I am an atheist, yet I’m more than comfortable with the fact that most people in this country are God-fearing Christians. Why? “God-fearing” is a good thing for a person who has no innate sense of morality on his/her own. If they weren’t fearing retribution from God, some of these people would be committing all sorts of egregious crimes because they truly would have no idea that there was anything wrong with them.
I am always struck by a question posed by Christians to atheists: “But how do you know the difference between right and wrong?”
Yes, how do we know not to murder people, rape our neighbors, or steal from starving children if the Bible didn’t tell us these were bad?!
Jesus Christ! (pun very much intended)
The fact that you’d have to turn to a book for instructions on what seems to me to be a fundamental set of morals scares me. Maybe they need to follow “the Book”. If the Bible weren’t telling them that killing people was wrong, they’d be gunning down people they didn’t like. Or at least more than they already do.
The fact that a huge number of so-called Christians still violate so many basic teachings of Jesus, such as loving and tolerating people who are different from you, does not make me believe this any less. Without Christ, these naturally-born bigots would even be more violently intolerant towards things that are different from themselves. Religion provides a somewhat tenuous safeguard against the sorts of crimes they would commit otherwise.
I mean, imagine what Jerry Falwell would have been without having to at least pay lip service to Christ’s teachings!
Don’t get me wrong. I fully advocate atheism for rational, sensible people who have an innate sense of what’s right and wrong. The problem is that, it seems, you can’t make the assumption for everyone. And it seems those that gravitate towards religion the most strongly are those who are afraid of what their instinct would drive them to do if it weren’t for religion.
And I think we atheists should be afraid, too.