but if you want me to act on it or to pass laws based on your belief, then what you believe must be held to a higher standard. It needs proof.

        Posted by Stan Adermann | March 22, 2014, 9:58 am
        • Sorry for the quick(ish) reply, fantastic answer. So if I may I’ll just respond quickly as I’m short on time.

          “In the US, it remains an ongoing fight to keep religion from being taught with federal taxes. ” – In the UK it certainly seems in the south east, a more balanced approached. I’d say though that you have to consider that tax payers have faith too, so for their money they would want it….other side of the coin.

          “Regarding the origins of morals, I think it’s highly unlikely that they derived from religious texts simply because it’s highly unlikely that writing existed before morals did.”

          I think writing or not matters not, since religions existed with paintings on walls etc. “Wrath of God” in spoken word instead of in text (when writing came later)

          “Regardless of whether you say it was the big bang or anything else, it can always be claimed that god initiated it. Such a claim can neither be proven nor disproven. ”

          And this is the whole point of the article on Dawkins and some aggressive atheists who worked out how to use computers and spread their views in an offensive way. I’ll agree with you completely its a complete stalemate between religion and science. Whilst I would go with Science others go with their faith.

          “Faith-based claims have no equivalent ability to predict the nature of things. ”

          Well here’s the problem. If we argue that God made nature, its rules and regulations if you will, then religion does via proxy.

          “Just keep in mind it’s equally valid to believe it was done by a three-headed dog”

          Yes, or you could say a pink elephant. I think though it comes down to the generally agreed consensus of the followers of that faith and maybe if you spoke to a person of faith, they would maybe say that God doesn’t have a true form we can comprehend. A get out clause like the atheists have about “you don’t need to prove something doesn’t exist”? Thats up to the individual and their point of view.

          “I can’t disprove that god created the universe, but I can look at what we know about the Bible and say that it’s highly unlikely the book is a true story of god or the world. And based on this I will say that you are free to believe what you like, but if you want me to act on it or to pass laws based on your belief, then what you believe must be held to a higher standard. It needs proof.”

          And that we are in complete agreement. I’m sure you, like I, don’t go around insulting people, but then these series of articles are aimed towards those aggressive atheists who for reasons known only to themselves, feel the need to insult people of faith and/or creep around Richard Dawkins paying homage to him in Twitter.

          Thank you so much for taking the time to reply.
          Regards.

          Posted by openbytes | March 22, 2014, 6:37 pm
          • In the US, the constitution is supposed to guarantee the separation of church and state. This has the effect of subsidizing churches since they are exempt from all taxes while the rest of us must pay. So while individual church members may pay taxes it doesn’t matter if they want that money spent promoting their religion. They already have an area guaranteed for their free practice of religion and forcing it into the public square or school is unconstitutional.

            I don’t agree with everything Dawkins has said (and I don’t know everything he’s said since I haven’t read his books), but if I see him in a video I find he makes a lot of good points, even if they’re sometimes made abrasively. When I put it into a context where for centuries making such statements could get you killed, I say “why not?” If his followers go overboard it will ultimately hurt rather than help their argument. I’m not seeing a problem here.

            Posted by Stan Adermann | March 22, 2014, 8:16 pm
            • “In the US, the constitution is supposed to guarantee the separation of church and state. This has the effect of subsidizing churches since they are exempt from all taxes while the rest of us must pay.”

              In the case of private schooling and parents being unhappy with a spritual direction, I have little sympathy. State schools should have a clear distinction, as I can report they mostly do in our country (with a few exceptions where you have faith schools) – but then there’s a multitude of faith schools and I consider (even with no faith) as that being a good thing.

              Church exempt from tax? I don’t see a problem, there’s plenty of “charities” which I don’t agree with that are exempt from tax, but I accept them because we live in a free country where many beliefs/ideals/campaigns are followed.

              ” They already have an area guaranteed for their free practice of religion and forcing it into the public square or school is unconstitutional.”

              And I would hope you see the irony there, how is it “free” practice if they can’t practice it freely? In a public place too “free”? They have a “designated place” instead? – Thats not a criticism of your comment, its more a challenge of what law you are quoting.

              “I don’t agree with everything Dawkins has said (and I don’t know everything he’s said since I haven’t read his books), but if I see him in a video I find he makes a lot of good points”

              Atheism or non-belief is not a question of “good points” faith is a personal journey where one arrives at their own conclusion. It’s called a faith for a reason, some people decide to follow it, others seek comfort in a scientific solution. There’s good points on both sides, but the decision about whether you believe or not should be a personal one, and not something someone like Dawkins is making money out of.

              The problem I have is mainly that Dawkins from what I have seen is making money preaching a non-belief to folk who ironically follow him like a non-holy messiah. – Just check twitter for people paying homage to him daily. I don’t understand why his “truth” costs money and I don’t understand why some atheists seem to think the answer to faith lies in what someone else tells you. I don’t support evolution because of what Dawkins says, I support evolution because that on the basis of my own feelings have led me to conclude. On top of that Dawkins has made comments which have offended. Others haven’t who talk about science and the origins of man. There’s a reason for that, they don’t need too. Does Steven Hawkins need to bang on about his non-belief? No of course not, he’s busy with his theory and betterment of science.

              Some of these Dawkins followers are rude and offensive to people of faith, popping up on peoples timelines to insult, mock and pretend they know better, that is wrong and I squarely blame the comercialization of what people like Dawkins push to the masses, some of whom are easily influenced or desperately looking for answers and will listen to the most convenient speaker.

              If you don’t have a faith, why would you read a Dawkins book? I don’t think you were led by any book, but are we saying that me you and Dawkins are the only ones who came to our views without being led? What is Dawkins doing except for making money off the back of a god that he claims doesn’t exist to an audience of people who seem to not have confidence in their own life choices and decisions?

              I personally love the fact that this country has different faiths. I’m lucky enough to have first hand experiences of many and I’ve found friendliness and openness and always been made very welcome. I would not like to think of a world without faith having ever existed.

              Posted by openbytes | March 22, 2014, 8:33 pm

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about.me

Tim Wilson

Tim Wilson

Writer/Novelist of many facets both in the world of technology and fantasy/sci-fi. Co-host of the TechBytes audiocast and writer for both OpenBytes and Goblin's Domain. Supporter of free and open source software.

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