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JenniferG

ATHEIST TEND TO BE SEEN AS IMMORAL

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Hi everyone,

 

I've been MIA for a while due to poor health and the stress of moving cross-country and stuff.

 

Anyway, I read this article on the online Guardian yesterday and would like to hear your thoughts

on this study cited. 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/07/anti-atheist-prejudice-secularity

 

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-017-0151

 

Cheers

 

Jennifer

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Like the article said I think this general attitude comes from the "prevalence of deeply entrenched pro-religious norms." 

 

Christians like to advertise that morals are handed down by God and not something you can have on your own. So of course atheists have no morals! Though there seems to be a lack of evidence that atheists are all criminal maniacs. That fact never seems to get discussed by religious people. 

 

Here's a fun article.

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-1101-zuckerman-violence-secularism-20151101-story.html

 

 

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I hope you're doing better now!

 

To the topic: If you believe that there is a god and that god handed out morals from on high, then it follows that one who doesn't believe in that god cannot have the morals which can only come from that source. It's actually logical within the framework of such belief.

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-I found it interesting that the Acknowledgements section of the report linked to the article cite the John Templeton Foundation as a major funding source.  (Especially after I checked them out on google.)

 

-I also found it interesting that the report seems to use "does not believe in god(s)" interchangeably with "atheist" in the text and survey questions, yet Table 4 in the supplementary information breaks the test cases into religious affiliation including "none" (10% in USA), "atheist" (4% in USA), "agnostic" (5% in USA), "other" (1.2% in USA), plus the usual religious suspects.  Not sure exactly how that segregated data comes together to support the broad implication that even atheists think atheists are immoral. ?  Do "agnostics" think "nones" are immoral?  Difficult to see.

 

-Personally, this atheist trusts morality built on today's reality a lot more than morality built on millennia-old hocus pocus. 

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Anyone remember when Steve Harvey said you shouldn't date an atheist? I don't have trouble believing these findings at all. I also hope you are doing better as well! Might be more  interesting to ask why reports seem to show that religious people are more happy; that to me is interesting. At least we seem to be on average brighter. 

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Thank you for your well wishes. I'm doing much better thank you.

2 hours ago, padgemi said:

-I found it interesting that the Acknowledgements section of the report linked to the article cite the John Templeton Foundation as a major funding source.  (Especially after I checked them out on google.)

 

-I also found it interesting that the report seems to use "does not believe in god(s)" interchangeably with "atheist" in the text and survey questions, yet Table 4 in the supplementary information breaks the test cases into religious affiliation including "none" (10% in USA), "atheist" (4% in USA), "agnostic" (5% in USA), "other" (1.2% in USA), plus the usual religious suspects.  Not sure exactly how that segregated data comes together to support the broad implication that even atheists think atheists are immoral. ?  Do "agnostics" think "nones" are immoral?  Difficult to see.

 

-Personally, this atheist trusts morality built on today's reality a lot more than morality built on millennia-old hocus pocus. 

I'm curious too about how the data comes together to support the conclusion that "even atheists think atheists are immoral." It's interesting that in Progressive Christianity denomination pastors (Gretta Vosper, to name one) are coming out as atheists.   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/24/atheist-pastor-canada-gretta-vosper-united-church-canada  I wonder if "atheists" who still espouse a religion such as Vosper's might be the ones who regard non-religious atheists are immoral? I don't get why an atheist would still feel the need to adhere to religion and the church culture - even if they are out to redefine the church of the 21st century.

 

I found a publication on the topic of Morality and Evolutionary Biology from Stanford University. https://plato.standford.edu/entries/morality-biology/  I look forward to reading the entire publication, but here is an excerpt that I accept better than Yahweh, Allah or some other made-up deity laying morality on us! 

 

"...If so, then it would be part of evolved human nature to employ moral judgment in governing human behavior, rather than a mere “cultural veneer” artificially imposed on an amoral human nature (de Waal 2006). This would be a significant result, and it is only the beginning of the intriguing questions that arise at the intersection of morality and evolutionary biology. Researchers are also interested in the possibility of more specific forms of evolutionary influence. Are there, for example, emotional adaptations that influence the very content of moral judgments and behavior, even today?

For example, many of us believe that among our various moral duties, we have special and stringent duties toward family members. Might this ‘moral intuition’ be attributable, at least in part, to an evolved tendency to favor members of one's kin group over others, analogous to similar traits in other animals? Even where moral beliefs are heavily shaped by culture, there might be such evolutionary influences in the background: evolved psychological traits may have contributed to the shaping of cultural practices themselves, influencing, for example, the development of “family first” cultural norms that inform our judgments. Similarly with a tendency more generally to favor members of one's own group (however defined) over outsiders..."

 

Will they ever teach this stuff in schools across the world rather than stuffing kids' heads with nonsense! I read an article in which an British elementary school boy stated to his teacher in a class discussion about religion, "Since all religions want the same outcome (i.e. the reward of heaven after you die) why don't we stop fighting each other and just kill all the atheists." The boy was deadly serious, wrote the teacher. How many decades will it take for this kind of thinking to be purged from our DNA? (if such a thing is possible)

 

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13 hours ago, Blamtasticful said:

 Might be more  interesting to ask why reports seem to show that religious people are more happy; that to me is interesting.

 

Placebo effect?

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13 minutes ago, midniterider said:

 

Placebo effect?

 

Perhaps. It might have something to do with being a part of a community though. The more strong connections a person has the better they go through hard times. I mean does anyone remember how hard it was losing close friends through deconversion? I think it can be solved through creating better community and being better at self-authoring our own stories in a more epic way that rivals even the best myths :) But that's only my speculation.

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     I'm trying to sort out how this whole thing works.

 

     So they send out their study and it's a story about some guy who does bad things.  They then let the person pick what describes him with the first option always the same and the second option being different.  So everyone gets option A which is the guy is just a teacher.  And half get option B1 where he's a teacher that also doesn't believe in god and the other half get option B2 where he's a teacher that does believe in god.

 

     I'm guessing that they also collect some info on the person taking the study?  I don't know but sounds reasonable given the conclusion of atheists not liking atheists.  Anyhow, so if I choose option B1 then I have a bias against atheists.  Kind of makes sense.  In that case I would choose option A to remove that bias.  If I choose option B2 do I have an bias against the religious?  So to remove that bias I should choose option A.  But that makes it seem like an non-religious teacher is what is being implied.  To some extent the wording in B1 makes it seem like the one without anything added might be a religious teacher by comparison.  I get they're neutral as written but in a way they're not since they sort of create a comparison when placed together.

 

     I imagine that people really do have a bias.  It's pretty clear that people are more willing to throw the non-believer, option B1, under the bus as opposed to option B2.  I guess in my mind I'm trying to work out option B2.  But it's becoming clear to me as I type this that whatever is going on there people are far less willing to consider the option of a religious killer (when left to assume they're of their faith).  Whether they're thinking the option A teacher is non-religious or they're not considering anything beyond option B2 is a believer and that's that so option A must be correct.

 

     Oh well.  I'm actually finding myself with more questions now that I've finished this.  I probably shouldn't have started. :)

 

          mwc

 

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15 hours ago, Blamtasticful said:

Might be more  interesting to ask why reports seem to show that religious people are more happy; that to me is interesting.

I'd need more evidence to accept that. Doesn't sound right to me. Of course children who believe in Santa are happy about it, so there's that. Then again True Believers are told they're supposed to be happy. Personally, the atheists I know are quite happy. Hell, even one Scientologist I know is pretty happy.

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5 minutes ago, florduh said:

I'd need more evidence to accept that. Doesn't sound right to me. Of course children who believe in Santa are happy about it, so there's that. Then again True Believers are told they're supposed to be happy. Personally, the atheists I know are quite happy. Hell, even one Scientologist I know is pretty happy.

 

I'm thinking there's a difference of opinion, or interpretation, of happiness.

When I accepted jebus as my lard and savior I was ecstatic, for a few hours, that there was life after death. This made me seem happy.

Now that I'm an atheist I have a more subtle happiness that there's no hell and I don't have to feel guilty for getting a boner when I look at Dru Barrymore ... or a shiny new Gibson ES-335.

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Yet xtians are among the most immoral vs atheists. 

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I think it depends on how morals or morality is defined. Such as....is sex between consenting unmarried adults moral or immoral?  Is lying for a good reason moral or immoral? Is divorce moral or immoral? Is challenging the authenticity of the Bible moral or immoral? Is adult consensual sex between same sex couples moral or immoral?

 

It would seem to me that determining what is and is not moral depends on who is defining what is and is not moral. Some things such as dishonesty, murder, adultery, etc. are universally accepted as immoral by both religious and nonreligious people. Obviously religiois people define morality differently that secular people, but the law generally sides with secular society. What is and is not legal seems to be a pretty unbiased standard for determining morality for the general population in most situations. 

 

 

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So someone's who's essentially being bribed into being moral is more trustworthy than someone who isn't?  Geezer makes sense when he says that we have to define morality before we can measure it, but the common mantra will be that the religious (that is to say, Christian) will always be more trusted in the United States for years to come.  It's especially sad because those Christians probably haven't even read their damn book and just have it regurgitated to them by fallible pastors and bible study leaders.

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Some of the most dishonest businessmen I've encountered claimed to be Christians. Some of the most corrupt politicians also claim to be Christians. People claim to be religious for lots of reasons that have nothing to do with faith.

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11 hours ago, Geezer said:

What is and is not legal seems to be a pretty unbiased standard for determining morality for the general population in most situations. 

 

Right, so that opens a different line of questioning. Are atheist's more "illegal" in activity than christians? 

 

That would be an interesting study. I know that world wide, it's the nations with higher religious counts which experience the most crime, as in "illegal" activities. The secular nations seem to do better than the religious ones. 

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2 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

 

Right, so that opens a different line of questioning. Are atheist's more "illegal" in activity than christians? 

 

That would be an interesting study. I know that world wide, it's the nations with higher religious counts which experience the most crime, as in "illegal" activities. The secular nations seem to do better than the religious ones. 

 

There is also the issue of what the laws are in various places. Religious societies tend to pass laws banning some things that secular societies wouldn't, so one would be "unlawful" to do those things in those religious countries while someone doing the same things in more secular countries would not be "unlawful."

 

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6 hours ago, Citsonga said:

 

There is also the issue of what the laws are in various places. Religious societies tend to pass laws banning some things that secular societies wouldn't, so one would be "unlawful" to do those things in those religious countries while someone doing the same things in more secular countries would not be "unlawful."

 

 

It's based on an analysis of violent crime in particular, which, is pretty evenly defined and unlawful across the board. 

 

 

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-1101-zuckerman-violence-secularism-20151101-story.html#

 

The theory is simple: If people become less religious, then society will decay. Crime will skyrocket, violence will rise, and once-civilized life will degenerate into immorality and depravity. It's an old, widespread notion. And it's demonstrably false. If it were true that when belief in God weakens, societal well-being diminishes, then we should see abundant evidence for this. But we don't. In fact, we find just the opposite: Those societies today that are the most religious — where faith in God is strong and religious participation is high — tend to have the highest violent crime rates, while those societies in which faith and church attendance are the weakest — the most secular societies — tend to have the lowest.

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2 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

It's based on an analysis of violent crime in particular, which, is pretty evenly defined and unlawful across the board.

 

I was responding to your response to Geezer. He brought up the question of what is moral and then brought legality into it, and then you addressed legality. Neither of you mentioned violent crime specifically. You were merely discussing the issue of what is illegal, so that is what I addressed. 

 

Obviously, focusing specifically on violent crime would change things, but that was not the issue I was addressing. 

 

Incidentally, when it comes to violence in particular, some religious countries permit some violence that secular countries have laws against (such as abusing one's own children or attacking gay people), so legality regarding violence varies.

 

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2 hours ago, Citsonga said:

 

I was responding to your response to Geezer. He brought up the question of what is moral and then brought legality into it, and then you addressed legality. Neither of you mentioned violent crime specifically. You were merely discussing the issue of what is illegal, so that is what I addressed. 

 

Obviously, focusing specifically on violent crime would change things, but that was not the issue I was addressing. 

 

Incidentally, when it comes to violence in particular, some religious countries permit some violence that secular countries have laws against (such as abusing one's own children or attacking gay people), so legality regarding violence varies.

 

 

That actually works against them in that case. Some violence is legal, and yet they still have more violent crime than secular nations even with this extra allowance that many secular nations do not allow for. 

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7 minutes ago, Joshpantera said:

 

That actually works against them in that case. Some violence is legal, and yet they still have more violent crime than secular nations even with this extra allowance that many secular nations do not allow for. 

 

Exactly 

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Quote form the L.A. Times article that @Joshpantera posted 

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-1101-zuckerman-violence-secularism-20151101-story.html#

 

"In the aftermath of the shooting at Umpqua Community College, for example, Fox host Bill O'Reilly cited weakening religion as the culprit. "

 

Apparently, however, religion - especially xanity, does not impact one's proclivity for aggressively pursuing adult relations with coworkers. 

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