Quantcast
Opinion

Letter: Right and wrong

Comments

Return To Article
  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    April 22, 2014 12:11 a.m.

    "If atheists are right and there is no God, then right and wrong are religious concepts we can dispense with. " Dispose of them if you wish, but Right and Wrong are not exclusively religious concepts by a long shot. A good thing!

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    April 22, 2014 12:15 a.m.

    I agree wholeheartedly that we each have the light of Christ. But that makes the job of limiting morality to the religious more difficult, not less. Because those who do not have any religious thoughts are still imbued with a sense of right and wrong. Hence many folks are moral. Not simply the religious.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    April 22, 2014 5:49 a.m.

    "then we can murder, steal, and lie with impunity. "

    I am really sick of hearing that. It is just so easily disproved.

    Societies, with a belief in God or not, have always had rules to live by. A society with rules runs better. It is more peaceful. It cannot thrive without order. Rules are necessary to have order.

    Heck, even the higher intelligent animal species have rules within their groups.

    So, please dispense with this self serving notion that has been disproven by countless historical examples.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    April 22, 2014 6:20 a.m.

    The saddest part of this letter is that the author believes what he wrote. You can be a good, decent, moral person without a god. If the only reason you act in a decent, honorable way is because you're afraid of a god, then are you truly a moral person? Not imo.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    April 22, 2014 7:28 a.m.

    So if religious societies are less violent and non-religious societies are more violent then I'm guessing Europe is far more violent than the middle-east, right?

    South Africa must be a paradise!

    Brazil, the world's most catholic nation, must be a very peaceful place without any violent crime, kidnapping, or drugs.

    Where is the mafia from again?

    And Mexico must never have any beheading or otherwise horrific acts of crime, right?

    Anyone familiar with the crusades must laugh at this letter.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    April 22, 2014 7:37 a.m.

    So what you're saying is that the _only_ reason you don't go around killing people and robbing 7-11's is because you fear punishment? You truly believe you are incapable of figuring out right and wrong on your own?

    History refutes the assertion that religious belief equates to moral behavior.

    These hyper-simplistic and wildly inaccurate depictions of atheism by those claiming to be religious is one reason why organized religion is faring so poorly in our society.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    April 22, 2014 7:53 a.m.

    Religon is the worst thing that ever happened to God. Christanity is a little over 2000 years old and Mormonism only a few generations. Human beings lived with a moral code long before that and many more live a strong, righteous life without religon now. The most moral, righteous people I've met in my life are those that freed themselves from the fear of religon and discovered what is truly right inside of them. Whether people believe in a God or not is irrelevant to being a righteous person or a just society.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    April 22, 2014 7:58 a.m.

    I am no atheist, but the premise of this letter as stated in the first paragraph is utterly wrong.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    April 22, 2014 7:58 a.m.

    Where did rules come from? Look at the history of "civilization". How many societies believed in slavery? How many killed children? How many treated women as chattel? How many had tribes led by war lords? Where were the "rules" in those societies? Why did they murder and rape?

    "Goodness" comes from God. America was founded by people who actually believed that our liberties are a gift from our Creator, our God. Our forefathers wanted us to remember that fact. They put the words, "In God We Trust" on every coin and on every denomination of paper money that is issued by the Government.

    "In God We Trust" is much more than a motto. It is a recognition that God is the giver of "goodness", that His rules apply to any society that wants to be free from the iron boot of a tyrannical government. The people of America were slower to understand that concept, but slavery has been abolished. Bigotry is fading.

    Unfortunately, some have forgotten who gives us "rules". Some tell us that their self-made rules replace eternal laws. Remove God and you'll remove goodness.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    April 22, 2014 8:01 a.m.

    The problem atheists have is moral relativism. If there is a God, the ultimate lawgiver and the ultimate judge of us all, moral relativism can not exist because it is God that defines morality and everything else is just an opinion. On the other hand if there is no God, each person can define morality any way they want and we get chaos, any free society crumbles and we get anarchists who enforce their "morality" onto others like Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Castro, Mao ste Tung and dozens of other moral relativists the world has produced. Do you really want to live in a world where morality is relative? Really?

  • pmccombs Orem, UT
    April 22, 2014 8:04 a.m.

    I think this is an unfortunate letter. If this is how religion views morality--as something that only matters if there is a God--then we are in trouble.

    Luckily, I have seen better than this. I know an atheist who disproves this notion. For many years, he sat by the side of terminal AIDS patients who had been cast off by their friends and families. He told me that sometimes he would attend as many as one funeral a week. He had empathy for the suffering and wondered, if there is no God to wipe away their tears, then who will do it? So he did it himself.

    And that is perhaps something to be said about atheism: It allows for the possibility that one might do well for sake of goodness itself. That, in fact, we might be good because goodness is found inside of us and not imposed upon us by some religious decree or commandment, which otherwise we would not care to observe.

    I have a feeling that people like this atheist friend of mine may get into heaven before those who think that goodness only matters if there is a God.

  • Demosthenes Rexburg, ID
    April 22, 2014 8:08 a.m.

    Certainly atheists can be good, moral people, but the point is that their choices have no concrete basis. They are pure opinion, changeable, debatable, subjective, and contextual. For millennia, religious texts have provided a solid basis for societal law and behavior. Sure, there are debates and vagueries, but let's face it, it works and is superior to anything atheism can provide.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 22, 2014 8:16 a.m.

    “Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

    ― Marcus Aurelius

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    April 22, 2014 8:17 a.m.

    "How many societies believed in slavery? How many killed children? How many treated women as chattel? How many had tribes led by war lords? Where were the "rules" in those societies? Why did they murder and rape?"

    Mike. What you list is occurring in societies today. And the most egregious instances occur in the most religious societies.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    April 22, 2014 8:17 a.m.

    Re: ". . . Right and Wrong are not exclusively religious concepts . . . ."

    True. But those conceptual definitions take on a dangerous flexibility in the hands of those who believe their actions are not subject to review by a Higher Authority.

    All you have to do is look at Hitler's Germany, Leninist/Stalinist Russia, China, North Korea, Cuba, Syria's ruling elite, Iran's ruling elite, Venezuela's ruling elite, Bolivia's ruling elite -- even America's ruling elite. They've all bent, molded, and redefined the "good" and "bad" concepts to mean things that are attractive to them and their ideology, but destructive of the lives of real people.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    April 22, 2014 8:23 a.m.

    “If atheists are right and there is no God, then right and wrong are religious concepts we can dispense with.”

    If this first sentence was used on a Logic test, the student would receive an F.

    @Mike Richards – “"How many societies believed in slavery? How many killed children? How many treated women as chattel? How many had tribes led by war lords? Where were the "rules" in those societies? Why did they murder and rape?"

    I couldn’t help but notice how accurately this describes a certain bronze-age desert tribe, even after they were given rules set in stone by their god.

  • KJB1 Eugene, OR
    April 22, 2014 8:31 a.m.

    Mike Richards:

    And how societies have used "God" as their justification for slavery and for dominating women?

    And while it's true that "bigotry is fading", it often happens over the strong objections of those who claim to be "religious." Take a look at any talkback here that involves same-sex marriage...

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    April 22, 2014 8:37 a.m.

    Joe,

    "Religious societies" and God's rules don't always coincide. Do you think that terrorists worship God? Why would you think that? How do their ACTIONS show that they worship God? Hasn't God told us to do no murder? Are you claiming that their religion teaches them to murder? I've read the Koran. I found no directives in that book to murder innocent people.

    Telling us that "religion" is the cause of evil is misleading. If God is the giver of life (which He is) and if God has given us rules whereby we can learn to love each other (which He has), then we must also believe that opposition to Him and to His rules must exist (which He told us is an eternal principle). The question then becomes who or what teaches terrorism, who or what teaches mutilation, who or what teaches murder? It certainly is not our Creator, our God, our Heavenly Father. It is a mockery for people to assign sinful behavior to God.

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    April 22, 2014 8:55 a.m.

    The difficulty is there are false Gods and therefore false religions. There are even some people who apostatize from truth (parable of the sower). Part of our purpose on this earth is to discover truth and reject falsehoods. Truth is the knowledge of things as they really are, as they always have been and they always will be. "Seek (for truth) and ye shall find it", said Jesus. Hint, "By their fruits ye shall know them".

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    April 22, 2014 9:07 a.m.

    Well then... I guess the letter writer better not lose his faith... wouldn't want him going on a killing spree... I really don't see how people can believe this sort of nonsense that atheism makes everything a free-for-all.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    April 22, 2014 9:08 a.m.

    @ Mike Richards – “I've read the Koran. I found no directives in that book to murder innocent people.”

    Check the Bible – specifically, the part about the Amalekites. Unless of course you believe they were all guilty, including women, children, babies… farm animals.

    I’m always baffled when religious people claim that we have been given absolute morals by God. What is your evidence for this? I’ve already cited one example of directing his people to break a commandment, and the fact is the OT is filled with God commanded or condoned barbarism and moral relativism.

    Take slavery – what does the Bile say about treating fellow human beings like farm equipment? Not only does the Bible condone it even provides instructions for how to treat your slaves (e.g., when beating them, don’t blind them or knock out their teeth… words of wisdom indeed!).

    By the way, this distasteful fact was what allowed Southern preachers to regularly trounce their Northern counterparts in the slavery debates of the 1850’s.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    April 22, 2014 9:10 a.m.

    Nothing to add here.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    April 22, 2014 9:13 a.m.

    More people have been slaughtered from "My God is better than your God",
    than all the Godless heathens there ever have been combined.

    9/11,
    WWII,
    The Inquisition,
    The Crusades,

    The older I get,
    the more true John Lennon's "Imagine" becomes.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    April 22, 2014 9:18 a.m.

    @Mountanman
    "Do you really want to live in a world where morality is relative? Really?"

    Want to know an example of a system that happens when morality isn't relative? When a nation decides to impose Sharia Law on everybody. There needs to be a happy medium when it comes to the laws of a nation.

    @Mike Richards
    "Do you think that terrorists worship God? Why would you think that? How do their ACTIONS show that they worship God?"

    If they think they are worshiping God, even if they're doing it wrong, then they are worshiping God. Which is not to say he won't have a few choice words for them on the other side, of course.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    April 22, 2014 9:21 a.m.

    "Telling us that "religion" is the cause of evil is misleading"

    And that characterization of my post is misleading. Religion does not inherently cause evil. Nor is it always the impetus for good. Same with Atheism.

    Look. I see religion as a generally good force in this world. But it is not without its warts.

    While many believe that the 911 hijackers were misguided in their understanding of their religion, to claim that they were not religious by definition, is just nonsense.

    There are many atrocities in history committed in the name of religion. Perhaps a poor understanding of religion, but related non-the-less. That is undeniable.

    Religious teachings have been interpreted to justify lots of different things, good and bad. People do it all the time. Even to this day. And, of course, their understanding and their application is correct.
    Or is it?

    But back to the topic.

    It is possible for a non believer to be a great member of society. Just as it is possible for those who claim strict religious adherence to be detrimental.

    And there are many many examples of both. And why the premise of this letter is clearly wrong.

  • UTCProgress American Fork, UT
    April 22, 2014 9:23 a.m.

    @Mike Richards

    You would think that after the thousands of posts you make you would at least attempt to do a little research. Of course, why let reality get in the way of your belief system. It took me all of 1 minute to find multiple instances where God commanded the believers to kill. It is found in every religion's scripture. As has been stated here by others, believing in God does not make one moral, and despite the writer's claim, we are not "born" moral and ethical. It is learned behavior. A lawful and orderly society does not depend on a vengeful God to ensure compliance, simply a desire to recognize that everyone has a right to peace. Throughout history religion has been used to justify war and killing. The 20th century is unique in that major genocides were committed by people who had disavowed religion. Prior to that, the greatest offenders wrapped their genocide in religion.

    Here are a few scriptures where God says killing is super:

    1 Samuel 15:2-3
    1 Nephi 4:18
    Quran 5:33

  • Lane Myer Salt Lake City, UT
    April 22, 2014 9:29 a.m.

    MR: "How many societies believed in slavery? ...How many treated women as chattel? ...Where were the "rules" in those societies? ..."

    -------

    Why Mike, those two lines describe the US when it first became a country. Slavery was not uprooted for a century and women only gain some independence a century after that! There was no law to protect a wife from being raped by her husband until the latter part of the 20th century. Where was God? Why didn't he protect those women and grant them the freedom that white males had from the start? Aren't we a righteous nation? Why does it take so long for us to change?

    If nothing else proves to me that morality is relative, it is the laws of marital rape. Just 50 years ago, a man still had the right and privilege of "owning" his wife and could engage in sex with or without her permission. She had no law to back her up and society, churches, and most men saw nothing wrong with it and had no guilt associated with that act. Wives were to obey their husbands. It was not a sin or even unlawful. It sure is today!

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    April 22, 2014 9:32 a.m.

    I'm glad we have Atheists to keep the religous Zealots from having their ways --

    stoning for adultery,
    beheading infadels,
    the inquisition,
    the crusades,
    Feeding unbelievers to the Lions,
    Salem Witch Trials,
    Aztec Human Sacrifices,
    and even closer to home -- Mountain Meadows

    Heck -- we even have the Religous insisting the State Kill for Killing,
    and don't you DARE try to take away our guns!

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    April 22, 2014 9:44 a.m.

    Re: Mike Richards "How many societies believed in slavery? How many killed children?..." I believe your beloved God is Israel ordered them to do just that.

  • Strider303 Salt Lake City, UT
    April 22, 2014 9:47 a.m.

    It appears that many of us comment either for or against a religious basis for a code of conduct. Some hold that God is the author of an acceptable, to Him, behavioral code. Others seem to acknowledge a need for some "moral" code of conduct but want to leave God or gods, out of the equation.

    If no higher authority to which to appeal, then each person's philosophy on life is his/her god or drummer to which they march proclaiming the correctness of validity of their position.

    Reminds me of The Blind Men and The Elephant, by John Godfrey Saxe. From the last stanza:

    "So, oft in theological wars
    The disputants, I ween,
    Rail on in utter ignorance
    Of what each other mean,
    and prate about and elephant
    Not one of them has seen!"

    Burma Shave.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    April 22, 2014 10:03 a.m.

    The author seems to say, "Okay, atheists CAN be moral, but only because God gave them a moral compass too!"

    I'll take the concession. The rest cannot be proven or disproven.

    He also seems to say that, if there is no god, society would suddenly deem all laws against murder, stealing, and fraud (lying) unnecessary. Really? Absent a god, we would all prefer anarchy to civility and order? Because we see what is happening in Somalia and other failed states and think, "Yeah – we want some of that!"

    I don’t buy that one.

    I think human history shows that our moral sense has evolved over time. I also think it shows that our progress has been enormously enhanced by the knowledge and information we have gained from scientific research. Some religions have kept up with this knowledge curve and have adapted accordingly. Some have not. But none have been LEADING the way.

  • Res Novae Ashburn, VA
    April 22, 2014 10:05 a.m.

    As a devout Mormon, I categorically reject this letter's arguments on moral, philosophical, and (even) religious grounds.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    April 22, 2014 10:05 a.m.

    Alright then,
    Next question --

    Who's God?

    And we're right back to square one of a stupid, viscous circle.
    Let the slaughter continue.

    ======

    BTW – pmccombs
    Orem, UT

    I have a feeling that people like this atheist friend of mine may get into heaven before those who think that goodness only matters if there is a God.
    •8:04 a.m. April 22, 2014

    Best comment ever.
    Atheist tending to those dying and being shunned for having AIDS.

    I’ll take an atheist like that at his “works”,
    Over all the believers and their “faith” any day.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    April 22, 2014 10:07 a.m.

    Mike Richards describes the Bible and how they wrote and disobeyed their own rules...
    Where did rules come from? Look at the history of "civilization". How many societies believed in slavery? How many killed children? How many treated women as chattel? How many had tribes led by war lords? Where were the "rules" in those societies? Why did they murder and rape?

    Do you think that terrorists worship God? Why would you think that? How do their ACTIONS show that they worship God? Hasn't God told us to do no murder? Are you claiming that their religion teaches them to murder?

    God changes his mind all the time in the bible, murder, rape scorched earth depends on the prophet at the time.
    Some folks believed they were doing Gods work in a little place called Mountain Meadow, not so long ago.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    April 22, 2014 10:31 a.m.

    When you stop to think of it, you might realize that atheists really are people of faith, just as any person who believes in a God is a person of faith.

    Each has faith in a belief that they are correct -- or at least that they HOPE they are correct.

    We will all find out someday.

    In the meantime, why not just respect each other and enjoy the company of other good people who may not have faith in the same things we have faith in?

    Could the bottom line really be that Atheism is actually a form of religion?

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    April 22, 2014 10:41 a.m.

    I knew this was going to be a terse blog when a few, frequent posters threw their religous beliefs out there to support their arguments. Attacking religon and religous post are easy foder because of it's history and lack of empirical data. Religon's last argument standing will always be faith and that's one that cannot be refuted as it needs no evidence, history or science to support it. It's an undeniable fact that one does not need religon or God to be moral or just, nor does belief in God or religon make one pure or just. If you believe otherwise, your believe in your faith is stronger than fact. I have no problem with that unless you try to govern or impose harm on others on the basis of that faith.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    April 22, 2014 11:07 a.m.

    @one old man - “Could the bottom line really be that Atheism is actually a form of religion?

    Kudos to your “let’s all just enjoy each others company” statement, but I have to take issue with your quote above.

    Is your non-belief in Zeus a form of religion? If so, please explain.

    Atheism is simply a word we use (devoid of positive content) to label those who no longer believe in any of the gods of antiquity, so in that sense we’re all atheists. But the term in modern usage is applied to those who extent their non-belief to one more god than you do.

    So atheism is a religion in the same way baldness is a hair color, of not collecting stamps is a hobby, or “off” is a TV channel.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 22, 2014 11:49 a.m.

    The good that men do is likely the result of the need of good from others. The drive to survive demands that we follow every hopeful avenue toward that accomplishment. And sometimes that requires the help of others. So intelligent men might set a sharing agenda even without a God.

    Our mothers often told us to play nice so that we could enjoy the others to play with. Our world is greater because we establish rules of conduct that help each other in the struggle to survive. The Ten Commandments that are attributed to God seem to me to be the agreement between men rather than the desires of God. I can't see why God would be interested in people killing other people. Especially when it seems that more people have been killed under religious banners than for any other reason.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 22, 2014 11:55 a.m.

    Uhmmmm... I don't think he was saying that only religious people have a moral compass.

    I think he was observing that ALL people have an innate sense of what's right/wrong. Even atheists and people of every faith.

    Like people have pointed out... our culture influences that innate sense of right/wrong. And we can learn to suppress it (like with slavery, etc). Your culture may teach you, and you may even accept it as "right", but there's usually something in the back of your mind telling you that slaver really isn't right.

    Being able to overrule our innate ability to tell what's right and wrong is just part of being human. And the constant battle we have in mortality and our dual nature.

    ===

    I don't think he was trying to be offensive to anybody by saying we ALL have the ability to discern what's right/wrong.

    And he absolutely wasn't inferring that only religious people know what's right or wrong.

    I don't know why some people are so offended...

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    April 22, 2014 11:59 a.m.

    I don't know, Tyler. But if it's not a religion, why are there so many books about atheism, why do atheists have an annual convention (in SLC this year) and why do they feel the need to expound so vehemently in opposition to religion?

    But on the other hand, why do religions feel the same needs to attack atheism?

    I was just trying to point out that there may not really be all that much difference between the two. After all, aren't both of them simply beliefs that neither side can hope to prove?

    Doesn't it come down to something called FAITH on both sides of the coin?

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    April 22, 2014 12:09 p.m.

    @ Demosthenes, you state: "[Atheists] choices have no concrete basis. They are pure opinion, changeable, debatable, subjective, and contextual." I'm not arguing for atheism, by no means, but this sounds exactly like what has gone on in religions for thousands of years.

  • ugottabkidn Sandy, UT
    April 22, 2014 12:11 p.m.

    How many in this forum have had atheists going from door to door preaching their message? Taking all of history into consideration, who has caused more pain and suffering than the religious? Get off it and quit doubting your own faith because your neighbor may not believe, because based of some of the points I have read here I think there is much insecurity.

  • my_two_cents_worth university place, WA
    April 22, 2014 12:12 p.m.

    If one requires belief of a higher power and the accompanying fear of eternal damnation to "treat others as they would be treated" they are lacking in both empathy and compassion and are "good" for all the wrong reasons.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    April 22, 2014 12:11 p.m.

    @ marxist, you address the comment of Mike Richards, "How many societies believed in slavery? " You don't have to go to ancient Israel. The U.S. will do nicely.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    April 22, 2014 12:21 p.m.

    The Lord cleansed the earth with the flood after He had sent Enoch to invite the righteous to join with him. The flood was necessary and a merciful act because only those who rejected God were left. The children would be taught false doctrine.

    Sometime in the future The Lord will cleanse the earth again. This time with fire. Mockers will have a front row seat.

    All goodness comes from God. He is merciful as long as there is a chance that people will repent, but when they are fully ripe, He will spare further rebellion by judging them.

    Those who think that they, themselves, are authors of righteousness, have fooled themselves into thinking that all creation revolves around them. Paul told us that none of us are good, that we all have fallen short of the mark, yet many still think that they can make the rules that govern society.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    April 22, 2014 12:32 p.m.

    Mike is this the same Noah that lived over 900 years?

    Funny how science shows life spans have increased in modern times yet we only live to around a maximum of 100 years.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    April 22, 2014 12:40 p.m.

    @Mike Richards
    I bet there is not a dry eye in the tent when you're done preaching. I feel fortunate that our divinely inspired constitution you always refer to keeps your beliefs out of our public schools and government. At least that's the way it's suppose to work.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    April 22, 2014 12:39 p.m.

    Anyone needing to bash atheists in order to justify their moral or religious views probably aren't truly convicted or converted in their views in the first place. Mike Richards, rather than bash other view points, I invite you to read and pray for the truth. The Lord instructs us in James 1:5 to ask in faith and we will receive answers to our prayers. He does not instruct us to bash other religious or philosophical views.

    Ask and ye shall receive. That is what The Lord has told us. So stop bashing and start asking.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    April 22, 2014 12:43 p.m.

    @ one old man

    "Doesn't it come down to something called FAITH on both sides of the coin?"

    I don't think so because it doesn't require faith for me to say "I don't know" or "I am not convinced by the evidence." Both are assessments of material evidence. Faith is belief, no evidence required.

    As for the need for books and conventions, as you suggested, these are reflective of human needs common to all of us. And particularly when surrounded by dominant, and sometimes hostile, majorities, it is even more important for individuals to know they are not alone.

    I really think the saying, "We're all atheists as to others' gods. Atheists just go one god further," sums up pretty well the difference between believers and nonbelievers. Outside of this, we're all about equally good, equally bad. We're all just -- people.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    April 22, 2014 12:46 p.m.

    I don't think that the people attacking the letter writer actually sat down and thought about what was written.

    He didn't say you can't be a good person that is kind and upstanding.

    The question is simple. If there is no God, then who is to say what is right and what is wrong. If God does not exist, why is it ok to abort but not allow for parents to euthanize a child that is crippled?

    How about this, if there is no God, what is the point of a funeral? Aren't we wasting valuable land that could be used for farms or low income housing?

    If God does not exist, why is it wrong for me to rob a bank to feed my family? It is science that promotes survival of the fittest, and I am proving how fit I am by obtaining what I need for me and my family.

    To "FT" I think you have it wrong. Atheism is the worst thing to come to earth. Just in the past 100 years it has killed hundreds of billions of people in the name of ideology.

  • my_two_cents_worth university place, WA
    April 22, 2014 12:48 p.m.

    "The Lord will cleanse the earth again. This time with fire. Mockers will have a front row seat."

    He is your god and you are free to tremble in fear of his "wrath" all you wish. He is not my god and I won't fear him. Truth be told, I would be hard pressed to worship a god as petty and vengeful as this one appears to be. I'll stick to treating everyone I encounter with the respect and kindness due them and do so because it is the right thing to do; not because I am trying to impress some far off deity.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    April 22, 2014 12:51 p.m.

    @Mike Richards
    South Jordan, Utah

    It amazes me we attend the same Church and Temple Bro. Richards.

    I'm not motivated by a fear or wrath of God,
    this cleansing by floods and burning in eternal fire and torment you refer to, ya-da, ya-da.

    The God you descibed is more like the devil himself.

    The God I follow is kind, merciful, patient, inclusive, tolerent, forgiving = Love.
    with 3 degrees of Glory -- and none of this fire and brimstone speak.

    BTW -- the cleansing of the Earth by fire is a metaphor.
    Like after baptism [the flood], recieving the Holy Ghost [the fire].

    No one that I know was ever baptized and then set on fire.

    And we are supposed to be cleasing the earth by fire by living and sharing the Gospel, it will sweep the Earth like Fire...

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    April 22, 2014 1:11 p.m.

    I do not apologize for my belief in God. It doesn't matter who twists posts. Misrepresenting things has been going on since Satan lied to Adam and Eve.

    Those who think that they are the source of truth have taken a huge bite from the "Apple". They reject God. They reject God's laws. They elevate themselves to a position that no one can self-appoint himself to.

    A dose of humility might help them. George Washington thanked a merciful God for sparing this nation, but many reject that God as they elevate themselves. No person can elevate himself into the realm of deity where rules are made. Only those who have been invited into that realm can enter. Those who reject God will never receive that invitation.

    You won't be the first nor will you be the last to mock. You'll be listed in the footnotes of human history along with all who mocked our Creator, our God and those who revered Him.

    Christ warned us of the great and terrible day when He would come in glory. But as Ether told us, fools mock but they shall mourn.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    April 22, 2014 1:36 p.m.

    Mike Richards says:
    "...then we must also believe that opposition to Him and to His rules must exist ..."

    "It is a mockery for people to assign sinful behavior to God."

    --- Your first premise is a belief, not a fact, therefore your second is also a belief, not a fact.

    --- We assign the "sinful" behavior to men. I quoted "sinful" because, like religion, "sin" is a man-made concept. Since your god doesn't exist, he can't "sin".

    God also "commanded" Nephi to kill Laban in the BOM.

    The "Flood" and "Adam & Eve" are just more fiction.

    Zeus isn't all that merciful if you get him angry. He throws lightning bolts at you.

    @FT;

    I have to think he puts everyone to sleep. ;)

    @Redshirt1701;

    No need for a god to say that harming others is only going to end up coming back to bite you in the butt (Karma).

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 22, 2014 1:54 p.m.

    If there was a civilization of Atheist people with all the same physical wants and needs of any other mass of people, would the rules, laws and regulations of their society be any different that the rules of America except for the rules of religion? Would they not benefit from the rules that control their behavior and would they still make rules like don't steal and don't kill.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 22, 2014 2:07 p.m.

    Redshirt 1701

    I agree, what is the point of a funeral? Aren't we wasting valuable land that could be used for farms or low income housing?

    Robbing a bank is a mans law, not one of God commandments. The consequences will come from the men in your society.

    How do you come to " Atheism is the worst thing to come to earth. Just in the past 100 years it has killed hundreds of billions of people in the name of ideology"?

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    April 22, 2014 2:15 p.m.

    To "Ranch" but if God (or Gods) does not exist, then Karma does not exist either. So, what does it matter if you harm others because this life is it. When you die, there is nothing more. It no longer matters if you were perfectly good or perfectly evil, your fate is the same if there is no God.

  • RFLASH Salt Lake City, UT
    April 22, 2014 2:35 p.m.

    It is easy to think that way, but to be fair, being atheist doesn't mean that they don't have morals. Atheists, I am sure, believe in right and wrong. Believing in God doesn't mean a person has a good sense of right and wrong. As a matter of fact, a lot of people have wrongfully been put to death in the name of God! Thousands and thousands of people in history have died in vain, all because people had to fight over the identity of God. I have always believed in God, but as soon as people knew that I am gay, they would treat me as if I didn't! If you pay attention to people talking about religious freedom, you will notice that they are not talking about religious freedom for gay people! It was good that someone is thinking about this! At least there is consideration about what somebody else believes. I love talking to others about God. I just don't find too many that would really listen to how I believe. It is sad because I have a lot of faith in Him

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    April 22, 2014 2:42 p.m.

    Mike Richards
    South Jordan, Utah
    I do not apologize for my belief in God. It doesn't matter who twists posts. Misrepresenting things has been going on since Satan lied to Adam and Eve.

    Those who think that they are the source of truth have taken a huge bite from the "Apple". They reject God. They reject God's laws.

    ==========

    You do not need to apologize for your belied in God.
    But
    you crossed the line and really should take responsibiliy and apologize for a self-righteous indignate judgement of the beliefs of others.

    Just because WE -- (which includes many MANY fellow Latter-Day Saints) do not goose-step march and agree with you 100% does not make any of us
    taking "a huge bite from the "Apple". rejecting God. or rejecting God's laws."

    Please - get over yourself.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    April 22, 2014 2:43 p.m.

    @Redshirt1701
    "To "Ranch" but if God (or Gods) does not exist, then Karma does not exist either. So, what does it matter if you harm others because this life is it."

    New Hampshire has both the lowest crime rate in the U.S. and the highest percentage of atheists and a mere 18% of Swedes and 22% of Norwegians answered yes to "I believe there is a God" while those nations are hardly killing each other.

    The people who can't figure out why someone would be good when there isn't a punishment/reward system attached to it... those people are the ones who lack a moral compass.

  • Jeremy234 SLC, UT
    April 22, 2014 3:12 p.m.

    If there is a God, your argument still holds no more weight. Who is God to say what is right or wrong? Why would his opinion hold any more weight than anyone else?

  • Jeremy234 SLC, UT
    April 22, 2014 3:19 p.m.

    The most moral people that I have ever met have all been atheists, for the simple reason that they all do the right thing for no other reason than it is the right thing to do. When you reach that point you can truly walk the world like an adult.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 22, 2014 3:31 p.m.

    @Untra Bob,
    Re: "Robbing a bank is a mans law, not one of God commandments"....

    Ever heard of "Thou shalt not steal"?

    I think it's one of God's commandments as well.

    ===

    @Open Minded Mormon,
    How many posts do you get? One time you said they were all under the same account, so you only get 4 total... but that's not true is it?

    ===

    Re: "Please - get over yourself"...

    Good advice for ALL of us (you included).

    ===

    I think the message in the original article has been completely lost in all these rants.

    He didn't say atheists aren't moral. He said we ALL know what's right/wrong!

    He did describe that innate ability to discern right/wrong as the "light of Christ" (which is a little presumptuous). But if it's his belief that this gift has been given to ALL men... who cares? Why does that offend anybody?

    Who cares where it came from... so long as we HAVE it?

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    April 22, 2014 3:41 p.m.

    To "Schnee" that is nice, but that does not answer the question.

    But not believing in God does not make them Atheists. According to recent polling, only 13% identify themselves as Atheists, and 30% are Agnostic. So, even in Sweden they still have some sort of belief in a higher power.

    Norway is similar. There is 66% that believe in a higher power, and another 5% that are not sure. Only 30% say there is no God.

    If " if God (or Gods) does not exist, then Karma does not exist either. So, what does it matter if you harm others because this life is it?"

    What value does life have if there is nothing beyond this life?

  • Lane Myer Salt Lake City, UT
    April 22, 2014 4:37 p.m.

    "If " if God (or Gods) does not exist, then Karma does not exist either. So, what does it matter if you harm others because this life is it?""

    ----------

    That is like saying that if God does not exist, then for every action there is NOT an equal and opposite reaction.

    Some things happen because of your actions and God (if he exists) just sits and watches. If he doesn't exist, it happens anyway.

    That is Karma and it does matter if you harm others BECAUSE this life is it!

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    April 22, 2014 4:39 p.m.

    With this logic, since there is a God and final judgement, there are no need for laws.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    April 22, 2014 4:43 p.m.

    There's a lot of "bashing" going on. "Bashing" is against the rules, but I guess that rules don't matter any more.

    Many posters have told us that they or someone they know is inherently "moral". They tell us that they or the person that they know always makes the right decision. My question to them is how do they measure "right" or "wrong"? Do they think that if someone says or does something that they agree with, that that person is "right"? That's a very shallow measurement.

    Our Creator gave us rules. He told us that His law is absolute. He told us that only those who absolutely obey his rules are candidates for His mercy. That's pretty clear to me. It seems that the first duty that we have is to learn His rules and the second duty that we have is to learn to live those rules.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    April 22, 2014 6:38 p.m.

    Very good letter - very well said. Morality didn't just happen especially if you swallow the story of evolution where we crawled out of the sea - sprouted legs and started talking in senteneces. The atheist's tell us we are nothing more than animals yet animals have no morals whatsoever. Somewhere along the line someone burned into the very fiber of the human brain the concept that murder and adultery and stealing and bearing false witness were all wrong. Hmmm - where did that all come from anyway? I suppose someone might have just made it all up but whomever that someone was he sure was influencial and powerful to have such a universal impact on all humanity from Africa - Europe - The islands of the sea and every other populated land mass on mother earth.

  • lonepeakstudent Alpine, UT
    April 22, 2014 7:18 p.m.

    Yo, secular ethics. Also, humanism.

  • Stalwart Sentinel San Jose, CA
    April 22, 2014 7:33 p.m.

    Wow, I knew conservatives were a little cuckoo for cocoa puffs on this subject but the posts on this thread are downright scary. If your primary motivating factor for treating others with respect, compassion, and love is either a) to avoid God's wrath, or b) to gain your own eternal salvation then you are not following either of the Two Great Commandments given us by Jesus Christ.

    Regardless, belief in a supreme being is not necessary to have order on this planet. Religion (for those of us who believe) dictates how one acts and functions at the individual level; however, the rest of society does not subscribe to my personal moral convictions and cannot be held to those standards lest we live in a theocracy. Indeed, society itself is shaped and informed by a different set of rules. In the case of the US, the general accord by which we all agree to live is the Constitution - which is why we are a secular nation.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    April 22, 2014 8:33 p.m.

    "What value does life have if there is nothing beyond this life?"

    More value.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    April 22, 2014 10:21 p.m.

    re:Karen R.

    More value?? Ok I'm confused. So you are saying a person who has no belief is somehow more fulfilled? How so? I've know a few atheists and at the end of their life they did FEAR death. My wife's aunt comes to mind. The poor woman was terrified of death during her final hours. I think she knew deep in her heart there was life after death and she also knew she had squandered away her worldly life and faced an uncertain future of loneliness. Contrast that to my wife's mother who was an LDS woman filled with faith. Her final hours were peaceful and sweet. To suggest atheism adds value is absurd. Atheism is cold and empty especially as a person contemplates eternity. We all face death - even atheists. No choice in the matter. We will all live beyond the grave and that is an absolute truth - opinion (yours or mine) doesn't matter not in matters of absolute truth.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    April 23, 2014 1:46 a.m.

    So, uh. . . "patriot", you know what your wife's Aunt was thinking? Hmmm. Cool. Oh wait, no you don't. You said you "think" that was the situation. Truth is, you have no idea. There are plenty of religious people that are scared of death. In fact people react to death many different ways for many different reasons.

    And yes, atheists have value to their lives. And yes, for atheists I would imagine atheism adds more value to their lives then religion. Many people find value in not believing superstition. Even if that superstition is warm and fuzzy.

    I'm not atheist (unless you want to define it literally: without religion). I'm agnostic. But I find great value in not believing the absurdities superstitious people swallow.

    For instance: "We will all live beyond the grave and that is an absolute truth."

    Really? What are you basing that on? Whatever you're basing it on, it's definitely not absolute truth, except in your opinion. But like I said, I'm agnostic. I have no idea. But what I do know, is that neither do you.

    Which is fine, you want to believe that? Go ahead.

  • Jamescmeyer Midwest City, USA, OK
    April 23, 2014 7:32 a.m.

    Thank you for writing this letter.

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    April 23, 2014 7:35 a.m.

    I just love how letters like this bring out all the adament athiest/agnostics. Opinions like this about the importance of God to civilization really make you guys mad. That should tell you something about how hard you are trying to convince yourselves there is no god who makes the rules. Human opinion is all you have, and who is to say who is right? Usually might makes right in human opinion. Hitler would have been just as right as Ghandi. No getting around that.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    April 23, 2014 7:37 a.m.

    @ Patriot

    The saying does not go, "Live your life as if there are infinite tomorrows." It is human nature to value something more when we know we have just one of it.

    "Atheism is cold and empty."

    Not believing in your god leaves me no more cold and empty than does your lack of belief in Zeus and Thor. It isn't the principle belief that guides my life. I presume you would say the same about your nonbelief in Zeus and Thor.

    The only aspect of eternal life that ever appealed to me was its promise of rejoining my lost loved ones. But once I learned that matter is neither created nor destroyed, I realized that I would be rejoining them and in the same state as they exist now; indeed, in the same state in which we existed prior to this life. It seems that, as miniscule a part of this universe as we are, we are an indelible part. That's eternal, isn't it? And it doesn't require a suspension of natural laws.

    "We are in the universe and the universe is within us" seems to be true. This to me is wondrous and awesome.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    April 23, 2014 7:45 a.m.

    With over 70 comments posted, it's easy to see who has a moral compass and who does not. Read and re-read the posts. The posts are a window into the minds of the writers. See who attacks others by name. Is attacking a "good" thing? Would someone with a strong moral compass attack another human being? See who belittles the opinions of others. Is "belittling" a good thing? Would someone with a strong moral compass belittle another human being?

    This thread tells us more than some people would like to have told about whether those who have a belief in God or those who profess that God is not necessary have the stronger moral compass.

    Spend a few minutes. Read each post. Think about what the post is really saying. It's easy to see who has a strong moral compass and who is pretending to have a moral compass. It's easy to see who has a strong idea of right and wrong and who pretends to have a strong idea of right and wrong.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    April 23, 2014 8:25 a.m.

    " Atheism is cold and empty "

    Different than religious people atheists obtain their joy in life from life itself not from a belief that oh my this can't be all.

    It doesn't matter whether you are an atheist or claim to be a prophet, you love, you hate, you fear, you have hope, you smile, you cry, in short you experience the full range of being a human.

    Atheists and agnostics take joy in all of this. That's the meaning of this life to us and the material from which this life is full and warm. It doesn't require another life to be a complete human.

  • OneWifeOnly San Diego, CA
    April 23, 2014 9:11 a.m.

    @Mike Richards
    You wrote ' "Goodness" comes from God. America was founded by people who actually believed that our liberties are a gift from our Creator, our God. Our forefathers wanted us to remember that fact. They put the words, "In God We Trust" on every coin and on every denomination of paper money that is issued by the Government.'

    I suppose by definition, a member of the past generations of one's family or people; an ancestor added the words to our money, but your letter leads one to believe you meant the founders of our country added the words--i.e., that our money has always had the motto.

    In the United States, prior to 1838 coins did not bear the motto "In God We Trust". The motto first appeared in paper money in 1958.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    April 23, 2014 10:01 a.m.

    @Redshirt1701
    Oh I'm sorry, I thought that the arguments that atheism leads to immorality would show correlations between atheism and crime. Didn't realize you all were arguing there was a tipping point where effects are completely invisible until one reaches a certain percentage of atheists...

    "What value does life have if there is nothing beyond this life?"

    If you can't find any value in this life that doesn't involve the life beyond...

    If this is all the time we have, then it's best to make this life as fulfilling as we can.

    @patriot
    "More value?? Ok I'm confused. So you are saying a person who has no belief is somehow more fulfilled?"

    They might be, might not. Depends on the individual.

    'If there's an afterlife, then the life we have here is not precious. I don't wish that's the way the world worked' - Penn Jillette

    "at the end of their life they did FEAR death."

    Fun fact: many people fear death, including the religious.

    @SCfan
    " Opinions like this about the importance of God to civilization really make you guys mad."

    I'd say being told they are immoral makes them mad.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    April 23, 2014 10:24 a.m.

    Mike R:

    "Where did rules come from? Look at the history of 'civilization.' How many societies believed in slavery?"

    Interesting that you bring up slavery. At the time America was gearing up for the Civil War, it was actually those favoring slavery who had the better biblical argument. Fortunately, they had the less convincing moral argument.

  • Kimber Salt Lake City, UT
    April 23, 2014 11:48 a.m.

    Not everyone does something right because they feel they will be punished by "God" if they don't! "Some people (I'm hoping that most people) can think outside the box and do things right because that is what is good for others and good for them as well. The belief (or disbelief) in God shouldn't have anything to do with the actions of people towards their fellowmen.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    April 23, 2014 12:49 p.m.

    To "Schnee" put on the brakes there. I never said that a lack of God or that atheism leads to more crime.

    I have only asked that you stop and think for a moment.

    If there is no God, then morality becomes relative. You no longer have right and wrong, but you do what feels right to you.

    If I am an atheist and according to my morals it is ok to steal your car, who is to say that it is wrong? You may not like it, but what do I have to worry about? No matter how I behave in this life I will have the same reward, death. At death there is no more. What does it matter if people erect monuments to me or if I am known as the most evil person ever?

    As for life and death, think about it. If there is no God, then the birth of your child is about as exciting as purchasing a new computer with an empty hard disk. Death is the end of you, so funerals are pointless.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    April 23, 2014 12:53 p.m.

    I was taught [and still believe] that a child 8 years old can figure out what is right and what is wrong.

    If you believe in God,
    If you are LDS,
    Then you are a slothful and unwise servant who must be commanded in all things.

    Furthermore;
    I use the Gods gift of the Holy Ghost to make manifest truth,
    Not what’s right or wrong.

  • Lane Myer Salt Lake City, UT
    April 23, 2014 1:07 p.m.

    Redshirt: "If there is no God, then morality becomes relative."

    ------------

    Even if you believe in a God, morality is STILL relative. It is according to your holy books, church leaders and your own interpertation of those teachings, right?

    The 9-11 terrorists believed that they were being moral. Whether or not they were, that is what they believed. The attackers at the Mountain Meadow probably thought they had a right and were being moral too. Nephi was being moral when he killed, because God told him to do it, right?

    But if Nephi lived today, he would be charged with 2nd degree murder. Isn't morality relative to the times, customs and mores of when and where you live? Killing all the people and children in a town seeems very immoral if done today, but in the Bible, we are sympathic to what they did.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    April 23, 2014 3:02 p.m.

    To "Lane Myer" no, morality is not relative with God. Your understanding my be wrong, but with God right is right and wrong is wrong.

    That brings up an interesting argument. Now, we have the Law of God as written by Prophets. If God spoke to his prophets in Biblical times, shouldn't he be speaking with his Prophets now? It is still up to us to find the Prophets who speak with God and can guide us.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    April 23, 2014 3:29 p.m.

    Reading these comments from front to back it makes you wonder how anyone, anywhere could possibly believe religion has any positive bearing on life whatsoever.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    April 23, 2014 3:46 p.m.

    RedShirt
    USS Enterprise, UT
    To "Lane Myer" no, morality is not relative with God. Your understanding my be wrong, but with God right is right and wrong is wrong.

    =======

    RedShirt - You are wrong.

    "Sin is the transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4.),
    But --
    Where there is no law, there is no sin.

    Sin cannot be committed unless (Alma 42:17) people have knowledge of those laws so that they can violate them. Adam and Eve could not commit sin while in the Garden of Eden, although laws of conduct had already been established, because "knowledge" of the laws of good and evil had not yet been given them.

    It is on this principle also that little children "cannot sin until they begin to become accountable," because in their innocent state they are without "knowledge." (D. & C. 29:46-50; Moro. 8:8.) ~ Elder Bruce R. McConkie

  • my_two_cents_worth university place, WA
    April 23, 2014 4:07 p.m.

    @RedShirt

    "morality is not relative with God."

    It most definitely is. Look at the flood and the passover. That kind of genocide today would be considered highly immoral.

    "we have the Law of God as written by Prophets"

    Actually, you have "law of god" as interpreted and record by men, warts and all. It's second hand information at best so must be treated as such.

    "shouldn't he be speaking with his Prophets now?"

    Why doesn't he just speak to all of us? Get rid of the middleman and you'll clear up a whole lot of confusion.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    April 23, 2014 4:48 p.m.

    To "Open Minded Mormon" even a transgression is against God's law. Hence, right is right and wrong is wrong. The only difference between transgression and sin is knowledge, either way you have done something that is wrong.

    If you wish to discuss moral relativity, please review what has been said over the past 10 years regarding moral relativity. You will find that the leaders of the LDS church speak out AGAINST it.

    To "my_two_cents_worth" the difference is that God owns this earth and all things that are in it. If God decides to clean house with a flood or by sending destroying angles, that is his right since we are his creation and he knows more about the direction the Earth is to take than we do.

    Eventhough it is the prophets writing down what they are told by God, the words are still much better than the words that man alone would come up with.

    The great thing is that God speaks to prophets when it comes to things he wants nations or the world to know. When it comes to each of us individually, he can and does talk to us. Most don't listen.

  • Lane Myer Salt Lake City, UT
    April 23, 2014 5:08 p.m.

    "To "Lane Myer" no, morality is not relative with God. Your understanding my be wrong, but with God right is right and wrong is wrong."

    ----------

    But who's God is God with the right morals? Is it Allah? You do not believe in him, but there are more Muslims are in the world that believe in him than Mormons, right? Does numbers of converts make one's God, God? Or does the Pentacostal Church have the right God since they all have had those spiritual experience, professing the truthfulness of their church and they have come to Jesus? Does having spiritual experiences make any church right? Or does each person have to weigh all that they have learned in this life and figure out what is moral for them? Doesn't that make it relative?

    Or is it black and white? You seem to think so.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    April 23, 2014 6:35 p.m.

    "If there is no God, then morality becomes relative."

    What morality is is personal. Even IF there is a god, and even IF that god is the one you think it is, morality is still personal. At least in this world. IF you are right then god WILL have his morality that he will judge you on. But if you are wrong, and it is Thor looking at you, well his morality will be MUCH different than what you think.

    But, anyway, it's just your opinion that your god is real.

    "If I am an atheist and according to my morals it is ok to steal your car, who is to say that it is wrong?"

    The same thing that says it is wrong if you are religious and think it is moral to steal a car (or kill in gods name): society.

    "What does it matter if people erect monuments to me or if I am known as the most evil person ever?"

    Well, I don't care about monuments, but I do want to get along with people, and have my family, and friends, think good of me. God or no god.

  • Stormwalker Cleveland , OH
    April 23, 2014 7:10 p.m.

    "Well, I guess I kinda worked it out. If there's no great glorious end to all this, if nothing we do matters... , then all that matters is what we do. 'Cause that's all there is. What we do. Now. Today. I fought for so long, for redemption, for a reward, and finally just to beat the other guy, but I never got it. (Now)...All I wanna do is help. I wanna help because, I don't think people should suffer as they do. Because, if there's no bigger meaning, then the smallest act of kindness is the greatest thing in the world." From the TV show "Angel," by Joss Whedon.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    April 24, 2014 7:03 a.m.

    @RedShirt;

    You are making two assumptions. (1) God speaks to "prophets" and that they're not just pulling your leg and telling you that "god" speaks to them. (2) When you find a "prophet" speaking for god in your search for one, it isn't just someone pulling your leg. Other than their word for it, how will you really know?

    Why is it "right" for god to order people to kill others when he explicitely commanded "thou shalt not murder"? Killing another person, even in the "name of god" is still Homicide - even when god commands it.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    April 24, 2014 7:40 a.m.

    To "Ranch" and how is that different than the assumptions that you are making?

    You are assuming that God no longer speaks to prophets like he did in Biblical times.

    You can know the truth of all things if you ask God. In the Bible it states quite clearly that if you ask God, having faith that you will receive an answer, that he will tell you the truth of all things.

    To "mark" actually morality is not relative. There are many absolutes that God has established. Just because you claim to be religious, that does not mean that you can change God's laws. Wrong is still wrong, and right is right.

    Again, assuming that you are an atheist, in 1000 years, what does it matter if you were the image of good or the image of pure evil? Either way you are dead and your atoms have been recycled in the earth.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    April 24, 2014 9:21 a.m.

    "There are many absolutes that God has established."

    Well, actually, that is just an assumption you make. And that's fine. Doesn't make it true, though. When you can prove your god, or any god, get back to me.

    As far as morality being relative, whatever. In the bible god says anyone that harms children will be severely punished, and he says to slaughter children. And stone women. And love one another. And keep slaves. And all are his children.

    Doesn't matter. Morality is PERSONAL. My morality differs from yours, and yours from the next guy. You want to claim yours is the correct one? Whatever. Knock yourself out. But don't think that makes it true.

    I have no idea if what I do now will matter a 1000 years from now. But don't change the subject.

    It doesn't matter. I choose to be good, and do good to those around me because it affects them, and me, RIGHT NOW. I don't do it based on some possible future supernatural reward, or punishment.

    In fact, people that do what's right based on some possible future reward, don't seem, to me, to UNDERSTAND right.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    April 24, 2014 4:00 p.m.

    @RedShirt;

    Actually, I'm assuming that the "prophets" from the OT & NT were also liars.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    April 25, 2014 8:00 a.m.

    To "RanchHand" and that is why I testify of God's truths, and let you decide what to do with that information. I cannot force you to accept the truth, I can only present it to you.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    April 25, 2014 8:43 a.m.

    @RedShirt;

    The problem is you present no truth, only opinion.

  • RedShirtCalTech Pasedena, CA
    April 25, 2014 9:18 a.m.

    To "Ranch" that is only your opinion. You present only your opinion.

  • Confused Sandy, UT
    April 25, 2014 9:58 a.m.

    Here is the thing I believe most Atheist, Agnostics, etc do not understand...

    You say morals is relative, not because of a belief in God, but it is the naturally way (at least this is what I am getting from your posts).

    The thing is Right and Wrong is taught by parents, grandparents, others to everyone.... It is passed down from generation to generation much like you beloved memento's of past family members.

    Here is the rub, you may not believe in God (which is fine in my book), but if you dig deep enough into your genealogy, you will find some of your ancestors who did. They were taught what is right and wrong from the bible (or book of Mormon) by their family.

    So your feelings of right and wrong is actually based on God's law..

    People by themselves do not know what is right or wrong... they are taught those concepts.

  • Demiurge San Diego, CA
    April 25, 2014 7:32 p.m.

    Morality has its source in the same place we do, and is subject to the same forces. With the evolution of man, as a tribal or somewhat "herd" species, behaviors either were beneficial to the group/tribe/herd, neutral, or detrimental. These are defined the same way as species are created, by the success of that tribe with respect to others. Those tribes with great internal cooperation, humans working for the common good, and not harming other members of the tribe, became more successful than those which did not. Morals evolved due to the same forces which created species. We can see the same thing today in chimpanzee species and their shunning of members engaged in anti-social behavior: they may not reproduce. Those morals we consider fundamental - regarding murder, theft, rape, etc. were all those that had the ability to destroy the tribe. Notice too that these morals are flexible, even today, when members of other tribes are encountered. See: war.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    April 26, 2014 10:11 a.m.

    Well, confused, it seems you are changing the subject just a bit, from whether atheist thought is compatible with morality, to the development of morality. Well okay.

    I think you are right that much of our societal morality is taught, and developed, over time from our ancestors. Because if this moralities do change overtime within societies. For example, at one time it was perfectly moral to own slaves, not so much anymore (except in places like Cliven Bundy's world).

    But you say this, "They were taught what is right and wrong from the bible (or book of Mormon) by their family." Which may be true if your ancestors come from the minority of the worlds population that believes those books or even had those books.

    "right and wrong is actually based on God's law.."

    You are assuming that "God's law" is not just created by man. A huge assumption.

    I, personally, think the roots of morality are inherent, and they developed through evolution. Before our ancestors developed religion they gained advantage by working together and banding together. That's where our morality came from, and you see it in all group animals.