Some interesting statistics from this Newsweek article:
91% of Americans believe in God
82% identify themselves as Christian
48% reject the theory of evolution
34% of university graduates accept the Biblical account of creation as fact
73% of Evangelical Protestants believe that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years
3% identify as atheist
62% said they would not vote for an atheist candidate (78% for Republicans and 60% for Democrats)
26% said that atheists could not be moral
Well, looks like I’m immoral then.
9 thoughts on “The God Delusion”
>> Well, looks like I’m immoral then.
Tell us something we don’t know 🙂
But seriously, anyone who thinks you can’t be moral without being religious must be a raving loony. It’s a weird philosophy when the only good reason you can think of for behaving in a moral way is because your god told you so.
That makes 26% of Americans raving loonies then.
Unbeleavible isn’t it. How can nearly half of American’s reject the theory of evolution? It’s not even in doubt any more from everything I have read – the evidence is just collosal, its as sure as the earth orbiting the sun. I am sure that one day it will be as widely accepted, try as they might the religious nutters can’t stop the truth forever.
Just shows the power of religious propaganda.
Don’t be so sure about the earth orbiting the sun!
I’m not sure where those statistics came from, and what definition they used for morals, but I thought I’d just point out that while an atheist may believe believe in some sort of moral code, they have no absolute source for one. Since people and society change what’s acceptable and not (and different societys define it differently) it is a “weaker” form of morals than an “unchanging” set of moral rules set by an unchanging God.
By weaker I mean that some people may consider it to be pointless due to it being realitive.
When I say unchanging I mean that the source is unchanging (though different people may derive somewhat variant morals from it.
Also involved is the issue of accountability. Those who believe in God, or gods, or some variation, have some reason to behave one way or another. If a person is no more than a thinking collection of molecules that have happened to be together for a while, why not live life only for one’s own pleasure?
In response to Adam, there are 2 good reasons that one cannot live completely for pleasure. First, ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ is good advice, no matter where it came from. If you don’t want to be shot or stolen from or for your wife to be raped, then it makes good sense to live in a society where these things don’t happen; the best way to perpetuate such a society is by practicing these ideas yourself. So if you don’t want to be stolen from, don’t steal. You don’t have to believe that that advice came from a God to follow it, it just makes sense. It follows from that that we make laws to regulate the behaviours that we don’t want inflicted upon ourselves. Even a collection of thinking molecules can have an aversion to being assaulted, so we make it illegal.
This is not a ‘weaker’ set of morals, but it is an adaptive set of morals. Our laws change with the times (or they should). Unlike the bible which still derides action such as cutting ones hair, and eating shellfish; and supports actions such as the burning of livestock to appease God, stoning criminals, trading slaves and selling virgins. Athiests morals are not ‘weaker’ – they are adaptive and this is not a bad thing.
Also- there are various nondeistic philosophical systems that do a very good job of enforcing a fairly ageless form of common sense, such as the more abstract forms of Buddhism. The thing that appeals to me about this philosophy in particular is the way it encourages skepticism of everything, including itself. Apparent contradictions are cool. Anyway, my point is, it is possible to follow some sort of guiding set of underlying philosophical principles (in the case of Buddhism, this is exemplified by the philosophy of the so called “Middle Path”, or way of nonextremism), without believing patent nonsense.
“If a person is no more than a thinking collection of molecules that have happened to be together for a while, why not live life only for one’s own pleasure”.
Evolution based on the natural selection of purely selfish genes can very well explain altruistic (i.e. moral) behaviour. (See Richard Dawkins: The Selfish Gene on this).
Also: would you trust anybody who behaves morally only because she is afraid of getting into hell?
Prior to reading this book I admit to being a “Proof Required” Agnostic. Now, however, I’m a rock solid, unshakable, 100% certain, Dawkinian Athiest.
To believe in a higher being is,in my opinion, bordering on insanity. That those who do are becoming more and more powerful in todays world is something we should all take a moment to seriously ponder.
Those who hide behind religion are weak,weak,weak people ,who, unable to cope with the everyday trials and tribulations of normal life, hide behind this imaginary creator and the lies that have been propogated throughout biblical history.
It is time for humanity to shake free from these religious shackles, for all our sakes!
Thankyou, Richard Dawkins, a wonderful book.