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Do Christians believe in atheists? UBC study finds believers distrust atheists as much as rapists

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Religious believers distrust atheists more than members of other religious groups, gays and feminists, according to a new study by University of B.C. researchers.

The only group the study’s participants distrusted as much as atheists was rapists, said doctoral student Will Gervais, lead author of the study published online in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

That prejudice had a significant impact on what kinds of jobs people said they would hire atheists to do.

“People are willing to hire an atheist for a job that is perceived as low-trust, for instance as a waitress,” said Gervais. “But when hiring for a high-trust job like daycare worker, they were like, nope, not going to hire an atheist for that job.”

The antipathy does not seem to run both ways, though. Atheists are indifferent to religious belief when it comes to deciding who is trustworthy.

“Atheists don’t necessarily favour other atheists over Christians or anyone else,” he said. “They seem to think that religion is not an important signal for who you can trust.”

The researchers found that religious believers thought that descriptions of untrustworthy people — people who steal or cheat — were more likely to be atheists than Christians, Muslims, Jews, gays or feminists. Read more

Posted by on January 3, 2012. Filed under Americas,Atheism,Canada,Psychology,Religion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

49 Responses to Do Christians believe in atheists? UBC study finds believers distrust atheists as much as rapists

  1. sXe Athiest

    January 9, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    I personnally am an atheist. Im only 15 but I am highly intelligent. I am a senior in highschool ( I skipped freshman and sophomore year). My GPA is currently 4.5. Therefore there is no reason to say my beleif is in ignorance. Those who question another persons beliefs are indeed ignorant. I am a “weak” athiest. This means that I do not beleive in “God” or any deity. It is the “strong” athiest that give people a bad impression of athiests.

  2. oh jeez...

    January 23, 2012 at 10:04 am

    ok just because you are book smart does not mean anything. I decided not to skip grades because I knew I would want to be with people my own age. I have a good GPA and do extremely well on test and I personally am a Christian. See how those two things are not really related? I’m not saying your belief is out of ignorance, but your rationalization on why your beliefs are not ignorant makes you seem ignorant.

  3. SirKnowsALot

    January 24, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    If it is poverty and low education that cause religious beliefs or it is the other way around I do not know, but we can clearly see that many of the wealthy countries have higher education and are indeed mostly atheists. The GPI (Global Peace Index) is much higher for those countries.

    Look at Somalia or Colombia(just as an example) and compare them to countries like Japan or Scandinavia (I know Scandinavia is not a country).

    Someone may want to say that USA are mostly religious people AND wealthy.

    In fact almost 1/5 of americans live below the poverty line, they have the biggest debt in history and 18% of all crimes are committed in the US.

  4. Anisa

    February 13, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    Happy to know. Nice sharing. thanks

  5. Jim Jones

    February 29, 2012 at 3:26 am

    Who ever made that picture about atheism is clearly a fu… idiot who knows absolutely zero about any fuc.. thing.

  6. Rafiq A. Tschannen

    February 29, 2012 at 4:41 am

    Kindly use a bit more … polite? … language in future when posting on The Muslim Times.

  7. Zia H. Shah

    February 29, 2012 at 5:31 am

    Foundation of our morality: Islamic and Judeo-Christian tradition!
    If we examine our morality in its extreme situations we may realise that clearly there are religious implications and our morality came from God and perhaps cannot fully exist without God.

    Our morality is rooted in the prophets of God who revealed to us the absolute standards of our Creator against murder and incest for example.

    If we carefully examine the teachings of the Bible and the Holy Quran on the subject of murder and incest we will find Quranic tradition a more evolved and preserved text. The Holy Quran details the blood relationships that believers are forbade to marry. It says:

    “Forbidden to you are your mothers, and your daughters, and your sisters, and your fathers’ sisters, and your mothers’ sisters, and brother’s daughters, and sister’s daughters, and your foster-mothers that have given you suck, and your foster-sisters, and the mothers of your wives, and your stepdaughters, who are your wards by your wives unto whom you have gone in — but if you have not gone in unto them, there shall be no sin upon you — and the wives of your sons that are from your loins; and it is forbidden to you to have two sisters together in marriage, except what has already passed; surely, Allah is Most Forgiving, Merciful.” (Al Quran 4:24)

    About murder the Quran links itself to the Jewish tradition and states:

    ” … On account of this, We prescribed for the children of Israel that whosoever killed a person — unless it be for killing a person or for creating disorder in the land — it shall be as if he had killed all mankind; and whoso gave life to one, it shall be as if he had given life to all mankind. And Our Messengers came to them with clear Signs, yet even after that, many of them commit excesses in the land.” (Al Quran 5:33)

    Read further in Islam for West:

    http://islamforwest.org/2012/01/01/foundation-of-our-morality-islamic-and-judeo-christian-tradition/

  8. Nick McConnell

    March 19, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    Zia Shah:

    It’s silly to say (as you did): “our morality came from God”. Morality is simply a set of principles that social animals adopt to promote living together productively and more harmoniously. For example, a dolphin will swim beneath a wounded cousin, periodically lifting it to the surface so it can breathe.

    If you will examine the scientific literature on behavioral ecology, you’ll find literally hundreds of other examples, e.g., with monkeys, elephants, and humans. So, unless you can support your claim that God taught other social animals sharing, reciprocal altruism, empathy, the sense of justice, identification and admonishment of cheaters, etc., your claim that human morality has anything to do with any god is just plain silly.

    Incidentally, I totally agree with Jim Jones’ criticism of the “picture” associated with this story. Not only it is grotesque and therefore a disgrace to The Muslim Times, its message is loaded with blatant lies about atheism. Atheism is simply the idea that there’s less than a 50% chance that some particular god exists; it has absolutely nothing to do with any moral positions.

  9. Zia H. Shah

    March 19, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    Dear Nick McConnell, I do believe that there are good and honest atheists and bad and dishonest theists from all different religions.

    The main issue though is, can we have objective and absolute moral values if there is no God? If there is no God, why is a cousin marriage fair game and marriage among siblings will be incest?

    I appreciate your example of caring dolphins, but, what about male bears who eat young bears at times, incest in many animals and a lot more? If we are to learn our morality from nature and animals alone, without revelation from Omniscient God, it will be very relative.

    I believe that humans have two deterrents against immorality, human conscience and a concept of All-Seeing God. Atheists have one of the two mechanisms, whereas genuine theists have both. How would you respond to this please? We are all for an open and polite discussion.

  10. Nick McConnell

    March 19, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    Zia:

    You asked “can we have objective and absolute moral values if there is no God?” My short response is “Yes!”

    To answer in-depth would require too much text for this venue; if you click on my name, the link will take you to my book, in which (in the book’s Part 3 and in the “Yx” chapters of Part 4) you can find my extensive evaluation. Here, I’ll provide just the barest outline.

    The only “objective and absolute PERSONAL moral value” that I have been able to identify is simply this: always use your brain as best you can. In a word, “evaluate”. In more words: “apply the scientific method (viz., “guess, test, and reassess”) in your daily life.”

    It’s more difficult to identify “objective and absolute INTERPERSONAL moral values [or codes]“. Here, I’ll just say that I agree with Confucius’s “Reciprocity”, with Rand’s “Give equal value for value received”, and with Kant’s “Always recognize that human individuals are ends, and do not use them as means to your end.” My own version is: “Always recognize that everyone has an equal right to claim one’s own existence.”

    Your particular example dealing with cousin vs. sibling marriages is simply the human experience that “inbreeding” increases the risk of congenital birth defects and essentially all communities have decided to attempt to avoid them. As for your claim that “without revelation from Omniscient God, it [morality] will be very relative” misses the obvious point (which I demonstrate in my Chatper Ii) that the most certain knowledge that humans have been able to gain, even more certain than the knowledge that we exist (for we may all be just simulations in some humongous computer game!) is that there are no gods and never were any.

    In your final paragraph, you state two of your beliefs. What I believe is that no belief should be held more strongly than relevant evidence warrants, and since there’s zero evidence that any god exists, I find that one of your stated beliefs is unwarranted.

  11. Zia H. Shah

    March 19, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    In agree, at least partially with your perspective, as regards the value of our reason, let me quote Thomas Paine:

    It is necessary to the happiness of man that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what one does not believe. It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society. When man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind, as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not believe, he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime. [Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason]

    One of the examples that fits Paine’s description is that during the dark ages as Europe had sunk into the Christian dogma and surrendered her reason to blind faith, path had been paved for Pope Urban to dupe them further into all the atrocities committed by the First Crusade!

    Dear Nick McConnell, you write:

    “My own version is: ‘Always recognize that everyone has an equal right to claim one’s own existence.’” We agree on this but the issue is what is the foundation for this in atheism. When going gets tough, why should not survival of the fittest, or jungle law take over human affairs?

    It seems at times in your above comment that you are arguing my point. If sibling marriage only has relative harm then it becomes a relative teaching and not absolute and mandatory. But, given our combined human experience of teachings of revelation, all of us have an abhorrence against incest. If it was not God given and only relative, one could justify sibling marriage on the ground that a certain couple is not planning children in the marriage.

    So, please tell me the foundation of absolutes in atheism? What is the equivalent of horror of Macbeth in atheism, after he had killed the king, in Shakespeare drama? Remember your MacBeth:

    The voice kept crying, ‘Sleep no more!’ to everyone in the house. ‘Macbeth has murdered sleep, and therefore Macbeth will sleep no more.’

    How are we to reach the Quranic absolute respect of human life in atheism, which is not negotiable, regardless of the stakes, except the two exceptions that the Quran defines?

  12. Nick McConnell

    March 20, 2012 at 7:26 am

    Zia:

    I’m afraid we’re very far apart on many points.

    1. You misrepresent the quotation from Paine when you state that it reflects “the value of our reason”. His paragraph clearly addresses the need to be truthful to oneself. If you’ll click on my name and look at the chapter of my book dealing with reason (the R-chapter), you’ll see my opinions about the extreme dangers of relying only on reason (the fatal hallmark of even thoughtful theists). It’s the scientific method that evidence shows can be justifiably relied upon, not reason.

    2. You apparently continue to misunderstand atheism, since you ask: “What is the foundation of this [my version of an interpersonal moral code] in atheism?” The label ‘atheist’ reflects ONLY that the person has concluded that there’s less than 50% chance that a particular god exists. A theist is one who has concluded (in spite of a total lack of evidence to support the assessment) that there’s a greater than 50% chance that a particular god exists. An agnostic takes the probability to be 50% (i.e., totally unknown). The point, then, is that atheism has nothing to do with statements about the color of the sky, the team most likely to win the next game, or anything about morality.

    3. If you want to know “the foundation of this [my version of an interpersonal moral code] in Humanism”, then that’s a different matter. Humanists are pragmatists; our opinions are based on reflections about experiences that seem to work best for the benefit of humans. Thus, from the past 100,000-or-so years of experiences with humans attempting to find ways to work together harmoniously and productively, it appears that the summaries I already presented (from Confucius, Rand, Kant, my own, and there are many more that I didn’t list, but see the many chapters in my book that deal with morality) do provide good guidance. In contrast, the law of jungle has been found to be most appropriate, not to human communities (although it’s still practiced in many), but to the jungle.

    4. With respect to sibling marriage: Yes! If no children will result, then there’s nothing wrong with such marriages. Yet, it seems likely that there has been natural selection of genes that avoid sibling marriages (because such marriages led to genetic dead ends), and this genetic selection may have resulted in mental “programming” (abhorrence) against such marriages. If so, such marriages may result in less happiness, although I’ve heard of cases where brother and sister have been happily married (without children). Meanwhile, of course I reject your suggestion (since it’s without any evidentiary support) that any human ever received any “revelation” from any god (since there’s zero evidence that any god exists or has ever existed).

    5. You ask (again): “Please tell me the foundation of absolutes in atheism”. My answer (again): There are no “foundations of absolutes in atheism”, because there are no “absolutes” in atheism. For the last time: ‘atheism’ means only that a person has decided that the probability of a particular god’s existence is less that 0.5. For example, you (I presume) are an atheist with respect to Re, Marduk, Shamash, and so on for the thousands of other “gods” for whom “believers” have proceeded to murder those who said that such gods didn’t exist.

    6. On the other hand, if you seek to know what “absolutes” are adopted by Humanists, then that’s a different matter. If you’ll click on my name (linked to my book), you’ll find that I’ve already written much on the subject. One place to start is with Schweitzer’s, “Reverence for life affords me my fundamental principle of morality”, but as I argue in my book (e.g., see Chapter V dealing with Values and Chapter W dealing with Wisdom), I think it’s important to go farther. Shakespeare’s “This above all: to thine own self be true” is also good, but again, I think more is needed (since it’s so easy to fool oneself).

    Applying the scientific method in one’s daily life is important, for as Feynman said, “Science [or better, the scientific method] is a way of trying not to fool yourself.” As I already stated, the only “moral absolute that I’ve been able to identify is: Always use your brain as best you can (which is the same as applying the scientific method in your daily life, i.e., “guess, test, and reassess”) or in a word, Evaluate!

    Socrates’ assessment, “There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance” is good, but I would prefer: There is only one good, willingness to learn, and one evil, refusal. I agree with his, “the most reprehensible form of ignorance [is] that of thinking one knows what one does not know”, as well as the similar statement by Confucius: “When you know a thing, to hold that you know it; and when you do not know a thing, to allow that you do not know it – this is the beginning of wisdom”. From such assessments, I advocate that an “absolute” that humanity should pursue is to help intelligence go on, which thereby recommends adopting the goal (among many other goals) of eliminating all the ignorance that’s “codified” as “dogma” in the “holy books” of all “revealed” religions. As Mangasarian said: “Religion is the science of children; science is the religion of adults.”

  13. Zia H. Shah

    March 21, 2012 at 6:40 am

    Nick I agree with you when you wrote:

    “I’m afraid we’re very far apart on many points.” Your point number four highlights that morality based on your beliefs is completely utilitarian and lacks any absolute standards. Islamic teachings are based on utilitarian value but once harm of something is known it becomes a no-no on the basis of divine command. The Quranic commands about alcohol and gambling for example establishes such criteria:

    They ask thee concerning wine and gambling. Say: ‘In both there is great sin and also some advantages for men; but their sin is greater than their advantage.’ And they ask thee what they should spend. Say: ‘What you can spare.’ Thus does Allah make His commandments clear to you that you may reflect. (Al Quran 2:220)

    In point number 4 you also claim that there is no evidence of revelation or God. We respectfully agree to disagree on this. In our website Islam for the West, which is linked with sunrise in top of the right column you will find menus of ‘Revelation,’ and ‘Religion and Science,’ with a lot of materials on this subject. Please spend some time there:

    http://islamforwest.org

    Best Regards!

  14. Nick McConnell

    March 21, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Zia, you obviously have a very serious “hang-up” about “absolutes”. Yet, evidence supports the conclusion that, in the “open system” known as reality, there are no absolutes. If fact, even that statement should be modified, to something of the form: The statement “in reality, there are no absolutes” seems to be true to within at least one part in about 10^25. It follows, because (as I show in my book’s Chapter Ii), the probability that we exist can’t be established with more certainty.

    On the other hand, for “closed systems” (such as games, pure mathematics, and all religions), absolutes can be defined. As examples: in the game of bridge, the ace of trump beats all other cards; in pure math, 1 + 1 = 2; and to ascertain the “truth” of any particular religious dogma, all one need do is check the relevant “holy book”.

    But as I describe in detail in my book’s two “T-chapters” (dealing with “Truth”), almost certainly reality isn’t a “closed system”; it’s an “open system”. For example, in reality, one molecule of carbon dioxide plus one molecule of water yields only one molecule of carbonic acid (i.e., 1 + 1 = 1). As another example, 1 Black Hole plus another Black Hole yields only one Black Hole (albeit of greater mass). As Einstein said:

    “As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.”

    Popper’s generalization is:

    “Insofar as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and insofar as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.”

    Yet meanwhile and similar to all religionists, you seek “absolutes”, e.g., “absolute” moral principles. I would argue that, by doing so, you’re seeking to divorce yourself from reality, to play some (make-believe) game, with claims to “absolutes” and “truth” that can’t be falsified.

    The nearest, relevant absolute that seems to be appropriate in reality may be something similar to: “It’s wise to always use your brain as best you can.” But in contrast to that recommendation, I’m not convinced that you are doing so. I’ll also repeat my modification of Socrates’ statement that seems more appropriate as a personal moral principle and seems to have a high probability of being correct: “There is only one good, willingness to learn, and one evil, refusal.”

    Acting consistently with that concept, I did read some of the articles at the reference you provided. I see that you are an MD. I assume that your minor exposure to the physical sciences and lack (total lack?) of exposure to philosophy (especially logic) explain why your articles are so shallow. Which leads me to offer you two recommendations:

    1. In your writings, don’t let readers know that you have only an MD. You should be aware that many of us with our PhDs interpret MD to mean: “Mere Doctor”, that is, a “glorified” (high-paid) technician. From your writings, it’s clear that you’re attempting to tread far beyond your training and/or intellectual capabilities by commenting on the ideas of Hawking, Dawkins, and Einstein. For example, I expect that you “don’t have a clue” about the meaning of the concept that the universe appears to have created itself via a symmetry-breaking quantum-like fluctuation in a total void. But I would agree that children find it much easier to assume that the universe was created by a magic man in the sky.

    2. You really should study much, much more before you try to convince anyone that you’re in possession of “the truth” (via the Koran)! I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if your mother would be very pleased to learn that you are promoting the “truth” (actually, ignorance) in which you were indoctrinated as a child, but on the other hand, you obviously don’t know even what “truth” means. If you are willing to learn (a “good”) rather than refuse to learn (an “evil”), then I recommend you start by reading the two chapters that I mentioned above, i.e.,

    http://zenofzero.net/docs/T1_Truth_&_Knowledge.pdf

    http://zenofzero.net/docs/T2_Truth_&_Understanding.pdf

  15. Zia H. Shah

    March 21, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    Dear Nick

    You raise a lot of different questions and let me tackle a few issues here. You try to impress me with your knowledge and intelligence by writing, “I expect that you ‘don’t have a clue’ about the meaning of the concept that the universe appears to have created itself via a symmetry-breaking quantum-like fluctuation in a total void.” But, here is the paradox or contradiction in the thinking of many atheists. They claim that the universe is so complex that only the smartest atheist PhDs can understand the physics and mathematics going into the conception of this universe and in the second breath they claim that they are fairly certain that it is a blind accident and they feel pretty sure that no intelligence has guided its coming into existence. You cannot have your cake and eat it too!

    You seem to be unduly impressed by Prof. Dawkins and Stephen Hawking. I have a post here, where I show that Prof. Dawkins makes false claims about Einstein being a Pantheist and I show that Einstein was a Deist. Pretend to be Dawkins in the following post and defend his claims and show us your greater academic excellence please:

    http://www.themuslimtimes.org/2012/02/video/refuting-dawkins-false-claims-einstein-was-a-deist-and-not-a-pantheist

    Incidentally, I am not in exactly the same religion as I was indoctrinated in. I was born a Sunni Muslim and changed to Ahmadiyya understanding of Islam at age of 22. If you ask a Sunni Muslim, it would be considered as big a change as becoming a Christian or a Jew and many would prescribe death sentence for my alleged apostasy.

    Additionally, revelation is not opposed to reason but is a catalyst for reason. Let me quote from the writings of the Messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani:

    Revelation is a mirror reflecting the truth for the benefit of reason and the great argument in support of its truth is that it is wholly free from matters the impossibility of which is established after pondering on God’s Power and Perfection and Holiness. Indeed in matters Divine, which are deep and hidden, it is the only guide for weak human reason. To have recourse to it does not render reason useless, but leads it to deep secrets which it was difficult for reason to penetrate into on its own. Reason derives great benefit from true revelation.

    Here I will link a collection of excerpts about revelation in support of this claim:

    http://www.alislam.org/books/essence/contents.html

    Lastly, you have questioned my academic credentials. Let me link my personal website here and God willing over time I will be able to reasonably defend most if not all of my positions and posts, as I have been examining and fine tuning my ideas for the last 30 years:

    http://islam4jesus.org

    I will talk about the slippery slope of relativism on a different day.

  16. Amtul Q Farhat

    March 21, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    Mr McConnell!
    The fact that you have come to personal allegations, attacks and intimidation shows that the real grounds of your reason and evidence have run out.

    I am sure you have applied some sort of scientific reasoning to draw these conclusions (personal allegations) and unfortunately these conclusions are wrong as Dr Zia Shah has already explained about himself and there are hundreds of witnesses to his life and works. Let me tell you that even though he was a wonderful and very obedient son to his deceased parents he did not have a common ideology with them.

    And that leaves me wondering how can you draw correct conclusions and comprehension of God when you have failed to do so in comprehending a person whose life and works are right in front of your eyes.

    I also assure you that being a non atheist he will never step down to same tactics in a vain effort to win the game.

  17. Falak Rahman

    March 21, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    Real knowledge and learning opens minds and brings more humility and respect for all creation whether it’s a PhD or MD. If it fills one with pride that gives him/her the right to insult or humiliate others because of the mere fact that he/she is more educated by degrees, then I would say very humbly that the learning, understanding and knowledge has been wasted as it serves no purpose other than to make you feel that you are right and know all. When you are always right (based on learning, knowledge) then you learn no more (death in other words). For me, open, accepting and unbiased mind is better than the highly educated (by degrees), proud and biased mind.

  18. Nick McConnell

    March 22, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Zia,

    1. I do NOT “try to impress [you] with [my] knowledge and intelligence”; both my knowledge and my intelligence are quite limited; I am, however, trying to get you to stop polluting people with your childish worldview.

    2. It’s not a matter of “[having] your cake and eat[ing] it too”. Nature is complicated! For example, consider the randomness and complexity of turbulence!

    3. I’ve seen your post re. Dawkins’ view that Einstein was a pantheist. My assessment was (and is) that you apparently tried to make a mountain out of a molehill. Dawkins wrote (The God Delusion, p. 18):

    “So, was he [Einstein] a deist, like Voltaire and Diderot? Or a pantheist, like Spinoza, whose philosophy he admired: ‘I [Einstein] believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exist, not in a God who concerns himself with fates and actions of human beings’.”

    Dawkins then goes on (on the same page) to explain his meanings (which are the common meanings) for theist, deist, and pantheist. He then shows his reason for describing Einstein as a pantheist (or “naturalist”). My conclusions are: 1) you misrepresent Dawkins’ views, 2) you misunderstand Einstein, and 3) none of it’s of any significance: not only is it all just “word games” (you should learn how to do what Popper recommended: read definitions from right to left!), but who cares what word is associated with Einstein’s thoroughly described opinions about the silliness of the god idea?!

    4. I’m very glad to hear that you have bravely taken the step away from being a Sunni Muslim. I hope you’ll have the courage to keep taking more steps away from the childish idea of a magic man in the sky.

  19. Zia H. Shah

    March 22, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Let us close this discussion here. Readers can make up their own mind and are invited to read the following three and make their own judgment on Dawkins’ claim for Einstein:

    1. The first chapter of the God Delusion by Prof. Richard Dawkins.
    2. My post: Dawkins’ False Papal Fatwa: ‘Einstein was a Pantheist and not a Deist?’
    3. Nick McConnell’s comment above.

  20. Ethan

    April 4, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    I am an athiest. I really do not beleive in god. I really dislike christians, because they are mostly people that deny any other religion, but I find Muslim and buddist people more tolerant and friendly then christians. I was, at one time thiking of becoming a muslium but, I discovered that my father HATED muslims more than any other religion, so I reminded him of the crusades and how muslims aren’t the only violent people out there, the catholics and christians are really, really violent.

    P.S. I am not the smartest person in the world, but I do not beleive in wars over religion. Let’s learn from the past, shall we?

  21. Ethan

    April 4, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    P.S. Not all christians are violent, I do not hate all of them, just certain ones. And Musliums are very good, normal people.

  22. Ethan

    April 4, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    PLUS, (stay with me, just this one to go) Athiests are NOT about stealing, killing, and all that. We just try to be good, caring people.

  23. Kurt Hendricks

    April 19, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    Morality precedes religion, not the other way around. Seriously, if you thought you could get away with raping someone without getting caught, would you? As an atheist, I sure as hell wouldn’t, and couldn’t; imagine the suffering you would condemn another human being to. What is wrong with a person that needs the fear of eternal punishment to dissuade them from victimizing others?

  24. Illusio

    May 13, 2012 at 2:39 am

    Wow. What truly astounding drivel Zia managed to concoct here. Is he seriously trying to argue that life is sacred in Islam, when the religion has a history of centuries of imperialism and slaughter coming out of Arabia?

    Is he really trying to make a case that Islam has anything remotely resembling moral regard for non-muslims when these can be enslaved, raped and plundered according to Sura al Anfal, Sahih Muslim 3371 and many similar passages?

    When we also know that the early muslims practiced what the Qur’an preached during their attempt at conquering the world for Allah – what conceivable reason could there be for trying to reinterpret their views and not just dismiss the entire thing as the work of a deviant barbarian?

    I’m sorry, but your religion gives you a divine license to rape and plunder. This is a bad thing and although I deny that this amounts to objective morality, and consider the idea a contradiction in terms whether gods existed or not, the fact that you must regard these things as objective goods demonstrates how worthless your “moral” platform is.

    That you demand absolutes from atheists is just laughable in that light. Even if I were to take the nihilist position of no morality it would be vastly superior to your dangerous and harmful license to go on a murder, plunder and rape spree if you are of the opinion that you are doing it for Allah. It’s not all religions who have their founder laying down the law for how much of the plunder should go to himself(“Allah”). Sura al Anfal really sum up everything worth knowing about the imperialist phenomenon known as Islam. The rest we can get from looking at heroes like Genghis Khan and the Europeans who crushed the Islamic imperialists and drove them back. hat is, unfortunately, the only way to meet a superstition as hostile as your own.

  25. Gomlen

    June 17, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    @Zia H. Shah:

    Quote:
    “The main issue though is, can we have objective and absolute moral values if there is no God? If there is no God, why is a cousin marriage fair game and marriage among siblings will be incest?”

    We don’t have any objective moral values today. The different countries in the world practice different moral beliefs through different legal systems and even within different societies of beliefs within each respective country.

    Maybee the biggest problem of today is religious people who claim to know an absolute truth or moral stand which they next try to force upon everyone in their surroundings. The jews have their values. The christians have their values and the muslims have their values.

    Is it strange we have no peace in the middle east or anywhere else these different belief-systems clash together? They all claim to posess the absolute truth and that they represent the objective moral belief system given from their God almighty. Go figure …

  26. bailal

    June 22, 2012 at 6:24 am

    my question to zia or any person who can answer

    1)Why God created us, what is reason behind it?

    2)Some says we have been created to worship, still question do God needs to be worshiped?

    Though questions may look like silly but i need answers.

    Thanks

  27. Zia H. Shah

    June 22, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    The answer to this question will be found in the commentary of the following verses:

    Such is Allah, your Lord. There is no God but He, the Creator of all things, so worship Him. And He is Guardian over everything. Eyes cannot reach Him but He reaches the eyes. And He is the Incomprehensible, the All-Aware. (Al Quran 6:103-104)

    And We created not the heaven and the earth and all that is between the two in play. If We had wished to find a pastime, We would surely have found it in what is with Us if at all We were to do such a thing. (Al Quran 21:17-18)

    He is Allah, the Creator, the Maker, the Fashioner. His are the most beautiful names. All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifies Him, and He is the Mighty, the Wise. (Al Quran 59:25)

  28. Gomlen

    June 23, 2012 at 6:40 am

    @Zia H. Shah:

    Ok, you are answering my post with quotes from the holy book of islam. If I asked a jew or a christian the same questions, they would probably give me quotes from their holy book, the bible.

    All the major religions today claim to represent the one and only truth of the universe. How do you find an objective truth within many hundred belief systems?

    Do religion have copyright on words such like “morale” or “ethics”? Could you be an atheist and still respect your neighbor, live in monogamous relationships, don’t use alcohol or anything else that effects the body in a negative way … and simply be a good human beeing?

    My personal experience tells me that religious people often meet other people that diverts from their own belief system with disrespect. This disrespect again have started many conflicts and even wars. Do God (the jew/christian/islam version of it) mentioning anything about respecting non-believers for what they are? Respect goes both ways right?

  29. Rafiq A. Tschannen

    June 23, 2012 at 7:08 am

    @Gomlen. Please consider one simple logical argument: There is one God, who created us all. He sent prophets from time to time. The Jews say: “God spoke to us, but then 3000 years ago he stopped”. The Christians say: “God spoke to us, but then 2000 years ago he stopped”. Mohammad, peace be on him, is the youngest in a long chain of prophets. Logic would command that his book, the Quran, is the last law from God. Please consider this argument and hopefully study the Qur’an with this logic in mind. May Allah be our Guide always!

  30. Gomlen

    June 24, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    @Rafiq A. Tschannen

    Hi! Thank you for your answer. I am a bit uncertain of your link between “logic” and “religion” but as I read your answer you seem to think that islam is the only logical choice of belief system because the prophet Mohammad is the youngest in a long chains of prophets. This should imply that members of older religions like the jews and christians should convert to islam because their God supposedly stopped talking to them a couple of thousand years ago.

    If I should read your answer litterally you also suggest that if a new prophet makes his entry to mother earth somewhere in the near future and claims that God’s law is something else than what islam represents … then muslims will be willing to convert to this new religion?

  31. Andrew

    July 6, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    well, actually…

    For me personally I’d have to say the distrust goes the other way .

    Being an Atheist for a while now and finding adults that are still believing in fairies and skydaddy’s is horrific and raises the hair on my skin.

    If asked to hire a religious person in my organisation I abide by the law .

  32. Vishal

    July 26, 2012 at 2:37 am

    So you’re saying that the only reason that god fearing religious people don’t do those terrible deads like rape, murder…is because they are scared of God….We athiests dont do those things because we know its terrible thing to do not because some devine power orders us not to do it..

  33. Melissa

    July 31, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    This article and the picture is complete rubbish. Atheists are moral because they can see the consequences of their actions.

    Babies (even those born congenitally blind) can smile, laugh, and cry. They understand pain, happiness, and joy without the interference of an imaginary being aka “god”.

    Which do you believe? That some things innately good no matter what (e.g. taking care of family, not killing, helping others, avoiding harm) and some things innately bad (killing, harm to others, stealing etc)? If you said yes then god cannot be all good because he also created those things which ar bad. “Oh but the devil”…was created by god at least according to the bible. God must have created satan with his downfalls and “evil.” That would make god the source of all evil. If some things are good without god’s approval then there is some higher order than god.

    People know naturally what is good and what is bad. Babies do not have to be taught to smile, laugh, or cry. These things come naturally to them. If you said “no, god decides what is good and bad” then god is arbitrary, he could just as easily have declared killing and rape to be “good” because he is what makes something good or bad.
    So god is either a) not all good (because he “all powerful” he allows bad things to exist, nay created them himself) or not all powerful (he is all good but unable to control everything, otherwise there would be no bad, some things are good without god needing to approve them such as love which means there is something greater than god).

    When I said that infants do not need to be taught to smile, laugh, or cry, I wasn’t lying. Humans are innately capable of feeling happiness, distress, and pain and these things carry with them connotations before a child is even old enough to know that it exists (which is about 1-2 years of age).

    Humans are equipped with something very cool (and as it stands so are primates and dolphins). They’re called mirror neurons. Mirror neurons fire (activate) when you watch someone else. Quite literally your brain behaves as if you were doing the thing you are watching and this is the seat of empathy (the ability to feel what others feel). So when you see someone suffering, being hurt, feeling sad, quite literally you can feel what they are feeling because our brains enable us to do so.

    Atheists are moral because it is fulfilling, rewarding, and frankly much easier than being amoral. Human beings are social creatures so it makes sense to do things that advance a societal agenda, it makes sense to do things that are beneficial to the community and we are punished for doing things against the community (every society has some punitive system, yes even the heathen atheist ones.)

    I feel sorry for people who believe they can’t be moral and good without the threat of punishment from an imaginary being. They are the ones who are terrifying because THEY are the ones who believe they would do horrible things without their god.

  34. Rafiq A. Tschannen

    July 31, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Melissa, reading your mail I praise Allah (God), the creator of us all. Yes, babies can smile and I believe it is because the creator made them that way. Look at a new born baby! So cute and so perfect! I personally do not think that all this perfection can be ‘by chance’ or ‘by accident’. -

    But anyway, “for you your religion (or none at all) and for me mine”.

  35. Rafiq A. Tschannen

    July 31, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    @Gomlen. Yes, if a new Prophet would come we would have to accept him. In Islam we believe that the Qur’an is the final book. Logic also supports it: None of the earlier books are with us in its original form. Only the Qur’an is with us in the same form as it was revealed. (Non-Muslim ‘Orientalists’ agree that there are no changes in the text). The members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at belief that the founder of the community is a ‘sub-ordinate prophet’. See also http://www.alislam.org.

  36. Anisa

    August 8, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    As a wise man said, if there is no God then believing in Him will not harm us. But if in fact there is a God, then the non believers should think where they stand? How they are going to face Him.
    In fact believing in one Supreme God gives us only benefit.
    It is just like you are in an academic examination hall and there is no vigilance, the students will definitely try to cheat. But if they knew,someone is watching over their movements,if caught they will be answerable or could possibly be punished or degraded, they will try to be as honest as they can.
    Moreover, human is the best of Creation, the only living being with best intellectual capability. To compare him with animal’s limited knowledge and capacities, is very unreasonable approach. If nature
    is everything, and evolution is that reforms any living being. From thousand and thousands of years animals are the same. Neither of them have evolved to make any progress, lingually, intellectually as a specie.

  37. Bjork

    August 12, 2012 at 1:56 am

    Holy f… this is the most retarded this I have ever read.
    You don’t need religion to know right from wrong.

    You don’t need to live in constant fear of some supreme being that doesn’t exist.

    You should be smart enough without a stupid book to know right from wrong.

  38. Anisa

    August 13, 2012 at 8:40 am

    “I feel sorry for people who believe they can’t be moral and good without the threat of punishment from an imaginary being. They are the ones who are terrifying because THEY are the ones who believe they would do horrible things without their god.”
    By saying so we deny the reality of life. Strong observation confirms it. Human nature confirms it. That a person mostly tend to cheat in the absence of being watched.
    Hence vigilance plays a storing role in prevention of evil. If committed a vice or crime it is wise to punish then to let go. It is for the good of such individual as well as of the others.
    It is not for nothing that today the whole world has adopted the system of security cameras.
    The vast and vivid police system is a must in every civilized country. This is another evidence for need to be watched. Or else they tend to do things that they should not be doing.
    A child for the fear of punishment does not misbehave with other kids. As soon as the mother or guardian leaves he may snatch the thing from his sibling.
    That is deprive other’s right. So believing that a Supreme being is watching over us prevents a person from mischief and forces a person to maintain moral behaviour and harmony in the societies.
    I am sorry to differ with sister Melissa’ above mentioned theory. Because observation and experience show only people of otherwise thinking do not like the idea of being watched and escape the consequences of their wrong actions.

    My opinions are only for those who can differ and respond in logical and respecting manners.

  39. Anisa

    August 13, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    To Brother Bailal,
    God does not want or need our worship. He was there with all his Might and Holiness when we were not there to worship him. Worship do not give Him any strength but give us strength.
    I am not a religious scholar. But my opinion is worship has two aspect. Paying the rights of Allah. 2nd paying the rights of fellow human beings.
    It is said that Allah may forgive us His rights but not that of people.
    It is also said, service to humanity is a form of worship.
    In short we are here to do good and refrain from evil and harm. God loves us so much that;
    Anything that harm us is a sin.
    Anything that benefits us is a virtue.
    So for us humans it is a win win game. We do good to us and Allah is pleased.
    This world is only a trial room in which we are put with a body that will wear out by the passage of time. And the power of choice to select good manners or evil. The good will result in reward and bad into punishment.
    In the mean time that is our conduct in our life span will determine the status of our spirit that will live in the eternal bliss of heavens.
    Only there is a need of realization and gratitude.

  40. Tim

    August 14, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but most religions have an offering of forgiveness stating that no matter what the person has done as long as they repent and ask god’s forgiveness they will go to heaven. Atheism is a lack of belief in a god or religion, therefore a lack of belief in heaven. If a person does not believe in an afterlife, why would they waste their life doing harm and putting that one life they have into jeopardy? Religion is the institution that allows rape (in the bible god does tell people to seize the virgins, and of course the catholic priest ordeal), murder (human sacrifice, etc) torture and other “immoral” deeds. It also allows immorality and inhumanity as long as you believe in it…sounds like that quote has it backwards.

  41. Anisa

    August 14, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    God created us and gave us a free will to chose,He says, whoever wishes should believe , who does not want,should not, but surely every human will return to Him And be accountable , no matter how they hate it.
    Mightiest or weakest, Kings or beggar, rich or poor, literate or illiterate, believers or Non believers all have to, willingly or unwillingly,submit to Him when summoned by His Decree of death.
    No religion allows to mistreat women, or kill innocents. It is their clergymen that have made additions according to their sense of interpretation of a command, or according to their own wish. Hence religion is not to be blamed.
    Because God always sends His men afresh to remove all the additions and misinterpretations, from the religion.
    Hence religion has nothing to do with these violences. Bad people , religion or no religion will keep their evil practice in all situations.

  42. anisa

    August 15, 2012 at 11:38 am

    P.s

    Repenting does not mean to verbally admit one’s fault for time being and get forgiven. And after a short while continue the same practice.
    Repentance means “A total reform and stoppage” of such an act.
    If it cures a person forever isn’t it worth?

  43. نعیم احمد سرمد

    November 2, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    Having read comments from atheists I have great sympathy & few questions for their sophisticated brains.

    1-Who will decide what is bad and what is good ?
    2-How do you come to conclude this is good or this bad for someone or most of us?

    I see that even machine learning algorithms are much smarter than these brains.

    Atheism is the logical consequence of Christian man-made, forged beliefs (inspired by Greek mythology) exposition in modern science.

  44. Joe Muon

    December 5, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    To: Christians/Muslims/Jews/Abrahamic Religions

    Just want to make the point that the picture of what Atheism is in the post, highlights most of the atrocities committed by God or his followers in the Bible. –And Christians say it’s OK because God ordered or did it himself. So is wrong to affiliate those things with Atheists as is proven by history believers were the ones committing such heinous crimes in the name of their deity.

  45. Ian

    March 14, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    @ نعیم احمد سرمد
    1- Each individual, the reason the picture is inaccurate is because it promotes the idea that Atheists uniformly think pillage, rape, and murder are ok when in reality we simply DON’T have a dogma telling us what is good and what isn’t good. Is it conceivable that you might find an Atheist who finds such things ok? Probably just like I can easily grab members of several religions and history who similarly thought such things where ok.
    2- How most people (even most religious followers seeing how much picking and choosing goes through which texts to acknowledge and which to ignore) determine what is good and bad is simply what is best for the survival of the species.
    Simply put humanity prospers as a society. If I go out and kill, rape, and murder people chances are people aren’t going to treat me well and since I certainly wouldn’t want to be killed, raped, or murdered, why on earth would I do such to others? The Golden rule has been around far earlier than the development of most religions, certainly longer than Christianity or Islam simply because it is social evolution that helps make humanity prosper. The human groups that DIDN’T follow such rules would likely die off and thus we are the offspring of those who did.

  46. Ian

    March 14, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    @Anisa
    Might want to look up Pascals wager because the reasoning you’re using here falls into that and it has been refuted quite easily repeatidly.
    First off you state that believing in a God has no consequence. Let’s look at a few:
    1. If there is a God that delievers divine judgement for disbelief or worshiping another God then if you haven’t picked the right one, walla, consequence.
    2. Almost all beliefs have dogma attached to them telling you what you can and can’t do as well as who to dislike or not associate with, many require tithes or calls to action which command you to follow despite whether you personally agree or disagree, another consequence.
    3. Much time is lost praising a God in a church or other such situations if it does not exist, etc.

    The problem with your argument is it ignores all these downsides and assumes a very, and pardon me for being rude, stupid short sighted view placing only two choices “God A or no God” instead of a night infinite number of possibilities “God A, B, C, etc” all of which might damn you simply for believing in the wrong one.

    As an Atheist our position is simple. They can’t all be right but they can all be wrong, better to disbelieve until sufficient evidence is provided rather than to “believe for the sake of believing” (another fallacy is that if you’re just playing the odds then certainly a divine being would be able to see through such ploys unless it was incompetent.)

  47. Ian

    March 14, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    @Anisa
    “No religion allows to mistreat women, or kill innocents” Clearly you’ve never read most holy texts. Which would you like me to provide examples from?

  48. rage

    July 18, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Dear Mr. Zia

    Referning to your above comments

    “The main issue though is, can we have objective and absolute moral values if there is no God? If there is no God, why is a cousin marriage fair game and marriage among siblings will be incest?”

    Please can explain that how the human race was created. After Adam & Eve aren’t we all the result of incest?

  49. Scarlett Stokes

    August 26, 2014 at 9:38 am

    That is a biased perspective. Atheists have some of the Christian values but because the happen to have adopted them and we are atheists who are opposed to a deity, the presume that we regard Christian values with disdain. This is not the case.

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