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NVM I did a bad job trying to start a conversation

Edited by Home'scool

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I would guess that many murderers have low activity in the amygdala. That would cause them to feel less fear and worry than the average person.

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As an atheist I am deeply offended by your post. 

I don’t murder anybody and the lack of the belief in afterlife and it’s imaginary punishments have nothing to do with it. 

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I think that it’s a combo of having insufficient moral compunctions and either living in the moment or having little concern about getting caught.  

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4 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

As an atheist I am deeply offended by your post. 

I don’t murder anybody and the lack of the belief in afterlife and it’s imaginary punishments have nothing to do with it. 

I don't think she's implying that atheists have no morals or are all murderers.  In fact, it almost sounds to me like she's implying that religious people only behave in moral ways because they are afraid of the afterlife rather than because it's the right thing to do. 

 

Regardless, I suspect that most folks who commit crimes don't spend much time thinking about or struggling with the repercussions of their crimes.  At least likely not in advance, some probably do later.  

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I think for the most part they are selfish people, who care more about their own happiness than that of others.  I don't think religious/spiritual beliefs really play into it at all.  Some may not have any, or they may think they can do things and get forgiven later, or do enough good things to out weigh the bad.  Or they may justify their murders in their minds and believe that it wasn't really wrong.

I do believe in heaven and hell, but that is not what keeps me from murdering someone.  Love for God and others and wanting to be someone that reflects God's love is much more motivational for my life than a fear of hell in the afterlife.  Besides, I don't think hell is only for people who do really bad things like murder. 

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So as a foster parent I've had a child staying here for a while that I distinctly thought that if they remained in our home they were going to murder someone.

I think that in this child's case there was both a genetic and environmental cause for that- there was generational abuse and this child was what a therapist would call "callous and unemotional" primarily because it isn't considered ethical to diagnose a child with psychopathy. Mostly because about 50% of children with those traits grow out of it. Also some children act that way for no discernible reason, they have kind and loving parents, some of which also acted that way when they were a child but outgrew it.  So idk if you'd consider that child mentally ill or not.  I suspect that most people who commit murder do have some sort of personality disorder.

Having said that, if there is anything all the wars and chaos of the 20th century taught us it's that it's a rare person who under the right combination of circumstances will always do what is good.  We live such easy lives compared to previous centuries when people were just struggling to survive that I think unless you:

  • literally live in a war zone or
  • you're fighting in a war or
  • you live in abject generational poverty or
  • you're a social worker or
  • you're a cop

that it's easy to be so sheltered that we're unaware that given the right combination of identity politics, righteousness, vengeance, and/or fear that almost everyone is capable of terrible things. Maybe not murder (something along the lines of a third of WWII soldiers found they could not pull the trigger against another human, even to protect those they were fighting alongside), but allowing some other innocent person to get murdered to protect your own child is something almost everyone will do.  Which is why so many people are super concerned about the tribal/identity political swing the country seems to have taken recently. Twisting fears for the sake of gaining power rarely turns out well historically.

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As an atheist I am deeply offended by your post. 

I don’t murder anybody and the lack of the belief in afterlife and it’s imaginary punishments have nothing to do with it. 

 

I apologize. I did not mean to imply that at all. I knew I was not doing a good job explaining myself.

NVM 

 

 

 

Edited by Home'scool
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Do most religions even teach the concept of a "judgement" day sort of thing after death?  I was raised Catholic and I recall being taught that God already knows we are all sinners and that no human is perfect.  Also, that if the sinner confesses the sins with true remorse and desire for forgiveness, then the sins would be forgiven, regardless of what sin it is.  It was my understanding that most faiths now teach something like that vs some sort of "final judgement."  Is that not the case?

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Well, if I was an atheist I'd have a long damn list.  The reason certain people are walking around is not because I'm afraid of man, but God.

 

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I think that if judgement in the afterlife is the only thing keeping you from murdering someone, then you have bigger problems. 

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59 minutes ago, elegantlion said:

I think that if judgement in the afterlife is the only thing keeping you from murdering someone, then you have bigger problems. 

I dunno, we humans come up with laws to discourage certain behaviors--including murder. I don't see a huge difference between avoiding a behavior because you think It will get you sent to prison and avoiding a behavior because you think it will get you sent to hell.

Anthropologists have found evidence of humans killing humans as far back as we have much evidence at all of human behavior so we could see killing other people as kinda normal for our species.

Edited by maize
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Haven't killed anyone yet.

Amazingly, lack of fear of God is not a precursor to the murder thing.

Went to a talk by a famous author the other night  who spent a lot of time telling us all how atheists were more murdery than anyone, and conflated Dawkins (who is a d*ck) with a mass shooter, so I guess no-one is alone in perpetuating the idea of life without God as as a thug life.

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I don't know what the OP posted. This is just going off of some of the responses. If I'm not murdering someone just because I believe in God, then my heart isn't in the right place. 

I think telling God that I didn't murder so and so because I believed in Him wouldn't get me very far.

Anyone else ever watch those 48 Hour type shows where they interview people who have killed a spouse. They are asked why they didn't just get a divorce and some answer, "Because it is against the church's rules." 😕

Kelly

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I'm with MaBelle. There are actually lots of things I would do were it not for my fear of God. Actually I am quite sure I don't fear Him nearly as much as I should.

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom" (Prov. 9:10); "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12); "If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth" (1 Peter 1:17).

Even Jesus Himself said, "“And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!" (Luke 12:4-5)

I don't care if the fear of God isn't a warm and fuzzy teaching. I don't care if it's not considered enlightened, or fair, or characteristic of the "kind of god" I might wish for. I only care if it's True. I believe it is.

This is an interesting discussion, and I enjoy hearing everyone's viewpoints.

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3 minutes ago, MercyA said:

I'm with MaBelle. There are actually lots of things I would do were it not for my fear of God. Actually I am quite sure I don't fear Him nearly as much as I should.

 

As someone who doesn't believe, I am genuinely curious what things you would do if you weren't afraid of God?  

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Just now, happysmileylady said:

As someone who doesn't believe, I am genuinely curious what things you would do if you weren't afraid of God?  

I was wondering the same thing. 

It's rather scary to think that but for fear of God numerous people would be doing horrible things. Are they saying they have no moral compass otherwise? That the only thing that keeps them behaving is fear? I don't get that at all. It makes me sad to think about it, honestly.

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5 hours ago, happysmileylady said:

Do most religions even teach the concept of a "judgement" day sort of thing after death?  I was raised Catholic and I recall being taught that God already knows we are all sinners and that no human is perfect.  Also, that if the sinner confesses the sins with true remorse and desire for forgiveness, then the sins would be forgiven, regardless of what sin it is.  It was my understanding that most faiths now teach something like that vs some sort of "final judgement."  Is that not the case?

All of the Christian denominations I've been involved with in some way teach that there is a final judgment and a hell. I currently attend a Wesleyan church. I've also attended non-denominational Christian churches, independent Baptist churches, and Reformed churches. I have a soft spot for Anabapist teaching. 🙂Jesus taught extensively on judgment and hell, as as did the apostles Paul and Peter.

I am not Catholic, but have many Catholic friends and have studied their teachings from their own sources. It's my understanding that they (at least, those who adhere to traditional Roman Catholicism) absolutely believe in judgment and hell. 

Edited by MercyA

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Well, I can say with complete certainty that I wouldn't murder someone even if it wasn't illegal. And I don't believe in God, so that isn't stopping me. I base my moral compass on whether or not the things I do hurt myself or someone else. 

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1 minute ago, Pawz4me said:

I was wondering the same thing. 

It's rather scary to think that but for fear of God numerous people would be doing horrible things. Are they saying they have no moral compass otherwise? That the only thing that keeps them behaving is fear? I don't get that at all. It makes me sad to think about it, honestly.

No, I think my conscience and my concern for others would keep me from doing many wrong things, even without a fear of God. I believe that everyone has an innate moral compass (Romans 2:14-15). I am quite sure that there are many atheists who are "naturally" better people than I; that is, that it is more in their natural character to be kind, good, generous, etc. than it is in mine.

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1 minute ago, Mergath said:

Well, I can say with complete certainty that I wouldn't murder someone even if it wasn't illegal. And I don't believe in God, so that isn't stopping me. I base my moral compass on whether or not the things I do hurt myself or someone else. 

I think that is a very good standard.

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3 hours ago, happysmileylady said:

As someone who doesn't believe, I am genuinely curious what things you would do if you weren't afraid of God?  

LOL. I'll just say physical indulgences and leave it at that. 

Edited by MercyA

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I won't quote, but that's interesting.   I am not sure I understand why some physical indulgences are considered immoral from a religious standpoint.  

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12 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

I won't quote, but that's interesting.   I am not sure I understand why some physical indulgences are considered immoral from a religious standpoint.  

God doesn't always explicitly state in Scripture why some things are off limits. 

Here are a few verses that refer to physical indulgences or excesses:

"Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit." Ephesians 5:18

"...As I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things." Philippians 3:18-20

"The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God." Galatians 5:19-23

I think we can infer that at times, physical indulgences can be spiritually harmful. It doesn't mean God didn't give us food and wine and sex to enjoy. He did. There are just, I believe, some parameters that He has set.

Have to run for now; will check back later.

Edited by MercyA
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23 minutes ago, MercyA said:

All of the Christian denominations I've been involved with in some way teach that there is a final judgment and a hell. I currently attend a Wesleyan church. I've also attended non-denominational Christian churches, independent Baptist churches, and Reformed churches. I have a soft spot for Anabapist teaching. 🙂Jesus taught extensively on judgment and hell, as as did the apostles Paul and Peter.

I am not Catholic, but have many Catholic friends and have studied their teachings from their own sources. It's my understanding that they (at least, those who adhere to traditional Roman Catholicism) absolutely believe in judgment and hell. 

I was raised Roman Catholic, didn't really stop believing until adulthood.

I was raised that hell does exist, but that there's not any sort of like "stand at the pearly gates" sort of judgement.  Rather, than God knows what is in your heart when you die and your afterlife is based on that.  

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I am so curious to know what terrible things fear of God keeps people from doing. 

I wonder if fear of God would have stopped me being cranky with my bus driver this morning ? That's about the level of my moral failures lately. 

I feel kind of ripped off that, as a heathen, I'm just a boring mommy doing boring mommy things instead of - idk - having an orgy ? I dunno. I dunno what these things are that God stops you doing, that basic human decency doesn't.

 

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Oh darn, it's the witchcraft! 

Fear of God would have stopped me from the witching! 

Am I damned to hell now for the witching ?!

 

 

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3 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

I was raised Roman Catholic, didn't really stop believing until adulthood.

I was raised that hell does exist, but that there's not any sort of like "stand at the pearly gates" sort of judgement.  Rather, than God knows what is in your heart when you die and your afterlife is based on that.  

 

In my 28 years as a Catholic, I did not fear God once.

Because it was drummed into me - by nuns! - that God is Justice, Love and Solidarity, none of which I need to fear.

And anything I've done that was a sin against Justice, Love and Solidarity as a believer, was forgiven in confession. 

I was obviously a bad Catholice, as well as being a bad (boring) heathen now!

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Mercy,

I appreciate you answering honestly and rationally.

You talk about indulgences and excesses as "spiritually harmful." but those things are also both physically harmful and can also have plenty consequences that harm others also.  They are things that very often can harm others and myself, and that is why I believe participating in those sorts of things are generally not right.  That doesn't mean I haven't indulged in alcohol, but it does mean that I don't indulge in such excess that I cannot control the harm to myself or others.  

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"Fear of God" in the Bible does not mean fear that he will zap you or punish you.  It means respecting Him as your wise creator who has a plan for his creation.  I do believe that God has moral standards that are designed to give us happiness in this life (the same moral standards that 90% of the population follow whether they believe God or not.)  My relationship with God is not dependent on me doing good.  I cannot do enough good to meet God's holiness (absolute perfection).  My relationship with God is solely dependent on believing that Jesus Christ did all that was necessary for me to have a relationship with God and by believing, having his perfection applied to me.  The ultimate judgment is living eternally apart from God in a way that we cannot know experientially while we are alive because God is still showing a lot of grace in this world to both Christians and nonChristians alike. 

As to the OP's question - some of the population stop from murdering people because of their conscience.  Some stop because of the threat of human justice and the penal code.  Some probably stop due to laziness. 

Edited by Jean in Newcastle
commas matter
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Not gonna quote 😄 but a certain post reminded me of something that happened in a group of homeschooling moms. 

One of them had recently discovered that another mom (not there) was an atheist and she was beyond shocked and asking (rhetorically, I think) the usual questions about what was keeping them from being a terrible person. She went straight to, "I mean, why not just sleep with whoever you want then? You could just sleep with all the people, nothing is stopping you!" and stayed there until she noticed we were all about to die laughing because she was pretty clearly showing what she would do if she was an atheist 😂

39 minutes ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

"Fear of God" in the Bible does not mean fear that he will zap you or punish you. 

 

idk, some of the bible quotes in this very thread seem to indicate that one should be fearing punishment pretty strongly. How else do you interpret an admonition to fear the One who can both kill you and cast you into hell? 

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4 hours ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

"Fear of God" in the Bible does not mean fear that he will zap you or punish you. 

I have to disagree; Jesus seems to use the term in this way, as do the apostles. 

As I quoted above, Jesus said, "Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!" (Luke 12:4-5)

Paul in Romans 11: "Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off."

And the writer of Hebrews: " For we know Him who said, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord. And again, 'The Lord will judge His people.' It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."

We are in complete agreement, however, that it is through only through Jesus Christ and His sacrifice that we are able to be saved from the consequences of our own sin.

Edited by MercyA
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1 hour ago, katilac said:

Not gonna quote 😄 but a certain post reminded me of something that happened in a group of homeschooling moms. 

I removed the request. Feel free to quote me. I think I was vague enough--unlike the mom in your story. 😉 

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11 hours ago, Katy said:

that it's easy to be so sheltered that we're unaware that given the right combination of identity politics, righteousness, vengeance, and/or fear that almost everyone is capable of terrible things. Maybe not murder (something along the lines of a third of WWII soldiers found they could not pull the trigger against another human, even to protect those they were fighting alongside), but allowing some other innocent person to get murdered to protect your own child is something almost everyone will do.  Which is why so many people are super concerned about the tribal/identity political swing the country seems to have taken recently. Twisting fears for the sake of gaining power rarely turns out well historically.

YES. Thank you for your entire post, Katy. Touching on the bolded, since this thread has already taken some rabbit trails: This is exactly why the military has found it "necessary" to employ brain-washing techniques in their training and why they go to such lengths to depersonalize the enemy. People can be trained to go against their consciences, but it's wrong and it doesn't end well. Look at how some in the military now seem perfectly willing to kill civilians and to torture other human beings. Look at the rates of suicide and domestic violence among veterans. Horrible all around. 

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14 hours ago, Selkie said:

I would guess that many murderers have low activity in the amygdala. That would cause them to feel less fear and worry than the average person.

 

This has been studied and is still being "noodled." The book by Jim Fallon "The Psychopath Inside" describes some of the visible (scans) brain differences between psychopathy and what we consider normal. 

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18 hours ago, elegantlion said:

I think that if judgement in the afterlife is the only thing keeping you from murdering someone, then you have bigger problems. 

Probably.

While I know God will deal out judgement I freely admit I have a problem watching a friend with a husband that hits her.

 

Edited by MaBelle

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13 hours ago, StellaM said:

 

In my 28 years as a Catholic, I did not fear God once.

Because it was drummed into me - by nuns! - that God is Justice, Love and Solidarity, none of which I need to fear.

And anything I've done that was a sin against Justice, Love and Solidarity as a believer, was forgiven in confession. 

I was obviously a bad Catholice, as well as being a bad (boring) heathen now!

As a cradle Catholic who went to Catholic school until 4th grade, I have to say I had more fear of nuns than of God. 😂  Seriously though, I agree. God, at least in Catholic teaching in the 1960s in my area, was taught as loving - not angry and vindictive (even though there's plenty of evidence for that in the bible). 

Funny how when I let go of all belief in a god I didn't become a debauched, immoral person. In fact, my life didn't change at all other than the fact that I stopped going to church and church related activities. And stopped praying. I'm just as boring as a heathen as when I was a believer. 

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10 minutes ago, Lady Florida. said:

As a cradle Catholic who went to Catholic school until 4th grade, I have to say I had more fear of nuns than of God. 😂  Seriously though, I agree. God, at least in Catholic teaching in the 1960s in my area, was taught as loving - not angry and vindictive (even though there's plenty of evidence for that in the bible). 

Funny how when I let go of all belief in a god I didn't become a debauched, immoral person. In fact, my life didn't change at all other than the fact that I stopped going to church and church related activities. And stopped praying. I'm just as boring as a heathen as when I was a believer. 

Here’s something I have mused about, though and I’d like to know your thoughts: if a child is raised with a faith system, he or she gets heavily instructed in “good” or pro-social behavior. (Well, usually, at least.) There’s a good chance “good person” will solidify as part of their self-identity, so then, if that person relinquishes his or her religious belief system as an adult, he still retains this self-identity, making pro-social behavior more likely. I wonder if being raised as an atheist makes it more difficult for that to happen. 

Let me use a really bad analogy: suppose someone wants to teach their dog to come on command. One way to achieve this is to put the dog on a long leash, issue the command, reel him in, then reward him. Eventually, the leash will no longer be necessary; the association is fixed and the dog will come on command for the (hope of) being rewarded. So - is this true for the training in pro-social behavior one received from growing up in a faith system? That even once the “leash” of religious dictum has been removed, the behaviors are fixed? 

 

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Went to a talk by a famous author the other night  who spent a lot of time telling us all how atheists were more murdery than anyone, and conflated Dawkins (who is a d*ck) with a mass shooter, so I guess no-one is alone in perpetuating the idea of life without God as as a thug life.

  •  

UGH I wish I had not started this thread. It has gone in a direction I did not want it to go, but again, I take responsibility for that. I did not express myself well.

  • I never ever wanted to imply that atheists are more apt to live a bad life, or murder people, or be thugs. I do not believe that and I do not want to perpetuate that idea.
  • I do not think that people who believe in God are better people. I know a lot of people who are front and center in their church every Sunday who deserve a special seat in Hell. I know a lot of people who never go to church and do not live by rules of the bible who should be ushered straight to Heaven (if there is such a place)

I was musing about the concept of someone who DOES believe in an afterlife still committing a murder for purely selfish reasons. I was wondering how they would justify that in their mind. I guess the answer just boils down to cognitive dissonance.

I am assuming that is how Robert Kraft justifies paying for women who are probably forced to service him. But the fact that I muse about Robert Kraft does NOT mean I think all men are bad, or that men that are widowed are more apt to pay for sex. 

I never wanted to imply that my musings about one group of people means I believe that another group of people (atheists) do not have that worry, and therefore would be willing to murder people willy-nilly.

 

 

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51 minutes ago, Quill said:

Here’s something I have mused about, though and I’d like to know your thoughts: if a child is raised with a faith system, he or she gets heavily instructed in “good” or pro-social behavior. (Well, usually, at least.) There’s a good chance “good person” will solidify as part of their self-identity, so then, if that person relinquishes his or her religious belief system as an adult, he still retains this self-identity, making pro-social behavior more likely. I wonder if being raised as an atheist makes it more difficult for that to happen. 

Let me use a really bad analogy: suppose someone wants to teach their dog to come on command. One way to achieve this is to put the dog on a long leash, issue the command, reel him in, then reward him. Eventually, the leash will no longer be necessary; the association is fixed and the dog will come on command for the (hope of) being rewarded. So - is this true for the training in pro-social behavior one received from growing up in a faith system? That even once the “leash” of religious dictum has been removed, the behaviors are fixed? 

 

 

I was raised an atheist. No, at no point in my life I had any confusion over my morals. I can’t believe this conversation. 

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55 minutes ago, Quill said:

Here’s something I have mused about, though and I’d like to know your thoughts: if a child is raised with a faith system, he or she gets heavily instructed in “good” or pro-social behavior. (Well, usually, at least.) There’s a good chance “good person” will solidify as part of their self-identity, so then, if that person relinquishes his or her religious belief system as an adult, he still retains this self-identity, making pro-social behavior more likely. I wonder if being raised as an atheist makes it more difficult for that to happen. 

Let me use a really bad analogy: suppose someone wants to teach their dog to come on command. One way to achieve this is to put the dog on a long leash, issue the command, reel him in, then reward him. Eventually, the leash will no longer be necessary; the association is fixed and the dog will come on command for the (hope of) being rewarded. So - is this true for the training in pro-social behavior one received from growing up in a faith system? That even once the “leash” of religious dictum has been removed, the behaviors are fixed? 

 

No being raised an atheist doesn't make it difficult. I have friends who were raised as atheists in multi-generational atheist families (I sought out like minded people after I gave up my beliefs). Their parents didn't need a religious background to teach right from wrong. Scandinavian countries are among the most atheistic places in the world. They manage to teach their kids right from wrong just fine. 

My family was Catholic but not religious. We went to church on Sundays and holidays and came home. There was no religious teaching happening in my home. We were Cafeteria Catholics (pick what you want, leave the rest).

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For me, when I raised my children I saw instructing them in our faith and instructing them in moral behaviors, as kind of a Venn diagram. Some things overlapped, but most of the moral lessons stood alone; lessons on being a good person, on treating others kindly, etc. I never really tied it into "because God is watching" or anything else like that.

Both my children are spiritual but not church-going. But if they came to be atheists I would still know that they would be good people because they want to be good people, because that is how they were raised, because they have set standards for themselves, because it makes them feel good to help, because they were instilled with the concept of empathy, etc. 

Religion or beliefs in a higher power do not a kind person make.

 

Edited by Home'scool
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54 minutes ago, Quill said:

Here’s something I have mused about, though and I’d like to know your thoughts: if a child is raised with a faith system, he or she gets heavily instructed in “good” or pro-social behavior. (Well, usually, at least.) There’s a good chance “good person” will solidify as part of their self-identity, so then, if that person relinquishes his or her religious belief system as an adult, he still retains this self-identity, making pro-social behavior more likely. I wonder if being raised as an atheist makes it more difficult for that to happen. 

Let me use a really bad analogy: suppose someone wants to teach their dog to come on command. One way to achieve this is to put the dog on a long leash, issue the command, reel him in, then reward him. Eventually, the leash will no longer be necessary; the association is fixed and the dog will come on command for the (hope of) being rewarded. So - is this true for the training in pro-social behavior one received from growing up in a faith system? That even once the “leash” of religious dictum has been removed, the behaviors are fixed? 

 

The notion that it is difficult to be a good person without religion is bizarre.

I also disagree with your bolded statement above. My dh was raised in a very Catholic family, and he says that the only lesson he got (from both his family and the church) was that a good person is one who shows up to church every Sunday and puts a donation in the basket.   

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50 minutes ago, Quill said:

Here’s something I have mused about, though and I’d like to know your thoughts: if a child is raised with a faith system, he or she gets heavily instructed in “good” or pro-social behavior. (Well, usually, at least.) There’s a good chance “good person” will solidify as part of their self-identity, so then, if that person relinquishes his or her religious belief system as an adult, he still retains this self-identity, making pro-social behavior more likely. I wonder if being raised as an atheist makes it more difficult for that to happen. 

 

I will chime in and say that I think pro-social and moral behavior comes from a combination of things.  Religious teachings may play a small part, but I think one's own biology, personality and parental influences probably have more to do with whether or not one is moral than their religious upbringing. 

I was raised and confirmed a Catholic and now (as of the last 15 years or so) I am an Atheist.  I learned to be a good person from my parents and other adults that were important to me. I really don't think church or religious education had much to do with how I turned out.  My children are being raised in a 100% non-religious house.  Honestly, they are two of the most good-hearted, kind and moral people I know.  They have a much better sense of how to treat people than I did at there age, and that's saying a lot as I was a pretty nice kid overall.

Home'scool, no offense was taken on your original post!  It's sparked an interesting discussion, actually.

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1 hour ago, Quill said:

Here’s something I have mused about, though and I’d like to know your thoughts: if a child is raised with a faith system, he or she gets heavily instructed in “good” or pro-social behavior. (Well, usually, at least.) There’s a good chance “good person” will solidify as part of their self-identity, so then, if that person relinquishes his or her religious belief system as an adult, he still retains this self-identity, making pro-social behavior more likely. I wonder if being raised as an atheist makes it more difficult for that to happen. 

 

I went to a baptist church for 16 years growing up and was exposed to a lot of immoral decisions and poor social behavior.  As an agnostic married to an agnostic and raising agnostic children we have a significantly higher exposure to moral discussions and emphasis on moral behavior.   

There is a really well done Great Course called Quest for Meaning: Values, Ethics and the Modern Experience that explores the ideas of ethical non-religious modern societies.  As in there are essential values that underpin any type of societal group and that, while shared by many different religions, are not exclusive to religions.  Does that mean "pro-social behavior" becomes merely an evolutionary tactic to further our survival as a group? 

 

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1 hour ago, Quill said:

Here’s something I have mused about, though and I’d like to know your thoughts: if a child is raised with a faith system, he or she gets heavily instructed in “good” or pro-social behavior. (Well, usually, at least.) There’s a good chance “good person” will solidify as part of their self-identity, so then, if that person relinquishes his or her religious belief system as an adult, he still retains this self-identity, making pro-social behavior more likely. I wonder if being raised as an atheist makes it more difficult for that to happen. 

Let me use a really bad analogy: suppose someone wants to teach their dog to come on command. One way to achieve this is to put the dog on a long leash, issue the command, reel him in, then reward him. Eventually, the leash will no longer be necessary; the association is fixed and the dog will come on command for the (hope of) being rewarded. So - is this true for the training in pro-social behavior one received from growing up in a faith system? That even once the “leash” of religious dictum has been removed, the behaviors are fixed? 

 

I don’t agree with your basic premise that children raised in a faith are generally heavily instructed in pro-social behavior. They are sometimes heavily instructed in the beliefs of whatever particular brand of the religion their family practices, those may be good or bad beliefs and practices. People do bad things all of the time in the name of religion, not despite religion. 

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1 hour ago, Home'scool said:

UGH I wish I had not started this thread. It has gone in a direction I did not want it to go, but again, I take responsibility for that. I did not express myself well.

  • I never ever wanted to imply that atheists are more apt to live a bad life, or murder people, or be thugs. I do not believe that and I do not want to perpetuate that idea.
  • I do not think that people who believe in God are better people. I know a lot of people who are front and center in their church every Sunday who deserve a special seat in Hell. I know a lot of people who never go to church and do not live by rules of the bible who should be ushered straight to Heaven (if there is such a place)

I was musing about the concept of someone who DOES believe in an afterlife still committing a murder for purely selfish reasons. I was wondering how they would justify that in their mind. I guess the answer just boils down to cognitive dissonance.

I am assuming that is how Robert Kraft justifies paying for women who are probably forced to service him. But the fact that I muse about Robert Kraft does NOT mean I think all men are bad, or that men that are widowed are more apt to pay for sex. 

I never wanted to imply that my musings about one group of people means I believe that another group of people (atheists) do not have that worry, and therefore would be willing to murder people willy-nilly.

 

 

Don't worry about a thread going a different direction than you envisioned, totally not your fault.

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